Cool breezes and towering pine trees are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the rich natural and cultural hub that is the Cordillera Administrative Region. Located in the heart of the Central Cordillera Mountain Range, the country’s largest and highest chain of mountains, this region is home to Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.
Baguio, the region’s main entry point, is a thriving urban destination hidden within the region’s pine tree-dotted highlands. Get to know the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” by exploring its scenic parks, dining in first-rate restaurants like Hill Station, experiencing Session Road’s nightlife, and visiting art sites like BenCab Museum, Asin Road, and the Victor Oteyza Community Art Space.
Journey outside of these urban spaces and you’ll find countless indigenous communities scattered all around the region. These highlands are home to distinct ethnic groups like the Ifugao, Kalinga, Isneg, Kankanaey, and Ibaloi.
Learn about their rich cultures by visiting communities like Tam-an Village in Ifugao. You might chance upon someone chanting the Hudhud, a traditional Philippine epic sung during the rice sowing and harvest season that takes four whole days to chant. If you’re brave enough, you can try getting a traditional Kalinga batok, or “tattoo,” inked with an orange thorn and bamboo stick.
Discover more about the region’s traditional practices by touring the famous Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras in Ifugao, which was deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You can also catch a glimpse of the Ifugao tribe’s past by visiting the Ifugao and Banaue museums and trekking to the famous hanging coffins and burial caves of Ifugao ancestors in Sagada.
Adventure lovers and adrenaline junkies will also find plenty of peaks, caves, waterfalls, and other natural attractions to explore in this mountainous region. Hike up to the cloud-covered summit of Mt. Pulag, the highest peak in Luzon, or try trekking up Benguet’s other equally majestic mountains like Mt. Ugo, Mt. Kabunian, and Mt. Sto. Tomas.
One famous white water rafting spot is the Chico River, a 174-kilometer-long (108 miles) river that runs through several of the region’s provinces. Travelers can brave the river’s raging rapids for a scenic ride through towering rice terraces, limestone cliffs, and canyons. If you prefer being closer to land, try trekking to the region’s waterfalls and diving into their crystalline lagoons.
You’ll find some of the region’s most rugged adventures in Abra and Apayao, the province dubbed as “Cordillera’s Last Frontier for Nature Richness.” Try exploring the Libtec Underground River or the other unspoiled lakes, hot springs, and caves in Abra. You can also check out the Waton Subterranean River and the Agora Wildlife Sanctuary in Apayao.
From its local communities to its natural wonders, there’s no end to the things you can experience in the highlands of the Cordillera Administrative Region. You’re sure to discover plenty of rich adventures in every province of this chilly hub of nature and culture.