"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."

It is my curiosity that has brought me in this place. The energy is overwhelming that it gives me anxiety not being able to see the burial caves. I may have been exhausted in this mountain hiking but the reward just outweighs the effort. It is my curiosity that motivated me to do these things; it has given me the courage to finish what I started and to survive this expedition with wonderful stories to share, unforgettable scenes captured in photos, priceless memories stored by my brain and the emotions for these experiences tattooed in my heart.

Mt. Data, Alab Oriente, Bontoc

Finding a shelter in Mt. Data

Amazingly, parts of these expeditions are the stories of people I meet along the way. If you are following this series of posts I dubbed as ALAB ORIENTE DOCUMENTARIES SUB-SERIES, you know how I struggled to climb this mountain. I ran out of water, also energy, just because of this abrupt decision of seeing the burial caves and the PETROGLYPHS

Alab Petroglyphs | Prehistoric Etchings, Mind-Boggling Patterns

TEASER: "It was carved inside a space of time from another dimension of civilization even far from the dawn of Christianity..."
without any idea what is awaiting me out there.

I don't have enough knowledge of mountain hiking, and physically, I wasn't conditioned to do this. Reiterating, it was pack and go with no such plans.

Encountering people along the way can be both good and bad. You know what I mean. They could be either helpful or ruin your experience. As we go down the trail to the burial caves situated at the MOUNTAINS


Click the link to view the latest articles under the topic *Mountains* / Photo: Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines
of Alab Oriente, we encountered these people.

From afar, I can't keep myself to stay relaxed. I mean, I should not give my trust always to strangers, although I have trusted strangers many times, I am thinking about my younger brother who is with me right now. Going closer, our guide recognized these people. We are safe.

Mt. Data @ Alab Oriente

Friendly strangers at Mt. Data

Our guide shouted, "I have visitors from Ilocos." These individuals welcomed me with a huge cheerful smile. They are currently having a late lunch. 

So what are they doing here? I learned that they are tilling their highland rice fields then resting for a while as they take their lunch. Poor me, I haven't eaten my lunch yet. They offered me mangoes from Nueva Vizcaya, their dessert. Wow! I love it. I am eating with them now. I told them we have a lot of mangoes in ILOCOS SUR


FAST FACTS: Ilocos Sur is a heritage province in the Philippines. It has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One is the Sta. Maria Church in Sta. Maria town and the other one is the city of Vigan. / Photo: Karbo Festival in #Vigan
while they have a lot of pine trees here. And although there's lot of mangoes in my home province, eating with these welcoming people has made the mangoes so special and inexplicably delicious making the experience even more meaningful.

Mt. Data, Alab, Bontoc

This is the way we rest, if there's no shelter

I usually write a separate post for human encounters along the way in this blog. Because it is through this blog where I can save the memories of those times I am meeting people like them. 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.

One of them told me, "Remove your shoes and try to plow the field, take photos and tell your friends you plowed a field in Alab." I responded with a smile as I pick the second to the last slice of mango. I realized I have been eating all the sliced mangoes on the plate.

These people are accommodating but they are hesitant to pose before my low-profile camera. "We are shy to pose," said by one; because they looked dirty and untidy with their mud-covered feet.

Mingling with strangers while my guide (rightmost) is slicing a mango

They offered me food, but I refused politely because I know the food they cooked was just enough for their group. I was hungry, extremely, but I chose to decline the offer. They need the food more than I need. They have to get more energy to plow their rice fields.

Can you notice the stairs below? I climbed that. I mean, real stair, not these huge ladders for rice.

I should have plowed that but I just didn't have enough energy. I have been invited to plow the rice fields with them but I know I can never do it. I am not a farmer and I never tried farming. I might ruin their effort if I do so. Besides, my feet are aching already and I don't want to trek with muddy feet -- it might add to the difficulty, although I am already halfway to the finish line.

After that great moment with these locals, we have to continue the expedition. As I have mentioned in my earlier posts for this series, I am going to see the burial caves that are so mysterious.

The way to the Ganga Caves

The expedition that seemed so endless in this series is nearing its finale as we are now going to the ancient burial caves covered with mysteries and legends with weird way of burial method if we compare it in our time.

Believed to be an ancient dweller resting inside a thick pinewood capsule

Yes, I saw this! Creepy! Creepy! I now have goosebumps, and the reason for the goosebumps now is the thinking that I am in a different dimension. A dimension of the dead. This time, seriously, I am thinking of ghosts under the sunlight.

