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The Cordilleras: Watershed cradle of the Philippines
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: Lynda B. Valencia
Date: 2002-08-12
BAGUIO City (PNA) – Dubbed as the “Watershed Cradle of the Philippines”, the Cordilleras has a mountainous topography characterized by towering peaks, plateaus and intermittent patches of valleys.

Such topography makes accessibility between and among the provinces, municipalities, barangays and even sitios in the region difficult.

Owing to the region’s land-locked topography, fishery resources consist mainly of inland water.

To preserve its cultural uniqueness and fertility, its ethnic solidarity, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is carved out of the predominantly Ilocano regions of Ilocos and Cagayan.

Located in the North Central part of Luzon, the region is composed of the six provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao, Mountain Province and the chartered city of Baguio.

It consists of 76 municipalities and 1,172 barangays. The region’s land area of 18,294 sq. kilometers account for seven percent of the total land mass of the country.

The region’s climate is endowed with abundant mineral reserves. These are metallic ores such as gold, silver, copper, zinc and nonmetallic reserves which are found in Abra, Benquet, Kalinga, Apayao and Mountain Province.

However, mining operations are still concentrated in Benguet where almost 100 percent of the region’s mineral production in 1998 was registered. In addition, the region has untapped geothermal energy resources and undeveloped hydroelectical power resource.

The region is the least populated in the country despite its vast land area. The total population in 1990 was 1,146,191 and grew to 1,388,220 in 2002 reflecting an average growth rate of 1.76 percent for the past decade.

Consistently, it has bested the other regions in terms of employment rates indicating a vibrant and potential-laden economy. Agriculture remains to be the primary pre-occupation which employs more than one-half of the region’s workforce.

In the first quarter of 1991, the region attracted investments totaling R297 million, the bulk of which was poured into the province of Benguet, particularly in the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) located in Baguio City.

Replete with 80 unparalleled tourists attraction, the region remains to be the irresistible tourist destination north of Metro Manila.

The pride of place in Abra includes the Abra Festival, bamboo crafts, Ikat weaving, Karerakit along Calaba River, Casa Real Ruins, Tayum Church, Victoria Park, and Mary Babereo Park.

In Baguio City, one can see the Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga, the city market, PMA, Baguio Cathedral, Burnham Park, The Mansion, Wright Park, Camp John Hay, Lourdes Grotto, Tam-awan Village, Baguio Botanical Garden and Mines View Park, among others.

In Apayao, one can see the Marag Valley, Agamata National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Kalabigan Falls, Lizardo Brooks, and Apayao River.

In Benquet, one can see the Kabayan mummies, Mt. Pulag, Vegetable terraces, Balatoc Mines, strawberry picking, Asin Hot Spring, Wood carving Village, Kennon Road, Ambuclao & Binga Dams, La Trinidad cut flowers and Opdas Cave.

In Kalinga, one can see the Ullalim Festival, Sleeping Beauty Mountain, Balbalasang National Park, Sungang Viewpoint, Pasil Natural Dam, Palan-ah Falls and Hotsprings, Mt. Binaratan, Aguinaldo Hill, and Aguinaldo Watch Tower.

Several terraces can also be seen in Ifugao, such as the Banaue, Bangaan, Gotad Ad Hingyon, Amlong Ad Hungduan, Mayoyao and Hapao; Imbayan Ethnic Sports Festival; Philippine War Memorial Shrine and the Ifugao Rice Harvest Festival.

In the Mountain Province there is the Sagada Caves, Hanging Coffins, Loom weaving, Mainit Hot Spring, Samoki Weaving Village, Inodey Waterfalls, and Agricultural Stone Calendar.

[ Mount Pulag Wiki | Asin Hot Spring Wiki | Lourdes Grotto Wiki ]

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