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KianganApril 16, 2007


The Beat the Terraces adventure race just ended and I didn't feel like heading back to Sagada so soon. Hmmm....Kiangan! It's a little-known place that's not too far from Banaue. Besides, I have a standing invite from a friend to visit the place.

Historical Place
Kiangan is rich in history. It was the last stronghold of the Japanese Imperial Army under the command of Gen. Yamashita, better known as the Tiger of Malaya. Kiangan is also the site of one of the fiercest battles during World War II in the Philippines. The locals even named a hill, the Million Dollar Hill. They speculate that it took the Americans that much money to carpet-bomb the Japanese into submission.

Host and Friends
I was welcomed by my host, Jill, whom I met at a Thanksgiving dinner in Sagada. We were joined by 2 of her local friends, Jasmin and Mila.

Ifugao Museum
First stop was the museum where day-to-day artifacts of Ifugao life were on display. There were a few photographs of the place dating back to the turn of the century. I was hoping it would also display pictures of the Japanese occupation. None. However, I heard some local families kept these pictures in their family albums. I was also curious to hear the narratives of the surviving elders from World War II. They must have stories about Japanese atrocities during their occupation. Time was short and I didn't enjoy this luxury.

Kiangan War Memorial Shrine
A few steps from the museum is the war shrine. This concrete edifice comemorates the Filipino and American soldiers who died during the war. It has a view deck on top where neighboring barangays can be seen. One thing that took my fancy was the sign "No Dating" on every level of the shrine. Hmmm, I guess the place used to be littered with soiled profilactics...ha-ha.

This is perhaps the highlight of my visit. After a tricycle ride and a 20-minute hike down to the river level, we finally came upon a multi-leveled waterfall. Every level afforded its own deep pool. It was such a refreshing treat after a hike in the hot sun. There was even space behind the waterfall to chill out to. A picnic would have been an added fun.

Ending Thoughts
Kiangan is off the beaten tourist path but it offers plenty - hiking trails, mountain climbs, caves, etc. It's also known for its rice wine. I tried it...not bad. The place has its own charm and definitely worth a visit if you're already backpacking into Banaue.

I know for a fact that the Cordillera craddles obscure and less-known places that offer its visitors some unexpected but pleasant surprises. It's a welcome thought to pack up at some point again, just to find out what else is out there.

--- TheLoneRider

    Kiangan Attractions:
  • War Memorial Shrine - Kiangan is site of the fierciest battle during World War II
  • Yamashita Surrender Site - This is where Gen. Yamashita, Tiger of Malaya, surrendered to the American forces
  • Ifugao Museum - displays the traditional and cultural tools of the Ifugao poeple
  • Mount Kapugan - good trekking with good view of 11 barangays
  • Mount Pangaggawan Cave - largest cave system in Ifugao
  • 3 Waterfalls - good hike and swim
  • Rice Terraces
  • Hiking Trails - it's possible to venture into long treks taking you to the neighboring villages of Tinoc and Hungduan.
    Places to Stay:
  • Kiangan Hostel (Poblacion) - dormitory style rooms at P100/person/night; #0917-574-0119
  • Kiangan Viewpoint (Poblacion) - whole house; bedroom with 3 double beds; kitchen, comfort room, living room; P1,200.00/night max. 4 pax
  • Kiangan Senior Citizen's Center (Poblacion) - common washroom; P100/person/night; #0926-681-9209
    Getting There in a Nutshell:
  • from Banaue - take jeep to Lagawe (1 hour, P27.00). From Lagawe, take a tricycle straight to Kiangan (20 min, P20.00)
  • from Baguio - approx 333kms, KMS (beside Burnham Park) via Carmen-Rosales-N Viscaya-Ifugao
  • from Manila - approx 317 kms, AutoBus Terminal at cor. G Tolentino along Espana Ave.

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