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BANAUE TRAVEL INFORMATION

Where to Stay in Banaue | History | Brief Description | Geography | Political Subdivisions
Population | Language/Dialect | Climate | Major Industries
Things to do | Festivals

HISTORY

Spanish exploratory attempts to conquer Mountain Province were made between 1566 to 1665. Total subjugation of the area was never achieved throughout the three centuries of Spanish rule because the fierce, war-like, and hostile Igorots (native tribe) and formidable travel obstacles intimidated the Spaniards. Spanish occupation succeeded in some portions of the Cordilleras but it ended on September 3, 1899 when the Spanish headquarters in Bontoc was taken by Filipino forces.

With the establishment of a civil government during the American occupation in 1901, Mountain Province became a special province of the Philippines in 1907. Bontoc-Lepanto, Amburayan, Ifugao, Kalinga, Benguet, and Apayao comprised the sub-provinces. Samuel Cane, the provincial supervisor, was appointed governor, and Bontoc was made the capital town.

In 1908 the old Mountain Province was created with seven sub-provinces later merged into five: Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao, Kalinga (BIBAK). In 1967 the division of these five provinces gave birth to four new provinces: Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao, and Mountain Province. The sub-province of Bontoc retained the name Mountain Province and maintained Bontoc as its capital town. On March 25, 1967, Mountain Province became an independent province.

On June 15, 1987, Mountain Province became a part of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

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BRIEF DESCRIPTION
Mountain Province is known as the "Weaver’s Paradise" due to the presence of various weaving centers sporting different designs that bespeak of the province’s cultural heritage. This was a province that practiced the traditional parliamentary/participatory form of governance as evidenced by the presence of the Dap-ay/Ato, a traditional form of governance led by the respected elders in the community.

 

GEOGRAPHY
Mountain Province is bounded by Isabela on the east; the provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, and Abra on the north; the provinces of Benguet and Ifugao on the south; and the province of Ilocos Sur on the west. It has an area of 229,231 hectares where 83% is mountainous while 17% make up hills and levels. It is a province of rivers, falls, mountains, and caves.

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POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS
Mountain Province is composed of ten municipalities, namely: Bontoc, Barlig, Bauko, Besao, Natonin, Paracelis, Sabangan, Sadanga, Sagada, and Tadian, with Bontoc as the capital town. There are 144 barangays comprising the 10 municipalities.

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POPULATION
Mountain Province is home to 140,439 people (NSO 2000 census) with mostly Bontoks occupying the central and northern parts, Kankanaeys occupying the western part, and Balangaos on the eastern areas.

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LANGUAGE/DIALECT
Kankanaey is the major dialect spoken although English, Ilocano, and Tagalog are also widely spoken.

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CLIMATE
The province has two seasons - dry from November to April and wet for the rest of the year.

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MAJOR INDUSTRIES
The furniture industry is a growing venture in the province. Fixtures and furniture are made from raw materials like pinewood, bamboo, and steel. Bamboo and rattan basketry is presently diversifying due to product development. Backstrap weaving, an age-old handicraft, expanded to the use of loom. Colorful costumes are now designed for product lines like bags, purses, tapestry, ethnic costumes, blankets, linen, and fashion accessories.

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THINGS TO DO AND SEE

Cultural

Bontoc Village Museum (Bontoc)
Located within the Catholic Sisters’ Convent and Saint Vincent's Elementary School. Founded by Sister Basil Gekiere, ICM, it features a range of artifacts crafted by the Igorots for domestic purposes and traditional celebrations or practices. Inside the museum, one could appreciate the distinct richness of the Igorots' way of life.

Hanging Coffins
Coffins arranged in high steep rock formations.

Blackstrap and Loom Weaving Houses
Loom weaving is done in Sabangan and Sagada. Samoki, a village in Bontoc, specializes in backstrap weaving. Various colorful woven materials like knapsacks, placemats, bags, and purses are among the popular products.

Ato/Dap-ay
Traditionally, a place where the council of elders hold various ceremonies, meetings, and happenings, which may be religious, social, or political in nature. It is a public structure used as a dormitory by the bachelors, widowers, young boys, and visitors in the village. A fireplace is built at the center and a wooden pole stands opposite it where heads of animals butchered and sacrificed are hung.

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Natural

Sagada Caves
Feature shimmering underground streams with golden or silvery stalactite and stalagmite formations and cool natural pools inside.

