The municipality of Bontoc is the capital of Mountain Province. It is a landlocked area and the gateway to Kalinga, Sadanga, Sagada, Barlig, Ifugao and other places in the Cordilleras. You may want to check out my posts about Barlig and Ifugao. You may want to visit the tourism office of Bontoc located at the new capitol for more information regarding trips and destinations you can go to.
Bontoc is 5-6 hours away from Baguio City. There are different PUVs you can ride from Baguio going to Bontoc. One is GL Trans at Dangwa Terminal behind Baguio Center Mall. There is also Rising Sun buses and vans in Slaughter House. During one of our visits, we took the Rising Bus because it has trips scheduled until 5:00 p.m. If you want a nice viewing of Halsema Highway, book your seats early for GL or in the case of Rising Sun ride the next schedule trip earlier so you can choose where to sit. They will then give your tickets later on the way.
It was late afternoon by the time we reached Halsema so the clouds are already setting in covering everything in sight. This is one of the reasons that makes Halsema Road dangerous aside from its winding course on the edge of the mountains.
We spent a night in one of their hotels there when we went to Ifugao and had to get up early to catch the first trip. We had to find a place to eat our breakfast first and ended up in this tiny one of the beside-the-road shops and had our meal.
The lady who owns this shop was chatty and friendly. We were at the right time because she had just brewed coffee and her pancakes were freshly made. She even tipped us to take the bus instead rather than the van going to Ifugao because the bus fare is cheaper. She said she knew the operators of the one of the buses. Incidentally, it was the first trip that time and she was even kind enough to contact them and reserved us a seat which, by the way, she does not have to do because there were not much passengers that time.
After having our fill, we still had a lot of time to spare before our trip. We walked around and took photos of these street arts.
The buses for Ifugao are located beside the Cathedral of All Saints, an Anglican Church.
We went back to Bontoc but this time it was with family.
Alab is one of the barangays of Bontoc. This is my father's birthplace and hometown. Our grandparents were no longer with us. There simple abode is that which was left. It now serves as a place to stay whenever we and/or relatives have a vacation there.
This is what houses are made of - wood and galvanized sheets. It's amazing that this house stills stands after so many years. This is how I remembered how it was since the last time I cam here some 20+ years ago. We either use firewood or gas burner to cook. Water comes from a spring and are stored in drums and/or gallons.
Our grandparent's house is located high up the mountain. It is some 15 - 20 minutes climb to reach their house. It is worth the climb though for every morning the view is relaxing and is the kind of view I would like to wake up. The clouds roll by as the morning awakens, as if running away from the rising sun.
We also have what we call dap-ay or a place for bonfire.
It is made of stone slabs and the pit in the middle is where we make fire. Dap-ay is a place for socialization for neighbors and the community as well. It is where were concerns are discussed and for the young people, courtship begins. We had a night of bonfire and barbecue during our stay.
This little house serves as storage for rice. This is different from other regions in the country wherein the storages are more elevated. The the right of the photo is the Chico River.
One of the nearest places to go to is the Bontoc Museum. Here you can find a replica of an Igorot village. We brought the kids there but I and most of the adults just stayed outside and waited.
There are also rice terraces that you can pass by on your way to the town proper. The more famous rice terraces is situated in *Maligcong *but unfortunately the road was closed and under renovation when we were then so we were unable to go.
We also visited Blue Soil Mountain or Kaman-utek. Utek means "brain" and kaman means "seems like". The soil of this mountain turns blue or green and something else depending on the weather. It is white when there is no rain. It is shared both by Sagada and Bontoc so it can be accessed from either. We went uphill. When we reached the spot where more of the soil is exposed, there were lots of tourists flocking down from Sagada.
Foot traffic is destroying the form of this soil formation so as much as possible stay on the sides and the designated paths. Some are still stubborn enough to take photos where it is not allowed. When we were there, we have to warn others not to stray from the designated path. Another thing is trash thrown everywhere. We have talked to one of the guides and he said that that are still issues that they have to always address. Discipline really has to start within us.
Here are a couple of clips,
Bontoc is also known for its Lang-Ay Festival. It is an annual festival held every March or April. Lang-ay means fellowship or coming together to celebrate the bountiful harvest and share happiness, peace and friendship. This involves music, dance, parade, cañao, etc.
Gone are the headhunting days but lots of traditions like cañao and rice planting are still practiced today. Along with those, the colorful art of weaving of g-strings and skirts are still preserved.
If you are to visit Bontoc, do not forget to go to the market. Buy the vendors by the entrance to the market and taste their delicious sticky rice-based delicacies such as patupat and nilapet. Be there early for these sell fast.
Know more about Bontoc and the Cordilleras here.
!steemitworldmap 17.091151 lat 121.010855 long Bontoc, Mountain Province d3scr