Mount Polis of Bagnen

SEE IT! FEEL IT! LOVE IT! TREK TO MOUNT POLIS.. EXPERIENCE OWNING THE WORLD ON TOP..

The Majestic Mount Polis is a story of love that guided a man from Mount Kalawitan in search of his partner. The lady aided by the enchanting wind that brought her man of love. A love shared by the mountain to the people by abundantly providing grasses for the people to built for their houses. Today, it continue to share this love by providing good viewpoint to nature lovers.

 

Feels like owning the world with one of our top view point  in Bauko, Mt. Province the panoramic view of Mount Polis.

Feels like owning the world with one of our top view point in Bauko, Mt. Province the panoramic view of Mount Polis.

A Healing Bonding Place: Mainit Hot Springs

Mineral Hot Springs of Mainit in Bontoc provide a healing place for the tired soul.

Eleanor Salingbay Geston has found a niche in the province’s budding wellness industry. A retired elementary school teacher, Eleanor invested in a mineral spring fed pools- taking advantage of her barrio’s natural hot springs resource. The resort is located in barrio Mainit, a 1 hour drive of 7 kilometers of winding roads up a mountain from Bontoc, the capital town of Mountain Province. Mainit is known for its mineral springs (sulphur) that provide invigorating baths after a hard day’s work in one’s farm. People of the place are skin disease free. The resort, aptly named Geston Swimming Pool is still a must place to visit after spending a day there with my family. The resort has 4 pools fed by the hot springs piped in from source. There’s a children’s pool with slide, a sit in pool ideal for the elderly or those who just want to soak up, and two pools for those who want to really swim. The resort has integrated the culture of Mainit that includes guests sleeping quarters named “Avuan” (the traditional sleeping quarters for boys) and the “Pangis” (the traditional sleeping quarters for girls).
The sleeping quarters can at most accommodate 18 people. A toilet, bedding of “rono” or sticks lined up together completes a therapeutic sleeping place. You can however request for mattresses and beddings. Sleeping without the mattresses is a good try for those who suffer back pain. Picnic groves and a space for tents are also provided. The resort has a mini conference room and kitchen amenities for those who want to barbecue or cook meals. The water could be murky but that is a good sign as various minerals with healing properties are in abundance. The place is cold, perfect for that warm soak. Try soaking up at night; you will only have the stars and fireflies for company.
Best of all, it is the relaxing warm swim or soak that makes it worthy for even just an overnight stay. If you are in Sagada, you can ask about your guide if you can opt to hike from Sagada to Mainit – that takes only about 2 hours. If you are in Bontoc, take the Mainit jeepney ride parked beside the Shell Gas station. The jeepney leaves usually at 2:30 PM and the next at 4:00 P.M. You have to be there early as the jitney can leave earlier once it is full. You can also go straight up if you have a vehicle. The road is narrow and the drive up is also an adventure.
The place is also ideal for family and office worker’s retreat. It takes an enterprising spirit for Ms. Geston to go on improving the place. Entrance fee is fifty pesos for adults and P35.00 for children. Group rates can be had starting at one thousand eight hundred pesos and up for an overnight stay inclusive of use of kitchen, utensils and the cottage. Reservations have to be made in advance so the pools can be prepared as they are regularly maintained to ensure sanitation.. You can make a reservation through Ms. Geston’s daughter, Eunice Geston-Andaya at 09204540963.

