Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Top Tourist Spots in Benguet (Mountains, Caves, Farms, Etc.)

[Note: This is a work-in-progress. If you have suggestions and recommendations, please feel free to chime in at the comments section below. Or send me an email at thecordilleransun@gmail.com or connect with our Facebook page. All photos used here were taken by me. Needless to say, if you are going to use them for whatever purpose or reason, please take the time to ask for my permission as well as provide credit to whom credit is due. I'm an advocate of the free use and proliferation of creative content but a certain level of policing needs to be done to curtail the rampant rehashing of creative content without crediting the source.]

1. Mt. Pulag – Mt. Pulag remains as the most popular hiking and mountain climbing destination in the Philippines. It offers a plethora of surprises to those who dare endure the several hours that it takes to scramble to the top. The picturesque grasslands. The amazing views during sunset and sunrise. The rolling sea of clouds. The cold temperature that sometimes go below the freezing point. Exploring the natural wonders of Benguet won’t be complete without pursuing a detour to this mountain which a lot of the Ibalois (one of the tribes of Igorots that live in and around the area) consider as sacred. Legend has it that Kabunyan (sometimes spelled as Kabunian), the Igorot god, lives in the mountain. For a panoramic view of Mt. Pulag's peak, go here.

2. Mt. Ulap – Very accessible from Baguio City. The trail isn’t that difficult even for beginners. Getting in and out of the mountain won’t take more than eight hours. In short, Mt. Ulap is the perfect day-hike. These are just a few of the reasons why hikers are trooping to this mountain (technically, it’s a mountain range). Located in the town of Itogon, you can reach the place in under an hour.


3. Mt. Yangbew – Think of Mt. Yangbew as the mini-me of Mt. Pulag. There’s a reason why it’s often referred to as the Little Pulag. The two mountains share quite a few attributes: grasslands and beautiful views of distant Benguet mountain peaks. Located in barangay Tawang in La Trinidad, hiking to the top shouldn’t take you more than an hour. Overnight camping is also allowed on the mountain provided that you pay the corresponding fees to the barangay.


4. Aran Cave
– The town of Tuba has quite a few caves but it’s Aran Cave that attracts the most attention. Just a stone’s throw away from Kennon Road in Camp 3, the cave is perfect for a few hours of spelunking. It has pools of water inside, some of which are deep enough so that you can have a swim in them. It also has waterfalls inside. As icing on the cake, the cave system is adjacent to a small resort where you can have a beer or two, relax, or sing karaoke after hard hours of crawling, climbing, and swimming inside the cave.


5. Ambongdolan Caves (Paterno Cave and Bengaongao Cave) – The town of Tublay is home to several caves. Two caves that have been developed and opened for tourists are Paterno Cave and Bengaongao Cave. Both of these caves are located in Ambongdolan, a barangay that’s about 30 minutes to 1 hour away from the capital town of La Trinidad. Before going to the caves, visitors are required to register at the barangay hall and pay the corresponding fees. You will be provided with a guide, head lamps, and other necessary equipment.




6. Strawberry Farm – The province of Benguet is the biggest producer of fresh strawberries in the country. Most of these strawberries come from the Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad. Visitors of the farm can purchase packed strawberries from the stalls near the farm or they can go and pick the strawberries themselves. The farm is located in Km. 6 and is just a few minutes of walk from the main road.

7. Mt. Kalugong - This mountain which towers over the La Trinidad valley got its name from the huge boulders of rocks atop it that look like a hat from a distance. “Kalugong” means hat in the local language. The mountain can be accessed either through Banig, Tawang or through barangay Cruz. Mt. Kalugong is an ideal location for picnics. There are huts and picnic tables scattered within the eco-park. The place also has its own coffee house where you can sip on local-flavored coffee and munch on strawberry and chocolate cakes.


8. Mt. Tabayoc - There’s a lot of things to admire about this beautiful mountain. Tucked in the heartland of Kabayan, the mountain is covered in thick mossy forests. To reach the summit, you have to go through thick vegetation featuring entangled roots, vines, and branches. You don’t just use your feet to move forward. You have to use both hands as well. You have to grab on tree branches and vines to keep yourself steady on the trail. Aside from the mountain itself, you can also make side trips to the surrounding hills and other mountains. The four mystical lakes of Kabayan are within walking distance from the mountain. The lakes are just as worth seeing as Mt. Tabayoc.

9. Bayokbok Falls - Located in the village of Tuel in Tublay, Benguet, this waterfall is known for its blue waters and series of water cascades. There are several pools near the falls where you can splash and swim. The falls is also within walking distance from the Asin Hotspring. And it's near whether you are coming from Baguio City or La Trinidad. If you have a car, it will take you less than an hour to drive to the falls from La Trinidad.


Other places of interest (write-ups coming soon):
1. Mt. Ugo
2. Mt. Purgatory
3. The Flower Farms of Bahong
4. The STOBOSA Hillside Homes Artwork
5. Timbac Cave
6. Mt. Timbac
7. The Kibungan Traverse








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