Category Archives: Benguet

Monobloc Trikes

At Burham Park you can see those tiny three-wheeled pedal vehicles. Kids rent them to playfully go around a short distance path of about 200 meters (I think) for an hour. Some have fancy looking roofs, some have “A” roofs, and some have no roofs. Those single seater ones are the most common but I have also seen several tandem ones. What truly caught my attention is the practical design of its seating. A Monobloc chair is removable, replaceable, readily available, and easy to clean.

Target Shooting Sign

Target shooting sign with an image of its mascot

Signal Here

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The only spot with reception at Baban's Homestay in Mt Pulag

Pulag Plant Curiosities

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Plenty of sightings of this plant along the trail in the mossy forest of Mt Pulag

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Same plant as above

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Mt Pulag's dwarf bamboo

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Clusters of dwarf bamboo grasses at the summit

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The grass in Mt Pulag's grassland area apart from the dwarf bamboo grasses

Pee Hole

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The tiny hole is meant for peeing only

Squat toilets in the country are not as common as in other Asian countries. It’s only in Benguet that I’ve seen several toilets of this type and normally in eating places that serve as motorist stops along Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya Road.

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Although squat toilets like those in Japan and Malaysia have flushing system, every one of those I’ve seen here is meant to be flushed using small bucket of water. One thing that caught my fancy on a couple of toilets is that the design is meant for peeing only.

Kabayan Okoy

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Vegetable okoy (fritter)

In a town where commercial vegetable farming is the livelihood of the folks apart from guide services in hiking Mt Pulag, it’s no wonder then that their okoy variation is vegetarian. Okoy is shrimp fritter normally, but there’s no shrimp in Kabayan, so what they have is vegetable okoy.

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Translation: Vegetable okoy for a complete life

Visually, I was able to discern grated carrots only because I was too hungry to find out the rest of the ingredients. I ate two pieces of hot okoy. I got one each from the two vendors situated strategically near the gate of Mt Pulag National Park at the ranger station. It was the best okoy I had probably because I just came from a long mountain hike and was longing for a hot meal.

Mountain School

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Mt Pulag Primary School at 7,748 feet above sea level

This primary school is situated 7,748 feet above sea level in the mountain town of Kabayan. There’s a sign out front that says “It takes a village to raise a child and a community to take care of the mountain. ” The school also has creative toilet signs depicting gender in traditional dresses.

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Toilet signs

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Just believe...ok?

Not the Garden of Eden

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The view of vegetable gardens in Kabayan may look pretty but their presence meant the destruction of endemic plants and animals, forest cover, and watersheds. Thus, the conversion of more land in Mount Pulag National Park into vegetable gardens is a big concern of DENR. If the remaining pine forest, mossy forest and the grassland of Mount Pulag will become vegetable gardens, then it’s a horror story of the 21st century.

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Benguet Jeepneys

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Reminds me of John Denver

These are the mountain jeepneys seen along the Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya Road. Most of them are chartered ones traveling between Baguio and Kabayan.

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Pulag Episode

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Hiker moment above the clouds

Hiking up the long but easy trail from the ranger station to one of the peaks of Mount Pulag three hours before sunrise was pleasant, notwithstanding it was still dark. Upon reaching Peak 2, we waited for few minutes just in time for the sun to come out behind the clouds. It was amazing looking down at the clouds while still on land, albeit on top of the mountain.

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Pre-sunrise view

When the sun was already way too high, as indicated by the transition of golden light to white light, it was time to ascent to the summit, still fairly easy. Up there, shadow casts on the summit marker and it was tempting to pee in the middle of the thick dwarf bamboo bushes (but of course I didn’t).

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Sunrise

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Blinding light

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The marker on the summit

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The bushes on the summit

Eats with Love

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Food signs with love at Mount Pulag ranger station, one of the starting point for hiking to Mount Pulag’s summit.

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Population Explosion

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Mountain covered with houses at maximum capacity, as seen inside a moving vehicle on the road between La Trinidad city proper and Baguio City.

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Benguet Coffee

One of the stalls selling coffee beans or ground coffee in Baguio public market.
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Heavy duty grinder (that reminds me of a fire hydrant) if you want freshly ground coffee by the kilo.
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Paroly Shells

Parol made from seashells as holiday decor for this stall that sells Baguio beans at Baguio public market
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