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Visit Mountain Province this 2015
by Rogern Sacyaten

Now, more than ever, is the best time to visit the “highest hinterland province” in terms of altitude, and the only province in the country with an English name – Mountain Province.

As the four entry access routes to the province are paved all the way – the Baguio-Bontoc National Road, the Banaue-Bontoc Road, and the Bontoc-Kalinga Road, have been concreted years ago, travel has now become convenient. Travel time has also been shortened.

These roads were referred to as the SONA projects as especially mentioned in the State of the Nation Address of then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, on whose credit, billions of funds have been poured to improve all the roads leading to the province at one time, unprecedented by past administrations of the country.

The sarcastically claimed longest bridge, the Aluling Bridge in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, was finally opened for traffic a couple of years ago to link the Ilocos provinces to the Cordillera, specifically to Mountain Province. It is also a shorter route to the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Kalinga. The Bontoc-Kalinga Road is now better even as the concreting of the whole stretch of the road is yet to be completed.

 Under the administration of Gov. Leonard Mayaen, the Provincial Tourism Office aims to promote the province as an eco-tourism destination in Northern Philippines with the support of the provincial government and the various local government units.

But the following reasons are the best justifications why it’s more fun in Mountain Province:

First, April is the best time to visit Mountain Province as the Lang-ay Festival 2015, implemented under the partnership between the provincial government and the private sector with the significant involvement of selected national agencies and the local government units, embodied by the Lang-ay Festival Organization, Inc., is staged during the month.

Many innovations have been introduced by the private sector as the usually one-week festivities were now spread out on whole month duration. Activities that depict the varied but unique cultures of the people are scheduled.

The exposition of many cultures of one province seen in one occasion is a wonder to witness.

We entice the public, tourists, and natives of the province who are presently residing elsewhere in the country or abroad to visit the province and be with the people in celebrating a unique cultural heritage that i-Mountain Province are proud of. The Lang-ay festivities runs from April 10 to 30 with the street dancing and cultural presentations on April 25, the main day.

While in Bontoc for the Lang-ay Festival, we offer trekking sorties to the national cultural treasure of Alab Petroglyph as declared through a decree issued by then president Ferdinand Marcos, the Ganga Cave believed to be an ancient burial cave of the Alab forebears.

An alternative for the day is to hike to the wonderful paddies of the Maligcong Rice Terraces in the uplands of Bontoc or to relax in the therapeutic warm waters of the Mainit Hot Spring. Not to be away from the town proper, visitors may peek at the culture and history of the province and the Cordillera at the Bontoc Museum, the depository of the treasure of the historical and cultural past of the province.

Although most municipalities have already conducted their respective festivals just recently, the eastern municipalities of Barlig and Natonin have yet to stage theirs.

The Sas-alliwa of Natonin and the Menaliyam of Kadaclan and Changyasan of Lias, both of Barlig on April 25 and April 27 to 29, respectively, are gems of the eastern side of the province.

Second, a visit to Mountain Province is an escape from the sweltering heat of the summer months in the lowlands. With the province located in the highlands, the cool temperature adds fun to the trekking and sojourn to tourist destinations.

A tourist tired of the concrete jungles or beaches will find fulfillment in the mossy forests and the lush environment especially in the pine forest in the western side and the “Shangrila-on-the Edge” of the eastern.

Third, this is the best time to visit Mountain Province as tourist destinations are continuously being explored and discovered. The province’s tourism center of Sagada has now the new Balangagan Cave that was formally opened for spelunkers a couple of months back in addition to the well-known Sumaguing Cave, the Hanging Coffins, and the wonderful Bumod-ok Falls, among other attractions.

There are other eco-tourism destinations now being discovered in other municipalities as a result of the documentation and promotional sorties of the Lang-ay Festival Organization in a bid to boost the tourism industry of the province and the different municipalities.

The municipalities of Bauko and Tadian boast of the healing wonders of soothing water springs, mystical caves, and magnificent mountains, the wonders of which overwhelms and leaves visitors in awe.

Paracelis perplexes many about the mysterious sunken village of Mabarotbot that emits methane liquid that flows ad infinitum. It has its own mythical story that only elders can tell.

