Veiled by mountains on all sides, the town of Bontoc is worth a day or two break before continuing your journey. It’s a jump-off point for the mystical town of Sagada and the majestic Banaue rice terraces.
Drop your luggage, stop by Goldfish Café to warm yourself with a cup of hot brewed coffee before taking a hike along the Halsema Highway and explore the splendor of Kadchog rice terraces, pay a visit at the Heritage Café and Picnic Grove and be awed by the breath-taking scenery of the mountains and the Chico river streaming on both sides of the promontory nature retreat.
At the town center, discover the region’s culture and tradition at the Bontoc Museum, on display are a number of paraphernalia, articles and belongings of native tribes dating back to as far as 12th century as well as the awe-inspiring indigenous peoples collection of black & white photos of the country’s father of photography himself Eduardo Masferre.
For the brave and adventurous, see Bontoc the unique way – on air - paragliding from Mt. Chata just above the town and land at the bank of the Chico River or the rice paddies.
For the night owls, Bontoc is one town in the Mountain Province where videoke is the popular way of night entertainment at least until 10:00pm, thereafter the police will be roving around checking if some people are still belting their vocal chords on Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”.
Not much to offer but it’s worth a stopover.
Manila to Bontoc: Cabletours (P600) has daily trip departing 8:30pm to Bontoc from Trinity Univ. of Asia, E. Rodriguez Ave. Cubao, QC.
Baguio to Bontoc: GL Lizardo Trans (P220) has several trips from their terminal at Governor Pack Rd in Baguio from 8:00am til 2:30pm. D'Rising Sun (P220) departs at Slaughter House, Baguio from 5:00am til 1:00pm.
Banaue – Bontoc: Jeepneys (P45) are waiting for passengers at the public market square, last trip is at 1:00pm
Sagada – Bontoc: Jeepneys (P45) depart at the town center in front of the commercial building, last trip is 1:00pm.
Tricycles are aplenty for short distance trips, just hail a passing trike, they don’t overcharge tourists, fare is P9.
On-foot – The town is not big, you can take a long distance walk to reach the rice terraces for example.
Where to Stay: Churya-a Hotel and Restaurant
Very friendly staff, delicious meals, generous breakfast, located right along the main Halsema Highway at the center of the town. Simple hotel with basic rooms, the cheapest is a shared bathroom and a little uncomfortable because the two toilet/shower that’s being shared by only 2 non-ensuite rooms are located a floor below and sharing a space with the kitchen and the restaurant. So if you could spare a few more, take the ensuite room.
Wifi internet is very slow and only available whenever the manager of the hotel is around, once he leaves, it’s off.
The neighboring Goldfish Café has and it reaches the balcony of Churya-a Hotel, buy a cup of coffee at Goldfish, befriend the staff and obtain the password. Don’t tell them though that you got the info from me.
Price: P250/400 for single/double common bath, P500 for ensuite.
Address: Main Poblacion, Bontoc, Mountain Province, Philippines
Mob.: +63 906 430 0853 / 917 575 1253
Where to Eat:
Churya-a Hotel serves delicious and affordable meals.
Goldfish Café serves real brewed coffee and some meals too.
There are a lot of small restaurants and local eateries, cheap ones near the town market, bakeshops are everywhere.