Some tips in trekking the rice terraces

The rice terraces of Batad, Banaue.
One of the rice terraces of Banaue. It’s pronounced as “Buhnah-weh”. This was taken in March 2012.

In case you’re researching about the trek in Banaue, here are some useful tips that I gave to passengers who’ve taken the Philippine Discovery tour of Intrepid Travel.

I’m placing them here because:

1) Knowing is half the battle. Preparation is key to a good and safe trek.

2) It takes more than an hour to reach a good hospital in case something bad happens (On that note, nothing bad will happen. Positive thinking!).

3) Just like the other activities included in this trip, I think it should be fun for everyone.

The gang's all here.
The gang’s all here. A trek pole would come in handy in the trek. Photo by Julia Woo.


1. Have enough water. Especially during the summer months in the Philippines, which starts in March and ends sometime in June. There will be places where we’ll buy water but if we’re to trek for five hours, I’d recommend that you have at least two liters of water with you.

My daypack.
My daypack. It has a 1L bottle of water, sleepwear, jacket, poncho, first-aid kit, trail food, flip-flops/slippers and important documents for the group.


2.Wear the correct trekking attire. This also means that you’re wearing the correct footwear. Some of the passengers in my past groups wore sandals with back straps. As long as your shoes have traction, you’ll be fine. A shirt or better yet, an easy-dry shirt would be advisable to wear. A good hat is a big help whether it rains or not. On sunny days, apply sunblock. Bring a towel too!

My costume on a hot day.
My costume on a hot day. A colleague who works in an outdoor lifestyle store chain helped in picking them out so blame him ;-)


3. Apply sunblock and bring a rain jacket or poncho. The weather in Banaue is unpredictable. There were times during the trek that we saw rainclouds over a distant mountain and moved to another mountain range until they reached our location. It’s a hassle if you don’t have an umbrella or rain gear.

The trek to the Hapao rice terraces.
The trek to the Hapao rice terraces. An alternative in case weather’s not good in Banaue. Photo by Peter Lowe.


4. Watch your steps and take your time. There are parts of the trail that would require self-awareness and a good balance. It’s also important for visitors to take their time because it’s not a race. I have to emphasize it is not a race. God gave us different levels of stamina. There will be fast and slow ones in the group but the most important thing is that we reach our destination safely.

We’ll all get there anyway so take your time.

Stepping stones.
Stepping stones. One has to slow down and secure their footing. If you need balance, the trek pole would help.
Depth perception.
Depth perception. There are steps if look harder :-)


5. Stop first before taking a photo. We might get carried away with the view. It’s all right to stop for the “scenic stop” (as my former guest would put it). Nobody’s rushing you and nobody wants to fall to the rice paddies. We take the trek at your own pace.

Stand then take a photo.
Stand then take a photo. There will always be time. You can also bring your tripod if needed.


6. Ask help from our local guide or your tour leader. Our local guides are experienced. They are patient and if you have questions, they’d be happy to enlighten you. They’re with us during the activity to look after the group.

The crew.
The crew. I’ve worked with these guys from the start and they have been great. I learned a lot from them about working as a team and looking after your group.


7. Enjoy the view. You earned it. After doing the treks in Banaue, I’m fairly confident that you can handle the next ones on this trip. Good luck to you!

The view.
The view. One of my guests have said it well:”You gotta earn your rice terraces.”



Up high I feel like I’m alive for the very first time
Set up high I’m strong enough to take these dreams
And make them mine