Sagada Trip: Side Trip to Banaue NO Rice Terraces

After killing time in SM Mall of Asia, we proceeded to the Florida Bus Terminal in Sampaloc, Manila, so we could be seated. We were heading to Banaue en route to Sagada. Strategically, we bought our tickets in the morning for the 10:45pm schedule so that we could reserve seats ahead of time.

We met fellow travel blogger Marcos and chatted a bit. He was on a different journey but we were to meet again in Baguio after 3 days. We boarded the bus and in no time, we began our 9-hour trip.

March 3, 2011
Manila to Banaue to Bontoc to Sagada route

manila to banaue bus
Pink Florida Bus from Manila to Banaue

Coming from my shift at the office back in Cebu, I was awake for more than 24 hours already. I did it on purpose as I wanted to sleep through the night. True enough, I was knocked out even before we passed by the North Luzon Express Way (NLEX). The travel went by fast; when I woke up, we were already in Banaue.

fog banaue
fog or clouds?

At 6:30am I could see the thick fog and the clouds from the window opposite my side. I didn’t even notice that we made a stopover at Nueva Vizcaya; I only realized this when a couple of companions wore bonnets on their heads which they bought there for about 50 bucks a piece.

banaue stop
arriving in Banaue

Arriving in Banaue

As soon as we stepped off the bus, a couple of guides were inviting passengers for a tour and were asking where we were headed. We hopped on a jeepney that took us to the town proper though.

A mere 10-minute ride and we waited for 2 hours until the jeepney from Banaue to Bontoc became full.

banaue town proper
posing with the locals

Grabbed bread slices and brought out the cheese spread we bought back in the city; that served as our breakfast on that day. At the same time, we explored other parts of the area. There’s something so rustic about witnessing a town wake up and how they go about their daily chores.

banaue town

Moma Chewing and Spitting

I saw locals constantly chewing something which stained their mouths red. I got curious and in exchange, they just smiled; pretty creepy if you ask me. Those red teeth made me wonder if some form of cryptic ritual was going on and this was the time that the locals were going to harvest new recruits as their next victims. — reminded me of a couple of Dean Koontz novels I read awhile back.

False alarm, I later found out that they were just chewing Moma.

Moma or betel nut or areca nut serves as tobacco for them. To fight off the cold climate and to keep them awake are a few reasons why people get addicted to these. You spit the red residue accordingly.

An ordinance has been passed that spitting moma is not allowed to maintain a cleaner surrounding.

moma sagada
moma or betel nut

Banaue NO Rice Terraces

Around 8:30am, we started our journey to Bontoc and the driver said that we’ll make a quick side trip at one of the viewpoints of the famous Banaue Rice Terraces. Despite being exhausted from the bus, I got excited at the thought of finally seeing this famous landmark. This was what I studied during grade school; about how the Ifugaos have built this natural wonder with minimal equipment.

Alas, this was the view that greeted us…

banaue rice terraces view
beautiful view of the rice terraces… FAIL!

Zero visibility. The fog covered the rice terraces early in the morning. Just great.

I tried to wait for a few moments but the weather wouldn’t clear up. What’s worse was that it began raining hard. Two Caucasians who shared the same initial sentiments also had their excitement flushed down the drain.

igorota banaue
90-100 year old woman

In the end, we just laughed at the predicament and carried on with our ride. It was no use to whine as we still had our main Sagada adventure to look forward to.

banaue to bontoc
toploading now

Sometimes our trips don’t come out the way we expect them to be. We assume that everything will be perfect and yet in this case, the weather didn’t help at all. It would’ve been one of those perfect travel gifts if we were to witness such beauty. Not even travel vouchers can compensate for the time that was lost.

But then, you just think of it in a positive light and realize that you have all the more reason to go back. Besides, this is another funny story worth sharing; one for the books if I might say so myself.

view of banaue rice terraces
barefoot in Banaue
photo by Doi

Banaue Rice Terraces, you’ve eluded me for now but I’ll come back for you. Just watch out.

At that moment, it was our crazy toploading from Banaue to Bontoc journey that we were anticipating next.

Florida Bus Ticket Manila to Banaue – 450 Php
Banaue to Bontoc Jeep – 150 Php

Check out my other blog articles about my Sagada adventure trip here:

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Please don't forget to confirm your subscription by checking your Inbox. is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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27 thoughts on “Sagada Trip: Side Trip to Banaue NO Rice Terraces”

  1. Haynako. Mas lalo akong na-excite. At sabay pa talaga kayo ni Doi na nag-post about Sagada! Did you try the betel nut? What did it taste like?
    Sayang maganda pa naman ang view dun sa viewpoint! AS IN SOBRAAAAAA! I've been there twice and I've seen it both times. Hehehe nang-iinggit. So if ever sa 3rd time ayaw niya magpakita… okay lang. Lol.

