You will not run out of things to do in Banaue. In fact, with all that you can do and see in this Northern gem, you’ll need to plot your visit well to maximise your time here. The trekking alone will eat up a sizeable amount of your time, but you also need to see and experience the cultural heritage and artisan finds that are native to Banaue. Your Banaue trip will be one filled with villages and viewpoints – and we’re almost certain you’ll love every minute of it. That said, here are some Banaue attractions you can’t miss while you’re in town!
Must-visit Banaue attractions and natural wonders
1. Trade Center
Trade Center is a souvenir hunter’s haven. Their wood carvings are pocket-friendly, so you’ll want to grab a few to take home as souvenirs. You’ll also want to grab your own Ifugao fertility and lucky charm called lingling-o. If you are observant enough, you’ll notice that most of the locals wear the symbolic lingling-o as accessories or ornaments – rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, keychains, or wall decors. They come in metal or wood.
Trivia: Some souvenirs are unique to each store, because the design depends on the specific carver. For instance, I found a unique ashtray shaped like a wooden guitar, but I could not find the same item in the other shops. And when buying a wooden carving or a house ornament, most locals would suggest buying it in pairs as they usually make male and female versions of each design.
2. Banaue Museum
If you are not into trekking, visit the Banaue Museum to get to know the life of the Ifugao ancestors. This Banaue tourist spot is just a few minutes’ walk from the town marker. Here, you can view antiques and artefacts that tell stories of the history, culture, and heritage of the Ifugaos.
3. Museum of Cordilleran Sculpture
Another museum worth checking out is the Museum of Cordilleran Sculpture. Founded by George and Candida Ida Schenk over 30 years ago, the museum has remained conscious of the importance of preserving the Cordilleran culture for its own people and for future generations. There is an admission fee of ₱100.
4. Tam-an Village
If you wish to experience the culture and way of life of the Ifugaos, a visit to Tam-an Village is a must! This Ifugao village showcases traditional homes, cultural practices, handicrafts, and even performing arts that you might not experience in other Banaue attractions.
This can be a bit unusual, but you can request a family to see the bones of Ifugao ancestors for a fee. Most of these bones are bundled, preserved, and wrapped in colourful hand-woven blankets. The experience is unique, and it’ll give you a fine appreciation of the Ifugao traditions and heritage.
5. Bocos Village
Visit the Bocos Village to find fascinating huts adorned with heads and skulls of carabaos and wild pigs. In modern times, you are considered wealthy based on the number of properties you own. On the other hand, Ifugaos do their lifestyle check with the number of animal skulls with which you decorate your hut. The more skulls you have, the wealthier you are.
You can also find the villagers’ most sacred rice idol, bulol, in a rice granary. The bulol is exposed only during harvest time, when locals performa lengthy ritual of bathing the idol with animal blood. Visitors may request to see the bulol with the owner’s consent.
6. Poitan Village
Poitan Village is the place of weavers and carvers. The Banaue tourist spot boasts of magnificently lined Ifugao huts on mountain slopes surrounded by stonewalls that serve as protection for the villagers from invading tribes. The legendary stone post that is protected and idolised by the villagers is also worth checking out.
7. Guihob Natural Pool
It takes around 45 minutes from the town proper to reach the Guihob Natural Pool. Trekkers can enjoy a good picnic with friends and a refreshing swim in its spring water that trickles down from a small waterfall.
8. Banaue View Point
There are four views of the iconic terraces at different angles that can be reached by tricycle or private car. And, Banaue View Point is an ideal spot if you wish to capture its timeless beauty. There are souvenir shops at most viewpoints like this one, so you can get something to bring back home. Not to mention, there are Ifugaos dressed in their full regalia, ready to pose for you as well! Don’t forget to leave a tip after taking their photos.
Trivia: These elderly Ifugaos know how to speak English for easy conversation with tourists.
9. Tappiya Falls
Tappiya Falls is a hidden gem in Batad that offers a refreshing respite with its cool waters and breathtaking forest landscapes. While it may be an arduous trek, this waterfall attracts travellers with its undeniable beauty and tranquil surroundings. When you get there, you can freshen up and let loose by taking a dip in the large, natural pool right at the base of the cascading falls.
10. Bogyah Hot Spring
Just a stone’s throw away from Banaue, in the village of Uhaj in Hungduan, you’ll find the Bogyah Hot Spring. Yet another natural wonder where relaxation meets serenity, the hot spring offers more than just a warm dip to soothe the body. It also treats you to stunning views of the rice terraces and the Hapao River. Note though, it’s about a 40-minute hike up from the main road.
Banaue is not only for trekkers and hikers but also for history geeks and culture vultures seeking new attractions to explore. With the amount of heritage, history, and culture in this Northern province, you’ll discover more than enough reasons to visit Banaue for the weekend. It is definitely a cultural awakening and a humbling experience to interact with the locals and learn their way of living.
Facebook image credit (R): Alenka Vujkovac | Canva Pro