the Umbulu Trail
This a 3-day 2-night walk through some of the best views offered in the Ifugao region, a penetration into the remote where the roads have not reached and where life remains very much the same as it has for centuries.
DAY 01: Drive by Jeepney or tricycle to KINAKIN JUNCTION, approximately 30 minutes from Banaue. Commence your trek, ascending moderately along a fairly wide trail through thin, shady forest, nothing the number of pitcher plants in the area, to reach a pavilion in approximately 1 hour. Occasional views of the terraces from the trail. The path continues fairly level, winding between the hills, crossing numerous springs to eventually reach another pavilion with a truly magnificent view of the mountainscape in an hour. A small waterfall cascades down a smooth slab of rock just 15 minutes past this place and is an ideal spot for taking a break. The trail begins descending from here, wending its way downwards, occasional views from the terraces and mountains and soon reaches a point overlooking the three valleys converging at Cambulo village. Descend by stone and concrete stairways through light forest to reach the first homes of CAMBULO in about 45 minutes.
Cambulo is a small village nestling around the yellow-painted walls of its church. It stands on the banks of the Cambuloi river, facing roughly East but is hemmed in on all sides by mountains. Tin has replaced the traditional thatch on most of the village buildings but they all follow the Ifugao traditional style of a 4-sides pyramid roof with variations of built-in dormers.
This first day takes roughly 4 hours trek to reach Cambulo village. Overnight at a lodge in the heart of the village.
DAY 02: Leisurely breakfast and a descent down some stone steps between the Rice Terraces for about 45 minutes, turning slightly the left bring you to a ‘Waiting Shed’ by the Waterfalls Lodge. Continue descent for another half hour along the BATTO River to reach a point from where there is a stunning view of the TAPPIYA FALLS, cascading 70 meters into a giant pool!! Climb down to the pools and settle yourself for a picnic lunch…and a dip in the pool!! After a good rest, retrace to the waterfalls lodge then into FUBLOY, a small village with traditional homes, old farming implements and inhabitants carrying the Ifugao tattoo. There is some Lodging available in the village but one generally opts to climb up through the rice terraces for about 40-45 minutes to reach the knot of lodges around the TI-AD viewpoint from where the view of the BATAD Amphitheatre is indeed spectacular.
Check in at the lodge, take a shower, Relax for a while before dinner.
DAY 03: After a leisurely breakfast and last look at the amphitheatre, climb out of the knot of houses and then begin a cautious descent primarily through thin forest. The trail then emerges from the trees to skirt the hills through grass-covered hillsides then climb to reach a pavilion about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Batad. It descends slightly then commences contouring once more through the terraces on a more or less level trail. Enter another stand of forest to reach a cluster of village huts charmingly situated and amazingly cool before emerging once more to follow a comfortable undulating trail. Once more through terraces and a short spurt up to the roadhead at LANAH where the Jeepney awaits to drive you a kilometer further to reach Bangaan. The last stage is the stunning view of Bangaan village that can be seen from the road level but if there is more energy, you can walk 25 minutes down hill through a steps to reach the main village. After the visit to Bangaan the jeepney drives you back to Banaue, a 1 hour 15 minutes drive.