Luzon Travel Guide: Manila to Vigan
Luzon is perhaps the most famous of all the islands that comprise the Philippines. It’s home to the nation’s capital and occupies more than a third of the country’s total land area. Historically, it was the main source of food for the country, thanks to its large, central flat rice plains.
This post is a travel guide to the island. Here you’ll learn more about where to visit and how to get around.
Manila is the largest city in the Philippines and one of the densest urban centers in East Asia. While it offers a host of attractions, it is not particularly popular among tourists. It is more a commercial hub than a place to spend a couple of weeks.
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Heading south from Manila around 30 miles, you’ll bump into Corregidor at the mouth of Manila Bay. The area is famous among veterans of WWII when bands of US and Filipino soldiers stood their ground against the marauding Axis forces threatening to overwhelm them. Today, you can see various monuments erected on the island dedicated to their heroism and bravery as they waited for reinforcements which never came.
The best way to get to Taal Lake is on a motorcycle. It’s more than two hours to the south of Manila and is the remnants of an old volcanic caldera, now full of water.
Interestingly, the volcano (like so many in the Philippines) may still be active. The first recorded eruption was in 1572 and it has been churning and threatening ever since.
Before you travel, you’ll want to look for a motorcycle accident attorney for your needs. Roads in the area can be treacherous and insurance may not cover all your losses.
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THE RICE TERRACES OF IFUGAO
If you want to see some of the most impressive rice terraces in the world sculpted by farmers living in the area for more than 2,000 years, you’ll want to head on over to Ifugao. This attractive area is famous all over the world for some 100 square miles of rice paddies built on the sides of the steep mountains that characterize the area. The landscape has been the same way for thousands of years and has a certain energy that’s hard to ignore.
UNESCO says that the rice terraces are a blending of people, culture, politics, and the environment. There are few examples of anything like it on Earth. It is a truly unique and partly spiritual experience.
The last stop on the tour of Luzon should be the city of Vigan. It is famed for its striking Spanish-influenced architecture and impressive buildings. However, since the original street planners, it has also become a well-known haunt for Filipino culture as well. The food scene is wonderful.
At the center of the city stands the mighty Cathedral of St. Paul. Builders completed the structure in 1641 and it became an ecclesiastic center for the province around a century later. The spire is around 100 meters tall.
Close by are the Archbishop’s Palace and the Plaza Salcedo.
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