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Your Road Trip Guide to Northern Luzon

by Sonya Sison

In the mood for an epic road trip? The great Northern Luzon eagerly awaits your arrival.

IMAGE: Sonya Sison

Underrated as it may be, the area offers a wealth of options to try, with destinations such as La Union, Baguio, and Sagada. It's accessible by car or bus, too, so you don't need to worry about booking a plane ticket.

Here are top must-visit destinations to include in your itinerary. Get ready to pack your bags and hit the road!


1. La Union

A popular favorite for locals and tourists alike, La Union is dubbed as the Surfing Capital of the North. Couples and barkadas often go this surf town for a quick surf getaway. However, if you would rather skip the surfing lesson, La Union has several activities and places to check out.

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Here are our top picks to include in your itinerary:

1. Tangadan Falls

Wake up extra early for a refreshing cold dip at one of La Union’s most popular waterfalls. It only takes an easy 1-hour trek to get there.

IMAGE: Sonya Sison

Price:
Entrance Fee: P30
Guide Fee: P500
Life jacket rental (optional): P50

How to Get There:

  • From San Fernando or San Juan, ride a jeepney (P19) bound for San Gabriel. Travel time will take about 25 minutes. Don't forget to tell the driver to drop you off at the tricycle lane near Tagadan Falls. Take a trike (P50) from there.

  • Or, take a tricycle (P500) straight to Tagadan Falls trailhead.

2. Makai Bowls

Grab yourself a smoothie bowl and get a taste of what island life is all about. It won't hurt to take a few photos of their Instagram-worthy setup.

Prices range from P200 - P280

IMAGE: Sonya Sison

Makai Bowls
The Great Northwest Philippine Travel Stop & Viewing Deck
National Highway, Brgy. Urbiztondo
San Juan, La Union
Wednesdays-Mondays, 8AM - 6PM

3. Tagpuan

This place is perfect if you want a heavy breakfast or even post-inuman sessions at night. Make sure to order any of their generous rice bowls or their famous mami.

Prices range from P40 - P120.

IMAGE: Sonya Sison

Tagpuan
Urbiztondo
San Juan, La Union
(0947) 063 9476
Wednesdays-Mondays, 8AM - 2PM, 6PM - 2AM

4. Lomboy Grape Farms

Commonly overlooked are the vineyards of La Union. Visit Lomboy Grape Farms and tour the grape farm. You can even go grape picking too!

Fun fact: Did you know that it's the birthplace of the Philippine grape industry?

IMAGE: Sonya Sison

Price:
Entrance Fee: P100
Grape Picking/ basket: P350/kilo

Lomboy Grape Farms
8 Urayong, Bauang
La Union
(072) 705 2105

5. Beach

At the end of it all, spend some time at the beach. With a lively community and a gorgeous view of the sunset, the La Union beach life makes for a laidback escape from the metro.

IMAGE: Sonya Sison

How to Get There

Depending on traffic, La Union is about a 5-7 hour drive from Manila. The terminals at Cubao and Pasay offer buses en route to San Fernando, La Union are Partas, Dominion, and Viron. Fares range from P436 - P524.

Check out bus schedules here.

Tips:

  • La Union can often get full during the weekends and most especially during the holidays. Make sure to book your accommodations ahead of time!

  • If you're going there to surf, the best times would be July - October and November - March.

  • La Union's popular beach spots include Urbiztondo Beach, San Juan. From the bus terminal, you can either take a jeepney (P11) or a trike (P50) there. Travel time will be around 25 minutes.


2. Sagada

“Where do broken hearts go?”
“Sagada.”

This popular phrase perfectly captures exactly the atmosphere of Sagada. It's a place where you can hit pause and reflect. All with the help of nature, of course.

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If you’re thinking of taking a trip there, here are a few things you can do to make your Sagada trip memorable.

1. Kiltepan View Point

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Known for its appearance in the movie ‘That Thing Called Tadhana’, Kiltepan is famous for its marvelous sunrise and breathtaking view of clouds.

Fun fact: Did you know that it's the highest peak of Sagada?

2. Hanging Coffins

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If you are in the mood for something more ominous in your stay, take a trip to Sagada’s famous Echo Valley Hanging Coffins. Back then, Sagada locals believed that by hanging these coffins on the side of the limestone their ancestors would easily make their way to heaven.

3. Sumaguing Cave

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Sumaguing Cave will not disappoint adventure seekers who are looking for something different. This Northern tribe cave is filled with majestic stalagmites, deep pools of water, and mysterious stories of the spirits that lie inside the cave.

