Baguio City is famed as “the Summer Capital of the Philippines” yet the city draws the most number of tourists over the last months of the year (according to a report by its newly commissioned tourism officer, Aloysius Mapalo), thus making it an evergreen tourist destination that results in overtourism.
A plot twist, however, looms in the story: root-and-branch renovation is in discussion, which might ultimately shut the tourists out once ratified. Don’t walk out on your trip to Benguet just yet, though, as we have to allow the wounded to heal and recover. After all: when one door closes, another door opens.
Further deep into the cold, 30 miles (around two hours) from the only city within Benguet, blossoms the two-year-old tourism industry in the twenty-thousand-inhabited municipality of Atok. Along with its blooming boom is the Northern Blossom Flower Farm, the most visited tourist spot.
If all of us have seen and heard enough of hagdang-hagdang palayan, then you’ll never be for one mountainous hagdang-hagdang hardin at gulayan—in one. From beyond our ken like snapdragon and hoary stock (Matthiola) to the common ones such as sunflower and cabbage (only it’s rose cabbage), you can feast your eyes on the flourishing flora from all directions as you go down from terrace to terrace.
What makes this floral field trip super extra, though, is how the panorama of two of the highest points in Luzon – Mt. Pulag and Mt. Timbak – just sit pretty in the open right in front of you. In the thick of sea of clouds upon the crack of dawn, the sight gives out a backdrop from whichever terrace you’re at.
Find out how Atok’s potential is right for the taking when you arrange a trek to Mt. Timbak for to chase the sunrise.
For the best available accommodations with a chiller experience, Haight’s Place, which tends its own flower farm, is just a couple of minutes from town.
Atok, once a sleepy town but now with so much promise, has been learning the ropes for another source of economic booster: tourism. Plan your next trip to Atok! You won’t regret it!
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