the capital of Benguet, is located at the beginning of the Halsema Highway when driving into the Cordilleras. The Halsema Highway is a toll road that goes up to 2,200 meters (7,400 ft.) and ends after 150 km in Bontoc. In its course, one gets to see the most impressive vegetable terraces (comparable to the rice terraces) that the Philippines have to offer. What the rice terraces are for Banaue, the vegetable terraces are for Benguet and Mt. Province. In the mountains of the Cordillera, vegetables are grown for Manila and the lowlands.
Near Bontoc, another adventurous road leads off to the left to Sagada. Despite increasing tourism, Sagada has retained an original charm that captivates every visitor. As a special attraction, Sagada has the hanging coffins, heavy wooden coffins hanging in the limestone rocks and containing the bones of the ancestors of the inhabitants. Physically fit people are free to make a daring descent into the Sumaguing Cave. This means descending through blackest darkness, past squeaking flying bats and on slippery rocks, only to marvel at a fantastic world of sintered stone at the base. The Yogurt House in Sagada offers, after this somewhat exhausting tour, a refreshing delicacy – yogurt in various ways of serving!
Back to Bontoc, the road that turns right in the center leads to Banaue to the famous rice terraces. These 60 km from Bontoc to Banaue are as adventurous as the Halsema Highway. You will be rewarded again by magnificent views, especially the view of the rice terraces of Bay-Yo.
Banaue belongs to Ifugao Province and is world-famous for its rice terraces, which are said to be 2000 years old and are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the Ethnic Village you can get an impression of the living habits of the inhabitants, then and now.
On the way back you will pass Bontoc again, on a part of the Halsema Highway, to Cervantes and then over the Bessang Pass to La Union. From the saddle of the Bessang Pass we enjoy once again the imposing view of the Cordillera mountains. The sight of this also very winding route, down into the lowlands, may demand the last reserves of some. Because after this tour you feel like you’ve made 2,000,000 curves!