Banaue is a popular destination for those traveling through Baguio from Manila. Banaue hosts the spectacular rice terraces that are cultivated into the vast mountainside. Getting to Banaue isn’t as straightforward as other places, so I wanted to share what worked for us for getting to Banaue from Baguio.
Manila to Baguio
The trip to Banaue is really long for a single journey, and Baguio is a natural and convenient stop over. Baguio is worth visiting even by itself, but if youre just passing through its easy to get there. There are many buses which run there.
The most convenient are Genesis Joybus and Victory Liner Deluxe buses which provide an onboard CR, luxury seats, and nonstop service. We left on a Sunday to avoid traffic, and our trip was under 5 hours and very comfortable.
The bus terminals are in Cubao, and its recommended to book your seats in advance. They run around P730 per seat, but there are cheaper, non-direct options too if you’re looking to save some cash.
Baguio to Banaue
Surprisingly, the easiest way from Baguio to Banaue isn’t common knowledge. When asking our hotel front desk, they recommended using buses at the terminal near central mall. After checking them out, we discovered there were no direct routes to Banaue. The closest route would have brought us to Bontoc, requiring an extra 2 hour journey and additional cost.
After doing a bit of research and asking around some more, we found a better option. Near Rizal park (just next to Burnham park on its north side) there are a bunch of direct options to take you to Banaue. Though we didn’t opt for them, Ohayami offers buses to Banaue. The service we used, and which we were very happy with was an FX van from KMS lines.
Departure times were 8AM and 9AM daily. Try to show up 30min ahead of time to ensure a spot. The vans only stopped a few times to allow guests bathroom breaks, and went direct to Banaue. Initially the dispatcher asked for PHP450 each, but as the van became more full, the price went down to PHP300 per person. Always wait until the bus is nearly ready to depart before paying, as you will get the lowest rate this way.
Make sure the van is a direct van, and not one which will drop off and pick up others along the way. Those vans take routes which are longer in order to pick up and drop off more passengers, and can take as much as 2 hours longer. Ask the dispatcher if it’s a direct van, or if there are stopovers along the way. They may say the van is direct just to get you in the van, but there are other ways to check. If there are stickers on the van which say “NOT FOR HIRE” or “PRIVATE”, that’s generally a good indicator that it’s direct.
When leaving Banaue, go to the area where your van dropped you off, and look for similar vans. We made the unfortunate mistake of taking another van which was not direct, and did not provide bathroom stopovers. It look about 2 hours longer, and the driver was more less cautious in order to make up lost time. If you’re leaving Banaue, make sure the van you’re using is direct. The area where the vans depart is the road overlooking the Public Market, across from Banaue Hotel. They usually leave around 8AM and 9AM.
Banaue to Vigan?
On the map, it looks like Vigan isn’t that far from Banaue. Unfortunately, there are no simple ways to get from Vigan directly from Banaue. Most options we researched require multiple stops and changeovers, and still take over 9 hours in total. It’s much simpler to take a van or bus back to Baguio, stay over for a night, and then take an onward bus to Vigan. Partas has hourly buses running to Vigan. We took the 9AM to Vigan.