Backpacker holidays

See Sagada, Banaue, or Ilocos for P6,000, says travel blogger Oggie Ramos

By Monica De Leon



Sunrise at Mt. Kiltepan in Sagada pinched from Instagram @mariecongodoy

The itinerary Hike up Mt. Kiltepan and watch the sunrise from its peak or explore Sumaguing cave through to Lumiang cave and its rock formations and underground rivers. With its tranquil hiking trails and exciting caves, Sagada is a hiker's dream and is popular with backpackers who love the peace and quiet of the mountains and enjoy active days out. Day one, leave Manila at about 8:30pm and arrive in Sagada at about 9:30am (via Bontoc); see Lake Danum; grab dinner at Log Cabin. On day two, witness Kiltepan’s sunrise; go to Bomod-ok or Big Falls; have lunch at Yogurt House; go caving at Sumaguing. On day three, have a leisurely breakfast at St. Joseph’s Inn; explore Echo Valley before noon; and leave for Manila or Baguio after lunch.

Orange Orchard at Rock Inn, pinched from

Where to stay Sagada Homestay and Traveler’s Inn charges about P850 (about US$18) per person for a room with private toilet and bath. Try one night in an affordable inn, and another at the pricier but really nice Rock Inn (P1,500 per room/night). Rock Inn has an orange orchard and if you happen to be staying during harvest season, you’re allowed to pick oranges. Sagada Homestay, tel +63919 702 8380; Traveler’s Inn, call +63920 799 2960; Rock Inn, call +63905 554 5950, visit Rock Inn.

Where to Eat Meals will cost you P300 – P500 per day. Go to Log Cabin for pasta, Yogurt House for homemade yogurt and yummy vegetarian dishes, Lemon Pie House for lemon pie, Masferre Restaurant for delicious dinner fare, and Kimchi House for good pork stew. Log Cabin, tel +63926 622 9120, visit Log Cabin; Yogurt House, tel +63908 112 8430, visit Yogurt House; Lemon Pie House, tel +63907 782 0360, visit Lemon Pie House; Masferre Restaurant, tel +63918 341 6164, visit Masferre Restaurant

Transportation Coda Lines offers one way trips from Manila to Sagada, for P720 per person. A roundtrip costs P1,440 per person. To save money, you can hike most of the way to the sites but a guide is needed for your own safety. Coda Lines, tel +63927 559 2197, visit Coda Lines. 

Budget P6,000 for two, for an overnight stay in Sagada. This includes the lodging, food and transportation good for two people. 


Banaue Rice Terraces pinched from Instagram @julieatmuc


ITINERARY Banaue is home to the magnificent Banaue Rice Terraces - mountains that have been carved by hand by the indigenous tribe of Ifugao hundreds of years ago. The rice terraces changes colors with the season. Around May to June, the terraces are green and during the harvest season, turn golden. Batad’s highlight is the rice terraces amphitheater, best seen at first light of day. Walk in the middle of the amphitheater on the way to town or Tappiya Falls.

Tappiya Falls in Batad pinched from Instagram @briefventures

Where to stay Simon’s View Inn & Restaurant in Batad offers basic rooms, with shared toilet and bath, and no hot water for P250 per person/night. Uyami’s Greenview Lodge is a family-run lodge in the main Poblacion offering comfortable, clean rooms and decent meals for P900 per person/night. It makes for a good base camp for exploring Ifugao Villages. Simon’s View Inn & Restaurant, call +63930 507 7467, visit Simon’s View Inn & Restaurant; Uyami’s Greenview Lodge, call +63920 540 4225, visit Uyami’s Greenview Lodge.

Where to eat The food in Batad is okay but the drinks are more expensive since everything has to be transported by foot from the junction. Simon’s View Inn & Restaurant not only offers rooms, but also serves good homemade pizza.

Transportation Ohayami Trans has trips from Manila to Banaue that costs P450 per person one way and P900 per person, round trip. The jeep fare from Banaue’s Poblacion to Batad’s jump off point is P150 per person. Ohayami Trans is on the corner of Fajardo Street and Lacson Avenue, Sampaloc, Manila, tel +63927 649 3055, visit Ohayami Trans.

Budget About P8,000 for two, for an overnight stay in Batad. This includes lodging, food and transportation for two people. 


Paoay Sand Dunes in Ilocos Norte By Jocas See

The itinerary Most visitors choose to go to Vigan for the “cultural experience”, mostly a chance to explore well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture and heritage streets. Try Paoay's 4x4 rides and sand dune surfing. Go all the way to Burgos where you’ll find windmills and then spend the night in Maira-ira past Saud Beach in Pagudpud. Cap the trip with a sidetrip to Claveria. The seafood is fresh and cheap at the Taggat Lagoon since it’s located within a fishing town. Check out the falls in Claveria.

Calle Crisologo in Vigan By Daniel Soriano

Local food to try The empanada (baked turnover or mold pastry filled with chopped meat, vegetables and fruit) in Batac is even better than that in Vigan; eat tinubong (mixture of coconut meat, sugar, margarine, cheese and glutinous rice inside a young bamboo) in Magsingal; try the sinanglaw (boiled mixed and seasoned innards of a cow) and bagnet (deep fried pork belly meat) in Vigan; and don’t miss the biscocho in Pasuquin.

Where to stay In Burgos, there are budget accommodation near the windmills. In Palalay Beach Resort in Barangay Bayog, Burgos they offer airconditioned rooms from P1,200 per night for two, with hot and cold showers. For inquiries and reservations call +63920 557 7008, visit Palalay Beach Resort.

Transportation Farinas Transit Company has trips from Manila to Laoag City for P700. RCJ Bus Lines in Laoag City offers trips from Laoag to Pagudpud worth P100 per person, and P100 from Pagudpud to Sanchez Mira. Call +632 731 4507, visit Farinas Transit Company; RCJ Bus Lines, Hernando Avenue, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, tel +6377 771 3308

Budget P10,000 for two, for an overnight stay in Ilocos Norte. The budget includes lodging, food and roundtrip transportation. 

Originally published in Inflight Traveller April 2012. Updated March 2016