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Swing Up North in 5 Days



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Jonalyn Lee


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Swing Up North in 5 Days

The fascinating journey towards the northern part of the country will reveal the breathtaking grandeur of mountains, rice terraces and fields in Banaue, La Trinidad and Mountain Province, and take you further to the rich and native culture and history of the places and its people. Calm yourself in the cold weather as you take the road trip and witness Banaue Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage area and a world- known historic landmark, along with other rice fields and natural sites.


En Route Side Trip

Meet our tour representative at the lobby of your hotel for your NORTHERN ROUNDTRIP TOUR. Wending our way through early morning traffic, we make a side trip to a flower market in Dimasalang, where blooms and foliage of every color and shape line the stalls and main thoroughfare of Dos Castillas. The burst of colors, so fresh and diverse, is a pleasing sight to see in the early morning rush hour. Skip on to nearby La Loma, and see rows of carinderias or lechon food stalls dominating the roadside along Calavite Street. Lechons are suckling pigs that are roasted to perfection and served during fiestas and special household gatherings. Here in La Loma, lechons of every imaginable size can be seen roasting in charcoal pits anytime of the day, fiesta or no fiesta. A lot more can be seen resting on wooden poles alongside the stalls, creating a mouth-watering spectacle for the hearty gourmand. Continue north on the expressway, past the flat and fertile landscape of the Central Plains of Luzon. Depending on which month of the year it is, there are farmers harvesting or planting the rice fields. Water buffalos immersed in mud pools, herons foraging for food, and fields of green and gold that stretches far and wide are pastoral scenes that are most prevalent here. Enterprising townsfolk who engage in small backyard industry sell their wares along the roadside – such can be seen on the side streets of Nueva Ecija, where woven bamboo and nipa palms being used for interior walls and roof shingles of native huts are on display. Farther on in Nueva Vizcaya where the climate is cooler and more pleasant, varieties of orchid grow in profusion, implying a budding cut flower industry. Cross the southern gateway of Cagayan Valley by zigzagging across the Caraballo Range through Dalton Pass, a 920-meter high precipice which was named after the American General James Dalton who led the siege against the Japanese forces during World War II. An expansive view of the Sierra Madre and Caraballo mountain ranges is visible from a look-out located atop a hill. We begin our climb to Banaue as we reach the junction of Bagabag where the road from Banaue meets the main valley highway and runs northwest to Isabela. Halfway through is Lagawe, the capital town of Ifugao and home of the ‘People from the High Mountains’. Woodcarving, a craft which the Ifugaos are known for, can be observed here. We reach Banaue late in the afternoon. Check in and overnight at BANAUE HOTEL. Meals: Lunch and Dinner Read more

Banaue Hotel, Overnight

Breathtaking Banaue

Board a local jeepney to explore the breathtaking scenery and fascinating traditional culture of Banaue. By the roadside near the local church, a 10-storey house built on the mountain slopes shows the Ifugaos’ engineering skills and adaptability to its surroundings; also spot a tilapia pond and fighting cocks being bred nearby. Several twists and turns along the main road lead you to many rice terraces with ample stops for picture taking. Our first glimpse of the magnificent terraces is best seen at Barangay Viewpoint, where a marker stands declaring the Banaue Rice Terraces a UNESCO World Heritage Area and an international historic civil engineering landmark. The terraces, believed to be over 2,000 years old, were built painstakingly and skillfully by ancient tribesmen in an area where level land is almost non-existent. Using primitive tools, shelves were carved from mountain slopes, its walls sealed together with clay. Each terrace is irrigated by a carefully-designed system of water channels that run from upper to lower paddies. When thick mists settle at the summit of these terraces, they conjure images of staircases leading up to heaven, thus the land came to be called as the ‘Stairway to the Sky’. Another highlight of today’s trip is a short hike down Bangaan Rice Terraces where we can mingle freely with the villagers, and if school is on, drop by the village school and observe the school kids as they go about their lessons. Wind the day’s tour with a visit to the market place and visit some native handicraft store for interesting souvenir finds. Return to the hotel. Overnight. Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner Read more

Banaue Hotel, Overnight

Exploring Banaue and Sagada

Drive inland on the mountain trail of Mt. Polis, snaking through a narrow highway bordered with thick undergrowth of moss-laden forest trees and shrubs, until we reach Bay-yo, our first Bontoc village. As we move closer to the village, a picture-perfect mosaic of vegetable and rice terraces built close to the crystalline waters Chico River comes to view. The rice terraces here are lower in height, its walls strengthened with stones taken from the river. In between rice cycles, the fields are planted with sweet potatoes and vegetables. Small thatched-roof huts called allang, where extra harvest and other farm supplies are kept, mark the mountain slopes near the fields. A short visit to the Bontoc Museum will provide us with an insight into the lifestyle of the Igorots, the native settlers of Bontoc and the fiercest headhunters of all mountain tribes. The museum contains an interesting collection of pictures, old maps and artifacts of the mountain tribes in the region, including a replica of an ili, or village, constructed in its backyard. Moving farther on, an hour’s drive away is the limestone valley of Sagada. Sagada is best known for its unique burial practices; the dead are placed in coffins made from pine wood and buried in caves or lodged between ridges and hollows of limestone cliffs, thus the name, ‘hanging coffins’. One such burial cave which will be visited is Lumiang Cave, a sacred burial ground where ancient pine wood coffins can be seen. Time permitting, follow a foot path that leads to a vantage point fronting a limestone cliff, where some coffins placed between the gaps and crevices of cliff can also be seen. Drop by the Sagada Weaving House where hand-woven products are made by the local womenfolk who engage in hand-loom weaving. Proceed to MASFERRE INN (or similar). Check in, dinner and overnight. Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner Read more

