May 12

Mountain Province Economic Profile

Source:  Provincial Planning and Development Office, Mountain Province Local Government Unit
2000-2004 data
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At a glance.

Province, shows great potential for development not only because of its abundant natural resources but more so because of its naturally pleasing and amazing sceneries, culture,  and hardworking people who are open to new ideas and innovations.   They are ready partners for progress.  

Crop production is the province’s main economic activity.   Agricultural crops are varied by geographic location.   The major cash crops in the western part include citrus fruits, native rice, and highland vegetables while the eastern portion include legumes, rice and corn and abaca.  People of the province also raise cattle, carabaos, swine and poultry.

Eco-tourism is an anchor to a lot of related businesses including handicrafts.  The industry cluster include transportation, hotels and restaurants, tour operation, home industries and souvenirs.    An ideal destination of adventurers, Mountain Province is a home of host of caves including the world-famous Sagada Caves.   It is also a haven for mountaineering, botanical and cultural researches.

Loom and Backstrap Weaving, Gifts and Souvenirs, Food Processing, and Furniture making are most popular among the industries found in the province.


Business Name Registration made with the Department of Trade and Industry is shown in Table 1.   There are 1,072 registered firms during the past five years.   The municipality of Bontoc has the highest number of firms with 660 followed by Sabangan with 116.  Natonin has least with 8 firms registered.  

Investment generated from the said firms is P 243.827 M and  2,632 regular employment.     Bontoc posted highest in investment generation with P161.045 Million followed by Bauko with 20.355 M.   Sadanga posted the least investment with P0.96 Million.    As expected business employment is concentrated in Bontoc.   The same data base show that Bontoc generated highest in employment at 1,735 followed by Sabangan at 196 while Sadanga is at the tail end at 20.

The above statistics is indicative of employment from formal business establishments although numerous self employment like lako-lako, small processing activities and home based services can be counted which did not secure business licenses and registration can be counted.  

In the same table, it is shown that 606 or 57% of the total businesses registered is retail trade; 329 or 31% is under the services category; 110 or 10% manufacturing while agri-business and wholesale trade accounts for 1% each or 13 and 14 firms respectively.   

Investment generated from each of the category is highest with the service sector at P 112.72 M or 46% of the total investment generated.  It is followed by the retail trade sector at P03.40 M or 42% ; manufacturing sector at P18.301 M or 8 %;  Wholesale trading at 6.2 M or 3% and agribusiness at P3.2 M or 1%.   This is indicative that in the province farms, no matter how big, are not yet regarded as business establishments such that only few are registered.

Employment generated per category is highest with the retail trade sector at 1,078 or 41% followed by the service sector at 904 or 34%; agribusiness at 327 or 12%; manufacturing at 283 or 11% and wholesale trading at  40 or 2%.

The average business registration per annum is 216 generating average incremental investment of  P48.97 M per annum (2000-2004) while average incremental employment in the business sector is 463 per year.   A detailed distribution of investment and employment per municipality  from 2000-2004 is shown in table 2.

Subsequent tables show the  distribution of  investment and employment in each of the different sectors from 2000-2004. 


 The agri-business sector registered 8 citrus fruit growers, 4 livestock raisers and 1 mushroom grower.  Swine raising is almost every household’s backyard livelihood.    Rice, corn, coffee and banana production in Paracelis provides most of the cash economy in that municipality.   Highland vegetables production provides the cash economy in the western municipalities.    Sadanga is noted for their legume production while Sagada boasts its high quality tomatoes.



Mountain Province boasts a number of industries.   Loom and Backstrap weaving is the most traditional that has been existing since the time immemorial.  It is usually done by women of the villages.    Three groups of weavers that pioneered commercial weaving in the province are Sagada Weaving, Sabanga Weavers Cooperative and the Samoki Village Weaving.   We can also find weaving groups in Paracelis, Natonin, Can-eo and Guinzadan, each group having specialty products.   Following are list of weaving groups and their products.

