The Best Things to See and Do in Northern Philippines

<a href="">Banaue Rice Terraces | © jojo nicdao / Flickr</a>
<a href="">Banaue Rice Terraces | © jojo nicdao / Flickr</a>
While the southern Philippines is brimming with white sand beaches and world-renowned islands such as Boracay, Coron, and El Nido, the northern part also has a lot to offer. For example, the northern Philippines boasts surfing, island hopping, historical tours, sand surfing, trekking, spelunking, and much more. Here’s what you can see and do in the north.

Sandboard in Ilocos

Natural Feature
La Paz Sand Dunes in Ilocos
La Paz Sand Dunes in Ilocos | © Ricky Artigas / Flickr
Take a thrilling 4×4 ride and go sandboarding at La Paz Sand Dunes on Ilocos Norte. Learn to balance on your knees and glide across the soft sands, which will get your heart pumping while under the scorching heat of the sun.
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Tour Vigan

Archaeological site
Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Philippines
Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Philippines | © Ray in Manila / Flickr
If you want to revisit the Spanish colonization in the Philippines, then visiting Vigan is a must. Calle Crisologo is the most visited place in the city, as the street still features old Spanish-designed houses and pathways.
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Island hop in Hundred Islands National Park

Hundred Islands
Hundred Islands | © Bona Rae Villarta / Flickr
In Alaminos, Pangasinan, an over five-hour drive from Manila, you will find over 100 islands all scattered off the shore of the town. While day island-hopping tours are available, you can also make room reservations at the resorts on the major islands and spend a night there. You can also partake in activities such as snorkeling and zip-lining.
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Climb Mt. Pulag

The second highest peak in Luzon, Philippines, is Mt. Pulag, dubbed the “Sea of Clouds.” Every weekend, dozens of hikers brave the chilly weather and trek through the mossy forest just to get a glimpse of the scenic summit view.

Mt. Pulag, Kabayan, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines

Explore Baguio City

The remnants of American colonization in the Philippines is most visible in the “City of Pines.” Baguio City makes for a perfect weekend getaway where you can take fun, laid-back tours; explore Mines View Park and Burnham Park (and take plenty of pictures); check out the BenCab Museum and the Wood Carving Village; and visit the night market at Harrison and Session Road. You can even make a side trip to La Trinidad, Benguet.

Baguio City, Benguet, Philippines

See the rice terraces

A UNESCO Heritage Site, the Banaue rice terraces should definitely be a must on your list of places to see in the northern Philippines. Ancestors of the Ifugao tribe carved by hand thousands of step-like terraces in the mountains, creating a beautiful sight that people often refer to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Banaue Rice Terraces © jojo nicdao / Flickr

Go spelunking in Sagada

Sagada Province is another must-see destination, especially for its stunning sunrise vista from the peak of Mt. Kiltepan. But aside from this, you should also try the thrilling adventure of spelunking and see the hanging coffins of the province’s ancestors.

Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines