I was stuck at work the whole time everyone was out enjoying the Holy Week. That’s okay with me because I have a week-long work leave approved for the first week of April, my birthweek. The destination route: NORTH LUZON LOOP!
What tourists spots can you visit while doing the North Loop?
The archipelago of the Philippines is divided into three: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Luzon is the biggest having 8 of the 17 administrative regions of the Philippines. The North Luzon Loop is the route passing through Central Luzon, Ilocos Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) and may also include NCR (National Capital Region) or CALABARZON (CAvite, LAguna, Rizal, QueZON) as the start/end point. It’s a least a total of 1200 kilometers that passes through busy city streets, quiet provincial towns or barrios, almost-unending stretches cutting through vast rice fields, sharp turns up and down mountains, refreshing coastal roads, the occasional rugged terrain, and of course the beautiful, historical, amazing, breathtaking, entertaining, exciting, wonderful tourist spots of the Philippines.
Coming from Laguna (Region IV), I will be able to pass through these regions. I chose to do it in a clockwise direction and will take me 4-5 days to complete. I am using a Honda Wave 125 underbone motorcycle. It’s not the first time I have passed through this route. In Halloween of 2010, I joined my first Official Ride with Laguna Moto Club doing the North Loop on a counter-clockwise direction. After 2 years, I’m doing this solo. Here’s my story:
Day 1 (Laguna – Alabang – EDSA – Bulacan – Pampanga – Tarlac – Urdaneta – Rosario – La Union – Tagudin – Narvacan – Vigan City)
Day 2 (Vigan City – Badoc – Batac – Paoay – Laoag – Baccara – Burgos – Bangui – Pagudpud)
Day 3 (Bangui – Pagudpud – Claveria – Pamplona – Gattaran – Amulung – Tuguegarao City – Enrile – Rizal – Tabuk City – Lubuagan)
Day 4 (Lubuagan – Tinglayan – Sadanga – Bontoc – Sagada – Sabangan – Abatan – Atok – Baguio City – Rosario – Urdaneta City – Tarlac – Pampanga – Bulacan – EDSA – Alabang – Laguna)
In total, I have logged 1770 kilometers for this trip and roughly 68 hours on the road. I am very, very pleased how this turned out really. A reflection on doing the NLL solo on a motorcycle:
1. I got to see the usual, famous stops frequented by tourists including not-so-friendly stops for stinky motorcyclists like museums and other crowded places.
2. I was able to go or stop where and when I want to just because I want to see something.
3. The schedule and planned route worked “perfectly”. I have researched extensively on the places/routes that I want “known” but also intentionally left out others to keep things interesting. A back-up plan is good but being able to assess and come up with a new strategy is better.
4. I learned a ton of things… I know now what it’s like to be in that place I only used to see in a picture or a map or heard from someone. I have witnessed and interacted with the people in their community going about their day-to-day activities. Also, my motorcycling (riding, packing, techniques, route assessment,
fixing, endurance, maneuvers, etc) experience has tremendously grown.
It took a while but I am thankful I’m sharing this trip with you through this blog. I was surprised I learned more about the place or subject while writing about it. Thanks for reading and please feel free to share what you like.