After almost an hour on a scenic road from Bay-yo rice terraces, we had another stopover in Bontoc – a commercial town in Mountain Province. Bontoc is a charming little town which is considered the capital town of Mountain Province and is located at the heart of Cordillera range. Bontoc is mainly considered to be a perfect stopover for the visitors on their way from Banaue to Sagada for shopping, food and museum tour.
One thing I noticed is that Bontoc has a nice road despite its remoteness. The roads are mostly zigzag and you will see rice fields, pine trees and lush green forest while en route to Sagada.
Etag – Mountain Province Salted Pork Ham
Upon reaching the town center, we had lunch in Tchayapan restaurant which is considered to be one among the best in Bontoc. One of the most popular dishes in the restaurant is Tchayapan Rice and their Pinikpikan with etag meat which is also another popular dish in the Mountain Province.
Interior of a Traditional Bontoc House
If you are Lucky, you will find Etag for sale in the streets of Bontoc. Etag is is actually smoked and sun dried salty ham that is normally used to to add flavor to any vegetable dish or even soup dish like Pinikpikan.
We also made a visit to Bontoc Museum which is also one of the major attractions of Bontoc. Inside the museum, it was a pleasure to see some interesting artifacts as well as archaeological objects that are excavated from inside the cordillera caves.
Stopover in Mount Polis
The museum has been constructed in such a way that it resembles the traditional Ifugao houses. The traditional Bontoc house are pyramid- shaped houses made from hard wood with cogon grass roofs.
Sangachil – Death Chair
In one of the traditional houses, a replica of a dead man in a “death chair” shows how they have death rites in Bontoc in the olden days. When an old Bontok dies, he/she is made to sit on a sangachil (death chair) made from pine wood.
Ulog – Sleeping Quarters in Bontoc
The dead is not embalmed and the death rites normally include animal sacrifices depending on the social status of the dead. The death rites goes on for five to seven days for the rich and one to four days for the poor.
Another major attraction in the Museum is the replica of typical Bontoc village. I found different types of houses that signify different purposes. Checking out the houses while reading the description on each part of the house was quite a learning experience.
Bontoc Traditional Dance
Several houses that are modern as well as traditional can be seen in Bontoc. The All Saints Mission Elementary school in Bontoc was also another major attraction in Bontoc.
I know there are some destinations that needs to be explored in Bontoc. I’m planning to go back and discover new sights, sounds and flavors in this small but progressive town in Mountain Province. See you soon Bontoc;)