Introducing The Cordillera
To many travellers, North Luzon simply is the Cordillera, with everything else fading into insignificance. These spiny mountains, which top out at 2900m, are beloved, worshipped and feared in equal doses by those who witness them and those who live among them.
The people of the Cordillera, collectively known as the Igorot, own a fascinating culture that is reflected in the area's varied and multitudinous attractions. Banaue's renowned rice terraces have been dubbed 'the eighth wonder of the world', and they thoroughly deserve the label. Lesser-known but no less spectacular terraces exist throughout Ifugao, Mountain Province and Kalinga. So little has changed in Sagada since its days as a hippy hang-out that it would certainly become one again if there were another '60s. Bontoc is a busy mountain town; Kabayan has mummies in mountain caves; Kalinga has a few old head-hunters hanging around. Even Baguio, often maligned, is a fine stopover for a day or two.
The allure of the Cordillera is confirmed by the following fact: outside of Baguio, there are no ATMs that accept Western plastic in the entire region. Bring cash, but not too much because you'll only need about P500 a day.