Philippines – Luzon
Like a fragmented bridge, the islands of the Philippines lie between Taiwan in the north and Indonesia in the south. Volcanoes, shifts of the earth plates with consequent elevations and subsidence and melting glacial glaciers have created them. The largest island is the northern main island of Luzon. It is culturally and scenically very varied. At the same time, it forms the economic backbone of the country.
We drive to the mountainous region of Luzon Island. On steep slopes, a small narrow country road winds towards Bontoc. It poured early in the morning from buckets and the road is muddy and slippery. We are progressing very slowly. But this gives us the opportunity to admire the landscape with its manifold charms. In some places the hills are completely cleared and in other places we have dense rainforest. The road is not busy, two cars in the same place are a rarity. Most are only buses on the way, packed up to the top. People even ride on the rooftops as passengers. Our tour in the mountainous region should take several days and we have pre-booked hotels and guesthouses for the nights.
In a small mountain village welcomes us at the entrance of an Ifugao hunter in his typical colorful and richly decorated costume. The communication is difficult, as he speaks only his native dialect, of which there are to be 200. But with gestures and hand signals and body language we get along quite well with him in the “conversation”. At our request, he takes one of his favorite hunting positions.
On the horizon, the sun is glowing red. An impressive scenery. We are climbing to higher and higher regions. At an altitude of more than 1,500m, palm trees and banana plants grow here. Again and again we see artfully created rice terraces in the higher regions. Whole mountain ranges are created with these terraces. For most inhabitants of these mountainous regions this is the only way of income. An ingenious natural water system provides the rice terraces with the necessary wetness. You can see the rice farmers standing barefoot in their fields up to their ankles and planting the seedlings. A tedious and exhausting job.
An incredible variety of plants, fruits and spices accompanies us to an altitude of approximately 1500m. In European regions, the tree line often ends here. For the night we are registered in a small country hotel. We are glad to have made the booking before, since the hotel is fully occupied. There is not another one in this region. We should have stayed in the car. The white walls and ceilings of our room are black with mosquitoes. Good thing we took our mosquito net with us. We have renamed the hotel “Mückenhotel”. Nevertheless, we survive the night reasonably and the next morning the journey can continue.