Hapao Rice Terraces, Ifugao - The Hiwang Huts Experience

We left Manila at 10:45PM in an attractive pink Florida bus. It was a nice shift from the antiquated Autobus we rode back in January when me and other friends from my backpacking circle did a Batad-Sagada trip. :P 

It was an arduous, butt-numbing 11 hour bus ride from Manila to Banaue made a little more  interesting with a Vodka Cruiser treat from Milmar and Jayz's Angelina Jolie lips puckering as he slept. (ahh, the simple delights of friendship!)

Upon our arrival, we bought some food from the Banaue Public market for our weekend feeding frenzy. :P

After an hour of roaming around town, a 45-minute of jeepney at the town of Hiwang, plus another 10 minute endurance testing trek up to our hut 1400++ meters above sea level, we finally arrived at our hide-out for the weekend. It was foggy when we got there and Mike swore that there amazing views of the Hapao rice terraces from where we were. At that time, we can only imagine what he was saying.

We quickly set-up our hammocks, then lunch. Rhovee, as usual, spearheaded the cooking while Mike prepared one of his specialties, rice. Well, as for myself,  Manny and Milmar, we made sure that there were clean plates and utensils for use, before and after each meal. Hehehe!

The entire Saturday, we did exactly what we came to do – nothing. After lunch, the drinking spree started and though I am not into drinking, I did try some liqour like Vodka Cruiser and Gin…Guess what?! I even came up with my own mix. I call it Gintik, that’s short for Gin as the main drink, then tikoy as the chaser. I swear, it’s really good! The tikoy was from Lucena. It’s our native version, not like the ones you find in Binondo which you fry with eggs.

That evening, we slept at a native hut which turned pitch black as soon as we switched off our headlamps. As there were no other guests around, we had the entire area to ourselves and I was just grateful for the limited space, which meant we had to squeeze against each other as we slept. 

Mid morning the following day, fog cleared off and we finally realized that Mike was telling the truth, that somewhere out there were the magnificent Hapao Rice terraces.

The sluggish activities continued until it was time to depart our hideout for the weekend. I thank God for being blessed with friends who I can just be, relax, enjoy quiet conversations and laugh about trivial things.

Travel Notes - Hiwang Huts, Hapao Rice Terraces
Lodging :
1000 Pesos – 6 persons
Location : Brgy. Hiwang, Banaue, Ifugao
Contact Info : Sir Noel -+63 9208933125, +63 9182403464 (Thanks to Sir Mike for this info.)
Location: Less than an hour away from Banaue town proper via hired vehicle.
Jeepney Rental Rates : 1,500 pesos (round trip; from Banaue town proper to Hiwang Huts)

Where to Buy cheap Pasalubong:
The good luck charm necklace costs 25 pesos. You can buy it at the stalls near the Banaue tourist information center. You can also buy wood carvings for as low as 50 pesos.

How to Get to Florida Bus station from EDSA Shaw:
Location: AH Lacson Corner EspaƱa

Ride a jeep to Quiapo; go down at Vicente Cruz, at Vicente Cruz, walk straight, turn to your left when you approach a bridge (should take you about 10 minutes to get to that bridge). You should see a jeepney terminal and you will have to pay before you alight the jeep (Tayuman bound). Tell the jeepney driver to let you off near the Florida terminal which is just across where you will have to go down. Total travel time from EDSA Shaw to the Florida bus terminal is approximately less than one hour. It will cost you less than 50 if you just take the jeep.

Trips from Manile to Banaue Via Florida Bus
9:00PM, 10:00PM, 10:45PM
One Way Ticket Price : 450 pesos as of this writing
Banaue to Manila
6PM, 8PM
*You Can Reserve two days in advance

OTHER VERY HELPFUL INFORMATION SOURCES:(if you want to go to do a Banaue-Sagada trip)

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