I remember spending my first sunrise of the year 2014 on top of Mt Kofafey. Basking in the view of a sea of clouds unraveling before my eyes to reveal the Maligcong Rice Terraces below was just a magical moment that opened up the year. I knew someday I promise to be back. A few months later I kept my promise. This time I brought along my friends with me see this destination in Cordilleras I have been raving about. And also to see the Maligcong Rice Terraces in its evergreen state.
Back at Suzzete’s Homestay
I spent almost a week in Bontoc after my first half-marathon trail run in Batad a few days before. I decided to wait here for my friend’s arrival from Manila instead of riding back. When they came, we boarded the jeep to Maligcong. The road at that time was being paved so we had to alight halfway, walk some distance and ride again to Suzette’s place. But we didn’t mind the walk as the view was already a glimpse, a tease for that matter, of things to come.
It was wonderful to be at Suzette’s Homestay again. To see her adorable kids and uber friendly mixed-breed pet dog, Kunig. Kunig got so much attention from the dog-lovers in us. There were also some new lounge chairs by the balcony overlooking the mountains. Everyone took their places at the balcony and enjoyed the nippy weather and some native brewed coffee.
Climbing Mt Kofafey with Kunig
Much like my first climb, we were already up at 4am. My previous guide Ezra have school duties so we were guided by husband and wife, Mang Clemens and Ate Tina. And to our unexpected delight, Kunig came along with us all throughout. He was just amusing on the trail as if he was keeping watch over us, stopping at the front waiting for us to keep up. At times he would be at the back like a sweeper and the surprise the people at the middle of the pack by abruptly appearing behind the woods. Even at the summit, Kunig seemed to marvel at the sight as well. Who wouldn’t? Maligcong Rice Terraces in its shifting greens is different altogether. The vivid greens from the farthest Favuyan and the recently harvested Fang-arao. They have different planting and harvesting seasons here.
Mang Clemens and Ate Tina prepared our coffee while we went shutter crazy every rise and fall of the clouds. It was nature’s cinema at its finest. Maybe we also gave them some “Me” time as we wandered off nearby hills. We stayed probably three hours before we headed back.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.