The Ultimate 5 Day Roadtrip Up North: Baguio, Sagada, La Union, Vigan

Summer last year, boredom and the intense urge to travel got the best of Bobby (my significant other) and I. We were itching to escape the city, but the excitement of this gave us racing thoughts — we couldn’t decide where to go. So one day, while sipping on our iced coffee, we decided to finalize our out-of-town adventure. Our options included the following: spelunking in the caves of Sagada, indulging ourselves with Vigan’s historical prowess, basking under the hot summer sun in La Union, or enjoying the smell of pine trees in Baguio.

For a while, we contemplated and debated. Then, it struck us — what if we went to all four places? If you think about it, it doesn’t seem that hard planning a [more or less] two week trip to complete and fully experience all four places we had in mind.

However, we only had five days to go to all of the places. We had to be back in Manila in time for a family thing that we had to be at. The thought of going on a long roadtrip was awesome. But we had a day to plan a coherent itinerary, so we don’t miss out on anything.

Here’s how to go to Baguio, Sagada, La Union, Vigan, and back to Manila in 5 days!

DAY 1: BAGUIO

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We left at 5:30 AM, and got to Baguio at around after lunch. We were lucky that our friend offered us a place at North Pine Transient Place for us to stay for the night (we only planned staying overnight before journeying to Sagada). Baguio is the go-to place of most Filipinos and tourists when they want to feel some cold summer breeze away from the city. It’s the most accessible one! Since Bobby has been to Baguio more times than I have, he was the one who showed me around, bringing me to places I had to see.

12:30 PM:   Had coffee at Camp John Hay.
01:30 PM:   Checked-in at North Pine Transient Place.
02:30 PM:  Devoured a scrumptious, healthy lunch at Oh My Gulay!
04:00 PM:   Ventured around the city proper on foot, even seeing their ukay-ukay street market by the lake. We even took a stroll at Burnham Park and enjoyed a short (but sweet) boat ride at night.
08:30 PM:   Had dinner and a few drinks at the 18BC Music Lounge while listening to the live acoustic band singing sweet melodies.
10:00 PM:   Headed over to Kape Umali for some more coffee lovin’, and a tour around their work place (since our friend owned it).
12:00 MN:   Went back to the lodging, and stayed for the night.

DAY 2: BAGUIO – SAGADA

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We woke up at around 7:30 AM, fixed our things, and headed to our last stop at Baguio before heading to Sagada. I’ve been meaning to go to Ben Cab museum since a few years ago, but I never had the chance to travel there, nor did I know where it was. Luckily, Bobby took me to that incredible place. A lot of art, history, and creativity make that place admirable. We saw a variety of art —from woodcarvings, oil paintings, sculptures, and even those eccentric pieces that I [badly] wanted to take home.

We left at around 2:00 PM. Before this roadtrip, I had never gone to Sagada — I didn’t know how the roads going there would look like, how far it really was, and if I could take the constant twist and turns of the mountains we’d be going through. The car ride was very interesting. Going up, we experienced hail and a really thick fog, and, not to mention, (during those occurrences) seeing unfinished roads and lack of barriers/railings at the sides of the mountains. Luckily, Bobby was a good driver, and he’s been there more than once…which was enough for me to feel safe and secure.

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We arrived at Sagada 6 hours later. I know it shouldn’t have taken that long from Baguio, but we were really careful making our way towards this magical place. I use the word “magical” for several reasons: I saw beautiful rivers and rice terraces on the way up. I was taken when I saw clouds that close to me…to the point that we were literally in the cloud. The sceneries we passed through were breath-taking. We even stopped over this little shack/bahay kubo where we had coffee, overlooking the beautifully made terraces.

08:00 PM:   Checked-in at Shamrock Tavern.
08:30 PM:   Ate at the well-recommended Yogurt House, which I devoured one of the healthiest, whole-tasting yogurts I’ve ever tried.
10:00 PM:   We walked around and ended up in Kimchi Place for a few drinks, and good rasta time; which, by the way, reminded me of a Bob Marley-inspired shop (they had a lot of art, and random things on the wall, plus it was cozy and I felt very hippie).
12:00 MN:    Went back to Shamrock Tavern to rest.

DAY 3: SAGADA

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We started our day early because we wanted to make the most out of the one day we had there. So, here are the things we opted to do given the limited time we had there:

06:00 AM:   Woke up and prepared for the day’s adventure.
07:00 AM:   Had a scrumptious, healthy breakfast at Sagada Brew; where we were greeted by the smiles and positive attitude of the people there.
09:00 AM:   Trekked / hiked to find one of the hidden waterfalls there (but ended up getting lost).
11:00 AM:    Ate a quick lunch in town, looked for a tour guide to help us in our spelunking venture.
12:00 NN:   Toured around the hanging coffins, with a little history lesson from our tour guide.
o1:00 PM:   Spelunking at the Sumaging Cave, and got a glimpse of the hanging coffins in the Lumiang Cave (never thought where you’re buried there actually had a meaning Those buried in one area were elders, one that were for men, and there was one for children, women, or the sickly ones). This took about four hours of our time, due to my fear of heights, the dark, and murky water. It was an overall fun experience, though, being covered in all sorts of things. The rock formations were surely worth it.
05:30 PM:   Went back to the tavern, and cleaned ourselves up before dinner.
07:00 PM:   Had a lovely, woodsy dinner and joined the bonfire at Rock Inn Café. Also had a few drinks and good conversations with the other visitors of that inn.
10:00 PM:   Returned to Shamrock Tavern to sleep (spelunking drained us, but it was a good kind of tired).

Continued on next page

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