Luzon is widely regarded as a significant island in the Philippines. This island is where you’ll find the nation’s capital, Manila, the country’s main airport, Ninoy Aquino International, and the major economic centers.
It’s quite remarkable to discover that in 2015, Luzon’s extensive population earned it the title of the 4th most populous island globally. Furthermore, it is projected to exceed the population of Great Britain within a few years.
Although many tourists prefer to fly directly to the popular islands from Manila airport, only a few opt for the lesser-known roads of Luzon. However, they are missing out on a unique experience. Venturing beyond the lively city of Manila and towards the coastline reveals a hidden realm of quaint villages, tranquil beaches, untouched jungles, and a few obscure islands that remain undiscovered by most tourists. Amidst the breathtaking natural beauty of Luzon, you will find a treasure trove of memorials, museums, and cultural relics that pay homage to the fascinating history of the Philippines.
1. Batad Rice Terraces
Exploring Batad offers a stark contrast to the bustling streets of Manila. Imagine a serene village with lush green rice terraces and a small population of around 1,500 people, far away from the hustle and bustle of crowded streets and towering skyscrapers.
Embark on a refreshing morning hike up the hills and marvel at the breathtaking view of a picturesque valley. Feast your eyes on the meticulously crafted rice terraces, adorned with lush greenery that stretches as far as the eye can see. These terraces are dotted with charming wooden houses, serving as homes for the farmers and their families.
During your visit, you have the option to experience a homestay with a local family and embark on a guided hike to a beautiful waterfall in the vicinity. Experience the vibrant culture and local perspective of the Philippines.
2. WWII Era Corregidor Island
Even with limited time in Luzon, there are still plenty of opportunities to go out and explore. Discover the wonders of Manila by embarking on a guided tour to the captivating island of Corregidor.
This small island was once a fierce battleground during World War II, where American, Japanese, and Filipino troops clashed. The conflicts have left behind relics and reminders of these challenging times that now serve as educational props.
First and foremost, this island functioned as a stronghold, with remnants of its structure still intact. You will have the opportunity to explore the light hours, and military barracks, and listen to captivating stories from your knowledgeable guide.
As part of your tour, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy bird watching and savor a delicious traditional Filipino lunch.
3. Burias Island
At times, you will experience the sensation of being on a secluded island, surrounded by pristine white sandy beaches and the mesmerizing sight of crystal-clear water beneath your feet. Soon, you’ll find yourself in a charming town filled with quaint guesthouses, delightful restaurants, and a few places to pick up souvenirs. This island off the coast of Luzon offers a unique blend of experiences.
There are a few smaller islands scattered around Burias Island, making it a perfect destination for a day of island-hopping. Experience the thrill of exploring remote islands with breathtaking beaches and unique rock formations by renting a local boat.
When planning your journey, consider using the town of Pasacao as your starting point. Once you reach your destination, a thrilling two-hour boat ride awaits, marking the start of your exciting journey.
4. Taal Volcano in Tagaytay City
Tagaytay, a city just a few hours away from Manila, is a truly remarkable destination. One of its main attractions is the majestic Taal Volcano.
This active volcano has had more than 30 eruptions in recent history and continues to emit smoke even now. However, what sets Taal apart is something entirely different.
It is quite remarkable to observe the sight of Taal Volcano situated in the center of a lake. Quite impressive. However, upon closer inspection of the mouth of Ta’al Volcano, one would notice the presence of a lake. Take a closer look and you’ll notice that there is another island inside the lake within the mouth of the volcano.
Did you understand everything I said? Experiencing it firsthand is the best way to truly understand.
5. Magalawa Island
Seeking a lavish escape in the vicinity of Luzon? Magalawa Island offers everything you desire.
There is only one resort on this small island, known as Armada Resort. This resort was created with the intention of attracting the perfect number of visitors to the island and boosting its economy.
What implications does that have for you? That implies you will be among a select few visitors on this island, enjoying exceptional service. Furthermore, the pristine beaches, crystal-clear water, and untouched natural surroundings remain untarnished by any form of human intervention!
6. Spanish Colonial Town of Vigan
Have you ever dreamt of experiencing the charm of a horse-drawn carriage ride through picturesque streets lined with magnificent Spanish colonial architecture? Now is the perfect opportunity to explore the beautiful destination of the Philippines!
Vigan, situated in northern Luzon, was once the unofficial political capital during the Spanish occupation in the 1950s, which is why it has a nostalgic feel reminiscent of the Spanish colonial era.
