Benguet: The land of many wonders and surprises
Benguet: Cordillera’s Big Surprise
As most of the municipalities in Benguet have not yet fully opened its doors to tourism due to the pandemic, there is so much to discover in this province other than the usual mountain climbing and visiting the strawberry fields. Its farther municipalities have something to offer, too, just waiting to be discovered by you – when things get back to normal. Read along!
Places in Benguet you may have heard of for the first time
For many, Benguet is home to the Strawberry Capital and the Salad Bowl of the Philippines – the capital town of La Trinidad. But for locals, the province is more than just that. As Benguet is also home to the second highest peak in the country which is Mount Pulag, many not-so-hidden sites are waiting to be discovered in this province. Here are some of the few I have seen and experienced:
Haight’s Place (Atok)
Situated just right before the former highest point in the Philippine Highway system, this quaint family farm has been in the rounds as it it also home to the Benguet Sakura Park, in partnership with the sister city or Atok which is Kochi, Japan. This place is best visited during the season of blossoming – locally known as Panagbenga, from around February to April.
The 3.2-hectare property has a long story to tell, from tracing their family’s roots in Pennsylvania to their encounter with the last American Mayor of Baguio City who is Eusebius Halsema. Haight’s Place in Paoay, Atok, Benguet is one of the few must-visit places in the municipality because of its year-round cool climate and homey atmosphere. As of this writing, the property only has 3 bedrooms for rent (with plans of expanding after things get back to normal).
For more information, you can reach them through their Facebook Page here or you may contact them at +63 909 540 9059 and +63 930 975 8349.
New Highest Point in the Philippine Highway System (Buguias – Tinoc)
This place was formerly held by the point somewhere in Cattubo, Atok, Benguet. At present, the new highest point in the Philippine Highway System is now found between the boundary of Buguias, Benguet and Tinoc, Ifugao. Although the area where this new highest point now resides is disputed, it is now one of the most sought-after spots between Benguet and Ifugao.
With an elevation of 2,428.66 meters (7,968.07 feet) above sea level – compared to the 2,255.52 meters (7,400 feet) elevation in Atok – this place can get very foggy at times but you can also see a sea of clouds when you get lucky enough. Note, too, that the way going to this place is quite narrow and steep, but the view of the mountains is just rewarding.
Badekbek Sulphur Springs (Bokod)
This unusual tourist spot in the heart of the municipality of Bokod, Benguet is one to be told. With a natural deposit of sulphur in the area (accompanied by a very foul smell – which, by the way, is its natural state), the site is seen as a giant boiling pot of sulphur. I have seen this place for the first time in 2015 when we climbed Mount Pulag and this place was one of our side trips.
Though it has been claimed to be a private area, you can still have a chance to see the natural wonder of the sulphur springs and witness it first-hand.
Lolo Cancio’s Cafe (Bokod)
If you happen to visit the Ambuklao Dam and its nearby reservoir, why not feel a whole new level of dining experience with a generous view of the Ambuklao River? Lolo Cancio’s Cafe is the place to be. I have seen this place being tagged so many times on social media and it is my first time to go to this place. All I can say is “wow!” With the perfect cascade of the mountains meeting at the foot of the Ambuklao Lake, I had a happy time sipping that warm cup of coffee while enjoying the view.
This cafe is a great stopover, too, for those people who want to climb Mount Pulag or if you are enroute to nearby Nueva Vizcaya. There are a lot of local food offerings in this cafe and you will not leave hungry, I tell you! If you want to have a different kind of dining experience, Lolo Cancio’s is the best place I can recommend. You can check their Facebook page here for more information! They are open daily from 0700 – 1900 H.
*Is there a place still not written here that you want me to discover? Hit me up here and I will try my best to update this blog post for you! There is still so much to see in Benguet and I, too, cannot wait to visit all of them!*
We’re born to travel!