Batad is a secluded community and remote village of Banaue in the province of Ifugao, home to a magnificent amphitheatre-like rice terraces that form part of the five Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site title since 1995. Believed to have been built and carved entirely by hands some 2,000 years ago, the rice terraces of Batad are considered the most well-preserved and the best among all rice terraces in the cluster and the entire Philippines.
Only about 1,500 people make up the community living in the area, and they still carry a very traditional and simple way of living. A number of indigenous locals still practice old rituals, especially those around rice-planting and harvesting, wear traditional costumes, and speak their native language. But communication won’t be a big problem, as guides can understand and speak Filipino and basic English. The village is also almost devoid of any cellular and internet service, making it a favorite destination for travelers who wish to disconnect and reflect, apart from soaking in all of the majestic surroundings.
Getting in and around the area is an adventure though, as visitors are required to trek along steep mountain trails and rocky or muddy terrain. Deep within its lush mountains is also the mighty Tappiya waterfalls, but only the brave dare to take a dip in its super cold waters.
Because of its mountainous location, Batad is generally cool throughout the year, with an average temperature of about 21°C. The best things to consider when planning a trip to Batad are the states of its rice terraces, and safety given the terrains you will be walking along going in and around the area.
Cheapest time to visit Batad
As with the rest of the country, the cheapest time to visit Batad is during the low season between the months of July until November. Generally, tickets and hotel prices drop in these wet months, but Batad’s accommodations are not as plentiful and competitive unlike other tourist destinations in the Philippines.
Weather in Batad
Batad experiences both dry and wet seasons, with the former being from December to June, and the latter during the months of July to November. However, temperatures drop at their lowest from December until early March.
Peak season in Batad
The best time to see Batad is during planting season, when the rice terraces are fully green and lush. These occur twice, from April to May and October to November. Visitors during these times are rewarded with the terraces in their most scenic and magnificent state.
Main festival/events in Batad
Although mainly celebrated in Banaue town proper, the Imbayah Festival held every April sees locals from different villages of Banaue, including Batad, in attendance. It is a 3-day celebration where Ifugao tribes gather to celebrate their indigenous culture as well as their rice planting and harvest scheduled the day after. This is a great time to Visit Batad and immerse in their well-preserved culture.
When to avoid visiting Batad
It is not recommended to visit Batad during July until September as these are the rainiest months as the trails and rice fields will be muddy. Landslides may also possibly happen during this time.
The main jumpoff point to getting to Batad is the town of Banaue. Due to its road conditions and relatively remote location, Banaue may be difficult and long to reach. But once you see the glorious scenery, the trip will be more than worth it.
Getting to Banaue
Going to Banaue from Manila will take about 9 to hours (depending on traffic) and can only be reached via land travel. There are two bus lines that operate the Manila-Banaue route, namely Ohayami Bus Transit and Dangwa Transit. These buses only have night trips, which is actually a good schedule so you can just sleep your way through the long trip and arrive in Banaue early in the morning.
From Baguio, take a 3-hour bus to Banaue via the Ohayami Bus Transit or KMS line.
Those visiting the other tourist destination in the area which is Sagada may also visit nearby Banaue and Batad in the same trip. Take a jeepney bound to Bontoc (capital of Mountain Province) from the Sagada Municipal Hall, with trips every half hour from 6:30 AM to 9:00 AM, and hourly trips from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM. Once in Bontoc, take a local bus or van to Banaue for about 1.5 to 2 hours, with three trips at 8:30 AM, 10:00 AM, and 1:00 PM.
Getting to Batad from Banaue
Once you are in Banaue, there are two ways to finally reach Batad, which is approximately 18km away from the town proper. First option is to take the jeepney stationed at Banaue’s public market terminal, with only two trips going to Batad everyday. However, there is no specific schedule for this trip, but your best bet is during mid-morning at 9:00 AM and at 3:00PM in the afternoon. The jeep will take you to the Saddle, the closest point to Batad reachable by vehicle. From the Saddle, it is about 500m or a 15-minute trek to the village of Batad.
If you unfortunately miss the public jeepney, the only way to reach Batad is to charter an entire jeepney or a tricycle. The former is a good option if you are a big group so you can split the whole fee. Otherwise, charter a tricycle ride to the saddle for a lesser price, but be prepared for a more uncomfortable ride.
It is deemed very safe to travel to Batad, and the rest of the Ifugao province. The villages still adopt a very humble and laid-back lifestyle. Batad and its surrounding towns are also mostly sleepy, with locals who are generally warm and welcoming.
Visitors are expected to be respectful of traditional customs, and be mindful of their actions so as to not disrupt the local culture and run into any problems. Cleanliness must also be maintained, especially in a destination as majestic and grand as the rice terraces in Batad.
When in the village of Batad itself, there will be no transportation of any kind. Locals and tourists are only expected to walk or trek. If you wish to have company, hire a local guide when trekking the village and to the waterfalls. This ensures your safety as well as getting to learn more information about Batad. The fee they get is also a great way to support their livelihood.
Being a remote village, there are not a lot of restaurant options around Batad. Given its location, most of what is prepared use chicken, vegetables, and canned products. The food in Batad may seem basic, but they are still decent and delicious.
Start your day with a cup of native Ifugao coffee, grown in these lush highlands and surrounding mountains. Some of the small eateries also offer pizzas with very simple ingredients as toppings such as tomatoes and canned tuna, as an easy and familiar offering to foreign visitors. Dishes unique to the area include Pinikpikan, which is made of chicken beaten to death, and Itag, fried pork fat that tastes like crackling. Sample the local rice wine as well, best enjoyed in the company of Batad’s villagers.
Since food and drink options are limited in Batad, it is highly recommended to bring light snacks and refreshments with you. What elevates Batad’s simple offerings are the majestic mountain and rice terraces views you see while having a meal.
Just like its limited dining options, the accommodations in Batad are also very simple and basic, which range from native huts, small inns, and local homestays. Mid-range to luxury hotels are not to be expected here.
For a truly immersive experience, stay at Ramon’s Native Homestay which features authentic and native Ifugao huts that can fit up to 4 people. Lodges which have sweeping views of Batad’s famous rice terraces and natural surroundings include Batad Top Viewpoint Homestay and Restaurant, Rita’s Mount View Inn and Restaurant, and Hillside Inn.