Alab, A Barrio With an “Ancient” Past

1000 Steps; Ganga Cave, The Petroglyphs
The barrio of Alab features the 1000 steps, the ancient burial site, Ganga Cave, the Petroglyps, Mateyak Falls and a great view at the mountain top.
Alab is located along the Halsema Highway. If you are going to Baguio, the boundary is located at the Amlosong Jumbo bridge before Dantay and if you are going to Bontoc from Baguio, the Boundary is located after Malitep in Balili. Alab Oriente has a population of 358 and Alab Proper has population of 576.
How to Go to Alab
If you want to go to Alab, the jeep station is in front of the Aglipay General Merchandise or near the XiJEN Business Center. The ride to Alab is from 7:30am until 5:00pm. You can also ride on a bus to Baguio and stop at Alab. There are two bus companies that pass through Alab.  These are the GL Trans which parks at the Circle, near Land Bank-Bontoc Branch or the Rising Sun Trans which parks near the Bontoc Town Hall.  The buses leave for Baguio starting at 6:00 A.M. (Rising Sun) and every one an a half hour afterwards.  The last trip to Baguio City is 3:00 P.M. by the Rising Sun Trans.  You can also hire a tricycle (sets you back by one hundred twenty pesos).
Acoomodation
In Alab, there is no hotel or restaurant. It is up to the barangay officials to accommodate you, they give you food and if you want an overnight stay they will provide a room for you to sleep. It is not a problem to them because the people there still practice hospitality. They will respect you because you are a visitor of the barangay.
What to See:
1000 Steps
The 1000 steps to the Ganga Caves of Alab is a cardio treat.  It tests your stamina but the hike is worth it.  A commemorative t shirt- “I Survived 1000 steps” can be had at the Barangay Hall of Alab.
The Petroglyphs
Ganga Cave of Alab.  Final resting place of the people of Alab in ancient times.

Ganga Cave of Alab. Final resting place of the people of Alab in ancient times.

A petroglyph is a carving on a rock. The Alab Petroglyphs is located across the Chico River, a short distance upstream from Bontoc. It was declared a national cultural treasure in 1975. Still undecipherable, it is a huge rock with bow and arrows and human figures etched on the surface of the mountain where the rock stands. Brgy. Alab is located 9 kms. south of Bontoc on the Halsema Highway. The petroglyphs are a three-hr. climb above the village and past burial caves. It is believed that the inscriptions portray fertility rites.  This is the reason why I say my barrio home has an ancient past.  If only further studies are to be made-as the inscriptions on the cave, tend to portray, a civilization ahead of their time.

The Ganga Cave

Ganga is a cave located above the rice fields of Alab Oriente Bontoc. It is a burials cave which they believe the people who are buried their teenagers who went to the mountains to get some firewood.

IMG_2826Long time ago,  the e-alab teenagers (babalos and babalasang) of Alab (Proper and Oriente) went to   mountain of Dongyowan to get some firewood. They rested on a big rock in Binut-buto looking down a rice field (Kebasan). As they are resting, one of them challenged the other to throw a pointed stick down to the rice field and who will throw the farthest is the winner. They did not know that a pregnant woman is planting rice and they did not intend to hit her. They still continue throwing pointed stick and all of a sudden  all of them feel sleepy, they went asleep and after hours later as they woke up, they saw a sticky rice (diket) in a basket and a bundle of tobacco that was offered to them. They did not notice who brought them that food for them but because they are all hungry, they  ate  the food that was brought to them. They also did not continue to get firewood because it is already dark. As they went home they all went to the ato (dap-ay) to give the bundle of tobacco to those older people who are taking in tobacco. That night, the people of the village heard that the teenagers suddenly became weak and some of them are dying.

The old people who took in the tobacco went dizzy. According to some of the old people, the cause of their death is the food that they ate  because it is the pregnant woman who brought them the food for them. In the morning, all of the teenagers who when to get firewood were all dead. The people of the village planned to make ah coffin for all the dead. The old people of the village planned to bury them in a cave above the rice fields and the name of the cave is GANGA.

Now a days some people say they are hearing some sound like playing a gong, or cutting firewood, and even some are crying. They are not already putting the dead on that cave because some say they are not comfortable.

Written by:

Christine Mocyat
Computer Secretarial
Xijen College of Mountain Province

 

Off the Beaten Track: Aguid, Sagada

Bumayeng Falls, Aguid, Sagada.

Bumayeng Falls, Aguid, Sagada.

