"It was carved inside a space of time from another dimension of civilization even far from the dawn of Christianity..."

Undecipherable, there is no accurate tool to decode and interpret the ancient markings etched on the surface of a boulder situated on a promontory. However, there are theories and legends. Carbon dating has calculated the age of these petroglyphs. They have been carved sometime not earlier than 1500 B.C. So that would be 3000+ years old.

Alab Petroglyphs

Alab Petroglyphs: ancient carvings of Alab Oriente

Then I started getting goosebumps, not that it is creepy but because I am stepping on an ancient rock with carvings made by early inhabitants 1500 years before the birth of my idol Jesus Christ. It was carved inside a space of time from another dimension of civilization even far from the dawn of Christianity and those times wherein Trojan Horse didn't evolve yet as a computer virus.

Mt. Data, Alab Oriente, Bontoc

Mt. Data: home of the Alab Petroglyphs

At the second part of this series, I narrated in detail how I climbed Mt. Gotong and Mt. Data and the photo above is a view you'll have to see before reaching the Alab petroglyphs.

It could be somehow tiring, yes, that's one of the consequences of this search but the award at the end of the trail outweighs the hardships we have to experience.

This huge rock formation is believed to contain the ancient fertility rites of the natives. Our guide said, the ancient natives carved lines and shapes on this stone interpreted now as organs for copulation. From here, there is a great question why carvings of sexual organs were placed. It is mind-boggling. It is mysterious.

Alab Petroglyphs, Bontoc

A chunk of female sexual organ? Could you decipher?

Alab Petroglyphs, Bontoc

Many v*ginas? I hope I captured the right group.

Aside from the petroglyphs, there are also other carvings. Guess what? They are the modern type called vandals. Yes, some climbers have added other markings here confusing premature archaeologists and some curious onlookers.

Aside from sexual organs, there are also markings believed to be bows and arrows etched on this stone. These bows and arrows have been related to a legend concerning the mass death of natives during those times.

Alab Petroglyphs, Bontoc

Bows and arrows? Never mind.

After examining the etchings, I asked my guide to take some photos of me. That would be a selfie type as a remembrance. I walked away from this boulder both satisfied and horrified (because of the vandalism and 'alien' marks).

This area has been declared in 1975 as a national cultural treasure and under the UNESCO World Heritage Site tentative list (for the petroglyphs and petroglaphs of the Philippines). Wow! National Cultural Treasure, that is. How about National Cultural Treasure Protection to that effect?

Right now, it is not clear, if there are efforts being done to preserve these treasures. Maybe it is just me, unaware of the agencies that protect it. Poor me, it is either I am ignorant or I just don't know. I would want to know, if ever, on how the protection is done. I would be glad if it is done in actual, because I hate written forms of declaration. The latter only declare protection, but usually, there is no action, a form of malnutrition in execution and legislation. How would the judiciary rule that eh?

Alab Petroglyphs, Bontoc

With my brother stepping onto an ancient huge stone

Alab Petroglyphs, Bontoc

Selfie with the Alab petroglyphs underneath my shoes

The guide started to tell me the details of the legend from those bows and arrows. That sometime during time immemorial, there has been a group of mountain dwellers (believed to be warriors) with their bows and arrows who stayed on this huge rock. They played a game and that is to throw an arrow the farthest possible distance from where they were situated.

Unknown to them, there was a pregnant woman on the rice terraces below tilling the laddered rice fields. This woman has been hit by an arrow. Some people believe that this woman was a spirit, a paranormal entity.

Alab Oriente, Bontoc

The rice terraces below, veiled by these pine trees

At first, nothing happened to these mountain dwellers. In fact, they took a nap on this promontory. Waking up, they saw inviting foods around that they just can't resist to partake. 

They have no idea where this food came from. But they believe it was like a gift from the spirits or just prepared by some members of the group. Out from their knowledge, these foods have been prepared by the paranormal being they hit below. These foods contained poison.

They descended from the mountain and brought the food with them. It was like a party but unknown to them, this will be their last party because everyone who will eat these inviting foods will surely die. After that huge meal, everyone who consumed the food died. It was a revenge from the innocent spirit they hit with an arrow.

The guide said their bodies have been placed to several shallow caves, called Ganga Caves, of the mountains of Alab Oriente. Our guide stopped telling the story of the legend and prompted me if I am ready for the next destination. We are going to see the burial grounds of these warriors who died due to hitting, unwittingly, a spirit.
Ganga Caves, Alab, Bontoc

Ganga Cave marker

So how do these caves look like? How do their coffins look like? How are the coffins of this mass grave are arranged? How many coffins are there? And she said "caves." That would be plural. Hmmm... more than one cave? How would be the trail? I know it will never be easy again.

A lot of question clings in my mind. I just can't wait to trek again and look for these graves. It is a great medicine to heal the blistering skin of curiosity.

