From the Highland province of Benguet, we proudly extend our warm invitations to all adventure enthusiasts around the world. Considered as the gateway to the Cordillera provinces in northern Philippines, Benguet is just a five hour drive from Manila via the historic Kennon road. Just five kilometers from Baguio City is the sprawling valley of La Trinidad, the strawberry capital of the Philippines and the set of the Provincial Government.
Next to the City of Baguio in terms of tourist arrivals, Benguet is a place where vacation is really worth. Its cool climate, beautiful sceneries, peace loving and hospitable people are factors that make a trip to this place truly enjoyable. For use, one can roam around the province’s exotic places without fear of being harassed or disturbed. Reserved in their manners, Benguet people are proud to have the lowest crime rate in the Region, if not the entire Philippines.
The ethnic groupings of Ibalois, Kankanaeys and Kalanguyas, whose customs and traditions have been zealously preserved, despite the onslaught of western civilization, can refresh and reinvigorate a tired soul after coming from a long trek. Meeting and conversing with them especially during occasions or festivities can give you the real touch to who they are as people.
Among the places worth visiting are: Mt. Pulag, in Kabayan, with an elevation of 9,640 feet above sea level, it is the 2nd highest peak in the Philippines. Known in Benguet folklore as the “Play Grounds” of the gods, it is a place where one can relieve himself in work loads and fatigue. On a clear sunny day, one can have a panoramic and dramatic view over the lowland provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan, the lush green vegetation below and the pillows of clouds hovering just above the heads are worth the physical effort of an uphill climb. Savoring the mountain’s cool and fresh air is also proven to be therapeutic. However a trip to Mt. Pulag is not complete without dropping by at the site of the famous centuries-old mummies in Kabayan. Preserved thousand of years in caves and in hanging coffins, these mummies can be compared to those mummies in Egypt. Except as proof to a civilization that existed long before, these mummies’ origin will forever remain a mystery.
Not to be missed when coming to Benguet are the strawberry fields of La Trinidad. The only one of a kind in the Philippines, picking fruits in the midst of the sprawling fields gives a real taste of the place. Through the efforts of the local officials, La Trinidad became famous for producing the World’s largest strawberry shortcake in 2004 It is now enshrined in the Guiness Book of World Record. This feat of achievement eventually placed La Trinidad in the world map and earning her rightful place for being a world record achiever.
Also considered to be of memorable experience is a tour on the criss-crossing underground tunnels of Benguet Corp. Located in Itogon and popularly known as the Balatoc mine tour, descending with a considerable depth with a miner’s gear and a real blast, gives a truly unique experience. It is a trip so exhilarating that it takes your breath away.
A visit to northern part of Benguet via the highest highway elevation system in the Country, the Halsema Highway, is also a must because of the unique terrain and the cool climate. The three hour trip to the north is very enjoyable because of the winding roads over several mountains that give a rejuvenating experience as beautiful sceneries of garden terraces carved out from the mountain slopes unfolds. Embroidered by human hands, these terraces speak of the industry of the sturdy people from their respective places.
With all these worth seeing places, we cordially invite you to come and enjoy a visit to these places and discover other spots with imposing beauties. Benguet’s verdant mountains far away from urban influence are quiet perfect for camping sites. Truly, Benguet is a place where adventure is worth remembering; a place conducive for retreat of weary souls in search for inner peace and momentous solitude.
NESTOR B. FONGWAN