With its beaches and historical towns that are easily accessible, it’s no surprise that several people particularly those living in Metro Manila are keen on exploring the vast Luzon island. But more than the destination, it’s the long hours on the road that travelers should also learn to enjoy. A scenic drive may just do the trick, especially if you’re not a fan of a long-haul trip. Here are five destinations in Luzon that boasts some of the most scenic drives which road trip enthusiasts should experience:
1. Chill at Sagada, Mountain Province With the days getting warmer, going up north may be a popular option among vacationers with Baguio likely being the top destination choice. But while the so-called “Summer Capital of the Philippines” is a nice place to escape to, you may want to consider going to the nearby town of Sagada. A peaceful escape from the city, Sagada does not just offer cool temperatures, it also hosts adventures that can test every traveler such as camping, trekking, and spelunking. The real challenge, however, starts in getting there.
A total of 12 hours on the road may seem gruel to most, but traversing Kennon Road and Halsema Highway may reap rewards in the form of rolling hills and breathtaking views on the side. If you’re taking on this challenge, make sure to brief yourself on the road conditions prior to your trip. As for your ride, since getting to Sagada requires a long drive, it’s best to bring along a fuel-efficient vehicle that will take you to your destination faster while saving up on costs. *Use a car with diesel engine for uphill driving since this is best for power and fuel efficiency. Some car brands now have sedans that come with diesel engines.
2. Pick a beach in San Antonio, Zambales If you prefer surrounding yourself with the sand and the sea, then look no further: Zambales is the perfect destination for you. A three-hour drive from Metro Manila, Zambales is home to some of the best coves in Luzon. Anawangin Cove may be a popular choice, but it’s the province’s hidden gems such as Talisayen Cove and Silanguin Cove that you should be exploring. Getting to the famous coves requires a short drive to the central jump-off point, which is Pundaquit Beach in the municipality of San Antonio.
On your way there, make sure to keep a lookout at the beautiful mountain range that embraces the roads of the province. Tag your family or barkada along in an SUV or in a van, where there will be enough room for the group and the essentials like tents and food. There’s no cause for worry about where to leave your vehicle, since there are various overnight parking areas that you can use.
3. Go back in time in Taal, Batangas Batangas may be another province famous for beaches, but there’s one town that’s often overlooked by tourists coming in and out of the location: Taal. More than its popular namesake volcano, the secluded and peaceful town of Taal in the southern Luzon province showcases rows of ancestral houses—so plenty, that they’re collectively called Heritage Town. You can step into the centuries-old town via a scenic drive from Tagaytay to Lemery, until you reach an uphill path to Taal. From Metro Manila, the trip will cost you less than three hours.
It’s a short drive where you can take your sedan along with your fellow history buffs. You may want to bring a car that’s spacious enough for your pasalubong, though. Taal produces a good number of souvenirs that you can take home like embroidered keepsakes that boast the town’s Burdang Taal tradition, balisong, and tasty treats such as panutsa or peanut brittle.
4. Spend your downtime in Tagaytay If you’re eyeing another kind of day trip, Tagaytay is truly the place to be. With a good number of restaurants and cafés in the area, you won’t have a hard time to find a spot to grab some rest and relaxation with either your friends or siblings. The mountains and hills surrounding the city are enough reasons for Tagaytay to be inviting to road trip enthusiasts. Your everyday sedan can endure the two-hour drive to the city from Metro Manila. But if it’s a nighttime journey you’re planning, bringing a car with a tailgate is ideal for gazing at the stars from under the cool city’s sky.
5. Be one with nature at Masungi Georeserve For those looking for a short drive to a one-of-a-kind nature trip, prepare your van or SUV and bring along your whole crew to Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal. Explore caves and brave mountain peaks without going too far away from Metro Manila.
Organizers only do limited private tours, so make sure to schedule your trip accordingly. Prior to taking on the Masungi Georeserve challenge, enjoy a pregame with the picturesque views along Marcos Highway, the only road that will get you to the location. Whatever your destination is, a road trip becomes more fun when you have a reliable and comfortable ride.