Second human encounter in this exploration

As we continue the investigation, we met these people. They offered me food. Will I eat that?

This is my second encounter of humans in this adventure. At this point of time, it is a group. Uh, I don't want to be trapped and what are they doing here? Will I ever see the mass grave of the warriors starred in the legend believed by the locals to be responsible for these petroglyphs? And who are these people? /to be continued...


Alab Oriente, Bontoc | An Ancient Village with Sacred Grounds

TEASER: "Prehistoric mountain dwellers inhabited this place leaving a mark that became an evidence of their existence."
| 2

Mt. Gotong, Mt. Data | Hiking the Mountains of Myths and Urban Legends

TEASER:"...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.
| 3 | 4

Finding Shelter in Alab's Mt. Data: Happy Memories with Strangers

TEASER: "By time, I may forget them, so, I have to write a story about that experience that I may still remember those precious memories every time I do the recalling of happy moments."
| 5

Ganga Burial Caves | Mystical People, Mysterious Grave

TEASER: "I experienced goosebumps upon entering this area of dead bodies that made me feel I was in a different dimension."
| 6

Evidence of Jar Burial in the Philippines as seen in Bontoc

TEASER: "They left an evidence to let us know they once existed but the complete details on why they have to do this is a thing only known to them."
| 7

Ganga House, the Ruined Pig Pen and Goodbye Mystical Mountain

TEASER: "Still, it is significant because it is an ancient mark, an evidence of prehistoric civilization. The trek continues..."
| 8

The Last Generation of Overt Igorots in the Cordilleras

TEASER: "Each second counts, and each second that has passed means losing another second of their generation."

Bontoc #TownExploration Series

Map showing the Location of #Bontoc

Click map to view latest articles covering Mountain Province


Nuestra Seniora de Asuncion Church of Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur

TEASER: "Because of oldness, the walls are mossy. The old wall has become a very fertile place for algae and other aerial plants to thrive."

A Church and a Bell Tower Atop a Hill: Since 1590

TEASER: "The picturesque bellfry sits on a hilltop (atop the Calvario Hill) overlooking a vivid green vast of pastureland and the mountain view of the Province of Abra."

Vigan City | It is Always New at Vigan's Oldest Barber Shop

TEASER: "...in spite of its oldness, it always create new things. In Mabuhay barber shop, there is new thing everyday."

Paoay Church | The Clash of Catholicism and Buddhism

TEASER: "But what intrigues me is that, how the architectural influences of Java specifically Borobudur,a Buddhist Temple reached Paoay, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines?"

McDonald's Vigan | An Issue Behind the Charm

TEASER: "They voiced out their emotions and opinions. With this, the 'church' is included in the issue."

The Real Color Behind Vigan's Painted Ancestral Houses

TEASER: "Some old houses were demolished and now their real color is popping up. The color of greed is now slowly glowing in the old houses transforming them as attractive it could be for business."

Cagsawa Ruins | The Ruin that Never Been Ruined

TEASER: "A tragic past but that tragic past where many people died and left homeless have sacrificed themselves to give way for a vibrant industry for the future."

Paoay Church | The Multicultural Church

TEASER: "Quite strange that a church where the religion of the people rests and focused is the recipient of a multicultural influence that even Buddhist influences, Chinese and others have played a part to its existence."



Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano-Cordilleran. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For collaboration or partnership, email your business proposal at admin@edmaration.com.

Post A Comment:


  1. Whoa. I could not interpret or vividly see the markings on the stone floor maybe because I'm not physically there. Indeed, these are mind-boggling patterns. It's interesting to visit a place like this.

  2. Rochkirstin Santos | Actually, I also had a hard time deciphering the markings, maybe because I am not an expert about archaeology, hehe.

  3. whoa! this is the first time I'm actually seeing petroglyphs in the Philippines. Very interesting - if only we could understand what those mean.

  4. It would be nice to study this symbols to understand past rituals. You have a nice vantage point of your selfie with the rice terraces.

  5. Franc Ramon | Frankee, actually, it motivates me to get a career in archeology, LOLS! And yes, I agree with this amazing vantage point! :)

  6. These are very interesting and mysterious findings. Great views. It looks like it is not easy getting up there.

  7. Noel | Yes, actually it was not easy. But because I was so curios, go lang ng go! :)

  8. Dennis | OO nga po eh... If only... Wish there's someone who has already done a deep study of this :) Kaya napakainteresting kasi mysterious hehe...

  9. Wow, what an interesting place! I am starting to become really interested in all sorts of prehistoric art and carvings. It is so sad that people feel the need to deface these precious works! I agree with you, i really hope they get some sort of protection in place so these beautiful works aren't destroyed.

  10. Dana | They really have to be protected :) And yup, very interesting place justifiably demanding a protection :)


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