The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is one of the 18 regions in the Philippines comprised by six provinces which include Benguet, Ifugao, Abra, Apayao, Mountain Province, and Kalinga. Baguio City and Tabuk City are two cities found in the region.
Well known for its mountainous terrain, the region is a haven for hikers, mountaineers, backpackers, and regular tourists. Local and foreign travelers have been consistently flocking to the region’s majestic rice terraces, jaw dropping waterfalls, and mountains that are higher than the clouds. More importantly, people come here to experience the cool weather and the crisp scent of pine trees.
Thirty percent of your life will not be complete unless you spend your holiday in one or two provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region. On a more specific note, if you are one of the millions of overseas Filipino workers who are dying to spend a holiday back home, then this mountainous region is perfect for you! It boasts the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, the Hanging Coffins in Mountain Province, Apo Wang-od who is the only traditional “mambabatok” in Kalinga, Mount Pulag which is the highest mountain in Luzon, and of course, the highly urbanized city of Baguio. Getting to the Summer Capital of the Philippines is about 5-6 hours from Manila. From Baguio, you can easily travel to anywhere in the Cordilleran region.
Okay. So why am I encouraging you to visit Baguio and the rest of the provinces in the Cordilleras? Here are your top 6 reasons.
1. It is safe
In all fairness, there is a pretty low crime rate in the region. You will never worry about snatchers when walking down session road. Taxi drivers will provide you with your exact change. People are generally polite, honest, and generous.
2. It is relatively cheaper
Even if Baguio is a highly urbanized metro city, the cost of living is still lower compared to Manila, Cebu, and Davao. Hotels may be expensive in the city but there are a lot of transient houses that come in cheaper prices. You do not need air conditioners because the air is already cool and cozy. Baguio is a small city you can actually walk from places to places.
If you are mountaineering in the region, you really won’t spend much since some houses are available for overnight stay ins. Food is grown everywhere. While trekking, you can pick up wild berries for snacks, drink fresh water from a spring, and gather sayote and mix it with a can of sardines for dinner. Yummy!
3. You feel connected with yourself
Remember the movie “That Thing Called Tadhana?” The characters trekked Mt. Kiltepan in Sagada, Mountain Province and reflected about the world and themselves. That experience helped them when they got back to their real worlds.
Sometimes, going to places where trees abound helps you establish an inner peace with yourself. You feel more secured. Your life goals are re-evaluated. You understand yourself even better. It is because the positive ions in nature coupled with the cool weather blends with the body’s negative charges. As a result, you feel a significant shift in your aura. You become happier.
4. You are one with nature
When you are standing at the peak of a mountain, you have a sense of understanding of the whole world. You learn to appreciate. You learn to love more. When you cross a mighty river, you learn to go with the flow but still, you don’t lose your sense of direction. That is being one with nature. Experiencing these allows you to fall in love with the place and to understand the people dwelling in it, which will lead us to the next reason.
5. You are culturally educated
When you visit the Cordillera Administrative Region, prepare yourself to be culturally immersed. Learn about the various ethnic groups, tradition, language, and practices. The region has a very rich cultural environment that some locals and foreigners opt to live here for good.
6. You are physically challenged
Aside from preparing yourself to be culturally immersed, you should also prepare yourself into some physical action. Hiking up and down the mountain is not that easy. “Easy” mountains are trekked for about 2-4 hours. “Medium” mountains can be hiked for about 5-8 hours. “Challenging” mountains allow for up to a day or two of hiking. It may be terrifying for some but the results are a-ma-zing!
It is very important for travelers to always hire a tour guide when mountaineering. There have been incidence of tourists who were lost in the mountains and could not find their way back. Also, to avoid congestion of tourists specifically during summer season, it is suggested that you schedule your vacation during non-peak season such as the months of January, February, June, July, and November.
So, when is your next vacation leave? Make sure to book your holiday in the spectacular, enigmatic, and tranquil Cordillera Administrative Region!
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