7 days
Duration
3/5
Physicality
Cordillera, Northern Luzon
Location
6+
Age
Year-round
Dates

Eager to get into the mountains quickly to hike the legendary Ancient Rice Terraces of the Northern Philippines? Then dispense with the 10-hour road trip from Manila. Fly in and out of the nearest airports instead, and take to the backroads in a Land Rover Defender, seeing the real North Luzon highlands from the inside, out. This is a private and exclusive all-inclusive 4×4 expedition heavy on hiking from the comfortable hubs of Bangaan-Batad & Hapao in Ifugao, Sagada in Mountain Province & Tinglayan in Kalinga Province. Yes, you’ll snap the famed Banaue Rice Terraces, soak in the hot springs of Hapao, visit Sagada’s hanging coffins and its limestone caves. You’ll also hike into the Batad amphitheatre-like rice fields and experience Kalinga — known for its headhunters in times past — to witness the living treasure, Whang-Od, tattoo eager tourists using traditional technology. You can be one too! From July to November, this trip can put you up against the mighty Chico River on an inflatable raft. It will have you sleeping in a traditional rice hut one night, in a delightful cabin, a homey hotel or a simple guesthouse on another. You’ll eat fresh local food and sip the coffees and native teas that this area is renowned for. We pick you up from the regional airport of Cauayan and deliver you for your flight out from another regional airport, Tuguegarao. We rarely drive more than an hour before stopping to view a scene and to sip tea or coffee and consume a rice cake or a slice of lemon pie. Punctuating the journey with picnics is a special feature of Tribal Adventures’ 4×4 expeditions. You will fly out of Manila or Clark and back at your own expense, the expedition fully inclusive between regional airport pick-up at Cauayan and regional airport drop-off at Tuguegarao. You may also opt for a land transfer in and out of the Cordillera and nominate a pick-up and drop-off point for your 4×4 expedition. An extra charge will apply if you wish us to arrange for your transfer in a comfortable van to and back to Manila or Clark by road.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION  Cauayan/Tuguegarao
DEPARTURE TIME  Mid-morning when flight arrives
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hiking Ifugao rice terraces region
  • Staying in native rice huts
  • Meeting the world's oldest tattoist
  • Viewing & roving the famed Rice Terraces
  • Exploring Sagada's burial & limestone caves
  • Rafting the mighty Chico River (Jul-Nov)
  • Getting to know the elusive Igorot
  • 4x4 travel punctuated by picturesque picnics
ACCOMMODATION
  • Six nights in rice huts, comfy inns, hotels

 

1

Day 1

Fly in to the bustling Northern Luzon City of Tuguegarao, the place that consistently records the highest temperatures in the Philippines. It lies in a valley bordered by the Cordillera Mountains to the west and Sierra Madre Mountains to the east and it faces the Philippines’ biggest river, The Cagayan, which we cross as we head west, first into the hills of Tabuk, then into the rugged and picturesque mountains cut by the Cagayan’s large tributary the Chico River. Picture-perfect vistas abound en route to Tinglayan, where we check in to Sleeping Beauty or Riverside Inn mid-afternoon, in time to taste the local brew—Robusta and Arabico strong, black and sweet—and walk among the community, whose town represents a strategic juncture of the Chico River, and one of its main tributaries. These rivers are fed by springs and streams high up in the pine forested mountains: The Kalinga people, once known for the fierceness of their fighting and head-hunting, have carved out extraordinary rice terraces on the mountainsides where they live–like they have for centuries–cut off from the main centres of commerce, save for  narrow, winding footpaths in tiny hamlets. 
2

Day 2

Drive near to Tulgao for hike into village, known for its baskets. Walk down to waterfall and adjacent hot spring for well-needed soak. Climb up to Dananao: we see more rice huts en route and we are welcomed into the 200-year-old home and rice hut of Marcos Bing-in, who makes us coffee the Kalinga way! We walk down hundreds of steps, across a suspension bridge to meet our ride back to our simple accommodation.
3

Day 3

Depart after breakfast for Buscalan and a visit to a traditional native tattooist woman. Alternatively, you may go rafting but we need notice to arrange this and the water level must be right. After lunch we drive to Sagada via Bontoc, where we stop to walk around the market or visit the museum. Forty five minutes after leaving Bontoc we arrive in Sagada and check into our accommodation at St Joseph’s, Rock Inn or a spacious private mountain lodge for two nights’ accommodation. Light allowing, we’ll take a wander through some points of interest in Sagada—the church, cemetery and Echo Valley.
4

Day 4

Hike through the pine forest clad mountains and ridges to villages still maintaining traditions: talking to locals, seeing the men administering their communities from the dapay (stone council precinct). Bring swimmers for waterfall dips! Afternoon visit to pottery & weaving with participation encouraged: Come away with your own homemade rattan or textile woven bracelet or lecklace. If time and interest allows visit Sagada’s beautiful caves.  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. And, should you be accommodated in one of the Solstice houses, dinner tonight will be a feast prepared by a renowned French chef so prized for his exquisite food, the ingredients of which are all locally sourced and organic, he has been given an indigenous Kankanay name, Aklay. The earlier the booking of this tour, the greater chance to be accommodated in a mountain lodge fed by Aklay!
5

Day 5

Depart after breakfast for Bangaan, via Banaue. At Banaue, there are picture opportunities and souvenir buying. At Bangaan, 45 minutes drive from Banaue, we check in to Bangaan Family Inn. After lunch we drive to jump off point for a hike into Batad with its incomparable amphitheatre-shaped rice terraces. 
6

Day 6

re-breakfast walk down into Bangaan Village, interacting with the locals and getting a glimpse into their ancient way of life that has produced what some people say is the 8th Wonder of the World. After breakfast we drive to Cauayan via Mayoyao, stopping for a hike into spectacular country, and an exploration of the town of Mayoyao, a last stand of the Japanese in World War Two. We arrive in Cauayan early evening, checking into Hotel Andrea or Hotel Isabela. 
7

Day 7

Transfer out to airport after breakfast for flight to Manila.

  COST PER PERSON
2 PERSONS PHP 104,015
1 PERSON PHP 173,754

 

INCLUDED
  • Private transportation in 4x4
  • Quality local inn, hotel, rice hut or guesthouse bungalow accommodation
  • Food and beverage
  • Local guide and Tribal Adventures tour guide
  • Guide and permit fees
  • Activities comprising hiking, caving, rafting, receiving an optional 3-dot tattoo as momento from Buscalan tattoist