About the ride from Manila to Banaue
Traveling from Manila to Banaue is a great choice for tourists keen to extend their adventures on the Philippines' largest island of Luzon.
Though many tourists are often eager to island-hop the moment they arrive in Manila, that’s not a wise choice - there’s plenty to be explored on Luzon before you seek adventures elsewhere.
When you’re ready to leave the Philippines’ pulsating capital, taking the trip from Manila to Banaue is a great choice. It’s a direct on-road route, it’s popular, and it offers two very contrasting (but equally exciting) sides to Filipino life.
While Manila is trendy, modern and forward-thinking, with a huge population and even more pollution, Banaue couldn’t be more different. While Manila looks to the future, Banaue still very much relies upon - and thrives upon - its past.
UNESCO-listed Banaue is one of the Philippines' most attractive destinations. The rice terraces here have been feeding the region’s locals for more than 2000 years, but the real appeal is in the area’s aesthetics. The steeply-stacked (and largely hand-built) terraces offer one of the most vibrant sights in the whole of Southeast Asia.
Traveling from Manila to Banaue also allows you to learn about the ancient culture of the region’s Ifugao people, who are far removed from the modern cosmopolites who live in the nation’s capital.
The biggest settlement in the entire region, Banaue is a cultural extravaganza in itself - but it’s also an excellent access point for reaching lesser-known and lesser-visited villages in the nearby area. Two great choices are Cambulo and Pula.
If you like hiking, waterfalls, remote adventures or learning about ancient cultures, traveling to Banaue from Manila is a great way to experience it all.
The trip from Manila to Banaue is also pretty unusual - while most popular tourist trips in the Philippines are serviced by ferries, this one’s an on-road jaunt. It’s also astoundingly beautiful, as the road climbs from sea-level Manila to reach one of the most verdant and vertiginous experiences that Luzon has to offer.
For the approximately 390 km (242 mile) journey to Banaue from Manila, you have two options:
- Bus from Manila to Banaue - typically around 9.5 hours
- Minivan from Manila to Banaue - typically around 10 hours
What to see when traveling from Manila to Banaue
If you take a night bus from Manila to Banaue, you of course won’t see very much.
If you instead travel from Manila to Banaue during the day (either by bus or private minivan) it’s a trip with lots of vivid views, the panoramas improving as you ascend the windy roads on your way towards beautiful Banaue.
The first stretch of the journey from Manila to Banaue is nothing special, as you make your way along a well-built highway. But as you leave Manila, the modernity and metropolis of the nation’s capital city slowly makes way to rudimentary villages and rickety ramshackle settlements.
You’ll pass through villages and towns which shrink in scale and grow in charm and distant foothills become nearby mountains.
For the final stretch of your journey from Manila to Banaue, you’ll enjoy the best views. As the road rapidly climbs, you’ll be treated to misty mountains and steep, stomach-churning passes as you ride towards some of the best rice terraces in the whole of Southeast Asia.
How to get from Manila to Banaue
Taking a bus to Banaue from Manila
Taking a bus from Manila to Banaue is the best option for anyone traveling on a budget. But though it’s pretty basic and affordable, it offers a decent amount of comfort and convenience.
There’s WiFi and AC on board, but the AC can be very cold, so make sure you wear something relatively warm.
Buses from Manila to Banaue don't have toilets on board. Instead, they stop for frequent toilet breaks en route.
Taking a minivan to Banaue from Manila
Taking a minivan from Manila to Banaue is a great option for anyone seeking comfort and convenience. If you take a minivan, you don’t pay for an individual ticket for an individual seat - instead, you hire the entire minivan and split that cost between your traveling party.
Because of this, you can choose your own departure time, departure point and arrival point, offering you lots of flexibility.
This quite an expensive option, but if you value freedom, flexibility, comfort and convenience, you should consider it - it’s popular with families and travelers with a little more money than your average budget backpacker. Minivans which run from Manila to Banaue offer a little more comfort and luxury than the buses which serve the same route.