Do you want to travel independently but need ideas how to get to the places and experience the best a destination can offer? This itinerary might be useful to you.
One can discover more of the Philippines through this travel itinerary. Go the entire loop of the island of Luzon and indulge in local culture, adventure, beach and relaxation. See coasts, mountains, rivers, old houses, rice terraces, and people that make up this large part of the Philippines.
Depart Manila for Banaue
Travel through the eastern section of Luzon island passing through scenic and typical provincial settings. Watch out for Dalton Pass where the road is built on mountain sides.
After nine hours of comfortable travel the group arrives in the famed Banaue Rice Terraces. Said terraces are carved by human hands and has been in existence for over two thousand years! Stretching from one mountain slope to the next, the rice terraces is definitely one of the great sights to behold in Asia.
But first, the group should take a rest and check in at the Banaue Hotel. A lively presentation of cultural songs and dances will be part of the dinner activity.
After breakfast, there will be a visit to the nearby Tam-an Village. Get a close look at how the locals live and cope with their environment and discover how the Philippine mountain culture and civilization has continued to persist even these modern times.
There will be a visit to the village of Bangaan which looks like it was built in a huge green bowl. Have the option to trek down the village or take good photos from a vantage point.
Morning will be a free moment to walk around the town proper and maybe set you sight on some indigenous items you can bring home
This day will be another long trip. The group will again travel this time towards Tuguegarao in the province of Cagayan.
It will be dark when the group arrives in Tuguegarao. Rest and be ready for a great adventure the next day.
Visit the town of Penablanca located a few kilometers away. In this town are numerous natural wonders where one can indulge in great nature tripping. Get a glimpse of Pinacanauan River, a tributary of the longest river in the Philippines, the Cagayan River. Then Callao Cave, a huge complex of chambers illuminated by natural skylights. Wonder at the limestone formations and the seemingly pastel colors of the cave walls. For the Catholics, get a chance to say a little prayer in the church built inside one of the main chambers.
An option that must not be passed up is a visit to the Sierra Cave, another cave located near Callao. If Callao is an easy cave, Sierra requires a more sense of adventure. Here, one will have to squeeze through narrow passages and even crawl through mud (local cavers call it "romancing the mud"). But the rewards more than compensate for the hardship. There are numerous limestone formations that remain pure and sparkling. From stalactites and stalagmites, one can also see the quite rare helictite formations. Unlike the stalactite that goes down or the stalagmite that goes up, a helictite is usually twisted and sometimes forms like a flower.
In the afternoon, get wet and have a taste of kayaking or boating along the Pinacanauan River. And right before dusk, everybody should position for a nice spot to witness the Circadian Flight. See hundreds of thousands of bats stream out of a cave to search for food for the night. The "show" lasts only for a few minutes but the sight is simply unforgettable.
After some cultural and natural adventures, get ready for a nice beach relaxation. This day, your group should depart Tuguegarao for Pagudpud in the province of Ilocos Norte The trip passes not only through typical provincial scenery but also through some interesting manmade structures like the very long Magapit Suspension Bridge which spans a very wide river, and the Patapat Ridge which was built alongside the mountains and the coastlines.
Upon arrival in the Pagudpud, check in and have the entire white beach and emerald waters at your disposal.
Have the whole day swimming, sunbathing and relaxing.
Depart Pagudpud and see the historic towns in the region. First stop will be the town of Laoag and nearby areas where one can see a number of Spanish built edifices that remain standing and impressive up to this date.
The destination of the day will the town of Vigan. Ride a calesa (horse-drawn carriage) and explore the cobbled roads of this mestizo district.
This day will be a chance to visit another mountain destination. But this time, it will be a modern destination which was designed and inspired by the Americans. After a few hours of ride, the group will finally reach the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City. The cool air in the city makes it an ideal summer destination. Visit some of the attractions in the area.
Morning should be a free time to give everybody a chance to bring home some souvenir. Highly suggested is the public market where colorful indigenous dresses and other items are found.
Your group will depart right after lunch and be back to Manila at around eight in the evening. Have a nice rest!
Here are the details of your long term-travel bonding:
8:00 A.M. - Depart Manila for Banaue
5:00 P.M. - Arrive Banaue; Check-in local inn
A.M. - Visit Tam-an Village
P.M. - Visit Bangaan Village
AM - Free time or Shopping before lunch time; Back to Hotel for lunch
After Lunch - Proceed to Tuguegarao, Cagayan; Check-in OVN Tuguegarao
Whole Day - Visit Penablanca; Caving in the morning; Kayaking/nature tripping in the afternoon; Circadian Flight at dusk; Back to Tuguegarao; Dinner/OVN
Early A.M. - Depart Tuguegarao for Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Early P.M. - Arrive Pagudpud; Check-in/OVN
Whole Day - Pagudpud; Swimming/relaxing
Early A.M. - Depart Pagudpud; Visit attractions in Laoag, Paoay, Batac; Lunch in Laoag
Proceed to Vigan, Ilocos Sur; Visit attractions in Vigan; Check-in/OVN
A.M. - Proceed to Baguio City; Visit attractions in Baguio
P.M. - Free time
A.M. - Free time; Lunch in Baguio
Anytime P.M. - Back to Manila