Now I'm no travel expert but I guess I'm a person hard to please. When it comes to traveling, sometimes I don't like places that I go to because it's too far, too crowded or the food sucks. Traveling North Luzon made me think about how this place is a little under appreciated, so I'm going to list down a few things that makes this an awesome travel spot for those who haven't done it yet!
1. The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)
|Photo Bocaue Tollgate from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Luzon_Expressway)|
It's easy to travel North now because the North Luzon Expressway made traveling faster and more efficient. The roads are perfect for long drives because it's maintained properly. The tollgates have EC cards which you can get prepaid so you don't have to queue. Compared to regular roads that can take you several hours to go to the north, this will cut the travel time enormously. The view is also spectacular and just needs a short turn to go to towns along it. It made everything freaking easy, I suggest you come along with friends so you can save up gas and toll fees. It'll be worth it!
2. The Festivals
|7107 International Music Festival|
If it's a FIESTA made for a town's patron saint or a FIESTA made for thanksgiving, or a full pledged Music Festival with International acts no matter what genre it is, the North Luzon provinces are full of it! Our country is at least celebrating one fiesta per day, now imagine that done all throughout the year! This is the Philippines so we make it BIG!
3. The Old Churches
There's nothing even greater than seeing and believing in Churches as the house of God. For those who are religious, you'll be surely blessed by visiting these century old or more churches to renew faith and learn a little more about the country's history as we are around 80% Roman Catholic. You'll meet the locals in and around towns that are centered in these areas. The architecture, the details of the walls are all heavenly... surely it's something that should be seen!
4. Some of the World's Best Beaches
You can have a view worthy of postcards even without leaving the island of Luzon. The spectacular beaches of Pagudpod of which some remains untouched and has got less commercialization just spells paradise. It's also windy up here so the Windmills of Bangui can get you electricity and supply the great part of the province without the need for other power sources that's nature friendly and safe. The water is cold while the weather is hot, perfect combination to relax in a hammock tied between coconut trees and have a beer on hand. Isn't that the perfect summer?
5. The Food
Taking a guiltless pleasure on some of the most unnoticed dishes in the country like "Dinengdeng" (Local Vegetables in Grilled Fish broth) or the oh so crunchy "Bagnet" (Deep Fried Crispy Air Dried Pork) which is so good. Aside from that, they've also got Ilocos Empanada done in so many ways from Vigan to other cities in this province. The famous Vigan Longganisa also is the best thing for breakfast in the country. I could have kilos of this in one sitting and still want more. Do not hesitate to taste this and more when you visit the region.
6. Cheap Accommodations
|Azalea Residences Baguio City|
North Luzon has varied rates for accommodations. You can opt for hotels or huge residences like this one or get cheap ones in bus terminals. You can also opt for transient homes in the suburbs for better chances to meet locals too. Just stay nice and friendly as they will return the smiles back at you. They are ample enough for those that are just passing by or to spend a few days in these provinces. It's a good thing to immerse yourself in the culture and live with the locals so you can experience what it's like in the North Luzon path. Some are cold, some humid, but all in all a spectacular place to be in when in the lovely cities you get lost in. Everyone speaks a little or more English so it's not a big deal to say you've got language barriers.
7. Vigan Vies for 7 Wonder Cities of the World
They have now been able to get into the final 21 cities and they are vying for the final 7. Vigan has got lots of history. They have some of the most picturesque cobbled stone streets and tourist spots not seen in any Asian country. To learn more on how to vote for them, please read my article here.
8. NLEX "Tara Na Sa Norte!" (Let's go to the North!)
Going to the North is definitely one thing that anyone should try when in Luzon. Now it's going to be made even better as they'll showcase deals in travel, accommodation and their products in one venue right here in Manila. From July 25-27, 2014 they'll set up shop at the Glorietta Activity Center in the city of Makati. There will be over 100 vendors offering the best hotels, products, restaurants, small and medium enterprises from the best in the region on these dates. This is put up by the Manila North Tollways Corporation and co presented by the Department of Tourism Regions 1, 2 and 3 plus the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). This is also supported by Ayala Malls, North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Clark Development Corporation, Maynilad, PhilHydro, Cebu Pacific and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Now if that isn't enough reason to go to the North of Luzon, I don't know what will!
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