Tagalog Heaven

9 days from £2,500 pp incl flights, accommodation & transfers

Luzon has Manila, Baguio, Vigan and more for those heading north after they arrive.


Luzon is of course where Manila sits, but the rest of Luzon island spreads out like a great head above the city for hundreds of miles and is a great journey route in itself. Baguio is at the heart of highland Philippines, a place where the temperature drops below 25 degrees centigrade and where people start to look strangely "un-filipino"

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The rice terraces of Banaue are an architectural achievement started 2000 years ago by the Ifuagao people, it is indeed on the UN’s World Heritage list and the kind of place that must be seen. The forests around Banaue contain rare flora cuttings of which can sustainability be sold to tourists

Vigan Street

Further north is a place which apart from the old Spanish fort in Manila is where colonial architecture survived the ravages of World War II and that’s Vigan in the north west of Luzon, a well preserved Spanish colonial town just waiting for your camera
Day 1 - Manila

• Day 1: Arrival in Manila, settle into your hotel and have the rest of the day free to recuperate from the long journey. Overnight in Manila

Day 2 - Manila

• Day 2: The city tour of Manila takes you to the notable landmarks of Metro Manila: Intramuros in the the old city of Manila where one can still trace the footsteps of the aristocrats who once inhabited the city. Fort Santiago, standing right at the mouth of the Pasig River was an old Spanish fortress and currently houses the Rizal Shrine; Rizal Park used to be a promenade area during the colonial period and is now considered the biggest and most beautiful park in the country; Quiapo Church, which is also the Shrine of the Black Nazarene sits in the heart of Manila. From here drive across to the urban centre of Makati, past the modern skyscrapers and shopping centres leading to the American Pacific War Memorial, a tribute to the dead and missing soldiers of the Pacific War during World War II. Overnight in Manila

Day 3 - Banaue

• Day 3: Morning departure for Banaue (375 kilometres north of Manila or a 7 hour-drive). The drive starts with a running tour of the most populated area of Manila leading to the North Luzon Express Way. Then, the drive cuts through the Central Plains of Luzon providing an agricultural landscape of paddy fields, mangoes, and lowland vegetables. This is interrupted only by low lying rolling hills. The last part of the drive takes you through the Cordillera Mountain Range paving the way for more rugged terrain and vistas of mountain villages. There are rivers flowing down to the valleys of the central plains as one approaches Banaue, in Ifugao Province. Overnight in Banaue

• Day 4: The town of Banaue is within Ifugao province, one of the 6 provinces found in the Cordillera Mountain Range. The rice terraces of Banaue have been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Early in the morning, board a private jeepney for a scenic ride, cutting through rice terraces leading to Batad junction. Proceed to Batad village on foot. Batad’s amphitheatre-like stone-walled rice terraces is one of the best viewed groups of rice terraces in the world. The village with its cluster of thatched houses provides the centrepiece of an picturesque group of rice terraces. Return to Batad junction on foot and then resume the drive back to Banaue. Overnight in Banaue

• Day 5: Leave Banaue for Sagada (2½ -hour drive). Stop off at a viewpoint for photo opportunities of the panoramic Banaue terraces. Continue the drive to Bontoc and visit the Museum of Mountain Culture founded by Belgian Missionaries. The final stop is in Sagada. Check in for overnight accommodation in one of the inns. The rest of the day is free for exploration of caves, ancient burial sites and viewing of hanging coffins in nearby Echo Valley. Overnight in Sagada

Day 6 - Baguio

• Day 6: Leave for Baguio in the morning for the 6-hour ride through the rugged terrain of the Cordillera Mountains, past the highest point of the Philippine Highway System, this is filled with photo opportunities with beautiful silhouettes of the widest mountain range in the Philippines. As one approaches Baguio, the scenery on both sides of the winding road is dominated by vegetable and flower terraces. Stop off at Trinidad Valley, capital town of Benquet Province, and known as the “salad bowl” of the Philippines. On arrival in Baguio the “Summer Capital of the Philippines”, proceed with a tour of the city with visits to Mines View Park, Mansion House and the public market. Overnight in Baguio

Day 7 - Vigan

• Day 7: Leave Baguio for Vigan in Ilocos Sur. The drive goes down to the lowland coastal areas of La Union province and then to the province of Ilocos Sur. You then check in at your hotel. Vigan was one of the earliest Spanish settlements established during the colonization of the 16th century. The flourishing tobacco industry on which the region thrives brought rapid development to Vigan. Now one can still see this in the well preserved oversized ancestral homes at the Vigan Heritage Village. The tour of Vigan starts with a walking tour of the Heritage Village with visits to some of the Spanish houses once owned by notable figures in Philippine history including the ancestral house of Father Jose Burgos a 19th century filipino patriot. A short drive takes you to the Pagburnayan, an earthenware jar shop. Overnight in Vigan

• Day 8: A free day in Vigan to admire by yourself the well preserved Spanish architecture. Overnight in Vigan

Day 9 - Manila

• Day 9: Free until departure for Manila. This is a 408 kilometre ride back to Manila. Overnight in Manila

• Day 10: After breakfast you are free until the transfer to the airport for the International flight back to the UK

Tagalog Hotels

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    Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Baguio

      Here is a modern hotel in the centre of Baguio, not far from most attractions. A recently opened place which is winning it's far share of plaudits for those embarking on the Banaue rice terrace trail. As throughout the Philippines service is excellent and advice as to where to visit and go is plentiful and very helpful

      Our 60-room inn accentuates the irresistible charms of contemporary hotel living at the country's cloud-kissed Summer Capital. Presenting a home-like enclave, this property lives up to its commitment of providing affordable accommodations that adhere to international standards of quality. Choose from rooms that come in Single, Double, and Suite-perfect for solo travelers to families on vacation

      Adding further value for your money, our Baguio City hotel's convenient location is a short stroll from the city center. From here, you can explore several attractions, like Burnham Park, Lourdes Grotto, and Baguio Cathedral. Microtel by Wyndham – Baguio, Philippines also stands beside Victory Liner, which services various bus routes in Northern Philippines, ensuring greater accessibility for guests
    Location: Baguio - Philippines

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    Banaue Hotel & Youth Hostel

      Banaue is for now off the beaten track and this hotel is a welcome refuge after the long drive that you might have taken from Manila. It is homely and basic, but clean, friendly and safe which are the hallmarks of any great lodging

      There is a pool and massage services for those who may have exerted themselves too much trekking around the rice terraces, which is an easy and welcome but pleasurable mistake to make. The friendliness of the staff at a place run by the Philippine Tourism Authority remains the hook, line and sinker
    Location: Ilogue, Banaue - Philippines

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    Saint Joseph's Resthouse

      This mission is still run by the local clergy and is run for the benefit of the local community on their behalf, so a very good cause benefits from your stay. The place itself is a basic abode, and the rooms have been recently renovated with views from all windows literally breathtaking since this place is situated in the middle of Sagada, high up in the Luzon Cordillera mountain chain. As with the Banaue hotel, this is a basic place, very clean and very adequate; the staff generating a very good ambience help to grant the place an honorary star!
    Location: Poblacion, Sagada, Mountain Province - Philippines

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    Does it sound like you? Do you have what it takes to be one of us? If Yes then Act now!

Pasig river, Manila Intramuros, Manila Chinatown, Manila Inside a jeepney