Batad is a village of fewer than 1500 inhabitants, situated among the Ifugao rice terraces. It is perhaps the best place to view this UNESCO World Heritage site.
The village has two principal parts. The main village down in the valley, and the upper portion where the lodges are.
There are no roads or vehicles in Batad; everything that goes in or out of the village is carried by the people who live there. There are some concrete stairs, but apart from that, the roads of Batad are the walls of the rice terraces, many of which can be walked on.
No road leads all the way to the village.
A jeepney from Banaue (₱150 for tourists) will bring you across the Saddle and down on the road to Batad. The road is not completed yet, so you have to walk the final bit (20 minutes). Some transportation might also stop at the Saddle (30 minute or more walk downhill to Batad) or at the Junction (₱20 for locals, 30 minute walk uphill to the Saddle). There are two jeepneys in the morning and one at about 3PM from Banaue.
If you can't get a public jeepney get a tricycle from Banaue to the end of the road to Batad (past the Saddle). You will be quoted up to ₱600. Try not to settle for this fare but ask around. There are often tricycles headed to the junction to pick up returning travellers, especially after 10AM when there are no more jeepneys out from Batad. They may agree to fares as low as ₱50, although ₱100 to ₱200 is more likely. Make sure to agree on where you'll be dropped off. They might say Batad, but then drop you off at the side of the road at the Junction which is up to an hour hike uphill to the Saddle and then downhill to Batad.
Alternatively, you can also book a tricycle from the Municipal Tourism Office in central Banaue to Batad. As of January 2020, the fare is ₱750 one-way from Banaue to Batad and ₱1,000 for both ways with the tricycle driver waiting for you after your day trek around Batad is over.
You can also hike into Batad. There is a long hike that starts north of Banaue and passes through Cempola, or you can hike in from Bangaan. The trails are mapped on openstreetmap.org but it is probably still a good idea to hire a local guide in Banaue.
Since no road leads to Batad, there are no motorized vehicles to be found anywhere in the village. This means, of course, that one must get around on foot. (It also means that one can enjoy a delightful respite from the ubiquitous din of tricycles and jeepneys.)
It is not always obvious how to find your way through the rice terraces and it might even require some very mild climbing at times. Locals will be happy to point you in the right direction; they might also be wanting to guide through the various interesting places for ₱400.
Visitors will pay a ₱50 environmental and heritage fee at a booth on the path leading to the village.
- 1 Ifugao Rice Terraces. These amazing irrigated rice paddies were carved into the mountains over 2,000 years ago. The village is nestled among perhaps the finest examples of them in the region. Anywhere in or above the village provides phenomenal views. Also, you may walk along them if you like.
- Viewpoints. There are several viewpoints on the opposite side when coming from the Saddle. The first few are easy to reach, except for the strenuous hike up lots of concrete steps. For the brave, there is another viewpoint on the highest point; you should not be afraid of hights and sure-footed if you attempt to go there. The valley view is wonderful.
- 1 Tappiyah Waterfalls. A beautiful 70-meter falls about a 30-minute walk from the village. It's a great place to go for a swim. To go there without guide, when arriving from the Saddle head on the opposite side of the rice terraces amphitheater (through the rice terraces or down to the village and up to the promontory). From here go down again with the only path with stairs to the other side.
- Patpat Sitio (Sub-Village). Patpat is a small sub-village of Batad. While this sitio itself does not have too many attractions, the two-hour hike going there passes through some amazing sights. You first cross a river with a hanging bridge, then hike up rice terraces which lead into a small forest with numerous little waterfalls and springs. Upon reaching the ridge of the mountain, relax in a waiting shed which gives you both a full-frontal view of the Batad Rice Terraces and the sweet potato plantations of Patpat. There is one store in the village, and the elderly owner speaks perfect American colonial-period English. She only sells snacks and canned sardines, but you can ask her to cook the sardines and some rice for you. She might even give you some boiled sweet potatoes for free! Beside her store is a male basketweaver who might have some native backpacks for sale. There is also a tiny elementary school with tiny tots who will chorus a cheerful English greeting to visitors.
Do get a guide in Batad Village, because you can get lost in the uphill climb. The fee is ₱400-500.
There are no real stores to be found within the village proper, but overlooking the village is a cluster of lodges. Here you can buy indigenous souvenirs such as wood carvings, coffee, and rice wine.
- Ifugao weaving. Beside the Foreigner's Inn at the main village there is a small hut with an elderly woman weaving traditional clothing with a backstrap loom. Her items cost ₱400-500 each.
- Handmade Ifugao knives. Also in the main village of Babluy is Juan Buy-a, the village blacksmith. He usually makes items for actual use (not lousy souvenirs), and you may chance upon him finishing a lovely blade with carved handle and scabbard. With some good haggling and a bottle of gin (which you should always carry around in Batad), you may get it at a great price!
The various lodges offer "foreigner food" (pizza, western breakfast, etc.) in addition to basic Filipino meals. Expect to pay at least ₱60-160.
- Sweet potato fries. Sweet potato is planted in the swidden farms around Batad. So, before going on any mountain hike, an energy-boosting snack of fried sweet potato fries is a must! You can also order a few pieces of boiled sweet potato to take with you. Available at any of the restaurants in Batad.
- Cristina's (next to the church in the main village). Offers simple but filling meals many of which are featuring locally grown rice. They also have bright but basic rooms upstairs for ₱250 per person. Main dishes start at ₱100.
Expect to pay a premium for bottled beverages. A small bottle of San Miguel or a litre bottle of water may well cost ₱70. It is also possible to buy locally made rice wine.
There are lodges overlooking the village proper, providing basic rooms with shared bathroom for around ₱250 per person.
- Camping. You can pitch a tent at any of the covered viewpoints overlooking the rice terraces. Basically you can set up your tent anywhere for free, so if you do not want to be as isolated, you can also stay next to the church (main village) or on the grounds of the elementary school (upper village.) free.
- Ramon's Home Stay/Restaurant (in the upper part of the village; on the right hand side when walking down towards the main village). Ramon is an excellent source of help and information about the local history and culture. He will show you traditional artifacts, host bonfires at night, and prepare you freshly ground, freshly roasted organic coffee made from beans grown right in his garden. ₱150 per person for a regular room; ₱250 to stay in a traditional Ifugao hut.
- Rita's. Clean rooms, spotless shared bathroom, ran by friendly family. It's also possible to sleep in a traditional hut. ₱200 per person.
Make sure to be back at the end of the road by 9AM to catch the only jeepney back to Banaue. You can also walk all the way up to the Saddle and downhill to the junction to catch a bus to Solano via Banaue that passes at about 10:30AM.
You may also continue on to the village of Cambulo, a difficult 90-minute trek away.