Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mountain Province, Philippines

By James Barcelona

Tourist Attractions
Bayo Rice Terraces
BAYYO RICE TERRACES in Bayyo, Bontoc is a worthy stop-over along the Bontoc-Banaue road. This breathtaking vista can be seen when going to Banaue from Bontoc. If you have your own car, much better, because you can stop anytime. This view can be seen along the road. No need to hike or trek.

Palali Rice Terraces
Palali Rice Terraces is made up of mirror-like rice paddies reflecting the bright sky piled ingeniously one over the other signifying that each terraced rice field has been intentionally flooded to turn these mountains-turned-arable-paradise to a colossal rice bowl, as the rice paddies extend down to the Chico River as the basin.

Mountain Province is a landlocked province of the Philippines which belongs to the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in Luzon. It lies in the heart of the Grand Cordillera which is known to be Philippines’ biggest and highest chain of mountains. Thus, the province was formerly dubbed as "La Montanosa" by Spanish administrators because of its mountainous terrain.

Mountain Province is subdivided into 10 municipalities and 144 barangays with the municipality of Bontoc as the capital. It is classified as a 4th class province. It is bounded on the north by Kalinga, on the south by Benguet and Ifugao, on the east by Isabela, and on the west by Ilocos Sur and Abra.

Mountain Province has two seasons - dry from November to April and wet for the rest of the year. It has short dry season which lasts only from 1 to 3 months and its maximum rain periods are not very pronounced. 

Agriculture is the main source of income for the province but the tourism industry also provides a significant boost to its economy. The furniture industry is also a growing enterprise in the province. These furniture and fixtures are made from raw materials like pinewood, bamboo and steel. 

Mountain Province is tagged as "Weaver’s Paradise" because of the different weaving centers that create unique designs which indicate the province’s cultural heritage. Various woven materials like knapsacks, bags, purses, placemats, linen, belts, blankets and native costumes are being made in these different weaving houses. 

Mountain Province is considered to be one of the most interesting places to explore these days, not only because of its spectacular sights but also because of the culture and tradition of its people which remained intact despite of Spanish and American influences. When you are in Mountain Province, you will have a clear and serene view of the mountains, smell the fresh air sweetly scented by pine trees, be captivated by the colourful woven native costumes and see one of the most sought after tourist attractions which is the hanging coffins. 

Nature loving tourists will surely be awed by the Rice Terraces which were reputed to be hand made by the Igorots many centuries ago from rocks and mud that were hauled from river beds. This favourite tourist destination is considered as the 8th wonder of the world. 

Mountain Province, just like any province in the Philippines, has its own share of festivals. The most celebrated is the weeklong Lang-ay Festival which features street dancing competition, agro-industrial fairs, sports competitions and indigenous games like pounding rice competition.

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