Masferre Inn (or similar)
More Pictures

Benguet and Baguio

Travel along Halsema Highway towards the province of Benguet, the last leg of our journey. At Kilometer 50 in Bayangan, we stop and gaze at the rows upon rows of terraces planted with vegetables. From our lofty height of 7,400 feet, the view is as stunning as the rice terraces of Banaue. The striking contrast of colors - robust green and furrowed brown earth, is a sight worthy of an artist’s canvas. Notice the cable cars, a simple tram system that is used to transport the vegetables from the terraces below and on to the highway, another product of the Igorots’ resourcefulness. Beyond the vegetable fields is La Trinidad, the capital town of the province. If Benguet is known as the ‘Salad Bowl of the Philippines’, La Trinidad is the ‘Strawberry Fields of the Philippines.’ It is here where a farm located just minutes away from Baguio City provides its visitors with the experience of harvesting their own berries for a fee, and a strawberry festival is being held annually. Travel past La Trinidad, until we enter Baguio City, the only city of Benguet. Baguio was first developed by the Americans as their ‘rest and recreation’ city in the 1900s. Because of its scenic location and healthy climate, it has long since become the country’s ‘Summer Capital’. A tour of this city showcases many of its parks and gardens that are abundant with flowers and pine trees, and pleasant hiking trails. Drive by Camp John Hay, a former U.S. military recreation camp which also features a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, Wright Park, which has a riding field where one can rent a horse and ride around a track or follow specific trails, the Mansion House which is the summer residence of the President of the Philippines, and Mines View Park where you can enjoy a fine view of the surrounding hills. Roll on towards the city proper, catch a glimpse of the Baguio Cathedral that sits atop Mount of Mary Hill, and go past Burnham Park which has an orchidarium, a boating lake, a parade ground, and several kiosks and restaurants. Finally, cap the day’s tour with a visit to the Public Market, one of the most colorful marketplaces in the country. This is where the mountain people come to buy and sell. There are sections selling meat, fish, fruit and fresh vegetables; other sections offer rice, fresh tobacco, food preserves, shoes and clothes. You will also find native handicrafts, textiles, bag, brooms, blankets and woodcarving. Proceed to EL CIELITO INN (or similar). Check in and overnight. Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner Read more

El Cielito Inn or similar
More Pictures

Last of Cordillera

On our last day of the journey, return to Manila through Kennon Road, the oldest road system in the Cordilleras that was built by the Americans in 1903. Cross-crossing our way through many hairpin bends, go past the Lion’s Head, a massive sculptured limestone lion, which has become a landmark that is synonymous to Baguio. Farther down is Bridal Veil Falls, which has a natural pool at its base. Reach Pangasinan by mid-morning and stop at Villasis Public Market, where tons of vegetables from neighboring provinces including Benguet, are being sold at wholesale prices. Observe how buyers haggle at prices, and see the variety of native fruits and vegetables on display. Make one final stop in the town of Bacolor, one of the towns that were hard hit by lahar flows from the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. The area was once a desert wasteland of ash and sand, buried homes, churches and buildings. Few reminders of the destruction are seen today, except for San Guillermo Church, which still stands half-buried in lahar. Moving fast on the North Expressway, the landscape is transformed from wide open spaces to homes, buildings and warehouses standing cheek by jowl along narrow streets, signifying the end of our 5-day journey. We arrive in Manila in the early evening, proceeding straight on to your hotel or drop off point. Meals: Breakfast and lunch Read more


Day in trip
Day 1
Location Ilogue, Banaue
Day 3
Location Poblacion, Patay, Sagada, 2619 Mountain Province
Day 4
Location 50 North Drive 2600, Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines


Package includes

  • Transfer from/to the airport
  • Transport during the tour
  • Accommodation
  • Local guides
  • Information services
  • Entrance fee

Package excludes

  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Beverages
  • Additional journeys and transfers

More information

  • Group size: Minimum of 2 pax, Maximum 10 Pax
  • Guarantee Cut - off: 48 hours or 2 days
  • Cancellation Policy : 72 Hours or three days prior arrival
  • Rates not valid on peak/blocked out dates
  • All tours are subject to availability and are on an on- request basis
  • Rate indicated for one (1) pax is on a per person per room basis. Rate for 2 pax per person pertains to one room on a twin sharing basis. Rates good for 3- 7 pax are only for information, please coordinate with Ollami to contact the travel agency for actual rates.
  • All rates subject to change according to seasonality and dates of booking
  • Accommodation arranged for each tours are subject to change, and the changes shall be informed to the customer accordingly prior the tour commencement.

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