Visiting the province of Ifugao is not only about checking the tourist attractions available but also includes understanding the culture and traditions of the place first hand for you to get to know the people and their story. We were lucky to be accommodated at Ramon’s Native Homestay, the most recommended place to stay in Batad because of their traditional Ifugao huts. They also have regular rooms aside from the native houses.
From our long trip and trek, we were welcomed by the owner himself Mr Ramon Binalit. He opened the homestay in 2005 with the vision of preserving the Ifugao culture and letting tourists experience this by spending the night in the huts, drink rice wine, dress like a native, and if you’re lucky enough, build Ifugao houses.
The place has 5 huts with one of which is where Mang Ramon was born. From the story he shared, he is also a licensed tour guide and also served as a cultural assistant for the 2006 Cinemalaya movie “Batad”.
We stayed in the native hut located on the east of the main house. We were 5 and I was in doubt at first if we can squeeze ourselves inside. I was amazed when they let us check the hut; it was really wide with 3 beds each good for 2 people plus the spacious flooring. I think it can accommodate at most 10 people.
No metals, particularly nails, were used in building the huts and there were no light source inside, only a fireplace. Since it was raining when we arrived at the homestay, we decided to postpone our visit to Tappiya Falls. Instead, after taking a bath with the freezing water, we had an astounding sleep. The 2-hour nap we had was really relaxing and reenergized us from the long trip.
Another custom we experienced during our stay in Ramon’s was the bonfire activity. It is a tradition in their culture to have bonfire after dinner where the neighborhood gathers and share stories. Mang Ramon set up one for us and also invited other guests checked-in and share stories over a cup of their Arabica coffee. Mang Ramon also shared to us on how he started his homestay, some Ifugao traditions and the origin of Batad. We went back to our huts around 10 in the evening and ended our first day with a great sleep.
It was one of the most relaxing sleeps I had and even exceeded my sleeping experiences on hotels I have stayed on the places I’ve been to. The weather played as the air-conditioning unit of the hut which can only be controlled by wrapping your body with the thick blankets provided.
The sun appeared on the second day and it was nice to wake up with the view of the terraces greets you as you sip on your Arabica coffee. The homestay has also its in-house restaurant that serves tasty food with locally-grown organic ingredients. We had 3 meals on their restaurant and tried their entire chicken menu. Our votes unanimously recommend Chicken Asado, Chicken Curry, and Spicy Chicken. We also ordered Batad Pizza with vegetables such as beans, grated carrots and cabbage and topped with tuna and cheese. The pizza crust was really yummy.
Aside from the very affordable rates, view of the terraces and delicious food served, what made our stay in Ramon’s Native Homestay memorable was on how we were treated by the owners. They were so friendly and check on us every moment and we really felt that we’re part of the family. Indeed the best place to stay in Batad.
RAMON’S NATIVE HOMESTAY AND RESTAURANT
Batad, Banaue, Ifugao
Mobile No.: +63916-874-3787
*Our stay in Ramon’s Native Homestay was a prize from the 3rd Anniversary of ChasingPhilippines.com.