i thought the road to Kapangan was the toughest until i reached Tinglayan in the province of Kalinga. it was not bumpy for most of the trip. in fact, almost a third of the way was already paved but there were several spots where we would pass by steep cliffs along side the mountain range of Kalinga.
until the last few days before the long weekend of Holy Week, we were still undecided where to go. first choice was to the island of Masbate, far south of Manila and the second choice was Abra which was far North of Manila. having a rare four-day holiday this year meant, we can go farther.
we were running out of bus tickets with Theo, who was persistent in checking with all the bus lines. then came the option of going to Kalinga. one of the remaining provinces that i haven't been to in Luzon. there were two options, either we take the route via Tabuk the capital of Kalinga or via Bontoc-Banaue south of Kalinga. though there were more bus trip options via Tabuk, tickets were already sold out and so we were left with the latter. one of the best experience when one is in Cordillera, the country's largest mountain range, is to ride on top of the jeepney that ventures on each of the province in this region. in exchange of the summer heat, are the stunning mountain views along the way. the danger on the road to Tinglayan can double during the rainy season as falling rocks and landslide can actually trap vehicles in between destinations. while during summer, the hills are dry and most of the time bare.
the whole time we were moving along side the long and winding Chico river. thus one side of the road are the towering stone walls while steep cliffs on the other side. there were fewer rice terraces on this route than the roads in between Benguet, Ifugao and Mountain province.
there were very few villages along the way and knowing that the trip would take three hours, i did not checked my watch. despite the ongoing road development, there were still a number of areas known for falling rocks and dangerous ravines.
after that long butt numbing trip on top of the jeepney, seeing the village of Tinglayan from the road was a relief. an unforgettable ride. but in two to three years time, this road will be completely paved.
how to get there:
to experience this road trip (Bontoc to Kalinga), best option is to take the bus (Florida Bus, Ohayami, or Autobus) from Manila to Banaue. regular trips to Banaue usually are between 9:00pm - 11:00pm for a nine-hour road trip.
from Banaue, take a jeep or van to Bontoc (about 2hours). regular trips are usually the whole morning till early afternoon.
from Bontoc, look for the jeep or bus that leaves Bontoc usually just once a day.
road quality: 2.5
topload experience: 4.0