On a solo backpacking trip I had years ago, I was asked by a group of travelers to join them on a journey to Banaue from Sagada; they said they’d be staying in traditional Ifugao huts complete with swimming pools. I had to decline then, having itineraries of my own and thought they were joking until I saw the same village they’re describing with my very own eyes some years after.
The second destination for PHILTOA’s Ifugao Heritage Warrior Caravan Run was in Apa Nga-O Viewpoint where the Banaue Ethnic Village and Pine Forest is located. The village is about six kilometers away from Poblacion and can be accessed by renting a tricycle or habal-habal from the town.
Pines surrounded us as we got down from our jeepneys, I guess it didn’t get its Pine Forest name for nothing. We then proceeded to the village cultural area where a cluster of Ifugao huts stand. Our guide lectured on the evolution of the native huts; from ground-based tent-like huts to the elevated ones we are now familiar with.
Like the Am-Amung cultural presentation of the Banaue Hotel, locals dressed in traditional Ifugao dresses were doing traditional works inside the mini village; weaving fabrics, hammering irons and carving wooden rice gods.
The houses were adorned with skulls of sacrificial animals which others might find a bit strange and morbid. For the Ifugao’s however, these decors are placed on their walls as a sign of wealth. The more skulls you have, the better off you are.
Farther down the hill, the rentable huts are located. They look like authentic Ifugao huts with basic modern amenities like beds and toilets inside. There are no air-conditioning on any of the units for obvious reasons, nor are there any heaters either.
The rates our surprisingly affordable. Php1,000.00 to Php1,200.00 for their private cottages complete with bath and kitchen good up to four persons; Php1,500.00 for their family rooms; Php200.00 to Php250.00 for the dorms; and Php600.00 to Php800.00 for the traditional native houses.
The pools which are being supplied by natural springs are located just a few meters from the huts. I’m just not sure if guests really take a dip on these waters considering how cold the climate gets in Banaue. A fishing and boating area can also be found in the village along with an organic farm.
The second part of the presentation was about Ifugao games. These are no ordinary ones as some of these are used to settle serious disputes among the local tribes.
They played their versions of traditional Filipino games like the Kakait with two men standing up on one leg and trying to topple each one off. Vanguuan which I really can’t explain, Uggub or their version of wrestling and Hanggor or arm wrestling.
They also have some sort of spearing game using plant stalks in Vor Tuug and a version of stilt racing with their Akkad. The most popular of the games however was the Guyudan or their tug-of-war. Everyone joined in as our group was pitted against the Ifugaos. There was so much laughter that it really didn’t matter who won.
If I had to go back to Ifugao for the third time, there really is nowhere I’d rather stay than here at the Banaue Ethnic Village and Pine Forest Resort; authentic Ifugao huts in pine-covered surroundings, the scent of smoke from the native village and a pool to boot. It’s like being transported to the heydays of the Ifugaos with the conveniences of modern times.
Banaue Ethnic Village and Pine Forest Resort
Address: Apa Nga-O Viewpoint, Banaue, Ifugao
Telephone: (074) 386-4082
Mobile: (0920) 349-3259 | (0928) 521-4533
Rates: Check Above
GPS Coordinates: 16.947889,121.056289
Click to view location on Google Maps
THE IFUGAO HERITAGE WARRIOR CARAVAN RUN IS A FIVE-DAY FAMILIARIZATION TOUR OF THE IFUAGO ORGANIZED BY PHILTOA.