Cordillera Central

The Cordillera Central is a massive mountain range situated in the northern central part of the island of Luzon, in the Philippines. Several provinces bound it, namely Benguet, Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Mountain, Ifugao, and a city located entirely within it, which is Baguio City. In the north, it terminates at Pasaleng Bay, Ilocos Norte, where the coastal bridge Patapat Viaduct winds through. It links with the Sierra Madre through the Caraballo mountains in Nueva Vizcaya province. The whole range was formerly termed as Nueva Provincia, or New Province, during the Spanish times.

Its inhabitants are presently Ilocanos, and the Igorot, a loosely-connected federation of tribes belonging to the mountains. Most of them speak English, due to the presence of a former American base in the mountain ranges, John Hay Air Base.

The Cordillera is one of the richest regions in terms of natural resources. It is a major resource base of the Philippines: 11% of the total area is agricultural rice fields, orchards, swine farms and pasture lands; 60% of the country’s temperate vegetables are produced in the area. It is the premier mining district; there are eight big mining companies operating which are mostly foreign controlled. Some 80% of the total Philippine gold production comes from the Cordillera.

Another important aspect with respect to potential resources is that the Cordillera is home to the headwaters of the major rivers in Northern Luzon. If these rivers were to be dammed it could provide at least five million kilowatts of the total electrical needs (some 56%) of the entire country.