This coffin I spotted was so alone, until.... Ganga Caves is a collective name for the three burial caves in Alab. As I explore the first cave, what I saw was whoaaaa! Why and how they made this?! Really mysterious, it is a feast of the dead! I suddenly missed the strangers I met a while back. It is a separation anxiety to that effect but I have to continue the journey. The past hour, I was with people who are so alive. This time, I will be surrounded by dead people, and skeletons... /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." / Photo: Photo: Mt. Gotong | Bontoc, Mountain Province
| 3

Alab Petroglyphs | Prehistoric Etchings, Mind-Boggling Patterns

TEASER: "It was carved inside a space of time from another dimension of civilization even far from the dawn of Christianity..."
| 4 | 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


Cultural Experience with AMMUTAN TRIBE of Manabo

TEASER: "There was a language barrier but the mere fact that I am witnessing a portion of their culture has made me think that these people are simply unique and blessed!"

Meeting the Oldest Palaspas Weaver for Palm Sunday at 74 years old

TEASER: "All I can see to the face of Lola Conchita is the sincerity in her craft -- that she loves it so much in spite of her age. She started weaving Palaspas when she was 64 years old and at that age, she finds the "need" to do it to earn for a living."

The Trike Toploader Kids of Sallacong

TEASER: "I was following their way and even the sunset will signal that they have to take a rest for now, the sunrise will again come tomorrow giving them new strength, new hope and a new day to gather more woods for their daily living."

The People I Met Along the Mestizo River

TEASER: "Their lives start to revolve with these things that many of us living at the cities and working at the office don't know or not aware at all."

Baguio City | Romance at the Burnham Park

TEASER: "The flowers around the Burnham Lake seemed like smiling and cheering as they too witness this precious moment in their life time as me personally, is also cheering deep inside my heart as a witness how successful they are in managing a long distance relationship."

Tabaco City | Bonsai Kids: What Future Awaits Them?

TEASER: "I can feel the pain, the feeling of inferiority but the motivation for success and outlook for dreams is very high and will remain high."

What a Wacky Igorot!

TEASER: "Those smiles in their faces really looked enlightening seeing our indigenous brothers enjoying their time. But, behind those smiles, is an issue I have seen."

A Second Chance | My Tribute to My Brother (Personal Post)

TEASER: "I know, he is not genius, intelligent, high-performing student. He is only simple, shy-type and silent but he has proved to me as his elder brother that my expectation to him was wrong and just a mere underestimation."



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. Those are some incredibly impressive views! And the burial caves look really interesting. Seeing something so personal from such a long time ago must cause some serious thinking.

  2. Shawna | Curious thinking, that is :) Hihihihi! :D

  3. The place looks nice and very enchanting. The locals looks very simple yet so accommodating. Thanks for sharing your experience at this place Edmar!

  4. Natatakot ang mga burial places but given a chance go din ako. After all naman it seems to compensate you so more than enough to say hooray!

  5. You are so adventurous I always wish I have the guts. Burial cave is a lot of courage to see but I can sense the excitement when you see those burial inside a cave. I can't wait for the continuation of this adventure to the Mountain Province

  6. I'm sure it was hard to decline food already being offered but still you chose to not take it because it was limited. Aww that was considerate of you!

  7. I think the best part of this trip was bonding with the locals.

  8. Ron | It has always been my pleasure sharing Ron! :)

  9. Christeen Cereno | You got it. It was worth it, at least on my part :)

  10. Anne Mary | To tell the truth, it was a mixture of excitement and fear (because I am with dead people) hehehe..

  11. Rochkirstin Santos | Ahaha... I was just an incidental find, so ayoko namang magpaka-bisita, hehehe... I know my limits :)

  12. On mu bucketlist sana dis year , ang cool ng blog mo

  13. KULAPITOT | Wow! punta na! Help promote this place ha. Thanks!

  14. You are very adventurous Brother :-) The pictures are breath-taking views :-) This is one adventure that I bet will remain in your memories forever. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us :-)

  15. Wow that's a great adventure! Although it's a long, long walk but for sure a remarkable experience to cherish for the rest of your lives.

  16. Jessica Cassidy | You're always welcome Jess! Thanks for reading, I appreciate it :)

  17. Jhoveleen | Indeed, unforgettable experience that I will surely treasure :)

  18. Wow! I can only see this in Magazine and TV. I hope to visit the place one day and interview some locals. If ever, I think that I will need a lot of courage to explore the burial caves, it just looks so creepy.

  19. nuts | Actually, it was creepy. At first I thought I can handle it but my emotion wasn't able to handle it at first, however, I overcame it and enjoyed the rest of the investigation. :)

  20. Your experience just shows the incredible hospitality Pinoys in the hinterlands shower on unexpected guests. I'd be spooked though if I'm visiting that burial cave alone!

  21. Dennis | Yes po! And don't go alone po if ever, you might be lost especially it is your first time. Anyway, there are guides naman po available :)

  22. Mt.Province is one of the most historic places in the Philippines as well as it offers the most stunning views you could ever imagine. It is one of my bucket lists for I love to travel on far places and do some adventures and of course picture taking.

  23. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen | Programmed in my genes, ahaahaha!

  24. Motorola DROID Mini GPS | Please do go and tell the people about your experience. Actually, I am advocating for the development of tourism in Alab Oriente. I hope I am going the right direction :)


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