Pinay Wanderess / Travel  / First Time Solo Backpacking? Here’s My 6-Day Solo Cordillera Backpacking for 4k PHP
First Time Solo Traveler? Here's My 6-Day Solo Cordillera Backpacking for 4k PHP

First Time Solo Backpacking? Here’s My 6-Day Solo Cordillera Backpacking for 4k PHP

Solo backpacking is becoming a way of life these days (Read: Solo traveling has become my way of life). When nursing a broken heart (Read: 6 Reasons Why You’re Lucky You’re Single Today), escaping from being a corporate slave, unwinding away from the city life, finding yourself – whatever your reason is, it is completely valid. But when you are new to this, the ultimate questions are where to start and how, and is it safe to travel alone? A year ago I was in search of myself and was starting to get out of my box when I decided to do my first solo travel in in my home country, Philippines. My chosen place: Cordillera.


For Women Who Are Constantly Told They Are Too Intense; It’s A Myth, You Are Not

My all-time favorite Maligcong Rice terraces in Bontoc, Mt. Province


So why did I choose Cordillera for my first solo backpacking?

  • I was, am, and will always be a mountain enthusiast.
  • It’s easy to navigate and move from one town to another in this region.
  • People are amazing.
  • It is relatively safe for solo female traveler. Although I cannot really vouch for some isolated cases, but I had been to this region many times alone after this solo trip, and now I am all safe and alive traveling across Southeast Asia.
  • I just love Cordillera so much, it always feels like a second home.


How to do solo backpacking in Cordillera?

This is my do-it-yourself 6-day itinerary and expenses in my  solo backpacking. I hope this helps you. You are always free to modify this to create your own experience. In the parentheses are the most updated fares/fees, but I had to be frugal so I did a lot of haggling. In the last part I listed my exact expenses all throughout this travel. I spent 4,000 php all in all. I got lots of freebies and freeloads, thanks to amazing humans I have met (and to my mom for giving me a charming genes)!

TIP: DO NOT BE AFRAID TO BE SPONTANEOUS, but let your family know your whereabouts. Traveling is a risk itself and solo traveling just doubles it, trust your instinct and be prepared, all the time.


Day 0

2200 – ETD to Banaue via Ohayami Bus (P450)

Day 1

Banaue to Batad (You may explore Banaue and take the 3PM public jeepney to Batad or follow my itinerary. As you reach Banaue, you just have to walk down to the market, and ask about the schedule of the jeeney which heads straight to Batad jump off)

0700 – ETA Banaue/ Register (Reg fee P50)
0730 – Breakfast (P120)
1000 – ETD to Batad (Public Jeepney – P150/ Trike – P300)
1200 – ETA Batad (Reg fee 50)/ trek/ Look for homestay (I suggest Mang Ramon P250/night)
1400 – Explore Batad/ Trek to Tappiyah
1700 – Back to Mang Ramon’s homestay (You may or may not have dinner, bring emergency food just in case)


Day 2 Batad to Sagada

0600 – Wake up call/ Breakfast and talk to the locals
0800 – ETD Batad to Banaue (Public Jeepney P150)
1000 – ETA Banaue
1030 – ETD to Sagad (Public van P300)
1300 – ETA Sagada/Secure a map in the tourism office (Reg fee P50)
1330 – Check in at Tinagtago Inn (Ask around P300/night)
1400 – Explore Sagada (Catch sunset at Lake Danum and try their lemon pie and yogurt)
1800 – Back to homestay


Day 3 Sagada to Bontoc to Buscalan

0400 – Sunrise at Kiltepan
0600 – Explore Echo Valley
1000 – ETD to Bontoc (P40) (This is crucial as you need to catch the 12pm trip to Tinglayan then catch a trip to Buscalan/Take the 2pm trip direct to Buscalan)
1200 – ETA Bontoc/Take lunch/walk around
1400 – ETD to Buscalan (P100).*If you’re coming from Manila you may take the Manila to Tabuk Route*
1600 – ETA Bugnay/ Secure guide (P1000/group)/Take a habal habal to Buscalan (P50)
1630 – Buscalan Jump off/start trek to Whang-Od’s house
1730 – ETA Reg house (Reg fee P70)
1800 – Settle in the homestay (P250/night +Unli rice)
1900 – Dinner + Socials


Day 4 Whang-Od Day

Cultural Immersion + Getting a traditional tattoo (tattoo starts at P200 and Whang-Od’s signature dots is P100)

Note: With the hype of the crowd wanting to have a tattoo from the great traditional tattoo artist, you might want to reconsider your main reason and ask yourself if you really want it. (Read: I’ve Sworn Not to Get a Tattoo But I Ended up with Two)


Day 5 Kalinga to Bontoc

1000 – Start descend to jump off
1100 – Take a habal habal to Bugnay (P100)
1130 – ETA Bugnay/Take brunch
1300 – ETD to Bontoc via bus (P80)
1500 – ETA Bontoc
1600 – ETD Bontoc proper to Maligcong (P20)
1630 – ETA Suzette’s homestay (P350/night)
*Feel the vibe of Maligcong/try ate Suzette’s oatmeal cookies (P100)


Day 6 Explore Maligcong

0400 – Start Trek to Kupapey to catch the sunrise (Guide P500)
0600 – Traverse to Maligcong Rice Terraces
0900 – Back to homestay/Breakfast (P120)/Relax
1400 – ETD Maligcong to Bontoc proper (P20)
1500 – ETD Bontoc via bus to Baguio (P180)
2100 – ETA Baguio/Dinner/Shop at night market/ buy pasalubong/Secure a ticket to Manila
2300 – ETD Baguio via Victory liner (P450

Day 7 Going home

0500 – ETA Manila (Home sweet home)



Manila – Banaue – Batad
450 – Manila to Banaue
50 – Banaue Eco Fee
120 – Food (Breakfast)
FREE – Banaue to Batad
FREE – Guide
50 – Batad Eco Fee
250 – Room (Ramon’s House)
50 – Water
10 – Hot water
20 – Donation

= 550

Batad – Banaue – Sagada
165 – Breakfast
100 – Batad to Banaue
250 – Banaue to Sagada
200 – Homestay
50 – Sagada Eco Fee
90 – Lunch
25 – Museum
20 – Cookies

= 900

Sagada – Bontoc – Bugnay – Buscalan
200 – Breakfast and tour
40 – Sagada to Bontoc
150 – Bontoc to Kalinga
75 – Environmental Fee
250 – Homestay
25 – Jake
120 – Porter
50 – food

= 910

Buscalan – Bugnay – Bontoc – Maligcong
100 – Buscalan to Bugnay
80 – Bugnay to Bontoc
350 – Homestay
150 – Load
30 – Fit n right
100 – Cookies
120 – dinner
120 – lunch

= 1050

Tattoo = 500


20 – Maligcong to Bontoc
212 – Bontoc to Baguio

455 – Baguio to Manila

Total Estimated Expenses for 6 day = Php 4000 


Have fun! Let me know how your first solo backpacking went!



About the writer:

She is a young teacher-writer-wanderess from the Philippines. She blends her passion to touch lives with her lust to wander and with her love for life. She’s consumed by all things pertaining to places, people, culture, and words. Follow her adventures on Instagram@pinaywanderess and on Facebook.

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