This should be the first thing you have to do when you arrive in Banaue.
I think going here will prevent you of paying high on a specific tour or the tricycle fare. They will tell you the right information on this.They will even get you a trike or a guide if you like.
There is one place in particular that you must take care because of falling rocks. About half way between Banaue and Bang A'an there is a cliff with an overhang, and occasionally rocks will become dislodged and drop down. A few years ago i was on my mountain bike returning from a visit to my friend who lived in the lodge by the side of the road above Bang A'an and i reached the overhang. Next thing i knew was when i woke up in the hospital in Banaue, some friendly locals on a jeepney found me lying in the middle of the road by my bicycle, i had been hit on the head by a falling rock that had knocked me out, requiring some stitches. Luckily it must have been a small one, but next time it might be a big one.
Be careful climbing the rice terraces especially in the rainy season as some of the terraces are 3m high and walking along the side of them can be very difficult, as the stones at the edge can be muddy and extremely slippery, and more than one person has fallen over the side and suffered serious injuries.
When you go to Banaue somebody might suggest to go to Sagada as it's only about 2.5 hrs. away. While the place is certainly worth going to, however I do NOT recommend that you do so using your own car -- I found it too risky, scary and nerve-wracking!!!
Consider this: you will travel through a so-called "national highway" that's muddy or rocky, thousands of feet up in the mountains WITHOUT any guard railings in many places, the road's edge is just a few feet from your car PLUS vision is poor because it's foggy and night is creeping in. The mud can be so thick that you can't afford to stop your car even if it's a 4x4 SUV as your tires might get stuck. There's also the constant danger of landslides. In many places, the road is only wide enough for one vehicle to pass through one at a time so what happens if you suddenly see incoming traffic? Who gives in or backs up?? And what if you happen to be acrophobic too???
So please, heed this warning. Unfortunately the only alternate route is through Baguio which adds 10 hours to your trip. If you really MUST travel the direct route that I used, I suggest you get the latest road conditions report, use only a 4x4 (never a sedan), only let a well-experienced driver drive. But never travel at night or during stormy weather.
Public buses or jeepneys? The drivers may be good but one cannot be certain about the maintenance of their vehicles. The mountain is not a good place to find out that you have break failure!
When you reach Banaue, locals will come to you and give you free trip to your lodge BUT in return you have to go for their tour. They will not give up convincing you at a very high price. Local travellers and foreigners are priced differently. Better ask from tourism office for a guide or ask the lodge where you are staying for recommendations.
When hiking around the area you should be quite careful on the trails as they can get very slippery because of the frequent rain.
I am a seasoned hiker who works as a trekking guide part of the year and eventhough i was wearing good hiking boots i was close to falling a few times, bo please take care, but don't let it stop you from hiking there either as it is very good hiking.
Think most of the buses are the same ... they will use the tyres to the last straw... yes, until they burst!. We had this experience when we traveled from Bontoc to Banaue by the Von-Von bus - one of its tyres burst with a loud bang after we traveled for 1hour. We were stranded for about half an hour on the dusty roadside.
Banaue is not a big city. There are no international ATM's here, so it 's important to bring cash with you. Otherwise, you can bring US dollars, which you can change almost anywhere, but you may get a bad rate. There are international ATMs in Bontoc, Angeles, Clark, Baguio and some other large cities.
Just like in other far flung areas of the country, ATM is non existent in Banaue. The nearest is in Bontoc which is 2 hours away (not near enough). Credit card is also not accepted, except at Banaue Hotel.
we got oVER chaRGed by the Jeepney.
be careFUL guys.
baNAwe LOcal PUBlic vehicles can be tooooo expensive
if yOU get carried away by their pusHIng.
they're soo insistent.