We are on the way up to Ilocos Norte for a beach holiday. Ilocos Norte is, as it says, all the way to the north, so we have quite a way to drive, but we said that we take it easy and not the direct route. We will drive to Baguio, the Summer Capital of the Philippines and then through the mountain province and the rice fields.
Starting very early in the morning we drove off just before 6 AM to get through Manila before the traffic starts and we got wonderfully though this usually totally congested city. Then we went straight on the Luzon North Highway towards Bagio. Of course we needed to have a quick coffee stop in one of the great petrol stations along the highway. One finds everything there, from restaurants to shops, anything one needs.
As soon as the highway is finished one needs to be patient. The road, even so a very good one, is going through one town after the other, so the drive is slowing down very much, but is is still a lovely drive. One needs to know that the road goes on like this all the way up to the very north. But we turned off at the sign up to Baguio.
The road is getting smaller and very windy and of course, only uphill. If one enjoys driving in the mountains, this is a great way to drive, just be aware, it will continue like this for hours. So we drove up to Baguio, a lovely town in the mountains. It is a big town and the houses are glued to the steep slopes, all the valleys are full of houses.
Of course we stopped and had a look around. The temperature is a couple of degrees colder than on the coast so it is really very nice up here and I think we are definitely coming back here.
And now the big drive started, we went into the mountain province towards Benguet in search of the famous Rice Fields of Benguet. Now, the drive is scenic and beautiful, but you need to know that the road is windy and there is literally one curve after the other, up and down, nonstop. I love driving in the mountains and so does Poala, my Girl friend, so it was no problem, but I am just saying that for the next 5 to 6 hours at least, there is no straight stretch. But we found the rice fields, it is not exactly the right season, but we still saw quite a few of them nice and green, others were full of water and some dry and getting prepared for the next crop.
We went up to the highest point of the Philippine road system at 7700 feet, not knowing before of course, but yes I must say that we had an incredible drive. We actually drove that day from before the sun rose till after the sun set, I know we are mad, but that is us. Mountain Province is lovely and again here we will be back one day to explore more, we will spend more time in Benguet, the center of the Rice Fields were the terraces date back over 1000 years, incredible isn’t it? There are more roads and different ways one can go, so Mountain Province, we will be back.