Monday, February 10, 2020

Banaue Heritage Hotel: A Bit of Glamming Up, Living It Up beside a Priceless Museum

Banaue Heritage Hotel Entrance
It was almost two years ago when we found ourselves here at the Banaue Heritage Museum in Bissang, Tam-an and that time, I wrote about our encounter with the supernatural.  Fastforward to a few weeks ago when we got news (plus an invite to a preview) that the inn adjoining the wonderful museum is now a full-pledged heritage hotel which is indeed, a wonderful development.   

Travelers to Banaue and adjoining places in the province can now enjoy what I call a "luxed-up/glammed-up" choice in terms of accommodations.  The government-run institution, Banaue Hotel, still has traces of grandeur but in much need of upgrades and improvements so a place like the Banaue Heritage Hotel is indeed a welcome addition.
Entrance totem pole
I must say there are very good reasons to stay here at the Banaue Heritage Hotel.  

REASON #1: CULTURAL.  You'd be staying next door to an incredible museum (Museum of Cordillera Cultural Heritage erstwhile known as Museum of Cordillera Sculpture) that houses priceless curios that showcase the richness of the Ifugao culture expressed in over 1,000 pieces ranging from the very tiny to the humongous.  The collection is over 35 years old, started by an American octogenarian, George Schenk, who was married to a Filipina (he has moved back to Canada years ago then passed on last year).  

This time, the museum is now in the hands of the REX Bookstore group headed by globetrotter, Atty. Dominador Buhain.  Atty. Buhain and his company are no stranger to museums; their Ifugao collection in Marikina is a must-visit (https://lagalog.com/2013/07/marikina-book-and-ethnology-museum.html), while their Cavite museum is a treasure trove of rarities with rock sculptures from Islas de Gigantes as a highlight (https://lagalog.com/2015/07/cavite-rex-museum-finding-treasures-of.html#more)
Our 4th floor double bed room
REASON #2: HORTICULTURAL (AND AVIAN).  If you love gardens or simply into nature bathing, you'd find yourself in a bit of Eden in this place.   I'm not saying that you should forego walking on the terraces or heading for the pine forests but staying in a garden setting can be invigorating in itself.  The original owner was a master horticulturist, hence the profusion of growing things -- from epiphytes, succulents and bromeliads to full-grown palms and trees.  Well, I can talk on and on since I'm a gardener myself but this you gotta see.
Resident Mountain Shrike
The setting is incredibly appealing to bird life so much so that during our short stays here in December 2018 and this January, we were spotting lifers when birdwatching whether on the front yard or the hill at the back of the property where native Ifugao huts are now being reconstructed (I sincerely hope they can offer this alternative accommodation to more off-beat travelers who want a taste of sleeping in a real, honest-to-goodness, Ifugao native house).  Must be a good omen to us birders when we spotted a Philippine hawk-eagle high above the hill.   Two years ago, we spotted another lifer, a Philippine coucal (sabukot) here.  Imagine if we had more time to spare.
REASON #3: CREATURE COMFORTS.  The third reason is fairly new -- the really nice, upgraded accommodations.   Maybe, the addition of flatscreen TVs, really comfy pillows and sheets, the option of air conditioning (sounds a bit strange now but may come in handy during the summer months), plus the bidet toilet and hot shower bath can lure you into staying in instead of venturing out (exactly my dilemma when staying in such lux places).  On the other hand, it can be a nice incentive as any to reward yourself after roughing a day or two of roughing it out, say in Batad or Hapao.  
The nice digs formally opens in March 2020 so do check it out and if you like what you see in this preview, book a stay for a night or two.  The location is just 8-10 minutes tricycle ride to the poblacion.  We heard there are plans of setting up a full-pledged restaurant in-house.  For the time being, it's a very short ride away from the nice eating places like our Happyfoodies favorites, Middleground Cafe and Sanafe Restaurant.

Contact Info - Banaue Heritage Hotel:
Address: Bissang, Barangay Tam-an, Banaue, Ifugao
For inquiries: Call 09321659176/ 09159317460

Visit www.facebook.com/Museum-of-Cordillera-Cultural-Heritage-441611802946786

Heritage Museum: 
Operating hours:  9:00AM to 5:00PM, Monday to Sunday
Admission Fee: P300 per person
Contact person:  Ms. Fe Ida

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