Going local at Ramon’s Homestay

'Go Local!'

We saw Mang Ramon's catchy slogan on the trail to Batad. We made no reservations prior to the trip, but luckily, Ramon's Homestay still had an available traditional Ifugao hut. For P700, we were able to experience living in a 'no-nail' house.

We were drenched by the rain and the almost 4-hr trek made us hungry for dinner at 4PM. Good thing we didn't have to walk outside to find decent food because Ramon's Homestay offered home-cooked meals for a reasonable price. They served us brown rice, from the grains harvested from the terraces in front of us.  
Our home for the night.

The traditional hut is another impressive manifestation of the Ifugao's advanced civilization. It may look bare and simple on the outside but every part is carefully chosen and each part is functional. (See study here.) The one-room hut is made of wood and the roof is weaved from thatches of cogon grass. The parts of the house were made to fit each other like a puzzle. This is the reason why the hut can be dismantled, carried to another place (through bayanihan), and assembled back again. The hut can fit 6 persons comfortably inside, plus more if you choose to sleep on the wooden floor.

Mang Ramon's niece, Irene, offered us a 30-minute massage for P150. We sprawled on the floor of the hut while Irene and her companion kneaded every tired muscle. We learned that Irene is a registered nurse, and while waiting to be employed, is helping her uncle in the business. I really think that the massage went beyond 30 minutes, and we had to remind her of that, but Irene said it was fine and they did not charge us more.

There is electricity in the area, but to make your stay more authentic, power is not supplied in the huts. Mang Ramon will give you a kerosene lamp for the night. Better bring headlamps for added light. Aside from the huts, Mang Ramon offers regular room accommodations for P250 per head. The huts can also be rented on a per head basis, at P350 each.

The one-room hut - with our things all hung out to dry

The sumptuous dinner, soothing massage, cold weather, and quiet night with the occasional sound of crickets put us to a refreshing sleep.

The next day we woke up to the sound of clattering in the kitchen and by the time we went out of the hut, breakfast was ready. Mang Ramon sat with us through breakfast and engaged us with stories of the Ifugao way of life. 
Mang Ramon is a champion of the Ifugao culture. On days when the homestay is packed with guests, he gathers the Ifugao community and arranges a cultural show for everyone to enjoy. He also builds traditional huts with the help of relatives and community members. His most recent work is an Ifugao hut installation in Sagada, near the pottery house. During harvest season, you can even watch Mang Ramon grind rice grains.

Somewhere along the conversation, Mang Ramon pulled out his bag of tricks 🙂

Then he said, "Would you like to try them on?". One look at Mang Ramon's face and you know you just can't say "No".

Mang Ramon dressing me up and me looking like the part - muntik na kong maiwan!
And so we did try them on and put a camera-worthy face. Let's just say I'm brave enough to put this photo here. 🙂

And I belong! 

Mang Ramon's homestay is definitely the best place to stay at to complete your Ifugao culture immersion.

Photos by Aaron Manila.

Call Ohayami Transit for your bus reservations. Manila-Banaue tickets cost P450 as of August 2011. Contact Number: (632) 516.05.01
When in Banaue, contact Dandy Umhao, our knowledgeable and accommodating guide. 
Contact Number: 0910.346.5310
This is part of the Day 2 of a long weekend trip to Banaue:

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