The distance between Banaue and Bontoc is approximately 200 kilometres via Banaue–Mayoyao–Alfonso Lista–Isabela Boundary Rd and Talubin–Barlig–Paracelis Rd. Bontoc can be reached only by land – by bus, jeepney, or van. The journey between Banaue and Bontoc is very scenic with winding roads, glimpses of waterfalls on mountainsides, steep cliffs, and rolling fogs.
Before we discuss the various modes of transportation, it is important to note that schedules can change without prior notice so it is best to check information posted on bus terminals, inns, and tourist offices. Remember that the number of trips per day is rather limited and there is absolutely zero transport after dark. If you do not buy tickets in advance, do come to the terminal early.
Bus from Banaue to Bontoc
To get to Bontoc from Banaue you can catch one of the buses that pass through Banaue calling to the Tourist Information Centre. There are several Coda Lines buses daily between 5.30 am and 7am while Vonvon and Emmanuel buses normally pass by between 10am and 1pm. Please note that these are merely estimates even if both departure and arrival times appear on the schedules, alas. Bus tickets cost between PHP150 and PHP250 and travel time will be around 2–3 hours.
Jeepney from Banaue to Bontoc
Alternatively, you can go to the terminal at the Banaue Public Market and catch the solitary jeepney that departs for Bontoc once a day at 8.30am. Jeepney cannot be booked in advance and it leaves when full. It is almost always overcrowded Filipino-style, so come prepared for a very authentic local experience.
Van from Banaue to Bontoc
If you missed the jeepney or any of the buses, you can take a van instead. These vans normally wait for passengers coming from Manila and you will most likely be approached by touts as soon as you get off your Manila bus. The first van departs at 9am and there are a couple trips in the afternoon scheduled at 1pm and 2pm. These are public vans which charge flat fare – PHP150.
If you are traveling in a group, it might be a good idea to hire a van to take you from Banaue to Bontoc. Generally expect to pay PHP2000 per vehicle. The price includes not only transportation but also a couple of stopovers at picturesque viewpoints to let you see the world-famous rice terraces. This is by far your best option if you can afford it and would like to travel without any hurry with all possible comforts.
Though the route between Banaue and Bontoc is quite scenic, if the weather is not fine avoid taking a window seat on a bus and topload ride on a jeepney as you will end up spending hours with chilly wind to your face. It is always a good idea to have layers, especially if travelling between December to February to keep you warm when the temperature drops.