The vast region of North Luzon comprises expansive plains, misty mountains and an endless coastline. Those who travel here will not be disappointed since there are plenty of appealing places to visit and many rewarding activities to choose from.
Known as the Cordillera, the central mountain range features verdant green woodland, while the stone walled, amphitheater-like rice terraces of Batad and Banaue are widely considered the most stunning in the world. Adventure lovers can explore networks of ancient mountainous trekking trails that lead to isolated villages where tribal people still live as they have for centuries.
Cobblestone streets, Spanish-era mansions and horse-drawn carriages are the characteristics of historic Vigan. Lining the long rows down the narrow alleys, the town's unique ancestral houses are its major draw and will send you back to old colonial times. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Vigan is regarded as the finest example of a Spanish colonial town throughout Asia.
Another must-see is Baguio City, the hub of the Cordillera, nestled on a 5,000-foot-high plateau among pine-clad hills. With average temperatures of around 65°F, this destination is a refuge from the heat of the lowlands and has become the country's 'summer capital'. Baguio is also the main gateway to the serene mountaintop town of Sagada, which has become a haven for backpackers.
Regular flights link Manila with Basco, Tuguegarao, Baguio and Laoag. Air-conditioned buses connect the major cities, while jeepneys and ordinary buses ply the local routes. A great option is to tour the more remote regions in North Luzon by car; however, you will need a pretty reliable four-wheel drive to do so.