Feels Like Heaven

(A Rugged Journey to the Upper Realms of Luzon Island in the Cordilleran Mountain Range to Mountain Province)

If you’re coming from the south of the Philippines, expect for a long journey ahead, moreso if you’re from other country. From Bicol, if you’ll take a bus, you’ll spend 10-12 hours’ land travel, then from Manila to Baguio City, 5-6 hours and from Baguio City to Bauko, Mountain Province (my sister-in-law’s home residence, Joy Peang), another 6 hours, totaling to 24 hours. Whew! But don’t be easily discouraged. Most of the times, what give you satisfaction is when you surpass difficult and challenging situations.

At Baguio City, a private service has been arranged in advance, so we won’t face all the hassles of commuting. The rugged terrain and the long winding road would make you feel drowsy, so be ready with medicine or just relax, put on your earphones, listen to music.

After the long travel, you’ll be surely mesmerized by all the pleasing sights in Mountain Province. The “Feels like heaven!” remark would be most fitting for this kind of paradise on the highlands. The sky seems so near, you would feel touching it and the heavens seem to open up for you. You’ll be left speechless, wondering how beautiful the world is. Get the chance to capture this view by taking a selfie, or a group photo, whichever applies.

Mountaineers would say that when your on top of a hill or mountain, you’ll feel victorious, as if someone who just won a lottery. As they trudged for so long, the thought of reaching the summit meant a wonderful surprise. In Mountain Province, the temperature would reach 20 degrees celsius, so it would be best if you have packed sweatshirts and/or jackets beforehand. As for my family, their destination was the Municipality of Bauko in Mountain Province.

The towering pine trees overlooking the mountains give an eerie feeling to someone who have fear of the heights.

Even my mother-in-law who admits having the fear of heights was able to let loose of fears and enjoyed the scenery and the stunning rice terraces.

After a day of rest, the next morning, you may head to the nearest farms and join in the fun with the locals while picking vegetables that you may cook for your meals. I always like this activity. It is fun and worth your time.

In Mountain Province, they grow crops like carrots, cabbages, potatoes and tomatoes. They would sell it and/or bring them to Baguio City market.

Aside from vegetable picking, tourists may head to Sagada, about 2 hours travel from Bauko, Mountain Province for a visit to Sagada Cave, Coffin Cave and Sagada Church.

Have a feel of their indigenous practices as you see hanging coffins on the way to Sagada and their Coffin Cave. People in Mountain Province bury their dead in their caves and sometimes hang the coffins on the trees.

There’s a small store when you enter the Sagada Cave. Go straight to the Coffin Cave and see for yourself how the locals would bury their dead.

Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better”. At least once in a while, break the monotony of your life, pack your bags, travel and get close to nature. Life is more than living for work.

From Sagada, our family went to Bontoc for lunch. And at 1.30 PM they started their trip back and arrived in Baguio City around 7 PM. To cap the day off, they enjoyed sweet treats like a cup of strawberry taho (beancurd) and fresh strawberries.

Special thanks to Julie Ann R. Baroso, my sister-in-law and Juliet R. Baroso, mother-in-law for the photos and the stories shared for this blog.

Published by Maria Cristina Gino Baroso

Education advocate and travel lover

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