Best things to do in Cordillera Administrative Region and sightseeing in Cordillera Administrative Region
Banaue Rice Terraces - Cordillera Administrative Region
Ask any Filipino what and where Banaue Rice Terraces is and they'll surely know the answer. Many Filipinos consider this the 8th Natural Wonder of the World. Who wouldn't? The scenic view makes a great respite from the bustling city life. What makes it even more extraordinary is that the rice terraces were built by hand.
After visiting the rice terraces in Banaue, I came to realize why they have been referred to as the “eight wonder of the world”. It is sooo beautiful! Total about 6 hours trek (3 hour there and 3 hours back) You’ll also get to visit a waterfall along the way.
It is a town in the north of the island of Luzon and is situated in remotes areas on the Cordillera mountain range. It is famous for its scenic wide view of the massive 2000 years old rice fields and is listed as UNESCO World Heritage site. It is not surprising that this place is also called “The Eighth Wonder of the World”. This place stands as a key example of harmony between humankind and nature. The landscape qualifies for unparalleled beauty through which one can observe living cultures which is well maintained through traditions and valued by generations together. The maintenance of the Ifugao rice terraces is an unanimous effort by the whole community. The magnificent landscape is called “Stairs to Heaven” by the local tribes because of the ascending stairs of rice fields. It is difficult to get to this isolated place but it in the end it will be worth every effort. Hiking among the terraces is a common activity by the visitors.
Sagada - Cordillera Administrative Region
This was by far one of the scariest thing that we’ve ever done (besides doing the bungy in New Zealand)! It was scary maybe because there were very limited measures taken to ensure one’s safety. As it was a real cave with lots of bats living inside it, the ground was mostly moist and slippery. Plus we were only wearing flip flops! But besides all that, it was really very exciting! It felt like an underwater theme park! There were times when we had to swing like Tarzan from rock to rock using a rope, wade through chest-deep waters (with no idea what funny creatures that could be living in the water) and cliff jumped. All these were done without any harnesses! One slip and that’s it…..
Sagada is 62.1 km away from Banaue. This is the perfect destination in Philippines for relaxing and spending some time surrounded by the serene mountains. The most popular thing to see here are the hanging coffins. They couldn't get more literal. The coffins are hanging by the cliff. It is a unique ancient funeral custom of some minority groups and is even found in southern China. The coffins hang 20-50 feet high and are made of wood. According to Igorot tradition, only those people who died of natural death are allowed to be buried in the cliff. It is intriguing to know how they put the coffins on the cliffs. You can take the very steep path down the cliff to view the coffins up close and personal. Be sure before you start the hike as this doesn't qualify as an attractive activity for many. As this traditional burial ritual is not followed anymore, it makes for a historical site of the once practiced tradition. Travel Tip - I would recommend you hire a guide to hear about the history of this place and to reach here safely.
Philippine Military Academy - Cordillera Administrative Region
First stop for tourists visiting the PMA would be the Relics Point where vintage tanks, historical military weapons and artillery can be found. From the Philippine Military Academy in Loakan, we drove straight to The Mansion. It took us 15 minutes to get there.The Mansion was built in 1908 for governor-generals of the United States. It was destroyed in 1945 during the Battle for the Liberation of the Philippines. The government of the Republic of the Philippines later rebuilt and improved the structure in 1947. Since then, it has become the official summer residence of the President of the Philippines.
Baguio City - Cordillera Administrative Region
The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is the Philippines’ only land-locked region. It is consisted of the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Baguio City (the regional center). The Cordillera region encompasses most of the areas within the Cordillera Central mountain range of Luzon, the largest range in the country. This region is home to numerous indigenous tribes collectively called the Igorot.
Lourdes Grotto - Cordillera Administrative Region
Mines View Park - Cordillera Administrative Region
Mines View Park is one of the popular destinations for tourists in Baguio City. It’s a tourist-trap. Here is the view from the Observation Deck of what used to be gold and copper mines. But now, it’s mostly houses. No offense, but it should be renamed to House-View Park. Nonetheless, the surrounding mountains are still lovely.
Sabangan - Cordillera Administrative Region
When we got to Sabangan, we met our couchsurfing host, Russell. We visited the house of a lady weaver, who is part of his projects, Trashure. He also treated us to dinner and he and Tara shared expenses for the chips and beer for our evening’s conversation about community projects, love, life, travel, and passions.
Traveller's Inn - Cordillera Administrative Region
Masferre Country Inn and Restaurant - Cordillera Administrative Region
This place serves good home-cooked food at a fair price and in big portions. People usually flock here for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What I loved is the artistic decor and photos displayed on the walls, plus the calming view of Sagada hills when seated beside the windows.
Guinaang - Cordillera Administrative Region
Buscalan - Cordillera Administrative Region
The jeepney ride to Tulgao, for which we paid Php 20.00 each, was the start of our adventure of getting to Fang-od’s community. Tara and I rode on the roof. It was scary at first given that I am afraid of heights and that the locals seemed like they weren’t too comfortable with the load of the jeepney either. But, when I finally let go of the fright, I got to enjoy the beautiful Chico River and the mountains surrounding it. The experience would prove to be one of the most amazing things I would encounter for this trip. Upon alighting in Tulgao, we hiked to Buscalan, where we found Fang-od’s community. When we finally got to Buscalan, I felt like we were in a different world all together. I had planned on just sleeping through most of the day because of the tedious hike that just happened. But, being with Fang-od, the native houses, the community, the mountains, the air, just washed the tiredness off. It was wonderful having had this opportunity to visit the village. After Fang-od served us lunch and coffee, Tara got her tattoo. It was simply amazing seeing the 92-year-old tattoo artist having so much focus and precision in her craft. Equally amazing would be how candid and cute she was being when we had our conversation with her later that afternoon about life, love, family, and community. In the evening, Fang-od’s family cooked dinner for us. Tara also paid Php 2,000 for her tattoo. Then, we slept on Fang-od’s wooden floor.
Tinglayan - Cordillera Administrative Region
When we got to Tinglayan, we were welcomed by our guide, Francis Pa-in. He brought us to his sister’s house, which would be our home for the next few days that we would be staying in Tinglayan. Manong Francis cooked lunch for Tara and me and also served us coffee. After which, we freshened up and went around the village and crossed hanging bridges, met tattooed Kalinga women, and witnessed a local pounding coffee beans while singing in their native dialect. We also enjoyed the view of Sleeping Beauty and of the Chico River. In the evening, we met our lovely hosts, Ate Concepcion, Ligalig, Bullet, Chavez, and Baron, and had dinner and did yoga with them. The following day, December 1, we had a conversation with our hosts about their love story. In the afternoon, we crashed a wedding and had the opportunity to witness the traditional Kalinga wedding dance using gangsa (gongs). Our breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served by our hosts. We also had their native coffee anytime we wanted.
Tabuk - Cordillera Administrative Region
Upon arrival, we had breakfast and coffee at a turo-turo (Php 50.00). We then rode a jeepney to Tinglayan, Kalinga (Php 120.00 each). Since we were one of the first passengers, we got to sit in front; otherwise, we would’ve been on the roof of the jeepney, which would’ve been a bit uncomfortable given that the trip took about two (2) hours on rough road.