The other side

Chit U. Juan (The Philippine Star) - February 11, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Almost everyone thinks of Baguio as a destination when summer starts. But have you ever visited the other side of the mountain? After many years I took a trip to the eastern part of Northern Luzon –specifically Nueva Vizcaya. It used to be just a stopover on our way to Tuguegarao, Cagayan; Kalinga or Banaue, Ifugao. This time we decided to stop in Nueva Vizcaya and make it our homebase for three days of coffee seminars and trainings.

We found a nice tourist inn called Gamponia’s Resort in Bambang, on the road to Dupax del Sur just off Maharlika Highway. It’s a small boutique inn with friendly staff and clean comfortable rooms.  You can ask them to cook breakfast of fried smoked fish, local longganisa and eggs.

After checking in you can visit the oldest church (est. 1776) and the oldest acacia tree, as our DOT fold out guide informed us. True enough, just three kilometers from the resort was the town of Dupax del Sur and the oldest acacia tree. Nice photo opportunity.







The next day you can drive up to Asipulo, Ifugao, a short two-hour drive up the mountains. You can also choose to just stay in Lagawe for coffee at the Ifugao Kape roasting facility  and then head to Banaue, for just another half an hour’s drive. View the rice terraces and then head back to Bambang.

From Bambang you can drive on the third day to Kasibu, a small town up in the higher elevations where coffee grows. The view is awesome! There you will see the town nestled between two mountain ranges and with rice fields in between. For a while you may think you are in Bali, Indonesia. But you are here in our own beautiful country.

I cannot get an overdose of all the greenery. All I know is that all that green made me think that coming to this side is way better than inching your way up to Baguio and inching your way around in the crowd.

Kasibu, Bambang, Dupax del Sur…all these towns are beautiful. You see lots of green and the prices are much more affordable than the very busy town of Baguio. It’s a tourist haven as it is pristine and quiet, cool and beautiful. Give it a try. Drive to the other side this summer.


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