It is the most northerly and largest of the main islands. Luzon
offers a breathtaking mountainous districts in the north, the flat vistas
in the central plain and lakes, and volcanoes in the southern region.
The coastline is speckled with caves and islands, surrounded by sandy beaches. The
capital of the Philippines is Manila and is on the island's east
coast (see Manila Travel Guide).
Baguio is 250 kilometres (150 miles) north of the capital, Manila. At 1,525 metres or 5,000 feet
above sea level, it is a cool haven from the summer heat. Baguio
is accessible by air and land. The drive up the curving Kennon
Road is more popular because it offers impressive views of the
landscapes. There are many good restaurants, plenty of mountain
views and walking excursions in Baguio. Some main visitor attractions are The Mansion, summer residence of the Philippine president;
Baguio Cathedral, Bell Church; and the Crystal Caves,
once an ancient burial place.
About 8 hours by bus from the north of Baguio, Banaue is where travellers can visit the settlements of this isolated mountain
community. The major places of interest in
this area are the rice terraces as they rise grandly to an altitude of 1,525 metres or
5,000 feet. Some two thousand years ago, these terraces were hand-carved
using crude tools cutting into the rocky ledges completely encompassing
the mountain. These rice terraces have now been listed by UNESCO
as World Heritage Site. There are a tourist class
hotel and many pensions in Banaue.
The Hundred Islands are just off the
Pangasinan coast and consist of 400 islets. They are encircled
by coral gardens and sandy beaches, great for swimming and
fishing. The Hundred Islands are the world's 2nd largest
marine reserve, and home to over 2,000 species
wildlife. The caves and domes of Marcos
Island and the Devil's Kitchen are worth exploring. Palawan, the whole province,
is known for its remarkable terrain, adventure and
exploration. With its rainforests, St Paul's Underground River
and Tubattaha Reef, have plenty of sights to explore. There are also multi-island
cruises around northern Palawan.
Mindoro Island which can be accessible by
ferry from Batangas pier and south of Manila,
is a place with dazzling scenery including Mount Halcon
at 2,695 metres or 8,841 feet high, Tamaraw Falls and Naujan
La Union, on the northwest coast of Luzon,
features some of the best beach resort
on the island. Buses
travel regularly to La Union from Manila and Baguio. The Bicol
Region in the east is developing into a tourist destination. There are beaches and hotels, and its attractions include the near perfect
cone-shaped Mayon Volcano and the Kalayukay Beach Resort.