Travel Guide: Discovering the Beauty of Maligcong in Bontoc, Mountain Province

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For almost 15 hours of land travel, who would have thought that there’s a scenic landscape hiding in the municipality of Bontoc in Mountain Province. For our 16th and 17 mountain for the The 100 Mountains Project, we went to Maligcong in Bontoc, Mountain Province to hike Mt. Fato and Mt. Kupapey, two of its main hiking destination which offers a picturesque view of the community.

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The Maligcong Rice Terraces viewed from the summit of Mt. Kupapey

 

We left Manila at exactly 1:00 AM in the morning, and reached Maligcong by 2:00 PM, including side trips, stop overs, and supply procurement. We started our trek to Mt. Fato (1,627+ MASL) by 4:30 PM, aiming for a sunset view at the summit. It was foggy that afternoon so we didn’t have the chance to watch the sunset at the summit, but we still managed to enjoy the panoramic view of the Cordillera Mountain Range.

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Trail going to Mt. Fato
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East side of Mt. Fato’s summit

It was called Mt. Fato because of the rock formations you will see at the summit. “Fato”, which came from their local dialect, means rock or “bato” in tagalog. Mt. Fato is a 1 to 2 hour chill hike starting from the accommodation you are staying.

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One of the rock formations at Mt. Fato’s summit (East Side)
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The west side of Mt. Fato’s summit, where you will watch the sunset. But we weren’t lucky enough to witness the sunset because of the weather condition. Still a beautiful view.

On a clear weather condition, you’ll be able to watch the beautiful sunset on top of Mt. Fato’s summit, and a far view of the Maligcong Rice Terraces. We descended down Mt. Fato after an hour and went back to hour lodge to have dinner and power rests before we commence our early morning trek to Mt. Kupapey.

The next day, we woke up at exactly 3:00 AM then prepared ourselves for our hike to Mt. Kupapey (1,640+ MASL). We’ve had our quick breakfast, had ourselves ready then started our trek at exactly 4:30 AM.

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Foggy view of Maligcong Rice Terraces

The trail to Mt. Kupapey is consists of concretes assault steps passing by the rice terraces, and soft ground assault nearing the summit. It was also a 1 to 2 hour trek from your accommodation. The trails can be a little slippery on rainy days so be cautious with your movements.

At the summit of Mt. Kupapey, you will be able to see the astonishing beauty of the Maligcong Rice Terraces, and on a clear day, the beautiful sunrise will greet you good morning with its rewarding beauty. The sun’s bright rays will cast on the layers of Maligcong Rice Terraces which is really an amazing view.

But our trip was different, the sun did not show up, and we waited several minutes for the fog to clear up. And then once this white wall of fog cleared up, it gave us a different perspective of the beauty of the Maligcong Rice Terraces. With the fog unfolding the view of the wonderful landscape, it left us in awe for a few minutes before the fog became a white wall again.

The name Kupapey was derived from their local dialect which means butterfly. Because once you reach the summit, the view of the rice terraces is like a butterfly on a full wing span.

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Closer view of Maligcong Rice Terraces

 

After an hour of waiting for multiple clearings, we decided to descend down and traverse our way to Maligcong Rice Terraces for a closer view of the landscape. Traversing to the rice terraces is one of the highlights of this trip. The amazing man-made creation was so awesome that it made me want to stay longer and appreciate the view for a couple of more hours. It was really an amazing experience seeing this man made beauty.

The best time to visit Maligcong is on the months of April to May, when fields are green said by our local guide. It was indeed a great experience visiting this place, we will surely comeback to experience its beauty on a different climate.

How to get to Maligcong

MNL – Baguio – Bontoc – Maligcong

  • Ride a bus going to Baguio. There are various bus liners that have trips going to Baguio City, one of them is the Victory Liner which have bus terminals in Pasay and Cubao. Fare is Php 445.00.
  • From Baguio City, take a cab going to Dangwa Terminal or Slaughter House, both terminals have buses going to Bontoc, Mountain Province. It will be a 6 hour bus ride and fare ranges from Php 200.00 to Php 250.00.
  • Then from Bontoc, go straight to the Jeepney terminal going to Maligcong. Ask around where the terminal is located. It is a 30 minute uphill ride going to the barangay and fare is around Php 20.00 per person.

There are other routes going to Bontoc, like MNL-Banaue-Bontoc-Maligcong via Ohayami Bus Lines, or MNL-Bontoc via Coda Lines.

