Fog slowly rolled in to cover the view of the vibrant valley bustling in Sunday activity below. The valley is the municipality of La Trinidad that has long been living under the shadows of the more popular city of Baguio. Most of the time, its strawberry farm is often mistaken as part of the city of pines. It is only now that La Trinidad is getting out of its shell to offer an eco-tourism experience that stands as its very own.
At the forefront of these eco-tourism drive is the Mount Kalugong Cultural Village. The cultural village is nestled atop a mountain that boasts of a panoramic view of the valley of La Trinidad. The place tries to give its visitors a unique experience with its local culture fused with its natural beauty.
Mount Kalugong is one destination where a perfect day is defined by relaxing under the shade of pine tree covers. The cool mountain wind and the rustling sound of pine needles are sensory experiences that you will enjoy at the cultural village. Communing with nature under the comfort of the forest cover is a rewarding experience.
There are a number of activities that you can enjoy under the shade of its Mount Kalugong’s forest cover. There are swings that you can hop on and enjoy a break from adult stuff. You can share stories while having a picnic or over a meal from AJ Food Hauz, the village’s resident restaurant. A must try is their liempo meal. Or you can just simply go around and explore the nooks and crannies of the village that displays the Cordilleran culture.
Mount Kalugong also offers overnight accommodations for those intending to spend a cold night at the village. You can try out their local huts, camp out in a tent, or go glamping the Cordillera way.
Mount Kalugong’s peak is a unique spot that has an amazing 360-degree view of the La Trinidad valley. It has three view decks that you can explore and enjoy.
The northern view of La Trinidad can be viewed atop its highest point. A 3-minute uphill hike will bring you to a forest opening where it gives you a panoramic view of northern La Trinidad and the mountain ranges of the Cordillera. This is also a good spot where you can have a picnic with family and friends. Just keep your kids away from the edges.
Then there is the rockies side that faces towards Mount Yangbew. From this vantage point, you get to see the sloping hills of La Trinidad. Watch your steps though when navigating through the limestone rock formations as it can a bit tricky and the stones are sharp. But this vantage point gives the most relaxing view of the surrounding hills.
One of the amazing features of Mount Kalugong are its limestone rock formations. Located at the northern part of the village, the limestone formations are a beauty to admire. It reminded me of the formations found in Sagada and El Nido. Only this time, it offers a panoramic view of La Trinidad as the municipality buzzes into Sunday afternoon action. My personal favorite is a formation that I dubbed “Kalugong Rock Dinosaur”. The formation looks like a small Tyrannosaurus Rex giving La Trinidad a huge roar.
The view decks are definitely worth exploring but extra precaution needs to be practiced. It will require a lot of balancing and you also need to watch out for its sharp edges.
Warming Up with Coffee
As the fog started rolling in and blocking the view of the valley, we headed to the Mount Kalugong Kape-An. This small cozy mountain cafe is the best way to cap off your Mount Kalugong experience.
The cafe is an attraction in itself with its collection of just about anything related to coffee. From coffee drips to coffee presses, the owners have a very nice collection on display. You can order a cup of hot coffee and a slice of pastries to warm you up before heading back to the city.
The mountain cabin is warm and cozy exuding that Cordilleran feel of living on the mountains. It also has a makeshift view deck where you can catch a perfect view of La Trinidad on a clear day.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
“Kalugong” is a local term that means hat and Mount Kalugong got its name because its peak is shaped as such. At a height of 1472 meters, it amazes its guests with its unique limestone formations while giving them a commanding view of La Trinidad. These attractions make Mount Kalugong Cultural Village a perfect spot to relax, unwind, and commune with nature.
As we find more Filipinos exploring local destinations, we find more local government units discovering their own brand of tourism. This move opens these spots to new opportunities that give its communities another stream of revenue for its residents. Hopefully, we will be seeing more La Trinidads who will break out from the shadows and give us a new kind of travel adventure.
Getting there: Victory Liner, Genesis Bus, Dagupan Bus, and Solid North have regular daily trips to Baguio City. You can then take a cab to the Baguio City Hall where you can take a jeep for Camp Dangwa. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Benguet Memorial Chapel in Upper Tomay. From the drop-off point, it will be another 30 – 40 minutes of uphill trek to Mount Kalugong Cultural Village.
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Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.