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Three Northern Luzon Destinations, One Road Trip

by Charlene Co
May 18, 2018

With 7,641 islands in the country just waiting to be discovered, it’s difficult to decide where to begin.

But before you book that plane ticket and pressure yourself to create a last-minute itinerary, we suggest you take the opportunity to explore your own backyard.

IMAGE: Lorenzo Arceo

There are numerous destinations near your home base that we’re pretty sure you’ve never been to before. Conveniently, it’s only a few hours drive. On this trip, we’re taking you to three destinations in North Luzon that boasts of its surpassing wonders and distinct charm.

First stop: Vigan

We’ve all heard that the historic city of Vigan is one of the country’s most popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Little did we know that there’s so much more to this town than its noble title.

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Established in the 16th century, this Spanish colonial city boasts beautiful well-preserved architecture and antique structures that exhibit the country’s rich culture and history. Be transported to days of old as you ride a traditional kalesa through the cobblestone streets of Calle Crisologo and discover how they lived in the past as you tread in the Syquia Mansion, the residence of former Philippine president Elpidio Quirino.

Among the city’s best highlights is its traditional cuisine. Vigan is home to some of our favorite Filipino delicacies like Vigan empanada, Vigan Longganiza, Bagnet, and Pinakbet.

How to Get There

Manila to Vigan by Land
Kilometers: 403 Kilometers
Drive: 8 hours
By Land: Several bus liners travel daily to Vigan City including Partas, Dominion Bus, Ancieto Bus and Viron Transit, while other lines that travel daily to Laoag will pass through Vigan city.
Fare: P700-1000
By Plane: Take a flight from Manila to Laoag via Cebu Pacific or Philippines airlines. Vigan City is 2-hours by bus from Laoag.
Google Map

Where to Stay

Hotel Luna Vigan

Immerse yourself in the culture with a stay at Hotel Luna Vigan, the country’s first and only museum-hotel. The hotel is in line with striking artworks and houses museum that showcases masterpieces by national artists, Filipino masters, and luminaires. It's decked with fine modern comforts and exquisite colonial décor too. Its strategic location will put you within minutes to the city’s main attractions without having to travel far.

Hotel Luna Vigan
V. De los Reyes corner, Gen. Luna St.
Vigan, Ilocos Sur
(02) 672 9302 to 04
ahmgisales2@gmail.com

Hotel Luna Annex

Located nearby Calle Crisologo and the city’s main attractions, Hotel Luna Annex is the most recent addition to Hotel Luna Vigan. This 17-room extension building features a Spanish colonial inspired stay while providing its guests comfortable accommodations at an affordable price.

Hotel Luna Annex
Brgy. II Quirino Boulevard, Corner Gen. Luna
Vigan, Ilocos Sur
(02) 672 9302 to 04
ahmgisales2@gmail.com

Second stop: Santiago, Ilocos Sur

Those looking for a scenic road trip can drive through the coastal towns of Ilocos Sur where a piece of paradise awaits.

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Just an hour drive from the provincial capital of Vigan rests the quaint town of Santiago, where Santiago Cove is found. Dubbed as the “Boracay of the North”, this hidden gem in Ilocos Sur is known for its stretch of powder-fine sand beach and calm crystal clear waters. Although this is serene cove not widely known by tourists, it is a popular destination among locals and continuously emerging as a world-class tourism area attracting travelers to featured sites like the Mapisi Rock, a mini-zoo and a number of local establishments including a luxury resort.

How to Get There

Vigan to Santiago
Kilometers: 49.7 Kilometers
Drive: 1 hour, 10 mins
By Bus: From Vigan, buses coming from Laoag to Manila will pass the coastal town of Santiago.
Google Map

Where to Stay

Vitalis Villas

A stay at Vitalis Villas will transport you to a different world. Known as the ‘Santorini of the North’, this beautiful resort is nestled on a hilltop overlooking the ocean and Santiago Cove. Its Santorini-inspired cobblestone walkways, and blue and white expanse of villas are specially designed for a luxurious getaway with family and friends. Accommodations range from superior rooms to three-bedroom villas with its own private pool. Guests can indulge in pure relaxation with a variety of water sports, delectable dining options in their 4 restaurant outlets, excellent service and of course, its breathtaking scenery.

Vitalis Villas
Sabangan, Santiago, Ilocos Sur
(02) 672 9302 to 04
ahmgisales2@gmail.com

Third stop: Baguio

When you’re trying to beat the heat, there’s no better place to be than in the ‘Summer Capital of the Philippines’. Well-loved for its pine-scented breeze and chilly climate, Baguio has remained a favorite go-to destination for travelers seeking a refreshing escape from the metro.

IMAGE: Benjo Trinidad

More than its sweater weather and picturesque setting, the city has a distinct charm that summons all types of travelers into its sphere. For nature lovers, it’s the perfect starting point to nearby adventures such as Mt. Pulag or, take part in family-friendly activities like zipline and horseback riding. Foodies can delight in the freshest produce and delicious homegrown bites, fashionistas can shop ‘til they drop with designer clothing from ukay-ukay stores, and culture vultures can feast their eyes on handcrafted products and stunning artworks at the BenCab Museum.

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How to Get There

Santiago, Ilocos Sur to Baguio
Kilometers: 151 Km
Drive: 4.5 hours
By Bus: Traveling by bus via Partas and Victory liner from Santiago, Ilocos Sur to Baguio may take 6 to 7 hours.
Google Map

Where to Stay

One of Baguio’s biggest draws—aside from its chilly weather—is its beautiful landscapes and scenic forest views. For a relaxing stay that would put you in an ideal picturesque setting coupled with modern luxuries thoughtfully designed for the savvy urban traveler, we recommend Le Monet Hotel—TripAdvisor’s No. 1 ranked Specialty Lodging in the City of Pines.

Located inside Camp John Hay, this stylish hotel allows you to wake up to gorgeous views of towering pine trees and verdant gardens after a restful night of slumber. It boasts of well-appointed guest rooms equipped with modern amenities, top-notch facilities and personalized service for a hassle-free stay. Among its other features are: a heated indoor pool, delectable restaurant options, and indulgent pampering services at Vida Verde Spa.

Le Monet Hotel
Ordonio Drive, Camp John Hay Loakan Road
Baguio

For Inquiries & Reservations:
(02) 672 9302 to 04
ahmgisales2@gmail.com

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This article was last edited on June 20, 2019 by the DG Traveler team.

About Charlene
Whether she’s jet-setting around the globe, wining and dining in a new restaurant, or basking in the sun at a hidden beach, Charlene Co—a PR and communications specialist and travel enthusiast— always makes the most out of each experience. She is passionate about exploring awe-inspiring destinations, discovering new cultures, and creating new friendships along the way.

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