The Cordillera Bontoc
ROVING IMP - Kristalle Marie Garcia-Kekert () - January 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Sitting on the Cordillera range in Northern Luzon, Bontoc is taken from “bun” (heap) and “tok” (top), meaning mountain. It is also possibly the most urbanized town (might even almost call it a little city) in the mountain province.

The main tourist attraction in this town is by far the eye-catching Bontoc Museum (located within the Catholic Sisters Convent and Saint Vincent’s Elementary School); I reckon one of the best ones in this country. This museum features collections of remarkable gifts such as artifacts, ritual objects and heirloom pieces acquired from people in the 16 different districts of Bontoc. There is also a connecting outdoor museum known as the Mini Bontoc Village, which features a representation of the traditional Bontoc life and a recreation of an authentic native village. I could spend hours imagining in amazement how people had once lived under these circumstances! An overweight live pig in its pigpen is also one highlight in this native village, not to miss! The museum is also complete with a library (with a collection of intensive research materials on Cordillera history, art and cultural traditions), as well as a souvenir shop.

Bontoc, quite interestingly, has a public market where you will find some wonderful sorts of bargains, a few banks along the high street aligned together with many other local shops. However, this town only has one main souvenir shop (located above Land Bank and close to the Rizal Memorial Plaza) but complete with locally made items any tourist would normally look for. Ask any local if you can’t find your way getting there; they would know what you’re talking about and would be very happy to help.

Further along, a few kilometres up the hill, is a road that will take you to a village nearby to view the Mainit Hot Springs or on to another attraction, the Maligcong Rice Terraces. Not too many tourists are familiar with these two places, so don’t expect anything too crowded and be prepared for some peace and quiet, which is what you’ll need on a holiday such as this.

There are many places to accommodate you in the town of Bontoc, complete with all the necessities and basic facilities. Best to book in advance and avoid the peak season for a chance of getting better rates. There are some nice places to eat around town, but bear in mind that your hotel or bed and breakfast is likely to have a restaurant, as well so meals are never really a problem.

BONTOC BONTOC MUSEUM CATHOLIC SISTERS CONVENT AND SAINT VINCENT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LAND BANK MAINIT HOT SPRINGS MALIGCONG RICE TERRACES MINI BONTOC VILLAGE NORTHERN LUZON RIZAL MEMORIAL PLAZA
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