Atok is a 4th class municipality in the province of Benguet. It has a land area of about 223.85 square kilometers, bounded by the municipality of Kibungan and Baguias on the north, the municipalities of the Kabayan and Bokod on the east, the municipality of Kapangan on the west and the municipality of Tublay on the south. The total land area represents 8.37% of the total area of 261,648 hectares of Benguet more or less.
The word “ATOK” is basically derived from the word “naypatok shi Chontog” which means “on the mountain top”. It carried this name even during Spanish Colonial Government when the place was the seat of government headed by an official called “Presidente” or “Kapitan”.
According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 16,657 people in 3,397 households. The current mayor of Atok is Concepcion Balao.
Atok is politically subdivided into 8 barangays.
How to reach Atok:
1. First, enter Baguio City. For visitors coming from outside the country, from the airport, take a taxi to the nearest bus station and take the bus with route of Manila-Baguio.
2. Once in Baguio, take a taxi from your point of disembarkation to Dangwa Terminal or to the slaugther coumpound where north bound busses are available.
3. The municipal building annex of Atok is around one and a half ride from Baguio.
The highest point is the highest portion of the Philippine highway system. It has an elevation of 7,400 ft. above mean sea level. It is located 50 kilometers north of Baguio City via Halsema Highway. One can reach the place by any land vehicle whether privately owned or public utility vehicles.
a. Naguey Rice Terraces – can be found at barangay Naguey along the Amburayan river. These are man-made rice terraces about 33 hectares with stone wall protection. One can witness this magnificent view for a 3-hours drive from Baguio City through the Halsema Highway.
b. Amburayan River – located at barangay Naguey and Pasdong. It is about 30 kilometers more or less that runs from Pasdong to Naguey. This breath-taking view serves as swimming/picnic places of students and residents that live along the riverbanks and other people outside the municipality. Same can be reached within 3-hours ride from Baguio City.
c. Bosleng Grotto – located at barangay Paoay. A man-made grotto underneath a pile of big rocks with a garden of vegetable such as cabbages, potatoes, carrots and cut flower productions surrounding it.The place is being utilized for the conduct of prayer meetings/pilgrimage by the Roman Catholic Congregation. An image of the Virgin Mary is installed inside the grotto.
d. Half Tunnel – located along the Halsema Highway at Km. 57, Bonglo, Paoay. This is a man-made half tunnel of solid rock constructed in the early 1960’s, by a joint team of DPWH and Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company. It measures about 50 meters in length.
e. Paoay Vegetable Gardens – known as the “Haight’s Place” located at Proper Paoay. According to the elders, Proper Paoay was thickly forested area which was a hunting ground of the natives in search for wild animals sometime in 1900. During the time there were no residents in the area until Mr. Guy Haight an American Soldier and a German national who wants to stay in cold place because of health reasons came and introduced vegetable farming sometime in 1913 and married a native of Mankayan. Until now, this is the coolest place in the Municipality of Atok wherein temperature goes down to 0 degrees centigrade during the early and late months of the year. This is also where highland vegetables are produced with an area of about 70 hectares, more or less. It is located at an elevation of 2,400 meters above sea level. Paoay can be reached within 2 and a half hour from Baguio City by land transportation through the Halsema National Highway.
f. National Highway Highest Point – located at barangay Cattubo along the Halsema Highway at Km. 52. It has an elevation of about 7,400 feet above sea level. A view deck was constructed by the Department of Tourism overlooking the vegetable gardens and pine forest areas. More than often the place is cloudy during rainy season.
g. Trekking bicycless via Halsema Highway from La Trinidad to Acop, Tublay then Camp 30, Caliking then to Poblacion down to Naguey and go up to Pasdong and exit to Inuman, Pasdong then enter to Kibungan municipality then Kapangan municipality and return to Tublay gate at Acop then back to La Trinidad.
Where to stay:
1. Atok Women’s Association, Inc.
1 room/2 beds
2. Provincial Government of Benguet
2 rooms/6 beds
Where to dine:
Restaurants and small canteens can be found along the highway as they cater to the commuters. There are more at km. 26 (Saddle, Caliking, Atok) and km. 50 (Sayangan, Paoay, Atok).
The climate is temperate with two pronounced seasons. The wet season starts in the month of May and ends in October. The wettest part of the year is July and August. Dry season starts in November and ends in May. The temperature goes down to below 0 degrees centigrade at Paoay during the days of late December to early February. Temperature at lower areas goes up to 25 degrees at Naguey proper and Pasdong proper.
Occurrence of strong winds stars in November to January.
Typhoons and floods usually occur in June to September.