Unknown to many, Maligcong in Bontoc, Mountain Province, has some of the most beautiful and well preserved rice terraces — carved by hand about 2,000 years ago on the side of the mountains in the Cordilleras. Only eight kilometers away from Bontoc town center, Maligcong rises some 4,000 feet above sea level, the altitude producing a cool climate and offering its visitors a fantastic view of its rock-hemmed terraces and nearby Sagada. On good days, you get to almost touch the clouds at sunrise. Bloggers and Ferdz Decena and Oggie Ramos led a group of 11 photographers on a three-day Maligcong travel photography workshop in September 2015. The group shares with us some of their fantastic shots.
Maligcong — in pictures
Bokay Albay’s Maligcong Rice Terraces
Gear: Canon EOS 6D camera and Canon 16-35mm 4L lens
The image: Thespectacular golden light touching the Maligcong Rice Terraces. This shot was taken at sunrise from Mt. Kupapey.
Edwin Sy’s Apo Ellen
Gear: Fuijifilm XT1 camera, using a 56mm lens f1.2 R APD, ISO 320 1/125 sec at f/2.0
The image: Apo Ellen at her home at Fang-arao, Mountain Province. She was a little nervous in the beginning, but began to relax in the latter part of the shoot.
Erick Dantoc’s dramatic landscape
Gear: Nikon D7000 + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6G, shooting technique is Tele (photo) Landscape
The image: Dantoc took this dramatic landscape photo using his cheap 70-300 lens and a sturdy tripod to compensate for the focal range. Using a telephoto lens can capture landscapes like this one.
Tere Bernardino’s Mt. Kupapey sunrise
Gear: Canon EOS 100D
The image: “Mt. Kupapey’s sunrise was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen,” says photographer Tere Bernardino. She said she missed a lot of chances to snap away because she kept on pausing to marvel at how the golden light changes the feel of the place.
Ming Rae Orden’s Kidkid
Gear: Nikon D7100 and a Tokina 11-16
The image: Kidkid is one of the local children of Maligcong. Although shy at first, he quickly warmed up to the photographer and was soon posing for him. The shoot location is an abandoned school building.
Ian Antaran’s Victoria
Gear: Nikon D7100 and Tokina 12-24 landscape lens
The image: This is a photo of Victoria, a local of Maligcong, taken while she was harvesting rice. Despite her reluctance to pose for our cameras at first, she finally gave in and timidly gave us this priceless memory of her.
Stay at Maligcong Homestay and Coffeeshop (+63915 546 3557), a family home with two rooms rented out to guests. The verandah offers a fantastic view of the terraces. The rooms are big, and each is furnished with a queen-size bed. The toilet and bath are shared but clean with heated water. The owner Suzette is a good cook, serves good coffee, and is able to refer guests to local guides. To get to Bontoc, take a Genesis bus from Pasay to Baguio, from where there are GL Lizardo buses bound for Bontoc. The best time to go is August to September when the terraces are green, or October when the terraces have turned golden brown.
Originally published in InFlight Traveller December to January 2015. Updated April 2016