VISIT 'SWITZERLAND' IN BENGUET
MANILA, JANUARY 6, 2009 (MALAYA) By GENIVI FACTAO - It is currently so cold in La Trinidad Valley that frost covers almost everything including its crops.
While it is a problem for vegetable growers, the frost will be novelty for low landers.
Visitors can enjoy the frost until end of next month in what is now known as the "Switzerland of Benguet".
People said children could leave water and sugar out overnight and make icicles.
Vacationists frequent the valley during summer to enjoy mountain climbing strawberry picking or a cold splash at Colorado Falls in Tuba, one of the favorite sites of Baguio residents.
This time, the frost will provide the extra bite for that dip.
The province also boasts of mountain lakes (Kabayan), Lakes Incolos, Bulalacao, and Letep-ngepos that can be found at the base of Mt. Pulag.
Mt. Pulag is a favorite destination of climbers.
Another come-on is the Oak Forest that grows densely at the foot of the mountain.
People find this attraction a continuing source of wonder and amazement. Bulalakao Lake has been a three-time consecutive winner of the Cleanest Lake for the Cordillera under the Gawad Pangulo sa Kapaligiran.
The province is also known for its caves, species of highland flora and fauna. The Mount Kabunian, which has multifaceted profile, is believed to be the dwelling place of the gods.
Ambongdolan Caves (Tublay), a cluster of caves and cavelets (Bengao-ngao, Ketong, Bongis, and Tey-tey) found in Ambongdolan is an ideal spot for spelunkers and nature trippers.
Badekbek Sulfur Springs (Bokod), a natural spring with boiling mud pools emitting smoke, is located in Daclan. The Tukang Cave (Tuba) is a multi-chambered cave along the Bued River is a spelunkerís delight.
Other scenic sites include the Inodey Water Falls (Mankayan); Dalupirip Hot Spring (Itogon); Towing Water Falls (Sablan); Cabacab Plateau (Mankayan); Bridal Veil Falls (Tuba); and Loo Valley (Buguias).
Mt. Ugo, located in Barangay Tinongdan, Itogon is a beautiful mountain that offers trails that pass through the native communities of the Kalanguya tribe. It is fast becoming a new favorite destination of mountaineers from Metro Manila and locally based outdoor organizations.
You can visit the Timbac cave, which is a mummy abode that can be reached by hiking from a jump-off point along kilometer 52 of the Halsema Highway and the Opdas Cave (Kabayan), the biggest burial caves with 200 skulls and bones neatly piled on ledges reminiscent of the catacombs of Rome.
PHNO WEBMASTER'S ADDENDUM RELATED TO THIS NEWS: KIBUNGAN, BENGUET JANUARY 6, 2009
Kibungan is well known in the province of Benguet as the town with unique grand mountains often mistaken to resemble those of the Switzerland mountains.
Deep ravines and cliffs separate and isolate many sitios of some barangays. Although some plateaus, hills and small valleys can be seen in the locality, Kibungan is dominantly mountainous.
The municipality is within a cool highland mountainous zone with elevations at more than 2500 meters above sea level.
During its coolest months of December - January, Barangay Madaymen experiences chilling temperature of 0 degrees Celsius causing the famous Frost of Madaymen.
 Points of Interest and Tourism Les-eng Rice Terraces These magnificent terraces can be reached after 6-hour hike through lush pine forests in Barangay Tacadang. Mayos River Located at the northeastern part of Barangay Poblacion. It is approximately 2.5 kilometers in length and is about 3 kilometers awayfrom Poblacion Proper. The river originates from ridges of nearby Barangays Madaymen, Palina and Tacadang and supplies water to rice paddies and vegetable farms along the vicinity. Palina Rice Terraces In Barangay Palina at the foot of Mt. Kilkili believed to be a former volcano because of its conical shape.
Constructed following a century-old system of rice terraces built with stone walls and neatly arranged one after the other. The rice terraces are at their best in December and June when the rice paddies turn golden yellow, near harvest time. The Palina rice terraces is known as the municipalityís rice granary.
A road network links the area to the town proper and other barangays but public transport vehicles are limited. In order to promote the uniqueness of the municipality's ecotourism, the people want the tag "Switzerland of Benguet" removed as of 2007.
The tag was created in good faith as the municipality is a mountainous region and has a cool climate that is associated with Switzerland. However, this gives the wrong impression that the municipality has snow-covered peaks for skiing. Through a tagline contest, the municipality was able to select a more appropriate tagline "Rocky Wall of Beauties".
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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