Benguet is one of the six provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region and my birthplace. In this article, I’m going to tell you why you should visit the other parts of Benguet and not only check Baguio City.
Why You Should Visit Benguet
One of the main sources of living in this province is mining. Benguet is so rich in minerals that three large mining companies operate here including Lepanto Mining Corporation, Philex Mining, and Benguet Corporation. Some of the minerals extracted here are chromite, gold, copper, pyrite, silver, and limestone. If you’re interested in mines, Balatoc Mines in Itogon, Benguet has been offering tours since 1997. Here, you can experience what it’s like to be a miner for two hours. Pretty cool, huh?
On the other hand, if you love gemstones, you should definitely check out Klutter Lab. They sell jewelry made from gemstones like amethyst, quartz, and jasper. Some of these are proudly from the province. I bought some of their stuff, and I love it. If only I had enough money, to buy their whole collection. (I wish!)
Did you know that the province of Benguet is considered as the Salad Bowl of the Philippines?
Think of every kind of vegetable you know. Benguet probably has it. After all, the main source of living in the province is agriculture. If you are a vegan or just want to have a healthy lifestyle, think of moving to the province.
Prices here for vegetables are cheaper than the ones in the lowlands. Where else can you buy a kilo of sayote for 20 to 30 pesos? In my hometown in Mankayan, my mother rarely buys vegetables in the market because we can just pick sayote, tomatoes, kamote leaves and so much much from the backyard.
Also, our neighbors have a huge farmland so depending on the season, we can buy from them cheap carrots, cabbages, or lettuce. However, there are times when they just give it to us for free because ‘they are rejects’ anyway. As such, our rabbits and pigs get so healthy eating fresh vegetables every day!
Our region is named Cordillera probably because there are a lot of mountains here. Everywhere you go, you see mountains (the reason why I love going to the beach). This is also why we are called Igorots. Igorot is a word which means people from the mountains. Bet you didn’t know that.
Anyways, if you love to hike, Benguet is your mini paradise. You can trek to the third highest mountain in the Philippines, Mt. Pulag. I went camping there with my friends one time, and it was a beauty to behold! Lucky me, I got to see the sea of clouds during my first climb.
Other mountains you can hike are:
- Mt. Ulap
- Mt. Ugo
- Mt. Cabuyao
- Mt. Kabunian
- Mt. Lobo
- Mt. Osdung
- Mt. Pigingan
- Mt. Purgatory
- Mt. Tabayoc
- Mt. Tenglawan
- Mt. Timbak
- Mt. Sto Tomas
And if you can hike a mountain, you can camp there too! Just imagine sleeping under the stars at night. I have to warn you though, it’s cold here at night. Camping in Mt. Pulag? Freezing! You have to pack at least two or three jackets to keep you warm. Pack in a few essentials and don’t forget the food. Be careful when it comes to cooking using your portable stoves, though. There was a case of a forest fire in Mt Pulag last January because of a portable butane gas.
If you want to camp in Baguio city, there are a few campsites available. Outside the town, however, there are unlimited choices.
Have you ever been to Sagada? If you have, you’ve probably experienced our nerve-wracking Halsema Highway with its twists and turns. Look out the window, and you can see the cliff beside the road. A lot of people died here and its dangerous especially during the rainy season when landslides are very common.
Despite this, hundreds of vehicles from several municipalities of Benguet and Mt. Province pass by this highway. For 23 years now, I have enjoyed riding the public vehicles and passing by Halsema to get to my hometown. Who wouldn’t? The view here is amazing. Look out the window, and you see the blue mountain ranges, pine trees, flowers, orchids, and so much more! At night time, you get to have a front row seat to look at the stars which is why I always choose the window seat.
If you’re sick and tired of the hot weather, plan your escape and come to Benguet. Just make sure to use appropriate clothing. Don’t come here wearing super short shorts and tank tops, unless you want to freeze to death. For the coldest weather, visit Atok and check out the trending Northern Blossom Flower Farm.