I just realized it was almost three years when I last went to Banaue. This part of the Cordilleras has a special place in my travels being one of the first few places I visited in the Cordilleras. Ever since my first visit to Batad, I’ve gone back here more often than I could remember. But this time I was here to run my first 21k road-trail. Team Malaya organized a Banaue-Batad Marathon and I excitedly singed up. Since it was my first halfy I wanted to have a good rest before the race. When in Banaue, I often go straight to the towns of Batad or Bangaan but this time I have to stay in town. I looked through Agoda and glad to find Banaue Hotel listed there. A familiar sight for me since I’ve visited it before and explored the village behind it. I guess it was it’s about time I stay in this already an institution of an accommodation in the home of the 8th wonder of the world.
Old but Still Charming
Banaue Hotel along with its Youth Hostel is probably one of the oldest hotels in Banaue. It’s the first lodging establishment one would find upon entering Banaue. It has a huge area, plenty of parking space if one has a car and a helipad. The hotel has two main buildings the Youth Hostel for budget travelers (which was recently renovated) and the more comfortable Banaue Hotel which has two wings housing 81 rooms (4 suite rooms; 32 deluxe rooms; 45 standard rooms) all with a breathtaking view of some of the Banaue rice terraces clusters.
My room was at 214 quite a walk to the other end of the building from the lobby but it was all worth it as the morning view from my balcony was nothing short of stunning especially at sunrise. I was worried a bit about Banaue Hotel as I know it is already showing its age but surprisingly the whole place is well-kept and maintained. My huge room was clean and isn’t musty. The linens were fine and bed comfortable. There’s no airconditioning which is okay since the place is already cool but I do have a couple of fans in the room in case. Bathroom has a neatly organized space and has working hot shower. Carpeting is fine and I like the wooden feel on the walls. In my few nights of stay, I never had problems sleeping.
What I also liked about Banaue Hotel is they have a weekly cultural show at night (and also by request if there are many guest). While I have seen several Ifugao cultural shows already, the spacious lobby is a good venue for introducing Ifugao culture to visitors. The performance was professionally done and entices guests to participate as well. At the lobby, aside from the free Wifi, there are souvenir shops for posterity items and goods.
Large dining space with wide glass windows and high ceiling, the Imbayah Restaurant is one of the most scenic dining places I’ve been. The view of the mountains and rice terraces here is just breathtaking. I enjoy spending time here chatting with friends while sipping a cup of native brewed coffee. Speaking of coffee, Imbayah Restaurant offers unlimited coffee for a very good price! Their food is on the pricey side but the burgers and fries are of good value. Breakfast buffet which comes with the room rate has a selection of Filipino food from hams, sausages, corned beef to name a few.
Pool with a View
I’ve seen the pool before but I’ve always thought,”Who would swim in a cold climate like this?”. Well I was with an avid swimmer blogger friend Christine of JovialWanderer, who also running the race, and we were adventurous enough to try the pool. It’s of good size and has a depth of 3.5 to 12 feet deep! The pool was clear as it was just cleaned that morning. At first we were hesitant to go to the deeper parts but got comfortable after. When I had my first jump at the springboard I had so much fun. I asked Tin to take some photos of my many jump attempts at the pool. I had so much fun, the water isn’t as cool as I was expecting it was just relaxing to be there.
I had an enjoyable 3-nights stay in Banaue Hotel my sleep was restful which would probably also a factor why I had a good finish at my 21k run (I placed 8th for the men’s division and 13th overall!). I had some companions checked in as well so it made for great stay with them in the area. Banaue Hotel is not the only hotel in town but for a Banaue standard, it is the most expensive hotel in the area and you do get what you pay for, huge comfortable rooms (with lots of electric outlets), good facilities, very friendly staff ( I had to borrow an umbrella from them several times) and great dining area. It’s the best hotel in Banaue. I didn’t mind it was more than a kilometer’s walk to town as the cool weather is conducive for walking. If I do get tired, it’s a cheap tricycle ride away.
Banaue Hotel is ideally for business travelers, families and group travelers. Backpackers have the option of staying at their hostel for Php 250 per head.
142 Amarsolo St
Legazpi Village Makati
Telefax: (632) 551-3945
Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel
Mobile: 0908.400.7596, 0927.570.2355
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.