In this guide, you will learn about Philippine's Cordillera Administrative Region.
The Cordillera or CAR is a massive mountain range situated in the northern central part of the island of Luzon, in the Philippines and the only landlocked region in the country. It is bordered by the Ilocos Region to west and southwest, and Cagayan Valley to the north, east, and southeast.
The region was officially created on July 15, 1987, and covers most of the Cordillera Mountain Range of Luzon and is home to numerous ethnic peoples. The Nueva Vizcaya province has a majority of Igorot population, but was placed by the American colonial government in the Cagayan Valley Region instead during the early 20th century.
PROVINCES UNDER CORDILLERA ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
FACTS ABOUT CORDILLERA REGION
Area: 19,422.03 km² (7,498.88 mi²)
Regional Center: Baguio
Languages: Ilocano; Bontoc; Filipino; English
Cities: (2) Baguio City, Tabuk City
- Crops (Palay, Corn, Banana, Mango, Tomato, Tobacco, Coconut)
- Minerals (Gold, Silver, Copper)
- Textiles and Garments
- Handicrafts and Furniture
WHAT TO BRING FOR CORDILLERA REGION
Here are some things you might consider bringing with you for your day tour / adventure:
- Stylish face mask
- Water container/tumbler to rehydrate
- Sunscreen for skin protection
- Travel backpack / luggage
- Reusable vacuum storage packs
- Selfie stick
- Waterproof phone case
- Acion cam
- Camping tent
- WiFi kit
- Power bank
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Cordillera Region Geography
The region is the only landlocked region in the Philippines, bounded on the northeast and east by the Cagayan Valley, and on the southwest and west by the Ilocos Region.
The region is primarily mountainous, positioned in the Cordillera Central mountain range, which includes Mount Pulag, the highest mountain in Luzon.
Within the region are several streams and rivers including the Chico River, which is a tributary of the Cagayan River. Other major rivers include:
Cordillera Administrative Region is politically subdivided into 6 provinces. It has 2 cities; the highly urbanized city of Baguio, and the component city of Tabuk.
|A view of Baguio as seen in November 2012|
There are 1,176 barangays in the region. Geographically, the western half of Nueva Vizcaya is part of the main Cordilleras, while its eastern half is part of the Caraballos, the meeting point of the Cordilleras and the Sierra Madre. There have been moves to reunify Nueva Vizcaya with the Cordilleras, however, no such legislation has yet been introduced in Congress.
Best Time to Visit
For the best combination of agreeable temperatures of around 27° C (80° F) and as little rain as possible, the best time to visit this region is between February and March. The first months of dry season can still be rainy, while the last months are usually pretty hot and humid.
The region has been called "the most diversified ethno-linguistic region in the Philippines" with the many "sub-dialect variations" of its major languages. This diversity has been attributed to the mountainous topology of the region. However, this did not lead to variations in "cultural development", and the majority of the people share a "similar cultural identity".
- Balangao, spoken in Natonin, Mountain Province.
- Bontoc, spoken in Bontoc, Mountain Province.
- Ibaloi, spoken in Benguet.
- Ifugao, spoken in Ifugao.
- Ilocano, spoken in Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Benguet, and Ifugao. It is the regional lingua franca.
- Isnag, spoken in Apayao.
- Itneg, spoken in Abra.
- Kalinga, spoken in Kalinga.
- Kalanguya, spoken in some parts of Benguet.
- Kankanaey, spoken in western Mountain Province and some parts of Benguet.
Cordillera is home to many ethnic tribes living on the Cordillera mountain range. They are commonly referred to as the Igorot.
Ethnic people of Abra
The Tingguians are composed of sub-groups known as the Itneg tribes which includes Adasen, Balatok, Banaw, Belwang, Binungan, Gubang, Inlaud, Mabaka, Maeng, Masadiit, and Muyadan or Ammutan.: Their places in Abra are as follows:
- Adasen — Lagayan, Lagangilang, San Juan and Tineg
- Banaw — Daguioman, Malibcong, also found in Balbalan, Kalinga
- Binungan — Baay-Licuan and Lacub
- Balatok — in the villages of Amti, Kilong-olaw, & Danak, all in Boliney
- Belwang — in the village of Dao-angan in Boliney
- Gubang — Malibcong
- Inlaud — Lagangilang and Peñarrubia, in Lumaba village of Villaviciosa, in the villages of Abang and Patoc in Bucay, in Langiden, San Isidro, San Quintin, Danglas (also found in some parts of Nueva Era)
- Mabaka — Lacub and Malibcong
- Maeng — Luba, Tubo and Villaviciosa, (also found in San Emilio, Ilocos Sur, Banayoyo and other towns in Ilocos Sur)
- Masadiit — Sallapadan, Bucloc and in the village of Sapdaan in Manabo, and in barangays Poblacion, Bawiyan, and Dumagas in Boliney
- Ammutan a.k.a. Muyadan tribe — in Manabo
Ethnic people of Apayao
Isnag tribe — also known as Isneg comprising the sub-groups known as the Ymandaya and Imallod (Isnag refers to the people, while Isneg refers to the dialect). Isnags are found not only in Apayao but also in the eastern section of Ilocos Norte and northwestern portion of Cagayan. Their places of abode in Apayao are as follows:
- Ymandaya (Isnag) — Calanasan (Bayag)
- Imallod (Isnag) — Kabugao, Conner, Pudtol, and some parts of Luna (Macatel)
- Malaweg — Conner
Ethnic people of Benguet
- Karao Tribe
Ethnic People of Ifugao
- Ifannawer - Banaue
|An Ifugao man from Banaue|
Ethnic people of Kalinga
- Ifutfut: Fugnay, Ngifat, Lacnog, Tabuk
- Iterkaw: Nambaran, Tabuk
- Ifasao: Isla, Appas Tabuk
- Ichananaw: Lacnog, Tabuk
- Itongrayan: Luprupa, Ifunug, Amfato, Damsite, Tabuk
- Isumacher: Sumacher, Filong, Man-ufer, Mallango, Fangad, Madopdop, Lacnog, Ipil, Bayabat, Tannubong, Bulo. Tabuk
- Ylubuagen: Lubuagan
Ethnic people of Mountain Province
- Bontoc — Bontoc
- Balangao — Natonin
- Baliwon — Paracelis
- Applai: Bauko, Besao, Sabangan and Sagada
TOURIST SPOTS TO SEE IN CORDILLERA
Here are the top tourist destinations to visit in CAR:
Kaparkan Falls (Tineg, Abra)
There are numerous waterfalls scattered all over the country, but there’s none quite like the Kaparkan Falls in Tineg, Abra.
