This a new program of the provincial government of Ilocos Sur which aim to attract tourists all over the globe by reviving Historical sites, refreshing and rehabilitating it.
The home of the Capitol Building of Mountain Province and the place of the renowned Bessang Pass Battle where the last stand of General Tomoyoki Yamashita lies.
(Notice the white background of my pics, it is fog… at 2pm)
I was in Cervantes last June 4 and 5 regarding the KABSAT Caravan of Gov. DV Savellano. It was a memorable trip to Pass because I want to see Bessang Pass… what changes in it during my last visit, way back 2000.
There was big change, especially the road to Cervantes. It is under construction by Thai-Italian Construction which aims to cement the road from Tagudin, Ilocos Sur way up to Baguio City.
June 14,1945 when General Yamashita surrendered to USAFIP troops when he and his Japanese Imperial Army defeated at the said battle.
At 2:15 pm, June 5, we were going back home. We reached the peak of Bessang Pass, the fog was everywhere, you could’nt almost see the car or people in front of you. In Baguio City, you can experience fog by 4pm, but here in Malaya, Cervantes, you can experience it at this very point in time.
It was cold and the mountains is covered with this fog that it is like in the movie April Snow. All that sorrounds us is white. Where’s San Pedro?
Mayor Benjamin Maggay invited the governor up the hill, to see the fox holes used to be the shield of the Japanese Army. There were lots of them. Some where covered with earth and grass, some were not.
There are lots of holes digged by treasure hunters. These treasure hunters is hoping for some gold bars presumably left during the retreat of the Japanese.
We gather some metal scraps. I cant believe it, that until now, you can see some bullets, empty shell of garand rifles, mortars and other war weapons dig the land. I got one, a bullet of garand, it was bluish. I kept it as a souvenir.
Mayor Maggay invited us again in the higher hill in what he called “Crown of Pine Trees”. Why? Because it is the highest Point in Bessang Pass, where you can see the whole Ilocandia.
He further explains why Yamashita was defeated during world war two.
Gov. Savellano has plan to revive this place,make it have of tourism. It includes a museum where you can see some artifacts, goods and things that is used during the World War II. There is also a plan to put up mountain resort so that you can stay here for a whole night.
It was a nice idea… I hope it will work.
Kase, ang mga turista, dumadaan lang dito.
I hope, they will go here not just only to buy sayote or patatas… and stay for a week.
Just a glimps of Cervantes. A not so well-known town of Ilocos Sur but heaven of nature, riches and history. The mountains, the trees, the waterfalls, the dazzling pine trees, home of bugnay wine and duhat wine… oh, you’d love to be here.
The rich history of World War II lies here, where General Tomoyoki Yamashita make his last stand here. And becuase of that, many believes that the great treasures (gold bars) lies here. But some say, it was already taken out by some boracious early people of the country.
When I got there, there’s this old building that was placed on high school campus. This was erected during the Spanish regime. In this Spanish building, there was a museum, you can find here some of the old artifacts and things presumably used by the Kankanaey, Igorots and Itnegs. There’s this latok (latok was a large plate– during pre-spanich and spanish time, typical ilocano eat together in one large plate called “latok”, it is made from hard wood), bande or a jar made from hard trunks of wood, annanga or raincoat, bigao, calben and many other.
This building used to be the capitol of Mountain Province, when Montanosa was not yet subdivided. But when Cervantes belonged to Ilocos Sur, the capitol or central office of Mountain Province moved to Bontoc.
As of now, the building id dilapidated, and it needs repair. How historic, it is, for this building that its story should be conserved.
Anyway, I got a chance to chat with Lt. Kigis, he’s from Mountain Province, he gave some directions in Montanosa. From Cervantes, you can lead to Mankayan where the infamous Lepanto Mines can be found. After that, you will pass to Bugias, an intersection can be found here, one will go to Mountain Province, another is Bengue, and of course, the coldest part of the Philippines– municipality of Atok. From Atok, you will go to Sayangan, then to Akop, La Trinidad, and of course, to Baguio City.
It means, from Ilocos Sur, you can straight to Baguio City, the reward is the haven of trees and virgin mountains.