Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just passing through: stopping over at Balete (Dalton) pass in Nueva Vizcaya

Nueva Vizcaya Region 2 markerWhile Manila was preparing to get drenched by torrential rains over the weekend, I was with friends enroute to Imugan in Nueva Vizcaya. It was my first out-of-towner in nearly four months and I was just too eager to go despite the lack of sleep and harried preparations.

As the plains of Nueva Ecija gave way to the mountains of the Sierra Madre and Caraballo ranges, we drift in and out of sleep going to Santa Fe, our jump-off for Imugan. But crossing over to Nueva Vizcaya, we made a cursory stopover at Balete Pass (formerly known as Dalton pass in honor of General Dalton who died from a sniper's bullet during WWII).Balete Pass Japanese Stone MarkerAt 3,000 feet above sea level, we were greeted by the nippy air -- a welcome change from the heat of the lowlands. The markers on site commemorate the bloody fighting during the closing stages of the Second World War which resulted to the death of nearly 17,000 Japanese, American and Filipino soldiers.Balete Pass ViewThe high pass, which gives one a heady view of the mountains, serve as the gateway to the rice terraces of Ifugao as well as the Cagayan Valley region. We surveyed the scene, took some snaps, enjoyed the cool breezes before heading to our destination. 

INFO: a P5 (five peso) fee is charged for visitors to the site. • buses going to Cagayan Valley via Cabanatuan from Manila pass through the site daily.
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