From the photo below, you can see what makes it unique. Enjoy the cold waters from the mountain after a few minutes hike to the falls.
Things to do: bathe and hike
Where to stay: Abra Valley Grand Hotel
Lusuac Spring Resort (Apayao)
Abra has its fair share of hidden gems, their famous Lusuac Spring in Barangay Poblacion, Lagayan, a refreshing spring a waiting for us to swim.
|Lusuac Spring Resort|
A perfect place to cool-off from the summer heat, it's clear water are indeed inviting for a dip.
Things to do: swimming and picnic
Burnham Park (Baguio City)
Considered as the city's "mother of all parks," Burnham Park is one of Baguio's best attractions.
|Burnham Park boating lagoon|
It was named after urban planner Daniel Burnham, the American architect who came up with the original design and layout of the park.
Things to do: boating, picnic, visit different attractions and buy souvenirs
Where to stay: Holiday Inn Baguio City Centre
StoBoSa (La Trinidad)
Also known as the Valley of Colors, it comprises of around 200 houses over an area of 18,000 square meters.
|Valley of Colors|
If the sheer expanse of it is not enough to wow you, the vibrant hues of this massive art piece will.
Things to do: taking photos
Where to stay: Garden nen Ines Guest House
La Trinidad Strawberry Farm
La Trinidad, the capital of Benguet, is about 30 minutes from the Baguio town proper. This municipality is where you'll find hectares of land dedicated to growing strawberries to supply the rest of the country.
Banaue Rice Terraces (Ifugao)
The most famous tourist spot in Ifugao, Banaue Rice Terraces are occasionally called the "Eighth Wonder of the World".
|Banaue Rice Terraces|
It is commonly thought that the terraces were built with minimal equipment, largely by hand.
Things to do: hiking and appreciate nature
Apo Whang-Od (Buscalan, Kalinga)
If there is one person who could best represent the rich culture of Kalinga, a province located in the far north of the Philippines, it is none other than Whang Od, the oldest Filipino tribal tattoo artist.
Whang Od is said to be the last mambabatok.
Things to do: get a tattoo
Hanging Coffins (Sagada)
Instead of being placed into the ground, the coffins are hung either inside the caves or on the face of the cliffs, near the hanging coffins of their ancestors.
The Sagada people have been practicing such burials for over 2,000 years, and some of the coffins are well over a century old. Eventually the coffins deteriorate and fall from their precarious positions.
Things to do: take photos
Where to stay: Coffee Heritage House & Hostel
Other tourist spots to visit in the Cordilleras:
- Baguio Cathedral
- Batad Rice Terraces
- Camp John Hay
- Wright Park and The Mansion
- Mines View Park
- Mount Pulag
- Sumaguing Cave
ATTRACTIONS TO SEE IN MANILA
FOOD TO TRY IN CORDILLERA
Here are the culinary specialties and delicacies you should try in Cordillera:
- Abra Miki Noodles (Abra)
- Binungor (Apayao)
- Etag (Benguet & Mountain Province)
- Homemade yogurt (Mountain Province)
- Ifugao coffee (Ifugao)
- Kalinga Coffee (Kalinga)
- Mountain rice (Kalinga)
- Pinikpikan (Benguet)
- Pinikpikan (Ifugao & Mountain Province)
- Pinuneg (Benguet)
- Pizza topped with Apayao delicacies (Apayao)
- Sagada oranges (Mountain Province)
- Strawberry taho (Benguet)
WHERE TO STAY IN CORDILLERA
Here are the lists of accommodation options in the region:
ACTIVITIES AND TOURS IN MANILA
TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM CORDILLERA
The best way to get to CAR depends on where you’re traveling from and your budget.
The fastest and most convenient method of travel a far distance in the Philippines is most often by plane, however in some cases, traveling by sea or land may be a better option and more cost-effective.
In CAR, only Baguio City has an airport that serves commercial flights in the county. Bus is the most commonly used transportation going to and coming from the region. Here's a list of bus transits for the region:
Other transportation information in the Philippines:
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