Aguid, Sagada, Mountain Province can be reached from Sagada, Poblacion, approximately seven (7) kilometres.  As you walk through the village’s narrow paths, on foot trails along rice paddies, the visitor is greeted with varying landscapes.  Time didn’t seem to exist.

 

“A brief history of Aguid”
(Story told by lakay Domin-eng)
After the place of Pide, in the northern part of Sagada, was populated, an old woman went to the mountain located at the upper right side of Pide to work in her “uma” (field). When she felt tired of weeding she decided to take a rest at the mouth of the cave she sighted during her walk. While resting she saw a bundle of sharpened spears at the side. She concluded those were left by the hunters during their hunting, so she went home leaving it there. At supper, while eating with her family she remembered her rest at the cave near their field, so she told them about it. “Ya wacha yah inilak ay naa-aguidan ay kaiw issan liyang ay inmey ku nin suwengan, ay wa’ay ubpay umey men an anup sidi….” (“When I went for a rest at the cave near our field I sighted a bundle of sharpened spears, maybe hunters go there for a hunt…”)

Her story about what she saw in the cave spread, so then they had decided to call the place where the old woman’s family field is located “naa-aguidan.” Later it was shortened to “Aguid”.
Later on, the place that was once like a forsaken place was inhabited by the people from Pide and Fidelisan, Sagada who wanted to be separated from paganism.
How To Get There
Going to Aguid takes 30 minutes by jitney, as for nature lovers who want to have a walk, it will take an hour. The jitney going to Aguid is located at the heart of the town just few meters up at the Sagada Municipal Hall. The trip to Aguid begins at 7:00 until 9:00 in the morning and at 3:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon, going back trip to town is scheduled every 6:30 am, 7:00 am and 1:00 pm. If you can not catch the scheduled trips you take the Bangaan bound jitney and walk 30 minutes to Aguid following the road or take a short cut using the road going to Pide. This route takes you to a breathtaking view of the rice terraces.

For first time visitors, do not hesitate to ask the friendly people of the place for directions, note also that the folks here more understand the English language instead of Filipino, especially the old folks.

p.s
There are no hotels of inns in the place, so for visitors who would like to spend the night here, building a tent is the only way.

Written by:

Imee Badongen

Secretarial 
Xijen College of Mountain Province

 

Majestic Maligcong Rice Terraces

 

 

Malgicong Rice terraces cradles the village of Maligcong.  Photo:  Joel Fagsao

Malgicong Rice terraces cradles the village of Maligcong. Photo: Joel Fagsao

 

The Maligcong Rice Terraces is one place you must see when you are in the town of Bontoc, Mountain Province.  Carved from the mountains several hundred years ago, the rice terraces of Maligcong are supported by a rip rap of stones taken from the mountains.  Using the downward  water flows, crude wooden tools and ingenius engineering, the people of Maligcong were able to have a source of their staple food, rice.  Today, the rice terraces continue to be maintained in the traditional way, preserving a structure that will be enjoyed by generations to come.

Upon reaching the turning point of Maligcong, one can already see the Maligcong Rice Terraces. There is no entrance fee for visiting the Maligcong Rice Terraces. You walk by this attraction while going to the barangay proper. The rice terraces here are more awesome as the main village is right at the center of the sprawling fields.

The best time to visit Maligcong Rice Terraces is during the month of April and May when the fields are green as palay planted in March have started to grow. Harvest time is August.

Photo:  Joel T. Fagsao

Photo: Joel T. Fagsao

This “Stairways to the Sky” is definitely a site to visit.

It is advisable for visitors to wear rubber shoes, wear hat and bring food when visiting Maligcong because of the long walk beside the rice paddies from the turning point to the barangay proper.

Visit Itinerary

From Bontoc, take the first trip jeepney (8 AM) going to Maligcong. The Maligcong public utility terminal is found in front of the Pines Kitchenette and Inn, near the Provincial Plaza.  It is best to take the first trip so you can come down at about 2:00 P.M. if you want to ride down or the 4:00 P.M. jeep ride coming down.  You can also choose to stay overnight, the Maligcong Homestay provides decent accommodation.  

