Romantic, magical, dreamy – three words that could best describe Uhaj Native Village. If there’s ang pinaka budget-friendly honeymoon destinations in the Philippines, this place should be among, if not on top of the list.
It has always been on my bucket list to sleep in a foloy or an Ifugao native hut. And I’m glad to have now ticked it off.
Eight hours away by bus from Manila and another 20-minute tricycle ride from Banaue town proper, Uhaj is one of the first eco-lodges built in the country, idyllically situated on a hill, overlooking mountains and rice terraces. A wooden sign under a bougainvillea tree that says “Welcome to paradise, we hope you have a pleasant stay” greets everyone upon arrival. Graham, the owner who hailed from England and is married to a Filipina, also personally and warmly receives the guests.
The reception and the main house common area is very spacious and homey. It has a huge centerpiece fireplace, and is adorned with artistic wood carvings and furniture. Some of the chairs were creatively made with animal and natural intricate designs. Various bulols are on display and so were miniature huts, sungka, and books and magazines. I found a rocking horse and excitedly rode on it, feeling like ten.
What makes Uhaj quite appealing are its seven native huts. Made from strong native woods, bamboo and cogon, the huts are equipped with basic modern amenities such as futon, blanket and electric lights. No fans are needed since the weather is often cool and a little cold come nighttime.
Staying in the hut offers guests a one of a kind experience – to have a feel of the traditional Igorot life.
The bathroom is communal, maintained very well, and has very cold running water.
The in-house restaurant serves delicious lutong-bahay food, with viands good for sharing.
What completes the amazing Uhaj experience are the stunning scenery plus their lovable and playful dog Rain. I didn’t venture far anymore because Uhaj already has a fantastic vantage point to view Hapao Rice Terraces. Hapao is one of the five sites in Ifugao included in the UNESCO World Heritage list under cultural landscape category.
I could just sit in their open huts for hours and be contented just watching the mist and fog envelope the mountains from time to time. Interestingly, some locals believe that General Yamashita's treasure are still buried in those mountains.
And even though I haven’t seen the sun peek through the clouds during my entire stay at Uhay, it still felt like I was on the sunny side of life.
Uhaj Native Village Inn
Uhaj, Banaue, Ifugao
Tel. Nos.: 0916-4056743, 0908-8646658