The road to the top is never easy but once you reach it, be awed by the spectacle it brings.
This is a cliche adage of life but it might as well be the slogan when you travel to Malico, the quaint barangay in the municipality of San Nicolas in Pangasinan province.
Based on the 2020 Census of Population, Malico has a population of 348 representing just 0.87 percent of the town’s inhabitants.
Atop the rugged Caraballo mountain ranges, it stretches between Sta. Rosa and Sta. Fe in Nueva Vizcaya and San Nicolas in Pangasinan.
Counting more than a hundred twists and turns in the zigzag road going up, Malico might have gotten its name from these which means ‘many turns’ or ‘maraming liko’ or simply, malico in Pangasinan language
The scenic 45-minute drive boasts of mini waterfalls and a magnificent view of the sky, mountain and sea.
As reflected in the “Pagkilala” book of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), part of the Kalanguya tribe claimed Malico as their ancestral domain. The locals stage their annual festival thru music, songs and dances.
Kalanguya tribe are also called Highland Culture Bearers. It is said that maintenance of trails going to their community and farm are done by men without pay. Instead, a pig is butchered and its meat is distributed to the workers as compensation.
Aside from its rich cultural heritage, tourists visit the small community because of its cold temperature as it sits 1,300 feet above sea level. The temperature does not exceed 20 degrees celsius.
Malico teems with pine trees that beckon you to put on your trekking shoes and go on a slow hike and pristine waterfalls that invite you to take a lingering dip in the natural pools below.
Or, if the laid-back ambience makes you feel like lounging among the benches, simply talk to nature and take a selfie in the panoramic view of the lushed plains and nature-cultivated ridges.
Interestingly, the 702nd Infantry (Defender) Brigade of the Philippine Army has set up its station in the area to provide security and protection in the terrain. Several camping activities and retreats have been conducted in the area and tourists are welcome in the area as long as they register with the local government unit before going up.
Brigade Commander Krishnamurti Mortella said, a Youth Peace Advocacy Program was also conducted in the area where young people were capacitated to become peace champions and advocates and put into good news the various government efforts in the development of the area and in promoting peace.
“Communication plays a big role in educating our people and in promoting peace. We chose this place so that they can see and have a first-hand experience on knowing how beautiful this place is,” BGen. Montella told the Philippine Information Agency.
So the next time you think of zigzag roads, pine trees and cold climate, don't limit it to Baguio or Tagaytay. Include Malico in your bucket and go-to list and feast on nature’s fresh, pristine beauty. (JCR/VHS, PIA Pangasinan)
PHOTOS: The panoramic view of Brgy. Malico in San Nicolas, Pangasinan (PIA)