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Cordillera Mountains - Luzon Travel Guide
Luzon’s central region is dominated by rugged mountain ranges. The largest among these mountain ranges is the Cordillera. Cordillera has been featured in one romantic Philippine song. And Cordillera is the home of one of my exceptional friends. He belongs to one of the distinct tribal groups in the region and he is proud of his heritage.
He has told us stories of how he had to cross rivers and climb mountains in order to get to his school. Some of us were skeptical about this. We were pretty sure that he was only exaggerating. But when we had the chance to spend a weekend vacation, we all grabbed the opportunity to visit my friend’s Cordillera.
We were warned that it’s not going to be an easy and touristy kind of vacation. He will be our only tour guide and we must not be choosy about what we eat and where we sleep. Then, on a Saturday afternoon, our guide brought us to little village, somewhere in
Baguio, where low-ceilinged huts seemed to face each other in a rough circle. It is a part of their tribe’s ancestral land. Most houses have wooden benches at the front and a small vegetable garden at the back. They were all friendly as our friend gave us a whirlwind tour of their village.
The names of folks he rattled off never stayed in my mind. And then it was evening and time to sleep. City people don’t really sleep early but since there is nothing to do, we all lay down on a wooden floor covered with woven mat.
Early morning, we started off with lively steps as we made our ascent towards Mt. Pulog. This is the highest point in Luzon Island and it is 2,930 meters above sea level. Each of us brought a couple of shirts to change into when we can no longer stand our sweat. We also brought several canned goods for our lunch.
Our friend showed us how to press a can with our foot (from top to bottom) so that it occupies the least space. And he brought a garbage bag because he doesn’t want us to throw litter anywhere.
Every hour, we stop and take pictures (like all tourists do) of each other and of the vista around us. We were going higher and higher and the air became cooler. The sun was no help because it kept hiding behind the clouds. We stopped for lunch near the peak.
While eating we relished the view of other mountains before us. We felt like conquerors and lords of the land. An hour later, we decided to begin our descent. I was surprised to notice that going down is a lot more difficult than going up. Probably because you know where you will land if you missed a footing.
The sun was down when we reached the tribal village. We were tired, but we were fulfilled.