Aching for some mountain breeze and long drives? Going on a North Luzon Roadtrip may be what your soul needs.
Long drives such as a North Luzon roadtrip make indelible summer memories. Sure, taking the bus or toploading jeeps in remote parts of town can be fun. But there’s nothing like mere GPS and car full of week-long provisions to spell adventure!
With many attractions found on a North Luzon roadtrip, there’s no need to book a flight. Here is your itinerary. We pass through sandy beaches, hand-sculpted mountains, cobblestoned cities, and artsy towns guaranteed to make the most out of your trip:
North Luzon Roadtrip #1 Surfing at La Union
For a summer fling with the crashing waves, a must-try for the sweltering season is surfing—and its soft white sands and inexpensive board rentals and instructors make La Union one of the best deals in Luzon.
Found on the Western edge of the Philippines, San Juan, La Union’s waves come directly from the Pacific Ocean. Most guests who want to get sea-stoked choose to drive before daybreak. This is because morning is the best time to catch good waves. So, prepare for a long drive in the wee hours passing by NLEX, TPLEX, until reaching the road to Baguio.
North Luzon Roadtrip # 2 Full View of Banaue Rice Terraces
From the surfing beach, it’s time to drive way up to the highlands of the Cordilleras. Prepare to finally lay your eyes on Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao. Your inner third grade will surely thank you for this field trip come true.
Banaue’s manmade wonders can already be seen from the highway. There are multiple viewing decks at the clusters of Banaue Rice Terraces, but the currently more popular one is the amphitheater sight found in Batad. Park your car on the highway, enjoy no cellular reception, and hike amid the rice paddies on the way to Tappiya Falls.
Take note, however, that the road to the Cordilleras takes navigation skills because of its long and winding trails along the mountains. Be careful of falling rocks, as well as rainy weather that can make the roads extra slippery. Read road conditions report before heading out, and never let your car break down!
North Luzon Roadtrip#3 Trip Down Cobblestone Lanes in Vigan
From the manmade agricultural beauties of Banaue, we descend to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and a New7Wonders city that is Vigan. Located at the northwestern edge of the Luzon, Vigan, Ilocos Sur is home to colonial churches, museums, and cultural shows to satisfy vintage Philippines lovers.
For one, a visit to Calle Crisologo is a trip to a cobblestoned memory lane. Hispanic ancestral houses belonging to the Chinese line the streets. Ilocano delicacies and locally made products can also be bought on the wayside such as empanada, longganisa, vinegar, baskets, hats, and wooden trinkets.
Driving to Vigan is a fairly easy task. You only need to follow the National Highway. Being a small city, you can also take a DIY heritage tour in about two hours. Best to park your car away from Calle Crisologo, though. Since roads are closed to make way for iconic bicycle- and horse-drawn carriage tours.
North Luzon Roadtrip #4 Nostalgia in Baguio City
From the time travel in Vigan, we move to yet another favorite. No less than the Summer Capital of the Philippines itself. With towering pine trees, year-long cuddle weather, and sweet strawberries, Baguio City is the best place to cap off your long North Luzon road trip.
A city perched on the mountainous peaks of Benguet Province, Baguio City lies at the intersection of the traditional and the contemporary. You can drive to classic attractions such as Mines View Park, Camp John Hay, La Trinidad strawberry farm, and Burnham Park. Or you can check out newer artsy locations such as the BenCab Museum and Tam-Awan Village.
Driving to Baguio City is usually undertaken at around two to three in the morning to avoid morning traffic. Similarly, take note of the month in which you visit. The holiday season, summer vacation, and Panagbenga season in February are often the times where traffic is heaviest and road closures happen. Although the popularity of Baguio City causes some slight traffic, the chilly temperature will hopefully help you keep your cool.
A North Luzon road trip shows you rich with natural and cultural wonders. If you, your car, and your friends are ready, there’s no reason watch the summer go by. Take that long drive, come home sun tanned and stoked!
This article was earlier published at Manila Bulletin‘s Philippine Panorama on May 14.