Mainit Hot Springs
Sulfuric hot spring 18 kilometers up from Bontoc; 30 minutes by chartered or public utility jeepney from Bontoc to Mainit (available from 1:00 to 2:00pm) or two hours by foot.

Mornang Hot Spring
Located four kilometers from Barlig town proper.

Sadanga Hot Spring
29 kilometers from poblacion Bontoc; with bathroom facilities.

Caves / Hanging Coffins
The caves feature shimmering underground streams with golden or silvery stalactite and stalagmite formations and cool nature pools inside. The hanging coffins are found on high steep rock formations.

Mt. Clitoris (Tadian)
Formerly known as Mount Mogao, it is conical in shape and stands proudly over 3 villages. Considered sacred; appears serene and solemn at dusk or dawn.

Mt. Amoyao (Barlig)
Thickly forested, it beckons for a wilderness walk; site of the ABS-CBN and RCPI satellites.

Besao Sunset (Besao)
A primitive formation of two rocks enabling farmers to determine seasons by how the sun's rays fit into the crevices.

Alab Petroglyph (Bontoc)
A huge rock inscribed with bows and arrows believed to tell the ancient fertility rites of the natives.

Chico River
Mountain tops and sides provide a panoramic view of the winding Chico River meandering through ricefields, rocks, and sand as well as a good vantage point to the humble dwellings of the villagers.
Viewpoints: Gala (Sabangan); Mt. Polis; Pagturao (Bontoc); Maligcong

Cagubatan Enchanted Eels
The eels thriving in the spring are conceived to be sacred and thus could not be eaten. They are believed to maintain the continuous flow of water to irrigate the rice fields.

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Man-Made

Rizal Memorial Plaza (Bontoc)
Situated at the heart of the capital town. The statue of Dr. Jose Rizal stands towering over the plaza, which serves as a good respite, playground, and meeting venue for programs and social gatherings.

Mountain Province Trade Center
A mini shopping center managed by the Department of Trade and Industry where skillfully crafted indigenous products are sold.

Rice Terraces
Mini stairways to the sky, distinct from the Banaue Rice Terraces because they are made up of perfectly engineered stone riprap.

Bauko
Bangen Rice Terraces

Besao
Besao Rice Terraces, Bucas Rice Terraces

Bontoc
Maligcong Rice Terraces, Bayyo Rice Terraces, Bontoc Poblacion Rice Terraces, Dalican Rice Terraces

Sagada
Kiltepan Rice Terraces, Tanulong Rice Terraces, Suyo Rice Terraces, Bulongan Rice Terraces, Bangaan Rice Terraces, Ambasing Rice Terraces, Fidelisan Rice Terraces

Sadanga
Sadanga Rice Terraces, Focong Rice Terraces
Natonin - Natonin Rice Terraces

Natonin
Natonin Rice Terraces

Barlig
Barlig Rice Terraces

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FESTIVALS

Mountain Province Foundation Day (April 7)
An- agro-industrial trade, tourism, and cultural affair with tribal dances and songs in full regalia.

Begnas (January, June, April, September, November)
Ethnic offering of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, where pigs or chicken are butchered for the family or clan members to partake of.

Chom-no or Chonno
The grandest and most expensive wedding celebration, which usually happens once in four or five years, where the number of carabaos butchered reflect the economic status of the family; accompanied by much dancing and singing.

Sagada Spelunking (November 27-29)
Cave exploration and trekking.

Nature Trekking
Trudging through the mountains and valleys to best appreciate the natural wonders and beauty of the province in their natural state.
Some trekking routes: Guina-ang - Dalican – Aguid; Bontoc Poblacion – Caneo; Bontoc Poblacion – Dalican; Mainit - Maligcong – Belwang

Mountain Climbing
Mountains great for scaling are Mt. Amoyao (Barlig); Mt. Calawitan (Sabangan); Mt. Pagturao (Bontoc); Mt. Ampacao (Sagada); Mt. Clitoris (Tadian); Mt. Polis (Bontoc); and Barlig Forest.

River Rafting
The Chico River offers a challenging and thrilling route for rafting especially on the rainy months of June and August.

 

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Where to Stay in Banaue | History | Brief Description | Geography | Political Subdivisions
Population | Language/Dialect | Climate | Major Industries
Things to do | Festivals


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