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North Luzon l South Luzon

North Luzon

Any visitors to North Luzon will hardly be disappointed, as there are many interesting places to visit and plenty of activities to do that will make their trip worthwhile. Among the many popular tourist destinations worth stopping by are Vigan and Baguio.

Vigan

Named one of the 25 top destinations by the Philippine Tourism Board, a glimpse of Vigan will bring tourists down memory lane. According to some guidebooks, Vigan is 'the only remaining colonial city in the Philippines'. Even the residents of Vigan qualify the word 'colonial'. It is not surprising as evidence can be found almost everywhere from the public plazas, the museums, and the cathedral to the well-preserved ancestral homes.

Even before the arrival of the Spanish in 1572, Vigan has already been on the world map for centuries as an international maritime port. Realizing its potential, the Spanish has made Vigan the regional seat for its political and religious administration. For 300 years, the trade connecting Vigan and Europe via Acapulco has made it the most prosperous city north of Manila.

The ancestral houses in Vigan have become the dominant symbol of the city's heritage. Being the main attraction for visitors to Vigan, these ancestral houses may look Spanish at first glance. Nevertheless, when inspected closely, one can spot a more intricate influence, which reflect imprints of Chinese, Filipino, Mexican and other styles in several places.

Built near the street and extending in long, solid rows down the narrow avenues, these unique ancestral houses will send you back in time to the old colonial days.

Baguio

Baguio City, about four hours drive or 250 km north of Manila is blessed with a cool climate and pine-clad hills. Nestled atop a 1,500-meter-high plateau in the mountainous region of Cordillera, Baguio is a popular tourist destination. With an average temperature of 18C, relatively clean parks, quaint churches, lovely gardens and fresh air, it is no wonder that Baguio has become the 'summer capital' of the country that attracts both tourists and locals alike.

Baguio offers a variety of historical, cultural as well as scenic attractions that is bound to entice anyone. The annual Baguio Arts Festival sees many aspiring sculptors and painters from all over the country flocking to this serene city. Even writers assemble in Baguio to meet and recharge.

A visit to Baguio is not complete without a walk down Session Road. If you only have a day to spend in Baguio, all the more reason you should visit Session Road, the city's commercial artery where you will be able to experience the charm and magic that Baguio has to offer. Along this road, there are plenty of shops and restaurants to leave visitors occupied and contended. Apart from the tour down Session Road, visitors can also choose to go horseback riding at Wright Park, visit the Baguio City Market or even take up the challenge of climbing 252 steps to the Lourdes Grotto.

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