Table :         List of Weaving Firms /Groups

  Name Location Products
1 Samoki Weavers Samoki, Bontoc Woven fabrics, cultural attires
2. Sagada Weaving Nangonogan, Sagada Bags, decors
3. Sabangan Weavers Poblacion, Sabanga Bags, decors, linen
4. ATT’s Handicraft Botigue, Paracelis Novelty items
5. Balladang Weavers Botgue, Paracelis Bags, woven fabrics for clothing
6. Baliga Handicrafts Poblacion, Sagada Bags
7. Kindasan Weavers Poblacion, Sagada Bags
8. Dagdag Weavers Dagdag, Sagada Bags
9. Sagada Indigenous Handicrafts Poblacion, Sagada Bags
10. Tam-aw Handicrafts Madongo, Sagada Bags
11. Pide Weavers Pide, Sagada Blankets
12 Guinzadan Weavers Guinzadan Norte, Bauko Cultural attires


Home Furniture.  Manufacturing of home furniture developed as people began to improve their homestead,   The sector registered a total of 51 firms from 2000-2004.    Raw materials used are pine and narra.  

Abaca Fiber Industry.  In 2000 the abaca industry of Natonin emerged.  Abaca plant grows abundantly in the forests of Natonin.   What used to be saba-chongo or ‘fuwi’ to the people of Natonin turn out to be certified abaca.   With the Arang Multi-Purpose Cooperative, products like ropes, bags, and hand made paper went out to the market.

The Fruit  Wine Industry.   It started with the traditional rice wine which is an important element in an igorot culture.  Cherry wine was concocted in Otucan, Bauko.   Technology research and development enabled processing of locally available fruits that are perishable and not very marketable. Examples are cherry, duhat, bugnay, guava, carrots and banana.  To date about 60 women are engaged in the production of fruit wine and with product quality standardization and the development of appropriate package and label, the wines are ready to take off to the supermarkets.  Producers are organized into a corporation namely, Mountain Province Wine Processors Association, Inc., with office based in Poblacion, Bauko, Mountain Province.

‘Patopat’ Industry.   ‘Patopat’ is a cone shaped suman wrapped in banana leaves which is prepared in Bontoc during festivities.   It was commercialized by some women during the last decade and sold as morning food like pandesal.  Lately, as women produced more it became a popular ‘pasalubong’ of the people to friends and relatives outside Bontoc.    Another variety of wrapped suman known as ‘nilapet’ is in the same manner being popularized in the municipality of Besao.  


Basketry.   The basket industry in the province out of forest materials like bamboo, wood, rattan and vines is usually village activities during off farm season. Each village have distinct basket feature.   The popular village enterprises engaged in basketry are:

Community Projects Municipality Product Focus
Tetep-an Binali Crafts Sagada Binali baskets used as grain containers known as kamoan
Madepdeppas Igorot Handicrafts Sabangan Food containers out of anes bamboo known as topil
Barlig Pasiking Barlig (municipal wide) Knapsack out of rattan


Except for the Tetep-an Binali Crafts, other basketry industries declined due to inadequacy of raw materials and skilled labors.    Quality wise, the baskets are of excellent quality, design innovations and market promotion are attempts to revive said industry.

Pottery.  Traditional village pottery is identified with the Samoki village in Bontoc and  Barangay Bila of Bauko.   They have provided cooking vessels and water containers for the province during the olden days but has become unpopular with the proliferation of modern wares.   Facilities that has become idle are being accumulated to put up village museums.    The municipality of Sagada, having  good clay resources, is the seat of the only pottery producer in Mountain Province.   They produce high fired jars, mugs and fashion accessories that are often brought for exhibition.    The potters has an organization named Association of Sagada Potters. 



Retail Trading is the compose the majority of registered businesses in the province of which general merchandising  comprises 375 firms with investment amounting to P52.57 Million and employing 563.  Other registered businesses are:  agrivet supplies, aggregates, auto supplies, dry goods, fish and livestock mobile retailing, fuel refilling, handicrafts shops, hardware, meat vending, pharmacy, school/office supplies, vegetable trading and grains retailing.    There are only 14 registered wholesalers in the province.

