Banaue Jeep Topload

A Fully loaded Jeep in Banaue

Let me say this first, that this trip to Batad is already my 4th time and that says something. It’s one of those places that I don’t regret going back to. It’s both good and bad on my part. The good is, I get to see how the place have changed since the first time I went there and second is seeing how bad things may have changed since then. It’s my fourth time there but it’s going to be the first time I’ll be writing about here in length along with Banaue.

Autobus to Banau

Our bus going to Banaue

From Manila, the only way to go to Batad is to go through Banaue first. And going to Banaue is through a long 9 hour bus ride. I know! Just the thought of that long hour drive may make some people cringe but it’s not as bad as it sounds really. Especially when the travel is at night and there are a couple of stops along the road.

Autobus to Banaue

Autobus Station at Cayco St corner S.H. Loyola

Autobus is one of the buses that operate the Manila – Banaue route. There is also the new one Florida Bus with newer buses with comfort rooms inside. Since I was accustomed to Autobus I took that one on this trip since I don’t know about Florida Bus until later. Autobus has moved several times already. Now thinking about it, it moved every time I would take a trip to Banaue. From their station beside UST (University of Sto Tomas) they are now across UST at the corner of Cayco St and S.H. Loyola.

Shell Banaue Gas Station

Arrival, a gas station in Banaue

Autobus also has a reputation to have rundown buses but it’s a good thing we got a newer one. Another thing is that they are an on-the-road-freezer. It can get really cold with the air-conditioning pumped up to the max so a good jacket or malong as a blanket is recommended. Our bus left at 10:30pm. There is usually only 1 bus going to Banaue daily but at during peak seasons they may increase their frequency twice or thrice a day. Florida Buses leave 10:45pm daily.

Greenview Lodge and Restaurant

Breakfast at Green View Lodge and Restaurant

Fortunately, we didn’t have any break downs or flat tires on our way to Banaue. We had restroom breaks and a snack-stop on the way until we reached Banaue by 7:30am. Our first priority was to reserve tickets back which we could do when we arrive there. Since there are only one trip back to Manila from Autobus (6:30pm) and Florida (8:30pm), there are huge chances the buses will easily be full.

Banaue Tourist Information Center

Banaue Tourist Information Center

We decided to walk down town to get a feel of the place. There are tricycles or jeeps offering to take you to town but it is easy to just walk since the road descends to the town center. There are many choices there for breakfast but the views and ambiance at Greenview Lodge and Restaurant appealed to us. We were also able to meet this nice Korean Family who shared a Van with us going to the saddle.

Batad Trek

The steep stair shortcut from the saddle

The Saddle is the jump-off point going to Batad and is about 12km of rough road from Banaue town proper. The only way to get there is via a jeep or a van. Trykes can get you to the junction where the road splits to Batad Saddle on the left and Bangaan on the right. But you have to hike at least an hour going to the saddle. I did this ascending hike first time I went there and it can be tiring. Now the jeeps and vans can take people up to the saddle which saves a lot of time.

Batad Trek

The trek to Batad

One problem here is there is only one public jeep that leaves at 3pm in the afternoon. It’s almost always full since the locals use it. The best option is to hire a jeep or a van. Hiring a whole jeep going to the saddle is around Php 1200. It’s much better if you could find some people to join in the ride and share the cost. Much like we did with the Korean family we shared a Van with. For the best rates and to avoid being ripped-off, head to the Banaue Tourism Information Center at the center of the town. They have standard rates and they will find jeeps for you. The ride would take at least an hour or more depending on the road conditions. Expect it to be rough and tough. Dong Ho has a good account of the travel.

Batad Trek

At one of the stops during the trek to Batad

From the Saddle, it’s at least an hour’s moderate hike descending the mountains and a lot of twist and turns to reach Batad Terraces hidden behind the mountains. From the saddle there are two paths. The left is a shortcut of steep stairs, best taken when going down but prepare to have jiggly legs after. To the right is a longer path but safer and has moderate descent. Best taken when going back to the saddle.

Batad Registration Area

Batad’s Visitor Registration Area

Once we saw the registration booth, we know we’re already in Batad proper. Everyone is encouraged to register and give a little donation. Near the registration area, there are already a few lodgings to choose from. Most of them are spartan accommodations with communal bathrooms. I’ve tried both Hillside Inn and Simon’s Inn before. They are both okay but I think Simon’s has the cleaner restroom and bathroom. The food at Simon’s is nothing special though so I suggest trying out the eateries outside if you have the energy.

Batad Simon's Inn Lodge Night

Night shooting at Simon’s Inn

So we stayed at Simon’s Inn for a night there. It was bright despite the half moon outside that night allowing us to capture some night scenes much like Lagalog’s capture. We’re now at Batad. It’s a long and tiring road but is really worth it as you’ll see.