Upon reaching fabuyan, one can already see the Maligcong rice terraces. If you go at the very top area of sitio fabuyan, you will be able to see Guina-ang and Mainit. You walk through the pathway while enjoying the view of the rice terraces until you reach fang-orao. You can visit Maligcong Elementary School and some rice granary in this sitio. The walk through the rice paddies takes 30 minutes-40 minutes walk or longer if you take your time enjoying the scenery going to Favarey. Favarey is surrounded with rice terraces and if you go at the very top of this sitio, you will see the top of the mountains of Tocucan and also the top of Mt. Polis.  You may go around looking for a nice spot to take pictures. It may take you 2 hours -3 hours to go around the village taking pictures. After visiting the rice terraces, you can hike going back to Bontoc which may take 1hour- 1 and a half hour. While hiking back to Bontoc, you may pass by the orange plantations. When you reach the boundary between Maligcong and Bontoc, you will see the beautiful scenery of Bontoc and the Chico River which is surrounded by mountains.

What to Wear

This “Stairways to the Sky” is definitely a site to visit.

It is advisable for visitors to wear rubber shoes, wear hat and bring food when visiting Maligcong because of the long walk beside the rice paddies from the turning point to the barangay proper.

Where to Ask Information

While in Bontoc, visit the tourist information centre at the Bontoc Municipal Town Hall.

Local Guides

There are local guides in Maligcong.  Drop by Maligcong Homestay, ask your Maligcong Jitney Driver;  to arrange for a local tour guide or arrange for lunch and snacks.  You can also choose to stay overnight at Maligcong Homestay.

Schedule of jeepney going to Maligcong from Bontoc.

 

8:00 am

12:00 noon

2:30 pm

4:30 pm

5:30 pm

Schedule of jeepney from Maligcong going to Bontoc

6:30 am

8:00 am

9:00 am

2:00 pm

4:00 pm

Fare to Maligcong is twenty pesos P20.00.

IMG_0933Weather

The climate in the barangay is classified as type I with two pronounced seasons, the wet season which is from June to January and the dry season from February to May.
The latest rainfall recorded by the PAGASA reveal an annual average of 1,962.1 milliliter.
The temperature in the locality ranges from 14 to 32 degree Celsius. Extreme cold is felt during the later part of November to December. The hottest months are from April to May.

 

Location

Maligcong is a barangay of the municipality of Bontoc, Mountain Province. It is located at the upland zone of Bontoc municipality. It is bounded on the north by barangay Mainit, on the south by barangay Caluttit, on the east by barangay Tocucan, on the west by barangay Guina-ang, and on the northeast by the municipality of Sadanga.

Maligcong has six scattered sitios namely : Favarey, Fang-orao, Adaan, Makunig and Mayayat.  Area (ha): 1,500

Brief history of Maligcong

Early Settlers

The people of Maligcong originated from Kadangran. (A place between the present Maligcong and Bontoc).

One day, a pregnant sow wandered away and found itself beside a “Kangkonger” (big stone), where it gave birth. The owners of the pig followed and tried to force it to return but in vain,the pig don’t want to leave the place which is located at the ricefields called maligcong by the villagers. Instead, the couple and family went to establish their home near the “Kangkonger”. Since then, people from the original village joined them in what is now the village of Maligcong.

How Maligcong got its name

Maligcong is rooted in the word “ligcong” which means to level land for a rice field. After years of labor, the people had to carve the mountains and steeps surrounding the area into terraces for their fields and other crops.When the time came that the whole village was surrounded by rice fields, the people then named the village Maligcong, meaning surrounded by rice fields.

 

Population

According to the latest survey which was done this year (2010), the total population of barangay Maligcong is 761. The population increased since year 2007 where the surveyed population was 481.

Researched by Janice Capiyao