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Halsema Highway, Baguio to Bontoc, Philippines

It looks safe enough, but watch out for the rock slides.

iStockphoto/Simongurney

One of the most scenic and also most hazardous stretches of road on the planet was built in the 1930s by a man named Euseibus Julius Halsema, a civil engineer from Ohio who moved to the Philippines shortly after the turn of the 20th century. Halsema eventually rose to become mayor and chief engineer for the city of Baguio, which was then a remote village with a few thousand inhabitants.

Halsema hoped to spur Baguio's growth by building a route called the Mountain Trail to Bontoc, the capital of Mountain Province [source: Halsema.org]. The 93-mile (149.6-kilometer) long highway snakes along the slopes of the Cordillera Central mountain range through an area filled with volcanic rock formations.

These formations were fractured by a 7.8 earthquake in 1990 and subsequently have been further destabilized by erosion from typhoons. As a result, motorists are menaced not only by the continual threat of rock slides, but also by gaping, 40-foot (12-meter) deep erosion scars on the roadside [source: Griffiths]. To make things even worse, sections are sometimes shrouded in mist that makes visibility dicey [source: Travel + Leisure].

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