While the Cordilleras’ mountains remain to be what could be the region’s most awe-inspiring wonders, the region has a whole world of other destinations that could fulfill your thirst for adventure. Tucked in those lush, highland mountains is a diverse terrain not just for hiking, but also for spelunking, underground rivers, ATV trails, waterfall trekking, white water rafting, and more. Here’s a list to help you scope them out for your next Cordillera adventure.
The caves of Apayao. Apayao’s terrain is home to some understatedly breathtaking caves. The Lussok Crystal Cave in Luna has a spectacular seven-chambered cave system that lets tourists explore via vertical spelunking or a cruise along a 200-meter boat ride through a clear underground river where crystal formations hover over. Further into the dense foliage of Luna is the Manacota Cave and Underground River, which is marked by a 700-meter river clear enough to let you see the thriving marine life. For wildlife lovers, there are more creatures to be found in Banselan Cave. Located in the Conner municipality, the cave provides sanctuary for several species of bats, spiders, and crabs, to name a few.
Abra’s undulating hills. The Apao Rolling Hills in Tineg, Abra are located about an hour and a half north of Bangued, and is known for its undulating hills that are covered in brown and green grasslands. The hills are interlaced with a sea of clouds on some mornings, so note that for your itinerary.
The caves and coffins of the Mountain Province. Coffins might not be top of mind when it comes to tourist attractions, but the hanging coffins of Sagada tell of the ancient burial ritual practiced by the early Igorot people that is still practiced today. It is noted for how the remains of the deceased are kept in coffins hoisted on high rock formations. Aside from keeping them away from the reach of scavenging animals, the Igorots believe that this brings the deceased closer to ancestral spirits. The municipality of Sadanga, on the other hand, houses the enchanting Angoten Cave, whose narrow cracks and paths make it a challenging but rewarding destination for the more seasoned spelunkers. It is said to be named after a local named Angoten, who is believed to be the first person to have stumbled upon the cave.
The cold flower farms of Benguet. Atok, Benguet’s highest peak, is known for having the coldest temperature in the province. The cool climate makes the municipality ideal for growing flower beds against a panoramic view of the mountains. Live out your K-drama dreams in Northern Blossoms Farm, or the Sakura Blooms of Haights Place (which typically bloom in between March and April).
Kalinga’s raging rapids. Dubbed as the “White Water Rafting Capital of the North”, Kalinga is known for offering white water rafting adventures along the Chico River. The thrill of the rapids, combined with the surrounding mountain vistas, make for an unforgettable team building activity or bucket list item ticked off with friends.
UNESCO-inscribed Ifugao rice terraces. The next time you’re in Ifugao, try to see not just one – but all five UNESCO-inscribed Ifugao Rice Terraces sites. The first-ever property to be included in the cultural landscape category of the World Heritage List, this inscription pertains to five sites: the Batad Rice Terraces, Bangaan Rice Terraces (both in Banaue), Mayoyao Rice Terraces (in Mayoyao), Hungduan Rice Terraces (in Hungduan) and Nagacadan Rice Terraces (in Kiangan).
Discover more destinations to see, experience, and savor in the Cordillera Administrative Region. Visit these links to map out your next journey across the Philippines.
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All these tourist destinations have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.
To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel, Apple Store, or Google Playstore.