The capital of Mountain Province, BONTOC is the first major town in the north beyond Baguio. It lies on the banks of the Chico River, about an hour east of Sagada by jeepney.
Bontoc is primarily a commercial town used by tourists as a rest stop on the circuit to Banaue. It is, however, gaining a reputation as a good place for trekking; one of the best day treks is to the beautiful Maligcong rice terraces. You will need a guide, so contact the Bontoc Ecological Tour Guides Association at the Pines Kitchenette and Inn, behind the market in Rizal Plaza. Some of the local tribes can be nervous of foreigners and it would be unwise to approach them without a guide to help smooth the way (P300–500 per day). One local tribe, the Kalingas, have been particularly wary of outsiders, and these days, while not outright unfriendly, are still rather stand-offish.
Don't miss the small but well-run Bontoc Museum (Mon– Sat 9.30am– noon & 1–5pm; P20), next to the post office, close to the town plaza. It contains photographs of headhunting victims and of zealous American missionaries trying to persuade incredulous warriors to choose the path of righteousness. Buses and jeepneys go from Bontoc to Sagada and Baguio, and onwards to Banaue.