The Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR), or Cordilleras, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the North. The region comprises six provinces: Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province. Each one boasts scenic spots that make the 12-hour-long trip definitely worth it.
Here are some of the most visually stunning tourist spots in the Cordilleras.
Scenic spots in the Cordillera region
- Libtec Underground River
Libtec is an enchanting underground river located in Barangay Libtec, Dolores. From afar, it looks like a cave that protrudes at the surface. It also looks like an empty field but a flowing river up close. Speaking of the river, it mirrors the jutting stalagmites.
Libtec Underground River is both mysterious and eerie. The local folktales claim that the river is home to various sea creatures. However, this does not stop people from visiting the place.
- Apayao River
Known as one of the cleanest rivers in the Philippines, the Apayao River passes through the province’s six municipalities, from Calanasan to Luna. If you ride a motorboat along the unpolluted river, you will see lots of fish in the riverbed and wildlife in the surrounding forest. Nonetheless, its beauty is best appreciated through its charming waterfalls of varying lengths.
Apayao River can get busy, especially during the summer months. Both locals and tourists from other provinces flock to the place. In addition, the river provides access to other scenic destinations in Apayao, like the Agamatan National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Mt. Pulag National Park
Mt. Pulag is a UNESCO heritage site, serving as the spine of the Grand Cordillera Central. Mt. Pulag is expansive; it covers CAR and Cagayan Valley.
Mt. Pulag is every mountain climber’s dream summit to tackle since it is the highest in Luzon and the second-highest mountain in the Philippines. The terrain is very rugged, with steep to very steep slopes. At the mountain peak are rolling areas, though the summit is covered with dwarf bamboo plants and grass.
- Kabayan Mummies at Ambuklao
Kabayan Mummies is also called the Fire Mummies of the Philippines. The ancient burial site is located along Kabayan Mountain slopes. Some remains can be found inside the nearby natural caves.
Kabayan Mummies was declared an endangered site. Some mummies were stolen when it was discovered in the early 20th century. If not looting, some visitors vandalized not just the place but also the mummies. For fear of vandalism, the local government did not disclose the exact locations of 50 to 80 mummies that were also discovered in the area.
- Philippine War Memorial Shrine
The Philippine War Memorial Shrine was created to commemorate the end of the Second World War. The shrine is a concrete pyramid structure resembling a vast Ifugao native house.
More specifically, the shrine was built to immortalize the sacrifices of the Ifugao and American troops for defeating General Tomoyuki Yamashita. This is the reason why it was also called the Yamashita Shrine. Since it was located in Kiangan, Ifugao, the locals also called it the Kiangan Shrine.
- Kiangan Museum
Kiangan Museum or Ifugao Museum highlights the culture and heritage of the local tribes. The museum has an extensive collection of artifacts, such as wooden carvings and dishes, produce baskets, metal weapons, musical instruments, native dresses, jewelry and accouterments, and ritual objects.
- Banaue Rice Terraces
Of course, the Banaue Rice Terraces will be included in this list of scenic tourist attractions in the Cordilleras. This is man-made, showing the ingenuity of the Ifugaos.
There are other rice terraces in Ifugao and other regional provinces, especially the Mountain Province.
- Aguinaldo Hill
Aguinaldo Hill was named after General Emilio Aguinaldo. He once used the place as a common post during the Philippine-American war. This is where his troops stand against the Americans who were having their base in Abra. It is located in Barangay Asibang-Pinukpuk Road.
- Balbalasang National Park
Balbasang National Park symbolizes the resistance of the Kalingas from logging firms. It is a protected area with Mount Balbalasang at the center hence the moniker “green heart of Cordillera.”
The park is known for its rich biodiversity and hilly landscapes. Balbasang National Park houses the country’s most intact pine forests.
Apart from the rice terraces and burial caves, including the Hanging Coffins of Sagada, another place in Mountain Province is worth visiting: Barlig. Woven baskets are their primary source of livelihood. Barlig is famous for its weaving houses, like Samoki Weaving House, Sagada Weaving House, and Sabanagan Loom Weaving.