Tara na sa norte! Summertime is not the only reason why you should visit North. Why? Here are the top reasons why the Northern Philippines is your best bet come rain or shine.
1. THE NLEX
The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) is known as the Gateway to the North. It spans 84 kilometers of world-class expressway which connects Metro Manila to the Central and Northern Luzon regions. Built to ensure safety, convenience, and efficiency of motorists and passengers, the Manila North Tollways Corporation-operated (MNTC) expressway has 98 internationally recognized informational, directional, and warning signs along its entire stretch, as well as real-time en route travel advisories, and 24/7 CCTV cameras to monitor road conditions and ensure that you reach your Northern destination with ease.
2. COLORFUL FESTIVALS
Baguio may be known for its annual flower fest Panagbenga, or Dagupan for its Bangus Festival but there are more to Northern Philippines’ festival than meets the eye. Malolos, Bulacan has the Sto Niño de Malolos Festival, the biggest gathering of devotees to the Holy Child Jesus in the North, held every January. Kannawidan ‘Ylocos’ Festival in Ilocos Sur pays homage to Ilocano traditions, and include street parades, Ilocano poem writing contest, a talent night where performers sing Ilocano ballads, a dance drama, and marching band contest.
Photo source: panagbengaflowerfestival.com
3. AMAZING CHURCHES
The country’s deep-rooted Christianity is mirrored in some of the country’s oldest churches located in Northern Luzon. Among them: Baguio Cathedral (Our Lady of Atonement) located atop Mount Mary Hill, Paoay Church (St. Augustine Church), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and St. William Cathedral, Laoag’s city’s landmark built in 1580.
And if you happen to pass by the province of Pangasinan, do not miss the opportunity of going to the Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag. The “Lady of Manaoag”, as most people call her, has been believed to perform miracles and grant prayers. Hear mass, light a candle, offer gifts or pray the rosary.
4. WONDERFUL BEACHES AND WATER SPORTS
Bangui, Ilocos Norte has a chilly type of weather with an amazing view of the West Philippine Sea. You can also take wonderful photos by these enormous, gigantic fans of the Bangui Windmills. While in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, not only do the wide beaches lure you to swim but the excellent wind can give you the ultimate rush via kiteboarding and windsurfing.
Zambales on the other hand, has Ocean adventure where you can be up close and personal with the dolphins and sea lions. Don’t leave the little ones behind, for sure they will definitely enjoy a unique aquatic experience.
5. GLORIOUS FOOD
Northern Philippines is known for its delectable dishes and enjoyable local delicacies. Pampanga, of course, is the food lover’s haven with Bale Datung, a popular private kitchen perfect for intimate lunch or dinner with family and friends featuring Chef Claude Tayag’s homemade creations, Susie’s pichi pichi, tibok tibok, suman, moche and sapin sapin.
And if you are in Tarlac, Isdaan Restaurant in Gerona, does not only serve palatable local fare. They also have the Tacsiyapo Wall which is a haven for stress relief. Buy mugs, saucers, plates and even old TV sets for a minimal charge to hurl it at the wall to vent out your frustrations and pent up stress while shouting “Tacsiyapo!” (which means “Shame on you!” in English).
6. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Ethnic groups are known to have preserved the real culture of Filipinos. It would be good to encounter and learn more about the Aetas of Pampanga, the Igorots of the Cordillera Administrative Region, the Ilongots in the southern Sierra Madre and Caraballo Mountains on the east side of Luzon particularly Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya
7. BEST ACCOMMODATIONS
Near or far, affordable or luxurious, North Luzon’s many hotels and accommodations await guests. From Baguio’s Camp John Hay and Baguio Country Club, to Bataan’s Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar where heritage structures are a sight to behold; to Anvaya Cove, a luxurious residential resort and private enclave that presents a balance between sustainable development and environmental preservation.
Tara na sa Norte
If you want to know more about how you can enjoy the best of North Philippines, simply drop by at NLEX Tara na sa Norte happening on July 25-27, 2014 at the Glorietta Activity Center Makati City.
This is a travel fair that I am sure you wouldn’t want to miss! At least 100 exhibitors are expected to gather for this travel and tourism fair mounted by the Manila North Tollways Corp (MNTC) – from the corporate sector, local government units, the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) regional offices, hotels, and restaurants, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and traders, among others.
NLEX Tara nasa Norte will also provide a platform for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to showcase their craft, furniture, fashion accessories, food items and other regional products and make them accessible to Metro Manila residents.
Co-presenters are the Department of Tourism Regions 1, 2, 3 and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Glorietta and Ayala Malls, and supported by the North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB), this three-day event is also sponsored by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Clark Development Corporation, Maynilad and PhilHydro and Philippine Daily Inquirer as their media partner.
Don’t miss the chance to experience the hospitality of people from the North, indulge in their food and local delicacies, sight seeing and everything else in between. My mom is from San Carlos City, Pangasinan and my dad’s father hails from Apalit, Pampanga. I can personally attest to how beautiful the North is… from its amazing sights, delicious food, rich culture and wonderful people.
Save the date and see you all there! 😉