Friday, 6 July 2018

Perambulating the Mountains of Bontoc

There are many hiking trails or great walks in the Bontoc boondocks. On this blog we tried to track some of them - one lost cattle trail at a time, one mountain at a time. And a man can only walk down so many roads. But first to the news...
On the north sits Maligcong. Maligcong is known for its rice terraces, but every sitio and barrio of Bontoc Municipality has its own terraced fields which are just as spectacular if not more awesome.

To the northeast looking towards Tocucan. Tocucan is the gateway to Sadanga and to the northern provinces of Kalinga and Apayao.

To the east in the middle range are the Samoki mountains. Bontoc is bounded farther out by the mountains of Can-eo.
Behind the clouds lies the Barlig range, on the border with Ifugao.

I went high above the clouds in the Mainit mountains - to look east beyond Can-eo at Mount Amuyao (above). Due south to Mount Kalawitan (below).


On the southeast - Talubin River, Talubin Saddle and Talubin Village.

Bayyo Mountains and fields are just a bit farther down around the Talubin bend.

And a wee bit farther up the Bayyo mountain road to Ifugao is Mount Polis gap.

From Rocky Top Mountain (Mount Fato), swinging the lens west to Dalican on the slopes.

On Paras near Mengmeng in the northwest of Mainit, Bontoc municipality is bounded in the far west by the Chonglian mountains bordering Abra. In 19-damo, after the fall of General del Pilar in Tirad Pass, the 33rd Regiment of the US army was hot on the trail of Emilio Aguinaldo. In the foreground is likely the route that Aguinaldo followed to escape to Kalinga. This west ridge of Mengmeng drops down to the headwaters of the Pasil River, which the katipuneros followed to Lubuagan. There Aguinaldo set up the first Capital of the first Republic of the Philippines. (Who would have thought you can learn about Philippine history from Chonglian?)

 Back in the south of Bontoc town is the Chico, here winding its way around the deep narrow valleys of the Albago.

Looking south, winding next to the Chico, the Halsema highway rolls low along a short section of D’Albago. Bontoc town extends to the boundary of Gonogon with Sabangan, where the 'mountain trail' commences the long ascent up Mount Data to Bauko.

That's the headline news, rather boundary lines NEWS (North-East-West-South). Now to the trails...
At various points along the main highway, mountain roads branch off to remote places - like this road to Dalican.

Other roads lead to remote towns. The Dakiltepan diversion of the road to Besao climbs to the high ridges in Sagada - the southern catchment of the Amlusong River. Lookout point is from the Dalican Saddle.
Again, how many roads...
I reckon that's about enough waffle from me. The pictures paint the roads better anyhow.
 As John Muir said: "The mountains are calling and I must go."

And the eagle has almost landed.

Chata plateau in Bontoc.

Overlooking Bontoc and Samoki from Pagturao, at a boundary monument,
and through a pine shelter.

Roundtop Mountain.

Guina-ang ricefields.

Ahh, the eagle has landed. - on a regal pine tree somewhere above Mainit Road.

Guina-ang.

One of the hidden charms of the Mainit mountains.
Some of the hills of Mainit.

Dalican ricefields viewed from the southwest outskirts of Mainit.

Sabfi Falls, Mainit.

On the Maligcong-Tocucan trail looking down towards Tocucan and the Chico River (though I fail to see the trail).

Tocucan.

Chapyosen Falls.

Chapyosen is a sitio (hamlet) of Can-eo.

The traditional agamang/al-lang (rice granaries) of Can-eo.

Payeo id Can-eo.

Can-eo. Ewww! How many ew's must a man walk down? Before he gets ma-ew-ew?
Just one more eww, the River Ping-eo.

Ad filig, inmeyak nanga-eo. Ngem na-angkhay nan ka-eo.
In tradition (custom law) and in common law, the boundary between any two villages separated by a mountain (such as Can-eo and Samoki), is generally the ridgeline of the mountain or mountains between the two villages. This unnecessary eye-sore of a concrete monument is skewed at an angle. It was set in place quite possibly due to some modern boundary delineation requirement. Or just quietly, likely sat due to a bungle.

I walked further on up the road to Kopap-ey, to admire the wonders of Maligcong-ey. Aye.
Maligcong rice terraces
Time seemed to stand still, but the world kept right on turnin', and the sun kept right on burnin', and my butt got right to numbin'.

It took a while (perhaps a few days) before I got bored and climbed gatin-by-gatin to the higher mountaintop of Kamanvatin.
By the heights of Chak-kang-en/ there I sat down
I swept, eyes wept/ when I beheld Chonglian.

Nothing compares to the thrill
When you summit a hill
But when the day gets late
The lonesome mountain desolate
You feel a chill

Bold?
Queried the zephyr cold
Old Chonglian thou behold
The tall pines whispered,
blowin' through it rolled.

Likayan and Litangfan
Places of old.
For whom the gongs tolled
Thy names the ancients told.

Back down the steep mountain slopes, the wonderful sights present themselves. The deep canyon tracked by road. The bend, the turn. It rocked and rolled.
The fields of green, the fields of gold. Tended and planted by hand, verdant shoots unfold.
Mainit ricefields

The trees adorn the mountains and the mountains the skyline. 

Soon the lucky old sun looked to set, ‘twas time the man took stick, rather took stock.

A walking stick was at hand. So the poor ole son looked to sit,
took a rock, and sat down to make his stand.
He sat down to make his stand.