On the Road to Mountain Province, Luzon, Philippines

mountain province
Fulfilling my promise to travel in the Philippines whenever opportunity arise, I made my way to one of the places I long to visit- Mountain Province.

I wanted it to be a “mini” backpacking trip with a home grown advantage of being able to speak the local language, thus making no plans at all and relying on the spontaneity of where my feet will take me or where the next available ride will go.
sagada
sagada

If you had been following this blog for quite sometime, then you will know how much I enjoy mountains. I know I’m supposed to boast about the pristine beaches and perfect diving spots across the country, but I would like to offer you an alternative and consider the Philippines mountainous region instead, where the climate is cooler and the main attraction are hanging coffins and glorious rice terraces.

I love the idea of carrying my backpack across the trail, where the weight brings so much frustration and yet knowing that everything inside the pack is valuable in a way. I love the idea of catching my breath on every step while taking the next one without a moment of hesitation. I love the feeling of finally standing at the peak and letting that sense of accomplishment drown me with much happiness. I do love and enjoy every muscle aches too.
luna tan

Mountain Province (Lalawigang Bulubundukin) or sometimes mistakenly abbreviated as Mt. Province, is a province of Cordillera Administrative Region of Luzon, situated in the northern part of the Philippines. It is subdivided into ten municipalities that is bonded by a distinct culture and shared a magnificent landscape combination of mountain ranges, waterfalls and caves.
batad
sagada
baguio
banaue
bomod-ok falls
sagada caves
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada

To reach the Mountain Province you have to start your trip with a bus ride from Metro Manila to the city of Baguio, from there it will be your pick as to where you want to start your exploration. For my case, my unplanned route led me from Baguio to Sagada, from Sagada via Bontoc to Banaue, from Banaue to Batad, from Batad back to Banaue then back to Baguio again, then with time to spare hiked Luzon’s second highest peak Mt. Pulag, then finally rounding the backpacking trip from Mt. Pulag back to Baguio then back to Metro Manila.
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada

Traveling to Mountain Province means land travel via zigzag roads that connects each municipality. There is no air travel, so it means you are basically connecting each town by a series of sometimes limited land transportation ranging from bus, jeepney, motorcycle, some sort of modified vans and 4×4. Travel time can vary between four to six hours to reach each town, though the beautiful scenery from the bus window will let the time passed by without you knowing. For most part, the roads are well-paved though there are still portion which are quite dangerous and often requiring a little “push” from everyone on board to get the jeepney moving.
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada

“Top Load” which is basically sitting atop of Philippines prime mode of public transportation called Jeepney is the way to travel across Mountain Province.
sagada
sagada
sagada
sagada

The idea of top load became synonymous with touristy travel across this region particularly the route to and from the town of Sagada, though the original idea is for more practical reason.

With few and sometimes seldom transportation moving across each mountain villages, each space inside and outside the vehicle is well-utilized not only to load all the goods and products needed to be transported but together with villagers who are willing to sit atop the vehicle just to make it to the journey instead of waiting for the next day or next available opportunity to travel.
banaue to batad
banaue to batad
banaue to batad
banaue to batad
banaue to batad

At first with hesitation but then gave into the idea, I did “top load” portion of my journey and surely it is the way to travel Mountain Province.

More Mountain Province story on the way….

13 thoughts on “On the Road to Mountain Province, Luzon, Philippines

  1. Wow! What an experience! Love all the photos as usual 🙂 My fiancé and I can’t wait to go back to the Philippines and visit all the provinces – backpacker style!

    1. Hi Sarah, looking forward reading your stories about Philippines. Pretty sure you will enjoy it a lot, its simply like coming home 🙂 Regards to fiancé!

  2. Wow, I loves this place. So, Is that English popular here? Even sign near god statue was written in English?

    1. Hi there, yes English language is widely spoken in Philippines making it easy for foreign tourist to travel around. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s