3 scenic road trips to take in Luzon

The Philippine collection of 7,641 islands has clinched a spot among the world’s largest. For travelers, this means a plane or a ferry ride is required to reach some of its idyllic beaches. The alternative? A road trip with your trusty SUV (sports utility vehicle) across Luzon, the vast main island that hosts many of the country’s tropical destinations.

Whichever point you are coming from within Luzon, here are 3 scenic drives you can immerse yourself in:

The Ilocandia

The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Image courtesy of Evelyn Avila via Flickr
The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Image courtesy of Evelyn Avila via Flickr

The home of the Ilocanos, the Ilocandia refers to Regions I and II and some parts of Region III (Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon, respectively). You can choose to observe the coastal towns of the Ilocos provinces; witness the man-made and natural wonders along the 103-kilometer Cagayan Valley Road; or get lost in the landscape mostly made of mountain ranges and rice fields at the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).

At the end of your journey, you may be rewarded with sand dunes, windmills, Spanish-era churches, highland views, hidden beaches, and the warmth of the people living in the north.

Tagaytay with a twist

Talisay, Batangas is dubbed the gateway to Taal Volcano. Image courtesy of Shankar S. via Flickr
Talisay, Batangas is dubbed the gateway to Taal Volcano. Image courtesy of Shankar S. via Flickr

An impromptu trip to Tagaytay is always a good idea, especially for Manila dwellers wishing to escape the heat and chaos on a weekend. But if you want to put some twist to your itinerary, drive to Talisay and Laurel in Batangas. And then go all the way up to Tagaytay in Cavite. This comes with a warning as the zigzag roads are not for the faint of heart and inexperienced drivers. But the gorgeous views, including those of the Taal Lake and Mt. Binintian, will more than make up for the dizzying yet thrilling ride.

Bicolandia

A view of the Mayon Volcano. Image courtesy of Tom Falcon via Flickr
A view of the Mayon Volcano. Image courtesy of Tom Falcon via Flickr

Mainland Bicol is the gem that lies in the southern tip of Luzon. Although acting up, the perfectly cone-shaped Mayon Volcano in Albay is enough good reason for you to hit the road. But routes are just as scenic going to or along Misibis Bay in the same province, Ragay Gulf in Camarines Sur, and the Irosin Valley in Sorsogon. The region is also home to secret or not-so-secret destinations such as the fishing village of Donsol, the first-rate municipality of Caramoan Island, and the port town of Mercedes.

In a way, taking these road trips will open your eyes to the true beauty of the Philippine archipelago, and without having to leave Luzon at that!

To prevent mishaps from spoiling your adventure, make sure to prepare the must-haves for a long-haul drive. It is just as important to be heading out with the right vehicle. With Toyota, you can find a model that suits your style and preference. An SUV like the Toyota FJ Cruiser can give you a smooth ride while navigating tough terrains. Meanwhile, for a smaller yet reliable out-of-the-town car, you cannot go wrong with Toyota Wigo.

 

 

Go around the city driving your brand-new car–Toyota Wigo. Image courtesy of Toyota Motor Philippines’ Official Facebook Page.
Go out of town driving your brand-new Toyota Wigo. Image courtesy of Toyota Motor Philippines’ Official Facebook Page.

Of course, the ultimate secret to making a road trip memorable is doing it with people you can have the most fun with. So, start calling your friends and family and pop the most exciting question:

“Do you want to go on a road trip with me to…?”

This post was created in partnership with Toyota Philippines – Batangas City.

Shadz Loresco

A full-time editor turned freelance writer, Shadz has worked for local publications such as Entrepreneur Philippines, Forbes Magazine - Philippine Edition, and Rappler. She also collaborates with startups as a content strategist and an online marketing consultant. At PSST! PH, she serves as the head of the Digital Sales & Marketing Team. Coffee, films, and photography keep her on her toes. She dreams of documenting the lives of the voiceless from around the world.