ULOG #50: The enigmatic and last fortress: BARLIG
Barlig is one of the municipalities of Mountain Province and is said to be the last frontier of virgin forest here in our country. Rising at around 1,500+ meters above sea level, almost 90 percent of this enchanting beauty is mossy forest. It is a landlocked territory, surrounded by Ifugao, Bontoc and Kalinga.
Let's take a glimpse of what this Jungle Town has to offer.
My father's hometown is Alab, Bontoc, the capital municipality of Mountain Province. I was able to visit when we were kids back when my grandparents were alive. If I remember it correctly, maybe 2-3 times. Since then, I only passed along when we went to surrounding places like Sagada, Ifugao and Sadanga. These places are just couple hours from Bontoc. So if you want to see Mountain Province, get to Bontoc and start from there.
Thus, our weekend brought us to Barlig.
I have only heard of Barlig as one of the places in Bontoc but never showed interest in it. In fact, it is only now that I am more interested in exploring Mountain Province and know more what this place has to offer.
Less than two hours away is Barlig. Going up the road to Barlig will give you amazing landscapes, sceneries that you think will not get any better. Along the way are waterfalls and streams worth taking photo of. It would take us more than two hours if we stop every now and then just to take photos of such. So capture it through your eyes and store in your memory forever.
As you get closer, you will be met with mossy forest. I was thinking it will be only in one part but when I checked 360 degrees, it was mossy forest all around. It is such an exciting moment for me. All my life I have not seen such mossy forest as wide and as far as my eyes can see.
First stop, Lake Tufob.
This is located at Chatol and can be accessed along the road. Keep your eye to the signage along the road because there was just a small sign that it can be easily missed. The trail going up is unpaved and and uneasy path. It can be slippery so wear proper hiking footwear. It was an uphill climb for the first few minutes but then it flattens and ascends a bit again.
Look at my eager nephews go. The one behind is 2 years old, our youngest climber. Notice how steep the trail looks. It was just about 10 minutes hike. Easy.
There was also a cabin but no one was manning it then. I guess it is the lean months because it was closed. There was a note asking for donations to maintain the place. Deeper into the woods were a few residents but we never came across anybody during our visit.
I have seen pictures of this lake posted by friends. At one point, the water level dropped so low that only a patch of water was left. One of my brothers was with us and it was his second time around. He mentioned of seeing wild deers during his first visit. Unfortunately, there were no deers. However, the water level is higher and there were juju (freshwater eel) and tilapia fingerlings. In the middle of the lake was the remnant of a wooden bridge.
The best time to visit this lake is during the rainy months where the water level could be is at its highest.
It is such a relaxing destination that is worth the hike. Peace and quiet awaits you. All around is mossy forest. Enjoy the different kinds of moss and plants that grow here that you can probably only find in such forests. Reportedly, it is said that this is the crater of an extinct volcano, Mt. Puguis. On that note, let's hop on to our next destination.
Before heading to our next destination, we stopped by the center proper for a brunch. We found ourselves in one of the few restaurants in town. I saw one inn but that was closed. It was only a small town and I hope it stays that way. I have been to places where it used to be just a small community only to flourish but in a congested and unpleasant way that the place is losing its beauty.
Behind the restaurant is a beautiful scenery. I walked a few meters to take this first photo. In the background is Mt. Amuyao, the highest peak in Mountain Province. We have encountered hikers taking their meal also in the restaurant we ate. They just came from Mt. Amuyao. We would have loved to go there too but time was not enough to do so.
If you ever come and visit Mt. Province, Mt. Amuyao is one of the interests that you may want to go to. I have not been to yet but maybe one of these days.
Mornang Hot Spring and Waterfalls
This is an easy trek as well. At first. It was downslope. While the trail was not paved and uneven, it was like a walk in the park. The real challenge is the uphill going back but it is all worth the trip.
This signage is easier to miss than that of Lake Tufob. The way going to the hot spring and falls is hidden in a bend in the road. The small signage is of no big help either. When it is your first time to visit a place, it is wise to ask the locals. From the Barlig center, it is about 10 minutes to this trail going to the springs.
Keep following the mossy trail and enjoy nature at its best.
Upon alighting our vehicle, me and two of my nephews went ahead. On the sign it said 30 minutes and we were there lesser than that because we walked fast and ran some. That's how excited we were! I was thinking to myself there will be a lot of time to enjoy the surrounding when we go back.
At the end of the mossy forest trail will be pine trees. The trail gets tricky at this point. It is a sudden drop down so you have to be very careful. There are no rails to hold on to. You have to rely on your sure step and good balance. The path is slippery in some parts and one misstep will find you at the bottom of the mountain.
Before the descend starts, you can already view the waterfalls. The excitement immediately intensifies at this point.
To the left of the picture is a small shelter and a small pool. Pipes of both hot and cold water coming from the natural springs lead to this pool and it is up to you to mix and come up with the temperature you desire.
This is where it gets interesting and why they said that there is a volcano here. This hot spring comes out from this mountain of rock. The waterfalls are just beside it. It is a puzzle as to how such natural formations came about. Come and enjoy what nature has to offer - hot and cold at the same time. The biggest waterfall rises about 50 feet and the water is not that strong. The pool below is just above the knee or so. You can't swim in it. We had fun taking photos behind and in front of the falls. We brave the chilling cascading water that pierces like needles then relaxed at the pool of hot water.
Notice the orangy parts almost firey, those are where the hot sulfuric water flows out. It gives a bright color to the place and gives a cool contrast to the dominant green. It gives the illusion of stepping into another world.
This is just one of the many waterfalls this side of the earth can offer. In some, it is a must to bring a guide because you might get lost. Wrong turn can lead down a cliff.
Come and enjoy the clear, clean and cold waters of Barlig. Enjoy the mossy forest that it. Lots of things await those who want to unfold it.
It is disheartening that humans come and destroy such beauty. Nature is offering us so much and all we do is take and take and then give it destruction. We should not be surprised if everything arounds us crumble. This is evident in the roads constructed in the mountains. The erosion of the land cannot be stopped if we don't stop destroying nature. It is on a sad note that I end this. I hope we will learn our lesson from what is happening around us. Take care of nature and nature will take care of us.
!steemitworldmap 17.038936 lat 121.144826 long Barlig, Mountain Province d3scr