What started as a dream to preserve Banaue’s rich culture and heritage of owner Atty. Jimmy Buhain has become a reality after he purchased the home and museum that contained the most extensive collection of artifacts in the province and turned it into a cozy boutique hotel and heritage space. The well-travelled Chairman of Rex Group of Companies is an avid collector of obscure pieces and ornaments from his many travels (he is Asia’s most travelled person), the older, more storied, the better and when it comes to preserving his country’s culture, he is intent on keeping things as is and where they should be, in his own grounds if needed. This is how he came to be the owner of the 3000sqm property above the clouds, which he named Banaue Heritage Hotel – an homage to the Ifugaos and Cordilleras.
From rare bululs (rice gods), ritual boxes, outfits and ornaments, wood carvings and even pre-colonial Chinese porcelain and jewelry from the different tribes of the Cordilleras, the museum is indeed a treasure trove for scholars and common folk alike, who yearn to get to know the people of Banaue through their traditional practices and objects they used in everyday life. Guests are treated to a guided tour by the museum’s longstanding guardian Fe, who is quite well versed in backstories and secret anecdotes about the artifacts; there are also very interesting books about the region that visitors can peruse while sitting on the comfortable wooden benches in the first floor. Upstairs, more treasures abound with even more stories to tell; all one really needs is time to explore and be in awe of this region’s fascinating culture.
The former owner’s home was converted into a fourteen-room boutique hotel with ten traditional Ifugao huts or bale that guests can also rent for a more authentic experience and live as the locals did. The compound is filled with local flora and fauna, welcoming guests like a warm embrace as they climb up to their rooms and be greeted with the most spectacular views of the mountains and terraces. The sunrise can be viewed daily at the rooftop balcony, as well as mountains with actively working terraces. There is truly no other place more peaceful or serene in Banaue that’s complete with modern amenities for a most comfortable stay.
Scrumptious local cuisine also await the visitors, taking advantage of the fresh produce from the markets like garden fresh salads, itag or smoked pork loin, upland dried fish and native, free range chicken and eggs.
An on-call masseuse is also available for those who want to relax after a long day of hiking and exploring; for bigger groups, cultural performances of the highland tribal culture can be arranged.
The serene surroundings are also home to a diverse species of birds and colorful and interesting insects, encouraging bird-watchers to come and explore. Writing and yoga workshops, meditation and wellness retreats are also welcome to fully take advantage of nature’s bounty in a peaceful, quiet and serene space.
Welcome to Banaue Heritage Hotel and Museum. We hope you enjoy your stay.