  2. So that's how they call it in Banaue – moma. Sushal! Dun sa amin, tawag namin dito ay mama (emphasis on the last a).
    I was expecting a gorgeous view of the rice terraces so I was a bit disappointed that it played hide and seek with you guys hehe. I have learned during my travels that careful planning of itineraries and lotsa research will not amount much if mother nature decides to act up. And now that I'm thinking about it, naisip ko na magandang subject ito ng blog hehe. Tara i-blog natin hehe.
    I admire your tenacity though. Keep it up!

  3. @batang lakwatsero: haha. this was just a side trip. pag lunch time mukhang ok na. wala nang fog. 😀

    @mervz: sakto! hehe. we didn't have a lot of time to burn as we needed to proceed to Sagada na. Batad will be for another day. 😀

    @robbie: ayoko yung betel nut, maanghang and bitter. hehe. yep, sabi nga raw maganda ang view kaya naging viewpoint. lol. joke. pero yeah, next time sana.

    @lawstude: haha, i saw your photos on Batad, really beautiful! iba nga raw talaga ang terraces ng Batad!

    @galangpusa: haha. wow, Spanish ba yan? muhmAH? hehehe. I also wanted to share this sa blog ko and set up a different entry. when things don't go accordingly. naghahanap ako ng isa pang photo. hehe. I know of a friend who went to Mayon pero di nya nakita. so para balance, isa na lang na photo (or more) ang kelangan. hehe

    @micamyx: haha, ibibigay ko sa yo! hahaha. mica, go there during lunch time! 😀

    @pinaytraveljunkie: haha, exactly gay! hehe. yep next time will be dedicated solely for Batad and Banaue! 😀

  4. @christina: haha. ok lang. love the climate there! ibang experience to the usual beaches!

    @drew: that will be easier for you kasi nasa Manila ka na. be safe lang! 😀

    @RON: ron! hehe. nasali talaga ang MOA! hehe. kelangan mo nang libutin ang Pinas uli 😀

  5. nyahah! Fail nga. At mas lalong fail kung napicturan mo nga, tapos nawala naman lahat ng picture. hay! Kumukulot na naman ang buhok ko sa kunsumisyon pag naalala ko ang mga nasirang pictures ko before. Balik ka na lang ed. I will.. next year. hihihi! Yung momo.. Nganga ang tawag samin. Yung mga lolo ko, naughty rin e. Wag ka kakalat kalat after nilang ichew kasi ibabato nila yan sa binti mo. hahahahha!
    Ang lakas ng trip nyo grabe. Topload? Pupulmunyahin ako niyan. hahaha!

  6. pag mali nga yung timing totally walang makikitang terraces.
    exactly the same scene when i brought my parents there last new year. it was supposed to be the highlight of the trip as i wanted them to see the world heritage site. but at least they enjoyed sagada.

  7. @lakwatsera de primera: haha yep. pero by lunch time, usually wala nang fog. 😀

    @hoobert the awesome: ok lang yun, may panahon pa para balikan. it was a morning so di masyadong nakakatakot. 😀

    @kura: ok lang sa Fail, waaa sensya kung nareremind ka sa mga ganito. hehe. lol. ibabato ba, walang magawa talgaa? hehe. haha. topload. yep, adik mode habang bata pa. hehe

    @dong ho: haha. onga, will go back to Banaue and spent a day as well as trek Batad. yep, ok na ok pa rin ang sagada!

  8. Did you know na kung dili magpakita ang Banaue Rice Terraces sa imuha, maot daw kag batasan. HAHAHA making stories kaayo ko. Joke lang! =))

    Wow zero visibility! Ganahan kaayo ko ana. Reminds me of Buda, kanang dalan padulong from DVO to Bukidnon :))

  9. i remember my trip to Banaue with your posts 🙂 Maybe it's like Mt. Mayon, you don't get to see it unless you have a pure and virginal heart LOL 😀 
    Which of his novels did you read? Hmm didn't take you for a thriller kind of reader 😀
    The moma (in ilo-ilo they call it nga-nga, my Grandmother chews it sometimes) was so bitter! I had to spit mine after 10 seconds 😀

  10. @lauren: haha. no comment. haha! but yeah, only read a couple of books back then. was still experimenting, but I don't get to read any nowadays. makes me think I should open one again. haha, I had to spit mine after 5. 😀

  11. I think we were at Banaue at the same time. hehe This is exactly what happened to my group. NO rice terraces because of rain and fog on the first day. But, fortunately on the second day, we got our view. 🙂


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