Want to know how to get from Manila to Banaue? In this post, we’ll share a summary of the two ways to get there and compare each option on duration, costs and level of comfort. For each option, we go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
What to expect when visiting Banaue
Banaue is a popular tourist destination in the Philippines’ Cordillera mountain range. It’s famous for the Banaue Rice Terraces — built over 2,000 years ago and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Home to the Ifugao people, a visit to Banaue gives one a glimpse of their unique customs, beliefs and traditions.
Plenty of activities are on offer for tourists to experience the Ifugao’s way of life first-hand. But we think the touristy town centre doesn’t really give them justice. We recommend exploring other villages like that of Cambulao and Pula to better appreciate the Ifugao culture in Banaue.
2 ways to get from Manila to Banaue
There are two ways to travel the distance of 385 km (239 miles) from Manila to Banaue: by bus (9h-10h) and flight (4h10m). The journey takes between 4h10m - 10h and the quickest way is by flight. The lowest priced tickets start from 850 PHP ($15.00) for the bus.
The bus is the most common mode of transport when travelling from Manila to Banaue.
There are two well-known bus companies that service this route. These are Coda Lines and Ohayami Trans, both of which only provide night trips.
The advantage of travelling at night is that you won’t have to spend your valuable daytime on the long journey. You also save a night on accommodation considering the bus trip can take between 9-10 hours, depending on the traffic when heading out of Manila.
Only tourist buses are available for this route. This means that they do not have onboard toilets and aren’t very spacious. They do make at least two stops along the way for bathroom and meal breaks. Overall, don’t expect too much from the buses operating in the Philippines.
There is no direct flight from Manila to Banaue. First, you’ll need to take a flight from Manila to Cauayan Airport (CYZ), from where it’s still a 130 km ride to Banaue.
From Cauayan, you can take a private van to Banaue, which will take around 4 hours. There is also a way to travel by a combination of a bus and jeepneys, but we wouldn’t recommend this option. It’s quite complicated and includes many transfers.
TIP: If you decide to travel by plane, please consider including a carbon compensation fee to reduce your impact on the environment.
Step 1: Manila to Cauayan by Flight
Duration: 1hr 10m
Costs: 1,700 PHP ($30.00)
Duration: 1hr 10m
Costs: 1,700 PHP ($30.00)
Cebu Pacific offers the only flight from Manila to Cauayan. This flight leaves every day at 10:25 and on Tue, Thu and Sat there is an additional departure at 14:15. Flights depart from Manila Airport Terminal 3 and travel time is just a little over an hour.
Airfares range between 1,700 PHP ($29.50) – 2,400 PHP ($42.00), but they can go as low as 910 PHP ($16.00) during sale periods. We recommend booking your ticket at least 2 months in advance for the best prices.
Once you arrive at Cauayan Airport, there will be drivers waiting for passengers to arrive. They will probably come up to you and offer you a ride to Banaue. Use your negotiation skills to obtain a good deal as they will always quote a higher price.
Usually, hiring a private van costs about 4,000 PHP ($70.00). If you can get this at a lower price, then better. Hiring a private van is a great option if travelling in a group.
TIP: If you also need convenient transport for going around Banaue, you can ask the driver to make a deal. You have a high chance of getting a discount if you book them for the duration of your stay.
From Cauayan Airport to Banaue by Bus and Jeepney (not recommended)
Private transportation is by far the easiest way to get from Cauayan Airport to Banaue. However, if you want to save money, there is also a way to travel this leg of the journey with a combination of the bus, tricycle and jeepney.
First, you’ll need to take a 5-minute tricycle going to Cauayan Bus Terminal. The tricycle ride costs about 100 PHP ($1.70). Just don’t expect the tricycle to be very spacious. You can ask for the tricycle driver’s help in hailing a bus that passes through Bagabag Junction.
Once you get on the bus, tell the driver or conductor to drop you off at Bagabag Junction. A ticket costs around 100 PHP ($1.70) and the bus ride takes about 2.5 hours. Next, you’ll have to take 2 jeepney rides.
At Bagabag Junction, wait for a jeepney bound for Lagawe. This leg should take about 1 hour. In Lagawe, transfer to another jeepney for a 1hr 45m ride to Banaue. You will be dropped off at the town centre. The entire jeepney trip costs around 150 PHP ($2.60).
Total commute time from Cauayan Airport to Banaue would be about 5.5 hours. As you can see, it’s not an easy trip at all. We just wanted to show you how complicated it can be and why we wouldn’t really recommend taking public transportation for this route.
Our favourite places to stay in Banaue
Banaue is a special place where nature feels alive around you. To match this vibe, the accommodations need to be pretty unique too. And they are!
A lot of people visit Banaue to embark on overnight adventures into the rice paddies. The wooden huts offering spectacular views over the rice fields are the perfect places to stay before and after your adventure. Here are our favourite stays for every budget:
If you’re willing to spend a little more money, you can get incredible views at Hiwang Native House Inn, plus a unique sleeping experience. Situated at the top of the hill are a number of stilted thatch-roofed huts.
You even have your own little open-air dining area under your bedroom. Here you can enjoy food from the onsite restaurant or eat it around the campfire they frequently arrange.
Banaue is blessed with incredible views, and Banaue Evergreen Hostel really makes the most of its landscapes. Open your curtains or head out to the terrace and you’ll be greeted with panoramic views of the rice fields all around.
Inside, the hotel is bursting with colour. Made even brighter by the friendliness and smiles of the amazing hosts.
Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.
Abby is a writer who finds joy in mountains, beaches, and road trips. She considers her solo backpacking trip to the rice terraces of Bontoc one of the most fulfilling moments in her life. She’s loyal to the islands of her home country, the Philippines, but Thailand’s beaches also have a special place in her heart.