Waterfalls and the vast agricultural areas keep sightseers think that the place is not a part of the province or that they are somewhere else in the lowlands.

Visitors can proceed to the eastern front, in the Shangrila on the Edge and indulge themselves in a walk to remember in this part where access is only through trekking unlike in the western part of the province where transportation abounds.

The province offers much delight and wonders, shown through its age-old tradition of weaving. It is not known for being the “weavers’ paradise” for nothing.

The weave and designs of Paracelis’ Balad’ang or the Samoki or Caneo’s Inabel are unique. Reportedly, every design of the weave tells a story or account only the weaver can interpret.

Tourism facilities in the province exhibit facelift or improvements. If before, only the Chico River offer swimming opportunities, there are now resorts. Lodging houses and amenities are better nowadays.

So, visiting the province is appropriate now more than ever, especially to those who are weary of the beaches and the concrete jungles of the metropolis.

Mountain Province is the alternative place for nature lovers and eco-tourism enthusiasts who may also choose to indulge in spirituality and mysticism. It welcomes tourists to the mystical encounters in Bauko, Tadian, Bontoc, and Sadanga.

The province also offers a stimulating environment especially in Barlig and Sagada in coolness far from the scorching heat of the summer months in the lowlands.

The national road leading to the relatively unexplored parts of the eastern municipalities of Barlig, Natonin, and Paracelis is now being improved and paved to make it an all-weather road making these eastern municipalities accessible any time of the season day and night.

Paracelis can be reached through the new entry routes as the Butigue-Roxas Road, recently converted into national road, is being improved and the Tabuk-Paracelis Road is relatively paved except in some portions. 

So, consider visiting Mountain Province this year. As the national government is promoting the program, “Visit the Philippines 2015,” the provincial government and most of the local government units aim to share with the upshot of the tourism campaigns to inrease the tourist arrivals in the province.

There may be other personal reasons for visiting Mountain Province. Still the best time to visit is in April. However, any other month will do in a lesser scale.

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:: Into the caves of Balbalan
:: EPL, a La Cordillera
:: A peek to Cordillera homes turned tourist sites
:: Pollution endangers Chico River rafting
:: Making Baguio a tourist destination for children
:: Baguio City: A fun learning educational hub
:: Cordillera: The country’s frontier for sports adventure
:: Elevating homestays in CAR to meet ASEAN standards
:: Tourism in BLISTT: What matters most?
:: Mountain Hopping in Benguet

Informatics Institute
Medline International Training Institute Baguio
University of the Cordilleras
University of the Philippines – Baguio

Benguet Corporation
Congressman Ronald M. Cosalan
Cordillera Career Development College
Department of Health – CAR
Fox International Immgiration & VISA Provider
Golden Pine Hotel
King’s College of the Philippines
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan
National Grid Corporation of the Philippines
Pines City Colleges
SiTEL
Social Security System
TESDA – CAR
Veterans Bank

Ahead Tutorial and Review
Assumption Medical Diagnostic Center
Baguio Memorial Chapels Inc.
Baguio Multicultural Institute
Baguio Water District
Ballet Baguio
Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Benguet State University
BSBT College, Inc.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – CAR
Bureau of Internal Revenue – CAR
Congressman Maximo B. Dalog, Sr.
Cordillera Kidney Specialists, Inc.
Department of Agriculture – CAR
Department of Environment and National Resources
Department of Trade and Industry – CAR
Dreamforce Review and Training Center
Easter College Aviation Department
Fabulo Beauty and Image Salon
Far East Pacific Commercial
Filipino–Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon, Inc.
Governor Nestor B. Fongwan
Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board – Northern Luzon Region
Immigration Network Services
Kalapaw
Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company
Maybank
Mayor Edna Tabanda
MMS Development Training Center
Mother Earth Deli Basket
Nagomi Spa
Narda’s Handwoven Arts & Crafts
NIIT
Philex Mining Corporation
Philippine National Police – Police Regional Office – Cordillera
Pugad: Pugo Adventure
Regional Development Council – CAR
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Benguet
STI College Baguio

 



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