May 23, 2024

Fifty years ago, the eastern towns of Mountain Province – Barlig, Natonin, and Paracelis – could only be reached by hiking lengthy trails that government officials dared not visit these areas. With no recourse, the Summer Institute of Linguistics introduced a four-seater plane leading to these municipalities, but only a few can afford the fare from Natonin to Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya. The clamor of these eastern towns will be realized next year with the expected completion of an all-weather national road linking Bontoc to Barlig-Natonin-Paracelis to Tabuk City, Kalinga and Santiago City, Isabela. Gone are the days of difficult travel, trade, difficult access to health and education services, tourism, and political segregation. These eastern towns played a significant role in supplementing the voting number of the more “progressive towns.” The roads leading to these towns during “dark times” were hardly considered as roads. These were the times that the terms “depressed, deprived, and underdeveloped” really applied to these local government units. This sleepy and lethargic disposition long suffered by these towns, however, has been broken. For instance, Paracelis with its vast area, should have increased its coffee production, enlarged banana corn plantations, cultivated more sweet oranges/mangoes, pineapples, and manage vegetable production and abaca industry. Cows, carabaos, goats, fowls and horses are known to be abundant in the town. Some of the models for tourism are Barlig, which boasts of its Mount Amuyao, Mao-woy zig-zag mossy forest of paradise view; Natonin for its spiraling Balangao Rice Terraces interconnecting seven barangays, and Paracelis, the Chocolate Hills of Nansu-so. Natonin Mayor Jose Agagon is contemplating of establishing a wild game sanctuary in one of the mountains adjacent to Mount Binaratan. Some months ago, 23 South Koreans led by Pastor Shin Myung Gun used the Tuguegarao airport in Cagayan, the nearest airport coming to Kadaclan for an evangelical concert. It may be recalled that former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visited Kadaclan on Dec. 29, 2001 to spur domestic tourism. Because of the beauty of these towns, rest houses, eateries, gasoline stations, rest rooms will be established to cater to visitors transported by franchised buses from nearby Isabela and nearby towns.