November 30, 2023

■  Hanna C. Lacsamana 

BEST CORDILLERA TOURISM VILLAGE — Clad in their native garbs, villagers of Mayoyao, Ifugao posed for a snapshot, as they felt elated their Chaya Tourism Village is one of the finalists for the search for Best Cordillera Tourism Village organized by the Department of Tourism-Cordillera. The Chaya Rice Terraces is part of the Mayoyao Rice Terraces, which is one of the five clusters of the great Ifugao Rice Terraces proclaimed by Unesco as a world heritage site. — Vince Dangiapo/DOT-CAR

The Department of Tourism-Cordillera has announced 12 applicants have made it in the shortlist for the 2023 Search for Best Cordillera Tourism Village.

Making it to the final round are Barangay Losad Tourism Village of Sabangan, Mountain Province; Guinzadan Tripartite Tourism Village of Bauko, Mountain Province; Bila Tourism Village of Bauko, Mountain Province; Batad Rice Terraces Tourism Village of Banaue, Ifugao; Nagacadan Open-Air Museum of Kiangan, Ifugao; Chaya Tourism Village of Mayoyao, Ifugao; and Buscalan Tattoo Village of Tinglayan, Kalinga.

Also in the list are Bagumbayan Tourism Village of Tabuk City, Kalinga; Balbalasang Village of Balbalan, Kalinga; Tawang Tourism Village of Balbalan, Kalinga; Cluster TaBuPaRi Village of Calanasan, Apayao; and Stobosa in La Trinidad, Benguet.

The following are brief descriptions of the finalists as found in the official Facebook page of DOT-Cordillera:

The Barangay Losad Tourism Village of Sabanganserves as the gateway to Mt. Kalawitan, offering a plethora of activities including hiking, birdwatching, swimming in waterfalls, and immersing oneself in the daily activities of the locals.

The Guinzadan Tripartite Tourism Village of Bauko is where one can learn about the traditional back-strap weaving technique directly from the locals and explore the village to discover the age-old traditions while appreciating the magnificent views of Mt. Mogao.

In Bila Tourism Village of Bauko, pottery making is a generation-passed craft and has sustained generations of the localsas part of their communal entrepreneurship and the community’s tourism industry.

Recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site, the Batad Rice Terraces in Banaue are a remarkable feat of ancient agricultural engineering and a stunning natural wonder that continue to attract visitors from all over the world.

A World Heritage site, inscribed as a living cultural landscape, the Nagacadan Open-Air Museum of Kiangan features the salient elements of the Ifugao culture without being intrusive and exploitative.

In the Chaya Tourism Village of Mayoyao, locals showcase their tradition and culture with a variety of presentations for tourists including a tour of their museum & a magnificent view of Chaya Rice terraces from the Mt. Nagchajan viewpoint. The Mayoyao Rice Terraces are one of the five clusters included in the Unesco World Heritage inscription.

The Buscalan Tattoo Village of Tinglayan is a small remote community located in the mountains of Northern Philippines known for their ancient art of tattooing.

Led by Maria Oggay more popularly known as “Apo Whang-Od”, the women of the village, known as “mambabatok”, use traditional hand-tapping methods to create intricate designs that tell stories of their culture and beliefs.

Marvel at the different kinds of coffee products offered by the community of Bagumbayan Tourism Village of Tabuk City, called the “The Coffee Village”and learn from the locals how to process coffee from start to finish as they share their “coffee culture” along with other products like weaves and local fruits.

The Balbalasang Village of Balbalan is part of a declared protected landscape by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and a national park since 1972, with the most intact pine forests and richly endemic flora and fauna in the region, making it an ecotourism marvel while also being rich in tradition and culture.

It is in the Tawang Tourism Village of Balbalan, Kalinga where one can explore their adventurous side in the Magangab and Maanus Caves, which are connected to a network of caves. Additionally, Kalinga’s most exceptional broomstick or “walis tambo” is produced in the village. Its historic ancestral houses can also be made part of the tour of the village.

In the Cluster TaBuPaRi Village of Calanasan, Apayao, one can take a quick hike on its hills and refresh at Nalbo Falls, then head to “Paraiso ni Eddie” for a relaxing ambiance where one can camp or admire Botbotan Lake while watching a cultural performance by the Isnags of the area.

The Stobosa or Hillside Homes Artwork of La Trinidad became an instant tourist attraction with its hill of houses painted with different colors,a project initiated by the DOT-CAR in cooperation with a paint company and the Tam-awan Artists Group a few years ago. Stobosa stands for the clustered sitios of Stonehill, Botiwtiw and Sadjap in Barangay Balili, La Trinidad.

The DOT-CAR said an inter-agency panel of judges will be visiting the shortlisted entries for the final inspection and assessment.

The criteria for judging are as sustainable management – 25 percent; cultural sustainability – 25 percent; socio-economic and rural economic development sustainability – 25percent; and environmental sustainability – 25 percent.

Winning entries shall be awarded as follows: first place – P1 million; second place – P500,000; third place – P200,000; and three runners-up – P100,000 each.

All winners will also get a certificate and token.