Maligcong Rice Terraces
Maligcong, Bontoc, Mountain Province
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Tucked in the highlands of Mountain Province is Maligcong. 30mins from Bontoc town proper and can be accessible by jeepney or habal-habal. The road is steep; the street is paved though the width differs as some parts can be narrow and can only accomodate one vehicle at a time. The view is super as you can see Bontoc town.
There are two homestays at Maligcong - Maligcong Homestay and Suzette's Homestay. We stayed at the latter; priced at 350php per head. They have 4 rooms which can accomodate 2-5 persons. The family room can accomodate 5 persons with its own toilet and bath with hot shower. The others can accomodate 2-4 persons and a common toilet and bath, one with hot shower. There's also an "emergency" restroom. The dining area is spacious enough and offers a view of one of the rice terraces clusters of Maligcong. Suzette serves Maligcong coffee, home made oatmeal cookies and cookie bar, and meals. We had pinikpikan for dinner and was charged 150php per head. Suzetter doesn't sell Maligcong coffee but she offers it for 25php per cup. According to her, there are only a few plants so they don't really sell it to visitors.
We hiked up Mt. Fato to view the Maligcong Rice terraces and the neighboring towns and mountains. We reached the summit after a 2hours of ascent just in time to catch the sunset.
The following day, we woke up at 330am and started our hike up to Mt. Kupapey. After a few hours, we reached the summit of Mt. Kupapey just before daybreak. It waa still dark and our guides were kind enough to start a bonfire to keep us warm. From the distance, one can already see the sea of clouds slowly creeping in between the mountains. The water from the terraces glistens as the first rays of the sun touches the rice terraces. And as the darkness breaks into light, you can get an amazing view of Maligcong Rice Terraces.
We were told that on a good day, there's an abundance of clouds and will literally cover up the view of the rice terraces and if you walk further, you can do some mountain tea picking.
On our way back to Suzette's, we took another trail where you pass by rice paddies and have a closer look at the terraces. You'll pass by the elementary school which is 1.3kms from the jump off near Suzette's.
Maligcong offers a good alternative for the famous Sagada sea of clouds at Mt. Kiltepan. Aside from hiking Mts. Fato and Kupapey, there's also a lake and a hotspring if you fancy a dip. Also, Maligcong has orange picking season at a private orchard, mountain tea picking, and you can participate during the planting and harvesting season.
You'll also meet the famous (guide) dog of Suzette - Kunig. He accompanied us during our hikes up Mts. Fato and Kupapey. He didn't leave us at all. He was either with the lead pack or with the sweepers but he seldom stays with the mid pack. When the sweepers made a wrong turn, he waited patiently and was soooo giddy when he saw the members of the sweeper pack emerge from the trail one by one. He loves the oatmeal cookies. If you are lucky enough, you can take a selfie with him. Otherwise, you would have to settle with his "look back" pose.
You have to pay for guide fee for Mts. Fato and Kupapey and minimal environmental fee which goes to the local government. I just forgot how much they charge. Haha
One thing I like about Maligcong is the fact that it isn't as crowded as Sagada. So if you want to have solitude while on vacation, this is one of the best places to consider when you want to escape in the Cordilleras. #loolooexplorerpackgiveaway
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