Climbing Mt. Gotong in Bontoc
#BONTOCFAST FACTS: The capital town of Mountain Province, #Bontoc hosts majestic ancestral rice terraces, a prehistoric village, burial caves and the melting pot of culture in the province. / Photo: Palali Rice Terraces @ Alab Oriente, Bontoc in the MOUNTAIN PROVINCE
MOUNTAIN PROVINCEFAST FACTS: A destination of rich mountain culture and heritage, this province boasts of its burial caves, sacred grounds, local village practices and great natural wonders. / Photo: Lang-ay Cultural Festival. of the Northern Philippine highlands, there are 3500-year-old stone carvings depicting the ancient rituals and fertility rites of the mountain tribes collectively known as the Igorot.
WATERFALLSClick here to view the latest articles under the topic *Waterfalls* / Photo: Tappiyah Falls | Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines if it is not dry season.
Alab Village and Rice Terraces, Halsema Highway and Chico River below
MOUNTAINSClick here to view the latest articles under the topic *Mountains* / Photo: Mt. Polis | Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines of Gotong and Data are actually not the main attractions of Alab Village. They are just the "home" of the important things and destinations you'll see when you explore these mountains. So climbing these two mountains is a prerequisite, there's no way you can skip them.
Selfie from the jump-off point, Chico river at the back
The trek starts from the barangay hall. If you'll be lucky to get an excellent guide, he/she might tour you first around the village and let you meet their tribal elders and some of the oldest living people in ALAB ORIENTE
Alab Oriente, Bontoc | An Ancient Village with Sacred GroundsTEASER: "Prehistoric mountain dwellers inhabited this place leaving a mark that became an evidence of their existence." / Photo: Alab Oriente | Bontoc, Mountain Province, drop by at their house for some water or food like what happened to me then proceed to the hike (if you want a hint, email me or leave a message below and I'll give the cellphone number of my guide).
Then I just can't believe I have to climb a real mountain, it is my first time. It was a heterogeneous mix of emotions; excitement, uncertainty, worry, fear, happiness, advanced fulfillment and a little 0.1 percent of extraterrestrial emotion.
I am excited because this will be the first time that I am going to climb a mountain; right now it is not just one, but two. It has been a prepubescent dream for me to climb a mountain. I have been grossly curious what to see at the top and from the top of a mountain.
I have been quite uncertain if I can do it because I did not perform any warm-up, training or physical conditioning. The hike is gravely unplanned, spontaneous. Of course I don't want to die while hiking so there are some uncertainties but I defied them all.
My exhausted resting brother, I am the worrying kuya
The extraterrestrial emotion is just nothing. It is between my heart and my head. That would be somewhere in my throat. This might be the result of my interest to conspiracy theories.
Our guide, effortlessly climbing the 1000-step stair
My body fluids responsible for my blood circulation have been excreted much. Oh God, I don't want to die yet. My strength has been depleted gravely.
Pine trees of Mt. Gotong
About to finish Level 1
When we survived the Mt. Gotong's 1000-step stair, I thought it was already the end. To my surprise, we are still 1/4 of the total trail. From there, the real trek started. No more stair, just rough trails.
Some parts are muddy due to springs that come out the soil. Just take an optimum dose of caution because some parts are steep.
The guide said, we are now in Mt. Data. "Huh?" I responded. I asked where was the peak of Mt. Gotong and she apologized she forgot to tell me. Well, I just didn't mind about it but there is still a little regret in me that I didn't just even notice the summit of the first real mountain I ever climbed.
Up close with the rice terraces
Here, we were already TREKKING
TREKKINGClick here to view the latest articles under the topic *Trekking*. / Photo: Baringcucurong | #Suyo, Ilocos Sur, Philippines through the rice terraces of the higher regions of Alab Oriente. We were with the rice paddies ready for planting, up close. They seem like an ultra huge ladder that stretch down below and at some points, upward.
I could not just even imagine how the farmers who own these fields carry their tools and all the things they need for farming. Personally it could be a suicide based on my shallow knowledge of farming rice. I struggled to climb these mountains. How more if I will come back here every now and then to take care of the fields? And during harvest, what inter-galactic technology they used to bring down the sacks of rice considering I could not even just imagine myself surviving this mountain hike. Huh. These mountain people, I surmise, are naturally born superhumans.
Mt. Data Trek through rice paddies
Selfie, trek to the summit of Mt. Data
RICE TERRACESClick here to view the latest articles under the topic *Rice Terraces*. / Photo: Bugnay Rice Terraces | #Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines that have been a great help for us. The steep mountain slope has been flattened relatively.
I wanted to drink from a pitcher, but it is pitcher plant this time
...along the way, I saw for the very first time a pitcher plant. It was my guide who told me about it. I may not notice it without her telling me.
Now my next question after my thirst has been relieved is where are the 3500-year-old stone carvings also known as Alab Petroglyphs? The almost 2.5-hour trek to the top has been so tiring for a first-timer like me.
Breathtaking view from Mt. Data de Alab Oriente
The health-suspicious water has relieved me somehow. I can get physical again. The breathtaking view below I am seeing made me forget all the physically challenging things I did the last 2 and a half hours.
Ahhh... If only I could stay and live in this kind of place everyday, then I would. But I guess, my fate may not let me so that I will still have that thirst for ADVENTURE
ADVENTUREClick here to view the latest articles under the topic *Adventure* / Photo: Palang | #San Quintin, Abra, Philippines everyday whenever I am in a place where I don't get thirsty with water. So it is the thirst for adventure here.
Photo Gallery (hover to see captions)
Selfie on a cllif near the top of Mt. Data taken by my guide
I said, "Why you did not tell me beforehand? I should have avoided this part, I am afraid I might destroy the marks."
Then she responded with a smile and I started examining the stones while she was telling me the story of the legend that happened exactly at the place where I am standing. Those were crazy marks!
I thought the stories of Lola Basiang is long gone. But in this place, the MYTHOLOGY AND URBAN LEGENDS
MYTHOLOGY AND URBAN LEGENDSClick here to view the latest articles under the topic *Mythology and Urban Legends* / Photo: Cape Bojeador Lighthouse | #Burgos, Ilocos Norte are so alive while the marks of ancient past are so real. Lola Basiang must be happy if she hears this. I was looking for the carvings excitedly. How do they look? What is written on those huge stone cliff and why it was in the cliff? /to be continued...
*ALAB ORIENTE DOCUMENTARIES SUB-SERIES | 1