The road from Baguio to BONTOC is the Halsema Highway or “Mountain Trail”, a narrow, serpentine gash in the side of the Cordillera that’s sometimes no more than a rocky track with vertical cliffs on one side and a sheer drop on the other. Although the surface of the road has been greatly improved in recent years, it can still be an uncomfortable trip by public transport as some of the buses are crowded and not especially well maintained. The views are marvellous, especially as you ascend out of Baguio beyond La Trinidad and pass through deep gorges lined with vegetable terraces.

BONTOC lies on the banks of the Chico River about an hour east of Sagada. Primarily used by tourists as a transport hub, the town is also a good base for trekking and has easy access to the beautiful Maligcong rice terraces. Some of the local tribes can be nervous of foreigners and it would be unwise to approach them without a guide to help smooth the way (P300–500/day). One well-known local is Francis Pa-in (t0915/769-0843), who can also act as a guide in Tinglayen; ask at the Churya-a Hotel if you can’t get him on the phone.

There isn’t much to see in the town itself but don’t miss the Bontoc Museum, next to the post office close to the town plaza. It includes photographs of headhunting victims and of zealous American missionaries, and there is a small collection of indigenous buildings outside. The museum shop sells items including handmade jewellery and CDs of traditional music.

 

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Philippines features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Is Camiguin the most beautiful island you've never heard of?

Is Camiguin the most beautiful island you've never heard of?

The Philippines has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the last few years. From Typhoon Yolanda, the superstorm which left a band of destruction fro…

02 Oct 2017 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
Puerto Princesa Underground River: the Philippines' 8km-long subterranean wonder

Puerto Princesa Underground River: the Philippines' 8km-long subterranean wonder

Deep underground on the island of Palawan in the Philippines lies the Puerto Princesa River. Both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the ‘New 7 Wonders o…

10 Jan 2017 • Esme Fox insert_drive_file Article
The stunning Philippines in pictures

The stunning Philippines in pictures

Rough Guides writer Kiki Deere shares some of her best photographs of the Philippines from her latest trip to Southeast Asia.  Comprising 7107 islands, the …

18 Dec 2015 • Kiki Deere insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook