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Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

Cape Town, Western...
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Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

Hi There,

I am trying to arrange a honeymoon to Philippines. Usually my fiance is the one who is really good at this so I am hoping to get some help from people who are better at this than me.

My general plan is something like this:

Manila and Luzon for - 5 days

Coron and Tao expedition to El Nido - 7 days

El Nido and Palawan 7 days

I have some specific questions about the route to take in Luzon and how much time to spend in the different places. My plan is to hire a car with a driver and have been thinking to drive from Manila to Baguio City, then Sagada and Banaue the next day and then on to Vigan for two days before heading back to Manila. Could anyone give me some pointers please. Do you think I am spending enough time in these places? Are there other places that you would suggest. My theme is culture and places of interest and nature, hence wanting to see Banaue and Vigan.

I am trying really hard to research as much as possible and your help is really appreciated (you have no idea :P)

Thanks.

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

I dont think that you will have enough time to do Baguio,Sagada,Banaue and Vigan in the time alloted.You may need to compromise on the other destinations.I would reduce my time at the other destinations to about 5 days.

There is a lot of driving involved in that itinerary. You would really need to hire a private driver to maximise you time.

Tommo

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2. Re: Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

Bagui, Sagada, Banaue, Vigan. I would provision 6 to 8 days for it as the journey is long.

So you may want to give yourself more time to enjoy the sights after all the travelling.

Manila
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3. Re: Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

may i ad that with the inclusion of Vigan, your route should be manila - banaue - sagada - baguio - vigan-manila... or the other way around.

An overnight in sagada should be considered.

Edited: 11 August 2012, 03:17
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4. Re: Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

2 nights in Banaue [minimum]

1 night in Sagada

1 night in Vigan

2 nights on the road.[seriously]

Singapore, Singapore
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5. Re: Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

Also, if you engage a driver, make sure he knows the way well as the area you will be visiting is mountainous.

Do a search in the forum for recommendations and internet for comparison.

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6. Re: Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

You will need more days for your Luzon Leg. I've done Manila-Sagada-Baguio, Manila-Ilocos and Manila-Banaue on separate trips. Ilocos is way off Sagada and Banaue. My suggestion is:

Drop Banaue and do Sagada-Baguio-Vigan. You will also see lots of rice terraces in Sagada. Though of course Banaue Rice Terraces is most famous. Having gone to both places, I prefer Sagada because you'r already hitting two birds in one stone. The waterfalls and caves in Sagada are very beautiful. You will also get to walk along the rice paddies going to the falls. You can take the Banaue route going to Sagada, there's a viewpoint area where you can see the rice terraces and then proceed with your journey.

I didn't find the Tappiyah Waterfalls of Banaue to be that beautiful plus it's too much effort to get there. We weren't physically prepared for the trekking so it always takes us 3 times of how fast the locals can go from point to point. If you are the active type of traveller, you can stay longer in Banaue and go to the other villages. This would require at least 3 days just for Banaue.

Ilocos Province will give you the most cultural experience. And when in Baguio, you can visit Tam-awan Village.

Bottomline, you seriously need to extend your 5 days to enjoy the sights and give yourselves time to rest in between the lengthy road trips.

Let me know if you need other tips for specific sights to see on these places. :)

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7. Re: Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

Hey Purplequest,

Thanks, that's really awesome advice. My Luzon leg of the trip is the most flexible at this stage so I can pretty much chage anything. My plan was something like this:

1) Drive from Manila to Baguio City and sleep the night in Baguio. I understand that this trip would take about 3.5 to 4 hours if we have a car with driver.

2) Drive from Baguio to Sagada via Banaue. Maybe we could spend 2 nights here? and I understand that the trip would take about 4+ hours with a driver.

3) Drive to Vigan and spend the night there this also takes about 4 hours as I understand.

4) Then finally we would drive from Vigan to Manila.

My fiance and I love to drive, but maybe it's just a bit much if we aren't going to break it up. Also what might take about 4 hours would probably take us about 6 as we would want to stop from time to time.

I'm worried that we would be trying too much in the time we've set aside, so maybe do a bit less? and maybe we should also set aside 6-7 days. Unfortunately I don't think we can afford more time than that as we really also want to see Coron and El Nido and as with most honeymoons its nice to fit in a few white beaches and palm trees :)

the above itinerary is, as I've said, relly flexible. What I am hoping for is beautiful/ interesting drives with nature and villages and interesting terrain/ roads. In terms of the destinations I am quite keen to see the rice terraces of Banaue, but more just to see so that's why I'm happy to just go to the viewing site and spend more time in Sagada. I like Vigan because it looks like and interesting colonial town, but not sure if maybe we're stretching ourselves a bit trying to get there.

Do you think this is a good route or would you suggest I do something else, bearing my above thoughts in mind. As I've said I'm quite flexible at this stage.

Thanks again for your help.

Singapore, Singapore
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8. Re: Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

The route given by TouristDriver is good as he is familiar with Ifugao region.

Please do not attempt to drive in Philippines. It is almost as good as suicidal.

Also, if you want to enter Sagada from Banaue, it is good to start from Manila to Banaue and then to Sagada. The flow will be better.

Sagada to Baguio should be around 6 to 7 hours.

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9. Re: Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

Agree with mousehunt. Please do not attempt to drive especially in the Ifugao region. You do not want to ruin your honeymoon by taking the driver's seat. :)

I am not sure if it is ideal to go from Baguio to Sagada via Banaue. From Manila you can have these choices but maybe not from Baguio. Again, your ideal route would be Manila-Banaue-Sagada-Baguio-Vigan-Manila.

You can take the 8-9 hr night trip from Manila to Banaue. Have a brief stop for breakfast and viewing the rice terraces and then proceed to Sagada. You can spend one or two nights there and then one night in Baguio. One night in Vigan will also do.

It is very important that you get an experienced driver. It's not just about mastery of directions but more importantly, he should be very knowledgable of the road and terrain in this region. :)

Manila, Philippines
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10. Re: Help with 5 day trip in Luzon - North

I have driven to Banaue - excellent road condition.

I have taken public tranport from Banaue to Sagada - no fuss.

But I haven't tried the Sagada to Baguio connection (heard its really treacherous and very rough - is a 4x4 required here?)

You can also consider taking public for your Banaue-Sagada-Baguio leg as I know it is quite easy to do.

Then maybe hire a vehicle w driver on your Baguio to Ilocos segment.

Then you can take public again from Ilocos to Manila.

Btw, what time of the year is this planned trip - I hope it is not during Monsoon season (June to November).