Friday, May 17, 2024

Mt. Tugew in Alang-Salacsac, Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya

One of the perks of climbing mountains is the storytelling that comes along with it. You get to interact with the locals and listen to their stories about how a particular mountain got its name, how it was used generations ago, who first lived there, who built the structures there, etc.

Mt. Tugew which is located in Alang Salacsac, Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya is no exception. This is a mountain with a rich story (or stories) to tell.

In local folklore, the mountain got its name from Tugew, a maiden of the I'wak tribe. A long time ago, Tugew was betrothed to a man named Molmog through a "kalon". Basically, a "kalon" is a marriage arranged by the couple's parents. Tugew didn't want to marry Molmog so she ran away and headed to the nearby mountains. Upon reaching the highest peak, she sat down, wept, and wished that she would rather turn into a rock than marry a man she doesn't love. And poof, her wish was granted.

Today, sitting on the summit of Mt. Tugew is a huge boulder of rock believed to be the ancient remains of the young maiden Tugew.

Mt. Tugew is not just rich with legends and myths. It also played a very important role in the region's history. Just below the summit of the mountain is an ancient trail used by the Spaniards centuries ago. This is a trail that connected the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, and Pangasinan. It was also used as an evacuation route during World War II. The mountain's summit and slopes have these medium to large craters believed to be the remains of bomb impacts during the great war.

If you're looking for a good day-hike, pack your bags and head to Mt. Tugew. The Kayapa Tourism Office re-opened the mountain for hikers last Saturday (March 2) through an invitational climb which we joined. Barangay Alang Salacsac is the jump-off point. The jump-off point is about an hour's drive from the Kayapa Municipal Hall. There are guides to assist you up the mountain. For more information, contact Kayapa Tourism.

Photo credit: Arlee Baludda.