Luzon Backpacking Travel Diary + Itinerary

Banaue, Ifugao We are two island girls dream of going to an adventure and ticking off some items on our bucket list. In 9 days, we’ve visited seven destinations and spent less than P10, 000. We’re kicking the year with a great adventure that none of us were properly briefed. 

Four hours turn to 8 hours of ride.

Google and Kate’s friend both told us that it would only take 4 hours from Clark to Vigan. They probably mean that our first bus stop will be four hours after the departure time.

After 8 hours of checking Google maps and trying to familiarize all the towns we’ve passed, we arrived the new 7 wonders city. Eat the overrated bagnet that taste like Crispy Pata and the not your ordinary empanada – Vigan empanada.

Of course, a trip won’t be complete without the tour around the heritage village with its cobblestone streets and the Spanish colonial architecture.

#Ilocolandia Tour

On the third day of our backpacking, we’ve visited the iconic windmill of Burgos as well as the lighthouse at Cape Bejeador standing 386 feet above sea level.

I had my first horseback riding on our way to Kapurpuran rock formation. A tip for the ladies: apply sunblock when you visit the rock formation.

In the afternoon, we’ve visited another UNESCO world heritage site – the Saint Augustine Church. If you like old and ruins architecture, I recommend that you check out the ruined building across the church. It’s a good place to take #OOTD photos.  A local informed us that it was used to be a convent.

Adventure Awaits

An adventure and cultural immersion were waiting for us in Ifugao. At first, it was me who insisted Ifugao in our itinerary. Kate was hesitant to go and we even agreed that she’ll wait for me in Baguio while I will pursue the Banaue trip. Want to know what makes her decide to join me? It’s the Ifugao skirt and the idea of walking around rice paddies.

Who would have thought that an island girl could survive the –

  1. “Buhis buhay” drive to Hungduan
  2. Walking around the rice paddies at 4am just to catch the first trip back to Banaue
  3. The challenge of waiting for a random vehicle to pass by at the break of dawn
  4. Another butt-numbing ride from Baguio to Banaue and vice versa.

Despite these challenges, we believe that this trip has a purpose.

  1. We have met the local officials of Hungduan and we were able to share some tips on how they can improve their tourism industry.
  2. Found new friends at our home stay in Hapao. We enjoyed listening to their stories especially the Ilongga. She’s already 60-year old, but she has scaled Mt. Paoay.
  3. Met Sir Noel of Hiwang Village who’s asking for our help to promote Hiwang’s Community Village. – A perfect place to stay if you want to disconnect to both offline and online world.

Added Bonus

Being able to go back to Baguio City is an added bonus. The place where wearing varsity jackets, gloves, and even dressing in fully covered  are normal even in broad daylight.

Another treat was the scenic drive to Baguio as we passed by Sierra Madre Mountains.

The planning and saving

Our tour guide won’t believe us when we told them that it took us a year to save for that trip. Though we exaggerate things, but the 3-month sacrifices of, not pigging out and splurge is equivalent to a year. I hope our story could inspire others to travel and take a risk.

You may download/view our 9-day itinerary HERE and check out our travel budget HERE.


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Katacheme says:

    Just WOW!

  2. Laagan na Cebuana says:

    Thanks, Kat! Enjoy Baguio! 🙂

  3. The Banaue Rice Terraces is simply amazing!

  4. EDWARD says:

    Hope to visit this places soon!
    You might want to rent motorbike next time you travle! Visit

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