NAGTIPUNAN, Quirino – A 360-degree view of the mountains, including the majestic Sierra Madre, the corn plantation on the hills, the tributaries of Cagayan River, and several waterfalls are the boast of the town of Nagtipunan, but the place is more than just a sight to see as immersing in the different cultures of the tribes here is also a higher level of experience.
Situated in the mountainous Quirino province, Nagtipunan is a first-class municipality with over 25,000 population count in its 16 barangays and covers almost half of the province.
The town’s weather is cool and breezy at dawn and at dusk while it could also be warm and humid, especially in the summertime.
Among the most visited tourist spots here is the Landingan Viewpoint, which is managed by the Bugkalot Tribe.
The Landingan Viewpoint showcases a variety of colorful flowers and plants on top of a hill that is perfect for Instagram or Facebook posts.
The spot also has a historical value as the area was believed to be where the Christian missionaries landed their plane and what started the spread of Christianity in Nagtipunan, hence its name.
The viewpoint offers a picturesque view of almost the entire Nagtipunan where one can take a peek at the mountains, including the Sierra Madre and the Cagayan River’s tributaries.
A stairway carved out of the hill leads to the top to get a more stunning view and picture but for those who do not wish to climb the stairs, a view from the top is still possible with another route that could be accessed via a car or motorcycle.
The fees collected in the area are used to maintain the tourist spot as it also serves as a livelihood for some of the members of the Bugkalot Tribes.
Just a few kilometers away from Landingan is the Gawagan Nature Park. Its façade is still under construction but as one goes deeper into the area, the more fascinating it gets.
The flow of the Gawagan River with huge rocks and rock formations on it make it resemble a small waterfall.
The inner area, surrounded by century-old tall trees, vines, and plants gives an enchanting vibe with its cold climate and the gush of the water in the river from the mountains.
The adventurous may still explore deeper into the forested area to get into the bigger waterfalls with the challenge of a mild rock-climbing or hopping venture.
The Gawagan Nature Park also offers a pick and pay of fresh vegetables and herbs.
Some 15 to 20 minutes away from the nature park is Barangay San Pugo where residents of a part of the village abandoned their houses due to a crack in the area that might have been caused by soil erosion due to high water pressure from its nearby waterfalls.
Before getting to Gawagan, an apparition-like white carving on the side of a mountain could be seen along the way.
“We called it the Praying Priest as it resembles a priest from a long time ago. It used to be popular here in Nagtipunan. It looks exactly as it was before,” said Ivan Jethro Alejandro, a resident here.
The town also features a view of the sea of clouds or fog at the mountaintop.
From the mountaintop to the Siitan Nature Park, tourists could go camping, all terrain vehicle (ATV) riding, water tubing, cliff diving, or just cruising and enjoying the Bimmapor Rock Formation which is similar to a ship.
Siitan River is known as one of the cleanest rivers in the country.
Nagtipunan also showcases the Koronang Bato in Barangay Sangbay which requires a 10-minute hike to the top of the rock formation resembling a crown, hence its name. It offers an aerial view of the town.
Among the waterfalls in Nagtipunan are Mactol Falls, Junuan Falls, Victoria Falls, and Masug Falls.
“The swimming area at the foot of the Masug waterfalls is deep. Brave visitors would usually climb the nearby rocks and dive straight toward the water basin. At the foot of the waterfalls lies the swimming lagoons filled with fresh water coming from the falls,” Nagtipunan Tourism Office said.
It added that the area is maintained by the Agta community.
Mayor Noel Lim said the Nagtipunan Nature Park is also underway as the Dipantan picnic area will have more amenities, such as the Bugkalot-Igorot-Ifugao-Agta houses, tourism-grade restrooms, water sports activities, camping site, and many more.
Nagtipunan is not only worth the tick on one’s bucket list for its tourist spots that are truly spectacular but also because the culture of its people is distinct.
Tribal communities, such as the Bugkalot, Igorot, Ifugao, Agta, and Ilocano whose traditions and cultures are still alive and practiced, except for those that are no longer beneficial to the times, are adapting to the present pace of life.
“One of the unique cultures of the Bugkalot Tribe is in the role of the husband and wife. The wife in their culture is the breadwinner. You will see them doing the field work while the husband stays at home,” a resident said.
The Bugkalots are known as head-hunters hence, the male are the ones responsible for protecting their tribe from invaders a long time ago.
“They no longer practice head-hunting ever since Christianity has reached Nagtipunan,” a resident said.
Bugkalots also have a unique way of preserving their meat, which is by smoking. They have their own process and own preference for wood to be used in smoking their meat to preserve it as well as maintain its flavor.
The tribal communities harmoniously live together as they participate in different works in the town, including the maintenance of the tourist spots.
More infra dev’t
The new administration of Lim is focusing on building important infrastructures in the town, such as its first very own public market to be funded with PHP50 million this year.
“We are the last town in the whole country to have its own public market. We still have to go to Maddela, some 30 minutes away from our town, in order to buy the goods that we need in the market,” he said.
Lim said the local government will also build the Nagtipunan Training and Processing Center where the goods in the Pasalubong Center will be produced.
He added they are also eyeing building a Nagtipunan Civic Center with a people’s park and convention center to cater to big meetings and seminars.
A “super rural health unit” will also be built with funding worth PHP10 million for the building and PHP6.5 million for the medical equipment from the Department of Health. (PNA)