As a physical region, the Cordillera — Gran Cordillera Central, to be complete — is a row of great mountain ranges occupying half of Northern Luzon in the Philippines. Its rugged mountainous backbone contains many peaks exceeding 2,000 meters in height, with rolling hills and stretches of river valleys along its flanks. Around 230 km long and 120 km wide, with an irregular shape, the mountainous region's estimated total area is about 17,500 square km. Thus, the Cordillera is both the highest and the single largest mass of mountains in the entire Philippine archipelago. SIX PROVINCES AND A CITY
As a recently-defined administrative region, the Cordillera is composed of the six provinces of Apayao, Kalinga, Abra, Mountain Province, Ifugao, and Benguet, plus the chartered city of Baguio. These provinces have a total land area of almost 18,300 square km. The bulk of the Cordillera mountain range, as a physical region, is covered by this Cordillera administrative region (CAR). The Cordillera's foothills extend into a few other adjacent provinces in the nearby Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions. NATURAL RESOURCES
The Cordillera region is very rich in natural resources. It is especially famed for its huge gold deposits, pure stands of pine forest, and rich soils and water sources that have enabled its people to sustain agriculture on mountainside rice terraces. Mineral resources; forest resources; rivers and water resources; soils and agriculture THE CORDILLERA PEOPLES
The Cordillera is more heavily populated compared to the other mountainous areas of the Philippines. Based on the year 2000 census, its six provinces and one city has a total population of more than 1,365,000 people. As in the rest of the country, the great majority of the region's population are peasants engaged in farming and other small-scale production and side occupations. The next biggest sector is composed of formal wage workers and informal odd-job workers in non-farm...