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Top-Loading to Mainit Hot SpringsFebruary 25, 2008

Top-Loading to Mainit Hot Springs

Mainit Connection
When I received a lunch invite to Bontoc from Bambi, I also planned-in a trip to Mainit, a village known for its natural hot springs. Mainit has always been on my 'to go' places, and now's the perfect time to do it. From my topo map, it's about an hour north of Bontoc, almost adjacent to Sagada. From Poblacion, Reggie (a friend and frequent Sagada visitor) and myself top-loaded the jeep into Bontoc.

Thai Cooking
Lunch at Bambi's was superb - Thai chicken dishes using curry and cumin. We ate at the viewdeck of their building overlooking much of Bontoc. The sun was out with a slight breeze...perfect for top-loading again.

Up, Up and Away
Coincidentally, Bambi also had Mainit penciled in for his family as well. Hey, like I always say, the more the merrier. With his family, Reggie and myself, we boarded the top of the afternoon jeep (top-loading). The trip to Mainit was going up...up and up. From the jeep top, the view was spellbinding. We zoomed-out Bontoc to reveal its expanse and its surrounding landscape, until we hit the first village, Guina-ang. After that, it was rolling with views of the surrounding villages across the valleys. The hour-long trip was just right for top-loading - long enough to be satisfying, but short enough before it gets old.

Village Pools
The village of Mainit seems like a scene from Apocalype Now with sulfuric steam rising out of the natural hot springs. The place is littered with small hot pools for individual houses. Think of a house on a fog-draped mountain village with its own outdoor hot cool is that? On top of that, there's also the sizeable village pools...his and hers! This is a great bonding venue amongst the villagers. Ah...if only those pool walls can talk!

The ride out of Mainit was again, another top-loading fun...and then another top-loading ride from Bontoc to Sagada. It's hard to imagine a better way to experience the view of the Cordillera any other way. Top-loading rocks!!! To make it a more comfortable top-load, bring something comfortable to sit on (like a rolled-up earth pad), mask (it could be dusty with other vehicles).

Jeep Schedule
One downside to Mainit is the jeep schedule. It leaves Bontoc at 3:30 pm, so you arrive Mainit about 5pm, close to getting dark. You're constrained to stay overnight. Then you leave early morning to catch the 8am jeep. It's too short a time to be staying at Mainit, but staying 1 more night is too long...there's nothing else to do there but enjoy the hot spring.

Ending Thoughts
If I were to do it again, I would make arrangements to stay with a family and just chill at the village pool, making small talk to the locals and getting a sense of what life in Mainit is all about. You spend much less, get to experience Mainit in the raw (not insulated like a passing tourist), and make the whole visit more memorable.

You wanna kick it up a notch? From Mainit, hike to Sagada or Maligcong!

--- TheLoneRider

    How to get there:
  • From Bontoc to Mainit - there's only 1 jeep trip, leaving 3:30pm, P35/person. The jeep is close to the Shell gas station.
  • From Mainit to Bontoc - there's only 1 jeep trip, leaving 8:00am, P35/person.
    Mainit Resorts:
  • Odsey's - P250/head/night lodging, P70 entrance (use of pool), P250 use of picnic benches, firewood and kitchen utensils
  • Geston's - no details
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