Public Market.   Farmers from the barrios bring their produce for direct selling in public markets.  Only the municipalities of Bontoc, Sagada and Tadian have public market structures that operate on daily basis.   Other municipalities designates space for a once a week market day.   Schedule of market days are as follows:

  Place Day
1. Kin-iway, Besao Sunday
2. Poblacion, Sagada Saturday
3. Guinzadan, Bauko Saturday
4. Sadsadan, Bauko Saturday
5. Kapinitan, Sabangan Saturday
6. Poblacion, Sabangan Saturday
7. Poblacion, Bontoc Sunday
8. Poblacion, Tadian Friday




There are 884 firms registered under this sector from 2000-2004.   Restaurants and caterers topped the list with 360 registrants and construction services  came next with 160 registrants.    Other registered services includes amusement and games, barber and beauty shops, review centers, hotels, housing, information technology including cable and computer centers, medical clinics, repair shops, arts and signs, travel and transportation, accounting, communication, financing, insurance, printing, tailor and dress shops, food grinding, video rental and water delivery.

IT Services.    The pioneering I.T. school, Xijen College of Mountain Province, Inc. graduates 50 students a year in various I.T. programs that range from Computer Technician to Programming. The tertiary school also started to offer the BS I.T. course which will expect 100 graduates by 2013.  The Mountain Province State Polytechnic College also graduates some 60 BSIT students a year. 

Students of Mountain Province are trainable and fare very well in I.T. programs.  The I.T. school is open to partnership with software and hardware vendors who would want vendor specific training programs.  Scholarship programs are also needed for students who cannot afford I.T. courses.  A scholarship or tuition subsidy will significantly increase the number of students in the program.  Students in this province have the potential for to match the needs of software and hardware vendors considering that they have no specific outside influence on software/hardware. 

There are other potential areas for investment in I.T. Services.  These are:

  1.  BPO- Small to medium service can be established.  Legal, medical and other back office services can be set up.  A call center may not be possible at this time until the upgrading of a more capable Internet Service.
  2. Animation Services- residents of the province are trainable for animation and other creative services.  
  3. Web Site Development and Design Services-  independent firms can be established to focus on web site development services.
  4. Investment in an E-Commerce Website-  trading firms can set up e-commerce sites and act as consolidator for woven products, garments, home decors, furnishings or set up a B to B to trade raw materials such as Abaca or sell organic vegetables and coffee
  5. Establishment of an incubation center for I.T. related programs


Communication.   The province is serviced with telecommunication by PLDT landlines;  SMART and Globe Communication Companies.   Internet is accessible can be accessed in 8 out of 10 municipalities.

Transportation Services.    There is adequate transportation facilities in the province that enable travels around and outside the province.    Bus companies have direct routes to destinations within the region and Manila.    The transportation lines are:

  Company Route Daily Schedule
1. Dangwa Tranco now Jack Dulnuan Tans Co. Bontoc-Baguio 7:00-8:00 AM hourly interval
2. Rising Sun Trans Bontoc-Baguio 5:00 AM to 4:00 PM hourly interval
    Otucan Bauko-Baguio 7: 00 AM; 11:00 AM
    Kayan, Tadian-Baguio 6:30 AM; 9:00 AM; 2:00 PM
    Sumadel Tadian-Baguio 6:00 AM
3. Lizardo Trans Besao-Baguio 4:30 AM; 5:30AM; 7:00 AM; 8:00 AM
    Sagada-Baguio 6:00AM; 7:00 AM; 10:30 AM; 1:00 PM
    Bontoc-Baguio 9:00 AM; 10:00 Am and 2:00 PM
4. Emmanuel Trans Bontoc-Tabuk, Kalinga 8:00 AM
5. Von-von Transit Bontoc-Santiago Isabela 8:00 AM
6. Afuvel Trans Bontoc-Paracelis via Santiago Isabela 8:00 AM
7.   A Trans Tadian-Baguio 7:00 AM; 11:00 AM
8. Cable Tour Bontoc-Manila 3:00 PM