Day 1—Arrival in Kiangan, Ifugao
“Let’s meet at the Heritage House in Quezon City Circle at exactly 3:30 AM.”
That was the reminder I received from PHILTOA Secretariat for our Islands Philippines Fun Caravan-Cordillera Heritage Warrior Leg, and that was the reminder that woke me up early and got me readying for the day.
Inside Quezon Heritage House in Quezon Memorial Circle
I arrived at the rendezvous point with some of my tour-buddies, and, afterwards, when everyone else had arrived, we underwent a short briefing for the day’s itinerary.
The first place we went to after that was the Quezon Heritage House. The house was originally just a normal one built in Gilmore St., New Manila, Quezon City. But after the owners moved out, they decided to donate it to the local government. The house, then, was transferred (yes, transferred!) to a more conspicuous location, and has since been a famous heritage site and tourist attraction in Quezon City.
Philippine Carabao Center Satellite Station
When the tour guide told us about the history of the heritage house, I couldn’t believe it at all! I was so amazed at how a delicate old house got transferred to a new location, and how from its humble roots transformed into a famous heritage site.
Heading North with these Heritage Warriors
After the short historical tour, we headed to our designated vans and finally started our tour on the Cordillera Heritage Warrior Caravan via the North Luzon Expressway.
Inside the Science and Technology Centrum of Central Luzon State University
Central Luzon State University
Our first stop was at Central Luzon State University (CLSU). After having a quick breakfast, we headed straight to the university’s Science and Technology Centrum, and the Philippine Carabao Center Satellite Station. I was impressed at how the university produces Carabo milk, ice cream, and Pastillas. I thought those kinds of food are only processed by the larger companies out there, but the university proved otherwise.
Mayor Liwayway Caramat of Sta Fe stamping our passports
We proceeded to Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya for our first Heritage Warrior passport stamp. The caravan stopped at Balete Pass, also known as Dalton Pass. That zigzag road, although it seemed to be unusually peaceful, was (according to the local historian that guided us) actually one of the places in the Philippines where most blood was spilled. It was the stage of the final battles of the Japanese soldiers during the onset of World War II in the Philippines.
PHILTOA President Cesar Cruz dancing with the locals of Santa Fe
Before everything became historically eerie, we were greeted by Mayor Liwayway Caramat then had lunch with the local community afterwards.
Participants at the Balete Pass Tourism Complex
The town of Bayombong (also in Nueva Vizcaya) was was the place where we got our second passport stamp. We were welcomed by Mayor Ramon Cabauatan in the Municipal Gym with a short welcoming ceremony. We visited St. Dominic Cathedral afterwards, followed by the People’s Library and Museum, where a traditional weaving called “Ues Pinutuan” was displayed.
Ues Pinutuan Exhibit Inside Peoples Library and Museum in Bayombong Nueva Viscaya
The tour guide explained that the Ues Pinutuan is a traditional hand-woven Ikat blanket by the Isinay tribe of Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya. He added that the blanket was also used to cover the dead bodies of affluent members of Ifugao, Ibaloi, and Kankanaey (these are Cordilleran) tribes during funeral ceremonies.
Saint Dominic Cathedral in Bayombong
Afterwards, we visited the Grand Ammungan, had some snacks, and returned to our van to head to our last stop for the day—Kiangan, Ifugao.
It was already dark when we arrived in Kiangan, Ifugao. But even from afar I could already see some festive lights ready to welcome us travelers. Following the general rule of the caravan, we had our passport stamped before proceeding.
Participants Inside Peoples Library and Museum in Bayombong
When we arrived in the Municipal Hall, we were personally welcomed by Honorable Mayor Joselito Guyguyon, who hosted our seafood, pork, and Pinikpikan dinner. As we ate, we were also entertained by the local Ifugao people with their traditional dancing and Hudhud chanting. The sounds of the gongs and the colors of the tribesmen’s costumes perfectly captured the essence of tradition and history—and as I ate I can’t help but think that that was just the first day of our Cordillera Heritage Warrior caravan tour.
After our dinner, we headed to Ibulao Ibulao for our overnight accommodation in Kiangan.
Joining a caravan was fun. I got to travel with a lot people with the same passion, and the activities set for us were also very engaging. Everyone on board was also so contagiously energetic, that even I forgot how sleepless I was! I only felt my exhaustion afterwards, at the end of the day, when I arrived in my room and instantly fell asleep. I had to restore my energy for the more exciting activities the next day.
The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Inc. is a non-stock and non-profit organization of DoT accredited tour operators and allied members actively involved in the advocacy of responsible tourism. The membership includes tour operators focused on promoting inbound and domestic tourism, hotel, resorts, transportation companies, handicraft stores, and other tourism-oriented establishments and associations.
For inquiries about upcoming Island Philippines Fun Caravan schedules please contact Tel. Nos.: (02) 812 4513; (02) 822 6964 | Fax No.: (02) 817 4608 | Email: [email protected]; [email protected] Website: www.philtoa.com.