First trip of the jeepneys from Bontoc proper going to Maligcong is at 8:00 AM and last trip is at 4:00 PM.

Where to stay in Maligcong

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There are lots of home stays in Maligcong, but most of the famous accommodations will likely be fully accommodated if you will reserve few days before your trip.

We stayed at Terraces View Guest House, a not so popular lodge owned by Ate Rowena. Her guest house was always (somehow) the last option when all the famous lodge like Suzzete’s and Vilma’s are already fully accommodated.

Ate Rowena’s place is actually a good place to stay. The place was fully equipped with basic utility needs, cooking wares, and free coffees. The beds are also comfortable with warm blankets. If two blankets are still not enough, you can request for an extra one, free of charge.

I suggest you contact her first and reserve your slots to make sure that you have a place to stay when you get there. You can contact her at this number: 0915 188 1732. The rate is also very affordable, considering the basic needs there that you can use for free, that would be Php 350.00 per person for and overnight stay. She even spare a fee for our driver’s accommodation, what a nice host. 🙂

Recommended tour guide

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We would like to recommend Kuya Dennis to be your local tour guide. A fun, jolly, full of information about the place, you will surely learn more about Maligcong from him.

Contact him thru his mobile phone: 0909 811 8149. Guide fee starts at Php 800.00 for hiking both mountains, (Php 300.00 for Mt. Fato, Php 500.00 for Mt. Kupapey) for the first 5 persons in the group. If your group is larger than 5 members, that would be Php 175.00 per person (Php 75.00 for Mt. Fato, and Php 100.00 for Mt. Kupapey).

Budget and Expenses

  • Bus fare MNL to Baguio — Php 455.00 x 2 (Php 910.00)
  • Baguio to Bontoc — Php 200.00 to Php 250.00 x 2 (Php 400.00 to Php 500.00
  • Bontoc to Maligcong — Php 20.00 x 2 (Php 40.00)
  • Accommodation — Php 350.00
  • Guide — Php 175.00
  • Registration Fee — Php 20.00

Total Expected Budget is around Php 1,895.00 to Php 1,995.00. Safe budget will be around Php 2,000.00 to Php 3,000.00 for your food and take homes.

Sample Itinerary

Day 0

  • 10:00 PM — Bus to Baguio

Day 1

  • 04:00 AM — ETA Baguio, Quick breakfast, Take cab to Dangwa Terminal (GL Trans)
  • 05:00 AM — ETD to Bontoc
  • 11:00 AM — ETA Bontoc Town Proper, Lunch, Buy supplies
  • 12:00 NN — ETD to Maligcong
  • 12:30 PM — ETA to Maligcong, rest, prepare for Mt. Fato hike.
  • 04:00 PM — Start hike to Mt. Fato
  • 05:00 PM — ETA Mt. Fato Summit, rest, photo ops, wait for the sunset
  • 06:30 PM — Start descent
  • 07:30 PM — ETA Home stay, eat dinner
  • 10:00 PM — Light’s off

Day 2

  • 03:00 AM — Wake up, breakfast, prepare for Mt. Kupapey Hike
  • 04:30 AM — Start hike to Mt. Kupapey
  • 05:30 AM — ETA Mt. Kupapey Summit, rest, wait for the sunrise
  • 07:00 AM — Start descent, traverse to Maligcong Rice Terraces
  • 07:30 AM — ETA Maligcong Rice Terraces, Photo ops, enjoy the view
  • 08: 00 AM — ETA Home Stay, Rest, wash up, proper breakfast. Free time
  • 11:00 AM — Lunch, prepare to leave
  • 12:00 NN — ETD to Bontoc Town Proper
  • 12:30 PM — ETA to Bontoc Town Proper
  • 01:00 PM — ETD to Baguio
  • 07:00 PM — ETA to Baguio, dinner, buy pasalubong
  • 10:00 PM — ETD to Manila

Day 3

  • 03:00 AM — ETA Manila

If you still have plenty of leave credits, you can have Sagada or Kalinga as a second destination after Maligcong.


If you have your own private vehicle, or rented van going to Maligcong, a possible side trip to Banaue Rice Terraces is possible. Just take the MNL-Banaue-Bontoc route.

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One of the most photographed Cordilleran in Banaue.
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The Banaue Rice Terraces

 

 

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