Autobus leaves Manila for Banaue at 10:00pm and leaves Banaue for Manila at 6:30pm daily
Tel: 7358096, 7358098

Florida Bus leaves Manila for Banaue 10:45pm and leaves Banaue for Manila at 8:30pm daily
Tel: 7433809

Join the Backpack Photography Workshops at Banaue, Batanes and Palawan!

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Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.

22 Responses to “Transit: Manila to Banaue & Batad”

  1. the buses look new and nice – that’s a real bonus whe you can ride comfortably for 9 hours. It’s always nice to know when someone tells us how to get there ;)Nice shots. The place looks pristine and unspoiled 🙂

  2. Autobus drivers drive like crazy! I once took a grueling 10 hour journey aboard this liner and had MOST harrowing 10-hour bus ride of my life. The driver kept on swerving as if he was on his last breath (including on bends!) and didnt even bother slow down on tight roads.If you had a weak heart, you’d probably have cardiac arrest. Never again!

    I hope Florida buses are better.

  3. Hi BW! It’s a good thing they have new buses now. I remeber riding their old buses with cramped seats and dripping aircons.

    Hahaha! Sad to hear your experience Ivan Man Dy! But I think not all their drivers are like that. In the 4 or 5 times I went to Banaue I haven’t encountered a crazy one like that yet 🙂

  4. I usually enjoy long drives/bus rides, especially if there are a lot of things to see. You know me and my passion for drive-by shooting so that always works for me. I just hope the bus would be a little more comfy and does not break down 🙂

    4th time? I wouldn’t blame you. It would be like an escape from city life too, right?

  5. Nakakamiss ang Batad! The 1st time na nakarating ako d2 was nun nag-akyat aklat tayo ferdz sa cambulo, ifugao…simula nun nde na ako nakabalik ulit…happy new year sa’yo and congratz sa pagkapanalo mo nun October…huli man daw nahabol ko ang pagbati ko sa’yo…Hat’s Off my fren 😉

  6. Awesome photos! I’m planning a trip to Banaue and Bataad this June, and I’m getting more excited about the trip looking at your photos. I wanted to ask, is there an alternative way to get to Manila from Banaue beside from the overnight buses? I’d like to leave for Manila and arrive the same day.

  7. Nice photos and info. I liked the last photo most.

    I am going there at the end of this month. Hopefully I won’t rain. Planning to stay at Simon’s guest house but could not find contact details anywhere. Could you provide that pls?

    Also, do you suggest Autobus or Florida? I guess fare would be more or less same ?


  8. Hi there,
    thanks for this post Ironwulf.
    I have been in Banaue 4 weeks ago together with my sister and a friend, so may I post my 2 cents too. I opted for the Florida Liner. To be sure we took the bus including Comfort Room (P500 each), this is the one leaving at 10:45 pm. The one at 9:10 has no CR and is about P450.
    You’ll find the Florida Liner at Earnshaw Str corner Lacson Avenue. This is were you buy the tickets, the booth closes at 9:30pm. We had no problems buying a ticket on the same day (it was Monday). To get there take the LRT to Legarda Station and follow the street heading north (Figueras and Earnshaw respectivley).

    The Autobus terminal is not at “at the corner of Loyola St and Cayco”. Actually I had time to check out the area: it is either in Earnshaw street or in Extremadura (see Google Maps:,120.992732, I am not too sure at the moment but is a one minute walk from the Florida Terminal). You can see the white Autobus sign from the corner Earnshaw/Loyola. Anyway, the buses to Banaue were suspended the time we were there. The Autobus staff members said that maybe “in one month” (which should be around now, middle of August) the route will be continued.

    A recommendation: While waiting for the bus to depart we went to the University of Santo Tomas. With a visitor’s permit issued from the Office for Public Affairs (just go there and tell them you want to see the campus. I guess that the office will close around 5pm) we were allowed to hang out in there and escape from the stuffy bus terminal.

  9. maria juliet diaz

    hi! i am planning to go to sagada next week for my birthday w/ my girl buddies.. we will leave malolos after our work hours at 530 pm ang go to florida bus terminal for the banaue trip…we will be leaving sagada on sunday night.. a little bitin, but we have to be home for work resumption on tues, any suggestions to maximize our short stay there? we would also appreciate if u could suggest a comfy and nice place to stay, thanks!

  10. Kezzelle

    Hello, kailangan ba talaga mag book ng ticket in advance? Or pwede nmang sa bus terminal nlang mag purchase pag dating namin dun? Punta kasi kami ng banaue next month.. Tnx 🙂

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