Nestled in the rice terraces of Banaue lies the mountainous village of Batad, a beautiful place to spend several days hiking. An overnight 9-hour bus ride from the capital city of Manila, followed by a 90-minute hike will bring you to Ramon’s Guesthouse, one of the neatest places we have ever stayed.
We arrived tired with sore muscles and had a hard time finding someone who worked there. But after taking a moment to enjoy the incredible view (that’s what we had come for after all), we received a warm welcome and were able to check in. The people and structures were genuine and traditional, there was nothing modern about Ramon’s, and we loved it! Staying here turned out to be more of an experience than just a place to overnight.
Upstairs of the main house, there is a choice of simple rooms with little more than a bed and a hook to hang your towel. That bed, however, was surprisingly comfortable and we relished a fantastic 3-hour nap when we first arrived! Bathrooms, one outside on the ground floor and one upstairs near the rooms, are shared with bucket showers. The walls are thin and our room had an open air window that closed with a slab of wood, but when the views are priceless, it’s easy to look past that and see the beauty outside.
The most interesting lodging option was, without a doubt, the traditional Ifugao huts. Although considerably more expensive than the standard guest rooms, the experience of spending a night in one of these is definitely worth it. You climb a ladder and seemingly travel back in time. These huts are made of wood and the oldest one on the property is constructed without the use of a single nail, using only bamboo twine and gravity to keep it structurally sound!
The accommodation in a traditional Ifugao hut is quite comfortable inside with a small window looking over the rice terraces. Each hut sleeps up to six people, so if you’re in a group, the cost is much more economical. This was definitely one of the highlights of our stay at Ramon’s Guesthouse.
After struggling to find vegan options upon our arrival in Manila, we were pleasantly shocked to find the small restaurant attached to Ramon’s Guesthouse with a selection, albeit small, of menu items we could eat. Chop suey, stir-fried noodles with vegetables, french fries, fried sweet potato (although they weren’t in season when we visited), and the national side dish of garlic rice were all available to us. The local Ifugao rice wine available is also extremely tasty.
Without a doubt the best amenity Ramon’s has to offer is the location and the view! Trail heads to waterfalls and gorgeous viewpoints are steps away from the front door. You will forget all about your cold bucket “shower” you had in the morning when looking out at the greenest landscape that looks like it could be some that Bob Ross painted.
The friendly staff, being experts in the area, will gladly direct you to the many hiking trail options there and if you ask, they will gladly tell you about the history and culture of Batad, as well as let you participate in some of the rice and coffee preparations.