4. Gaia Café

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This café is famous for its spectacular view overlooking the Ambasing Valley. Most, if not all of their food is vegan-friendly. It sets the stage for Sagada’s fresh produce. Surprisingly enough, we suggest you try their ramen! It’s perfect with Sagada's chilly weather.

Gaia Café
Ambasing, Sagada
(0929) 597 9451

5. Sagada Rice Terraces

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If you aren’t headed to Banaue to see the actual rice terraces of the North, make sure to visit this one! Try the early morning trek—the views alone is worth it.

How to Get There:

MANILA - SAGADA
Coda Lines Corporation at Cubao offers daily direct bus routes to Sagada. Regular fare is P760.

MANILA - BANAUE - SAGADA

Another option is to ride the Ohayami Bus at Sampaloc en route to Banaue. There are daily trips and a one-way bus ride costs P450.

From Banaue, ride a tricycle (P30) to the town proper. Catch a jeepney or bus to Bontoc (P150). Travel time is about 3 hours. Get off at Bontoc Municipal Hall and ride a jeepney (P50) to Sagada.

MANILA - BAGUIO - SAGADA

You can also go to Sagada via Baguio. A lot of bus lines offer rides to Baguio, including Victory Liner, Dagupan (Cubao), Philippine Rabbit (Sta. Cruz), Dangwa Transit (Sampaloc), Saulog, and Genesis. Fare ranges from P445 to P750.

From Baguio terminal, head to GL Liner Terminal in Baguio or Lizardo Transit Terminal in St Barangay Sto. Niño that's a short taxi ride away. Bound for a bus to Sagada, which will cost P220. Travel time will take around 6 hours.

Check out the bus schedules here.

Tips

  • Sagada traditions and heritage is important to them. Make sure to respect their way of life when you visit.

  • The best time to visit Sagada is November - February, most especially if you prefer the cold climate.


3. Baguio

Known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio is another popular destination. Perfect for families and groups of friends, the City of Pines is where you can get in touch with nature, know more about the culture, and enjoy the cool weather.

IMAGE: Sonya Sison

When in Baguio, here are our top picks of things to do:

1. BenCab Museum

IMAGE: Benjo Trinidad

Whether you’re interested in art or not, a Baguio itinerary won't be complete without a stopover at Bencab. Lined with amazing art and a stunning mountain view, Bencab is a museum that captures local art perfectly.

BenCab Museum
6 Asin Road, Tuba, 2602 Benguet (074) 442 7165
Tuesdays - Sundays, 9AM - 6PM

2. Night Market

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There are only a few destinations in the Philippines that are well-known for their thrift shopping—Baguio definitely tops the list. Baguio’s Night Market runs from 9PM to 6AM, so you have a lot of time to shop for some unique finds!

Baguio Night Market
Harrison Road, Benguet, Baguio
9PM - 2PM

3. Mt. Ulap

IMAGE: Sonya Sison

Adventure seekers, look no further! Mt. Ulap is a great beginner’s climb that has great views, cold weather, and Instagram-worthy landscapes.

4. Early morning jog

IMAGE: Sonya Sison

One of Baguio’s popular activities is an early morning jog. Because of the fresh air and steep climbs, it’s proven to be a jogger’s dream—even Manny Pacquiao trains in Baguio because of the environment!

5. O’Mai Kan

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This is a classic Baguio restaurant that serves Mongolian BBQ buffet. It pays homage to Baguio’s fresh vegetables and warm hospitality. Make sure to say hi to Manang Dolor while you’re there.

O’Mai Kan
Session Road, Baguio, Benguet
(074) 442 5885
Daily, 10AM - 10PM

Tip

  • Baguio is a walking town and different tourist destinations are usually accessible by walking. Traffic is a growing problem in the small city, which is why local appreciate it when tourists choose to walk around instead.

How To Get There

Take a bus from Cubao or Pasay. Victory Liner and Genesis offers bus rides from Manila to Baguio. Fares range from P455 - 750.


Planning a trip to Baguio? Get some inspiration from our Travel Guide for a list of things to See, Eat, and Do in Baguio! Check out our other exclusive partner resorts in Baguio.

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About Sonya
Sonya is a creative who loves to eat, travel, and create. A girl of many homes, Sonya was born in the Philippines, raised in both Saudi Arabia and Baguio City, and studied in Manila. If you don't find her working, you can find her in cafés watching videos or creating them on seekertravels.com

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