Vigan’s infrastructure remains remarkably intact, harkening back to the days of Spanish influence. Explore the vibrant Mestizo District and discover a variety of unique treasures, including exquisite hand-rolled cigars. Explore Plaza Salcedo, where a historic event took place, or head to Plaza Burgos to savor delicious Spanish empanadas.
Manila offers multiple options for reaching the charming town of Pagudpud in northern Luzon. You can either opt for a convenient flight to Laoag City airport or embark on a scenic 12-hour overnight bus journey.
Once you arrive in Pagudpud, you’ll be greeted by an abundance of pristine swimming opportunities just waiting for you! Maira-ira Beach is truly a sight to behold, with its stunning beauty and captivating charm. This beach is a fantastic destination, with the renowned Blue Lagoon offering a delightful spot to enjoy the day with its crystal-clear water and shallow depths.
There are numerous charming beachside eateries that serve a diverse range of cuisine and refreshing beverages.
8. Hanging Coffins in Sagada
In the town of Sagada, a unique tradition takes place where coffins are not buried in the ground but rather attached to the sides of cliffs, creating a lasting display. This tradition has a hauntingly mystical aura, yet it serves to bring their cherished ones closer to the heavens.
Apart from this peculiar attraction, travelers can indulge in trekking through the forest, embarking on hikes to waterfalls, descending cliffs for rappelling and spelunking adventures, discovering hidden caves, and immersing themselves in the breathtaking scenery of this picturesque mountain village. Sagada is a true haven for those who love the great outdoors.
9. Mount Isarog National Park
Picture a version of the movie ‘The Lion King’ that takes place in a lush tropical paradise, complete with rice fields, rainforests, and majestic mountains. Imagine standing on a hill, gazing out at the vast expanse before you. The sky is a brilliant shade of blue, contrasting beautifully with the lush green landscape below. Mount Isarog National Park is absolutely stunning.
This vibrant natural environment is teeming with unique animal species, including the Isarog Shrew rat, the Isarog Cloud Frog, and the incredibly rare Mt. Isarog Forest Skink that can only be found in this area.
Explore the wonders of the national park, where you can immerse yourself in nature’s beauty and indulge in thrilling outdoor activities. Discover hot springs, cold springs, and breathtaking waterfalls that will awaken your adventurous spirit.
10. Explore Mt. Mayon in Legazpi
Mayon Volcano National Park offers an awe-inspiring journey filled with excitement and discovery.
Discover numerous ways to explore the majestic beauty of Mt. Mayon, from embarking on a scenic hike around its base to immersing yourself in the vibrant green landscapes, serene rice fields, pristine creeks, and lively rivers. Discover a multitude of hiking trails, each offering a unique challenge, and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the picturesque valley from observation decks.
Experience an exhilarating adventure by joining an ATV tour or a mountain biking tour led by knowledgeable guides who can lead you to breathtaking views.
Another option is to visit the nearby Lignon Hill Nature Park, where you can experience the thrill of a 320-meter zip line while enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain.
11. Roam the National Museum in Manila
The history of the Philippines, specifically Luzon Island, is a captivating tale of unexpected events and surprising outcomes that have shaped the vibrant culture it embraces today.
Visiting the Grand National Museum offers a unique opportunity to witness the rich history and resilience of this country and its people throughout the centuries.
As you explore from case to case and exhibit to exhibit, you’ll come across paintings that portray the Japanese arrival in World War II and discover the history of the Spanish occupation through artifacts and sculptures.
The National Museum also showcases the rich heritage of its people and culture through various forms of art, such as pottery and hand-drawn pictures.
Q: What’s the best time to visit Luzon, Philippines?
A: The best time to visit Luzon is during the dry season, from November to April, to enjoy pleasant weather and outdoor activities.
Q: Are there accommodations available near the tourist spots mentioned in the article?
A: Yes, you can find a variety of accommodations, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels, near these tourist spots.
Q: Is it safe to trek Mount Pinatubo or explore caves in Luzon?
A: Yes, it is generally safe, but it’s recommended to hire local guides for trekking and cave exploration.
Q: What’s the local cuisine like in Luzon?
A: Luzon offers a wide range of delicious Filipino dishes, including adobo, sinigang, and lechon.
Q: How do I get to Luzon, Philippines?
A: Luzon is accessible by air through Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. You can also reach it via sea or land transportation from other parts of the Philippines.