Rituals. Whether you’re aware of it or not, we all follow a ritual to get through the day. For us, it can be as simple as meditating in the morning, or reading a book before bed. For the people of Benguet, a ritual encompasses every activity.
They celebrate rituals for everything: good fortune, healing, childbirth, burying the dead, among others. It mostly consists of sacrificing livestock and chanting hymns to appease the spiritual beings. This is where we are headed to for the second leg of our Journey North.
We finally reached Benguet territory. This is the land of rich fields and age-old traditions. With the help of the community and tour guides, we see how these rituals are carried out.
Stopover 1: Tublay
Baguio Side Trip at Tublay Hot Springs
Asin Tuel Hot Springs
Asin-Tuel Rd, La Trinidad, Benguet
If you’re looking for a side trip away from the crowded city of Baguio, there are many other towns nearby you can visit. The tourism may not be as well developed as the one in Baguio, but you can enjoy these places just the same.
Tublay is a growing ecotourism destination that’s just a 45-minute drive north of Baguio. You can visit the town’s hot springs which are said to have healing properties. This town is filled with hidden waterfalls, enchanting pools within caves, and rivers. Tublay also has tourist-friendly activities at the Winaca Eco-Cultural Village. They have activities like hiking, ziplining, and cycling.
It’s best to have a tour guide to show you around the attractions within Tublay, since many of them can be hard to navigate alone.
For more info: Tublay Benguet Tourist Spots by Daniel’s Eco Travels
Stopover 2: Buguias
Age-Old Traditions in Benguet
Buguias is a 3-hour drive north from Tublay. The farming town is colored with a breathtaking shade of green. Buguias is known for its vegetable fields and its spectacular view of the mountains, though it’s not a popular tourist destination. This municipality is usually only seen in passing on the way to other sites like Sagada or Bontoc. For this stop, we were able to witness some of the rituals practiced in Benguet.
The Pinikpikan Ritual
Pinikpikan is a delicious chicken dish that’s special to Igorot customs. It’s flavored by etag (smoked pork), rice wine, and ginger. It’s a sought-after delicacy, but has caused polarizing reactions.
The way to prepare pinikpikan is to hit a live chicken repeatedly with a wooden stick. The wings and neck are beaten, forcing blood to coagulate to bring out the flavor. It’s finished off with a hard swing to the chicken’s head. After that, the feathers are burned, the chicken is dismembered and cleaned, and only then is it ready for cooking.
To those who are unaware of the cultural significance behind pinikpikan, it can seem brutal. But to the locals, the ritual is done with respect. This is usually done during family gatherings or cleansing rituals.
After cooking the chicken, the pinikpikan was shared among the group along with some rice wine.
Stopover 3: Bontoc
High In The Mountains in Bontoc
Maligcong Rice Terraces, Bontoc
Bontoc comes from the term “buntuk”, referring to the people living up in the Mountain Province. It’s the capital of Mountain Province, and a great destination to see the rice terraces and hike up mountains.
One popular destination is the Maligcong Rice Terraces, a manmade wonder just like the world-famous Banaue Rice Terraces. The best time to visit Maligcong is during its harvest season in August, where you can see the terraces in its golden glory.
While seeing the terraces up close is a great experience, it’s a whole different feeling to see the terraces from above. You can hike up the summit of Mt. Kufafey or Mt. Fato to see Maligcong Terraces. You can also hike up early in the more to get a chance to witness the sea of clouds up in the summit.
The Weaving Province of Can-eo
Nearby Maligcong is a remote village called Can-eo, 8km away from the town proper. The small town is enclosed by mountains and scattered with rice fields.
What’s interesting is that in every home you will find a loom used for weaving. They practice two forms of weaving: Tilar and Tinakud. This is the industry of Can-eo, though it hasn’t reached much popularity outside its borders.
Moving the pedals in sync with their hands intertwining the threads is captivating to watch.
It’s Day 2 of our Journey North, and we put the Chevrolet Trailblazer Phoenix up to the test for this road trip. So far it’s been able to handle the narrow roads and rough terrains, and surprisingly exceeded expectations. If you’re out for a road trip soon, take the new Chevrolet Trailblazer Phoenix out on the road! #FindNewRoads #WeTheNorth #TheJourneyNorth #RoadtripPhilippines