Mount Kofafei (Mountain Province, PH)

I was on my 2nd day  in Sagada (last October 2014) when the spur-of –themoment decision to go to Bontoc and see the Maligcong Rice Terraces came about. A friend of mine, Aljen, asked if she could tag along wherever I may be. I told her that I was going somewhere in Bontoc and that if she is interested, we will just meet there. The next thing I know, we were already atop a jeepney, making our way to see one of those places in the Philippines not known to many – the Maligcong Rice Terraces.

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Upon reaching Suzette’s Homestay (a place I have googled), we were immediately welcomed by Ate Suzette and her kids. She was delighted to see some locals coming to see Maligcong. She said that most of the time, those who visit are foreigners. So we asked about Maligcong, and she gamely and  delightfully shared stories about their place. You can easily sense how proud she is.

We were surprised to know that inorder to see the best of Maligcong, we are to hike a mountain range called Ang Tong Faw specifically a mountain they call Kupapey/Kofafei/Kopapey.

Well, I have to admit I wasn’t ready for a mountain climbing that time but then again, who cares. I love spontaneity anyway. So the following day, we woke up at 4 am and our guide. Ezra, came to fetch us. Together with the resident charmer, a dog named Kunig, we started our trek to Mount Kofafei.

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Everything was almost pitch black, except for some pretty decent light from our flashlights, we walked through narrow trails that include muddy rice paddies that eventually lead us to some quite steep terrain dotted with pine trees. Add up the seemingly cold weather. As we near the summit, our bodies start to sweat despite the increasing arctic temperature. Until finally, Ezra said we were already at the peak.

Kunig is so adorable by the way, he makes sure we are always on the right path. He even started posing when we got there. Ezra, on the other hand, prepared us some coffee atop (isn’t that amazing?) while waiting for the sunrise. So, I groggily waited.  A few more minutes and an unbelievable man-made wonder flashed before our eyes. I had t scan  my brain quickly for the most appropriate adjective to describe what I was looking at that moment. I end up saying wow, without knowing how many times I have uttered it.

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We spent the next hour taking endless photos, hoping we were able to capture exactly its beauty. (more of Maligcong Rice Terraces here at https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/maligcong-kofafei/

We then continued our trek through Mount Kofafei. This time, we were on our way to the rice terraces for a closer look. But we have to pass through some pine forest before reaching the site. The trail in Kofafei is pretty easy, reminiscent of the Yellow Trail in Camp John Hay. I enjoyed taking various flora and fauna . From time to time, we had to stop to marvel the view of some villages seen along the trail. There were several camping grounds we passed by that seem perfect for those who wish to cam out. It took us an hour or so until we finally set foot on the rice terraces. We spent a few minutes taking photos along the rice paddies before we decided to go back to Ate Suzette’s homestay.

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How To Reach Mount Kofafei:

From Manila take a bus bound for Banaue. (Ohayami Bus) The terminal is located at Lacson/ Fajardo St. Sampaloc, Manila with the fare of Php 450.00 each.

From Banaue, take the jeepney bound for Bontoc.They can be found across the tourism office near the People’s Lodge, fare is Php 150.00 each. One may also opt to take the van bound for Sagada and just inform the driver to drop you in Bontoc near the Municipal Hall.

Once in Bontoc, go to  the municipal hall of Bontoc and there you will find  jumbo jeepneys bound for Maligcong. It has a specific schedule of departure until 4pm. Fare is Php 25.00 each. Tell your driver to drop you off at Suzette’s Homestay.

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Where to Stay:

Suzette’s Maligcong Homestay: Contact #: (+63) 915.546.3557. It is located 8.5 km north of Barangay Caluttit. It is accessible through a seven km road that ends at sub-sitio Fabuyan. Any type of vehicle can travel this 30 minutes – 40 minutes. Jeepney travels from its jeepney station located at the market compound in front of Pines Kitchenette and Inn beside the municipal plaza, passing by Upper Caluttit, Sac-angan, and Tala. The jeepney fare is 20 pesos. Guide: Ezra Carlos : (+63) 907.314.2912

For your reference, jeepney schedules are as follows:

Schedule of jeepney going to Maligcong from Bontoc

8:00 am
12:00 noon
2:30 pm
4:30 pm
5:30 pm

Schedule of  Jeepney from Maligcong going to Bontoc
6:30 am
8:00 am
9:00 am
2:00 pm
4:00 pm

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be a wanderlust. Take it easy ebriwan. Roamulofied out…

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