Are you looking for an adventure that will take you on a journey through stunning landscapes, scenic towns, and vibrant cultures? Look no further than Luzon! The largest island in the Philippines is home to some of the most breathtaking road trip destinations in the country. From the rolling hills of Batanes to the pristine beaches of Zambales, Luzon has something for every type of traveler. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, there’s no shortage of amazing experiences on a road trip through Luzon.
So fasten your seatbelts and get ready to hit the open road as we explore some of the best road trip destinations in Luzon. Let’s go!
Benefits of taking a road trip
Embarking on a road trip is a unique and exciting way to travel. It offers a sense of freedom and flexibility that other forms of travel cannot match.
One of the biggest advantages of a road trip is that you get to dictate the pace and itinerary of your travel. You can choose to linger in a destination that speaks to you or move on quickly if a place doesn’t resonate. Moreover, road trips allow you to explore lesser-known destinations and hidden gems you may not have discovered otherwise. Road trips also offer the opportunity to bond with your travel companions, sharing experiences and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why road trips are becoming increasingly popular among travelers.
Best time to go on a road trip in Luzon
The best time to go on a road trip in Luzon is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. The weather is generally sunny and dry during this period, making it ideal for outdoor activities and road trips. December to February are particularly popular for road trips, as the cool and dry weather makes for comfortable driving conditions. However, be prepared for heavy traffic during the holiday season, especially in popular destinations like Baguio and Vigan. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider going on a road trip during the shoulder season, which falls between April and May or September and October. During this time, the weather is still pleasant, and the crowds are thinner, making for a more relaxed and enjoyable road trip experience.
Road trip essentials
Before hitting the road, ensuring you have all the essentials to make your trip comfortable and safe is important. Here are some of the must-have items for any road trip.
- Navigation tools
Ensure you have a reliable GPS device or smartphone app to guide you to your destination. It’s also a good idea to have a physical map as a backup in case your electronic device fails.
- First aid kit
Accidents can happen on the road, so it’s essential to have a first aid kit with basic supplies like bandages, antiseptic solutions, and pain relievers.
- Snacks and water
Pack plenty of snacks and water to fuel and hydrate during your road trip. Opt for healthy, non-perishable snacks like nuts, granola bars, and dried fruits.
- Emergency supplies
In case of a breakdown or emergency, make sure you have a spare tire, a tire jack, and a toolkit. Having a flashlight, extra batteries, and a roadside emergency kit is also a good idea.
Luzon road trip itinerary
Now that you have your essentials sorted, it’s time to hit the road and explore some of the best road trip destinations in Luzon. Here’s a sample itinerary that covers some of the must-see places on the island.
Stop 1: Banaue Rice Terraces
Start your road trip in Banaue, a town in Ifugao province home to the world-famous Banaue Rice Terraces. These terraces, carved into the mountainside by Ifugao farmers over 2000 years ago, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most impressive feats of agriculture in the world. Take a hike through the terraces or simply admire the view from one of the many viewpoints in the area.
Stop 2: Baguio City
From Banaue, drive to Baguio City, the summer capital of the Philippines. Located in the Cordillera Mountains, Baguio City is famous for its cool climate, pine trees, and scenic views. Visit the Mansion, the official summer residence of the Philippine President, and stroll through Burnham Park, a popular recreation area in the heart of the city. Don’t miss the chance to try some of the city’s famous delicacies, like strawberry taho and ube jam.
Stop 3: La Union
Next, head west to La Union, a province known for its beautiful beaches and surf spots. Surfing enthusiasts will love the waves at Urbiztondo Beach. At the same time, those looking for a more laid-back experience can opt for the quieter beaches of San Juan or Bauang. In the evening, head to the Ma-Cho Temple in San Fernando and watch the sunset over the South China Sea.
Stop 4: Vigan City
From La Union, drive south to Vigan City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest Spanish colonial towns in the Philippines. Take a stroll along Calle Crisologo, a cobblestone street lined with vintage houses and shops selling traditional handicrafts. Visit the Bantay Church and Bell Tower, which offer panoramic city views, and sample local delicacies, like Vigan longganisa and empanada.
Stop 5: Pagudpud Beach
Continue north to Pagudpud, a town known for its white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. Swim in the Blue Lagoon, hike to Kabigan Falls, or relax on Saud Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Take the chance to visit the Bangui Wind Farm, a collection of wind turbines that generate clean energy and offer a unique photo opportunity.
Stop 6: Batanes
Finally, make your way to Batanes, an archipelago in the northernmost part of the Philippines. Known for its rolling hills, dramatic cliffs, and stone houses, Batanes is a unique and stunning destination worth the extra effort it takes to get there. Explore the town of Basco, hike to the Marlboro Country viewpoint, and visit Sabtang Island, where you can witness the traditional Ivatan way of life.
Expenses and budget
The cost of a road trip in Luzon will depend on several factors, including the length of your trip, your mode of transportation, and your accommodation and food choices. However, here are some rough estimates to help you plan your budget.
Assuming an average fuel consumption of 8-10 km/liter, a 1000-kilometer road trip will require around 100 liters of gasoline, costing between Php 5000-7000.
Budget accommodations like hostels and guesthouses can cost as little as Php 500 per night, while mid-range hotels can range from Php 2000-3000 per night. On the other hand, luxury hotels and resorts can cost upwards of Php 5000 per night.
Food expenses will depend on your dining choices, but budget around Php 500-1000 per day for meals.
- Miscellaneous expenses
Don’t forget to budget for souvenirs, entrance fees, and other miscellaneous expenses, which can add up quickly.
Tips for a successful road trip in Luzon
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your road trip in Luzon.
1) Plan ahead
Research your route and destinations ahead of time, and make sure to book accommodations and activities in advance, especially during peak season.
2) Be flexible
While having a plan is essential, feel free to deviate from it if something catches your eye. Some of the best road trip experiences come from unexpected detours and discoveries.
3) Stay safe
Be mindful of road safety, especially when driving on unfamiliar roads. Always wear your seatbelt, obey traffic rules, and avoid driving at night.
4) Respect local customs
Be respectful of local customs and traditions, especially when visiting religious or cultural sites. Dress appropriately and follow any rules or guidelines.
5) Have fun
Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the journey! A road trip is all about the experience, so savor every moment.
Luzon is a treasure trove of road trip destinations, offering everything from natural wonders to cultural landmarks. So pack your bags, grab your keys, and hit the open road. The adventure awaits!