Before I left the Philippines in December, 2014, I told myself that I needed to see as much as I could in the available time that I had. I lived in Manila and only had 10,000php to spend, so I thought that the best way to do it was to travel the northern part of Luzon, see the places that I haven’t seen before, and wherein I won’t have to spend on flight tickets.
1. Lucap, Pangasinan
I took the regular bus from Victory Liner, Cubao, at around 3-4am, which is the first bus that leaves for Alaminos, Pangasinan. It cost around 400 pesos and traveling took around 5-6 hours since it stopped all the time to get passengers along the way. As soon as I got to the bus station, there were many tricycle drivers who would offer you hotels, transient homes, and tours, and so I did go with one who could bring me to a transient home. He brought me to Lucap, which is by the port, the place to stay at if planning to do a “Hundred Island Tour.” I decided to take my island hopping tour the next day early in the morning. I have passed many islands, as there are hundreds of them, but I have only seen 4-5, which are the major islands.
2. Bolinao, Pangasinan I got a deal with a tricycle driver from Lucap to take me to Bolinao the next day just for a day trip. I left at 10am and took about 1 and a half hours to get there. I saw the highlights of Bolinao which included the lighthouse, Patar beach, and Bolinao Falls 2.
3. Baguio After my day trip in Bolinao, the tricycle driver brought me back to Lucap, wherein I waited for my bus to Dagupan, and from Dagupan got a van to Baguio. This cost about 200 pesos in total. I arrived in Baguio quite late, and managed to get a hotel for a 5 hour stay at about 300 pesos.
4. Batad, Banaue Left Baguio at 8:30am and got a mini bus to Batad for about 300 pesos. The journey took 8 hours, and for this kind of trip I took a travel sickness tablet to keep me from getting sick and also keep me drowsy so I can just sleep throughout the journey. Upon arrival, I arranged a tour the next day for the Batad Rice Terraces hike which cost around 500 pesos, and then found a hotel that was around 500 pesos as well. The hike lasted about 6 hours in total, and it was very challenging.
5. Sagada From Banaue, me and some other travellers hired a jeepney that will bring us to Sagada. We paid 500 pesos each, and the trip took about 3 hours. As soon as we got to Sagada, all of us headed to the tourist office and booked a trip to the Sumaging Cave (which was one of the most beautiful caves I have ever seen), and then found a hotel for 500pesos/night. The next day, I planned a day hike to see the hanging coffins, and just chilled out throughout the day. Sagada is the best place to relax, chill, absorb the culture, do outdoor adventures and eat!
On my third day, got a bus early in the morning to Baguio for around 200 pesos, and from Baguio got a Victory liner bus that goes back to Manila.
TIPS FOR THIS TRIP:
1. Bring 2 different kinds of outfit. One for the warm weather and one for the cold. Temperature in Banaue and Sagada drops down to about 10-15C.
2. Backpack only. You’re gonna be hopping on and off buses, vans, tricycles, etc.
3. Bring cash.
4. Have loads of fun, and make loads of friends!