Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It’s home to the capital city, Manila, as well as some beautiful mountains, beaches, small islands. Most tourists just come to Manila and use it as a base to hop to other, more popular islands in the Philippines.
However, those who are willing to spend a little more time to explore will find plenty to see and do in Luzon. Need some inspiration? Here are the top things to do in Luzon.
Places to Visit in Luzon
1. Visit Manila
Manila is the capital city of the Philippines but is often regarded with mixed feelings. It’s a busy and hectic metropolis that is nothing like the relaxing beaches that are so sought-after in the Philippines. However, Manila is worth exploring for a day or two, especially for the historical Spanish-Colonial landmarks.
2. Corregidor Island
Off the coast of Manila, you will find Corregidor Island; a famous battle ground in WWII. The Japanese, Americans, and Filipino troops all fought and died here. Today, you can find a number of relics from the war as well as the skeleton of the fortress and military barracks. A guided tour of Corregidor Island is a must for any history buff.
3. Hanging Coffins of Sagada
The town of Sagada has a very interesting burial tradition that has attracted plenty of curious visitors. Instead of burying their coffins in the earth, they suspend them to the sides of the cliffs where they hang forever. Some find it spooky, but the locals think of it as making sure that their loved ones are closer to heaven.
4. Batad Rice Terraces
Southeast Asia is famous for its rice terraces and the Batad Rice Terraces in Luzon are a favourite. Sprawling green terraces stretch through the hills and valleys beside a small, local village. It’s a great area for hiking and, for an authentic experience, visitors can stay with a local family for a homestay.
5. Banaue Rice Terraces
Probably the best known rice terraces in Luzon are the Banaue Rice Terraces. It’s busier than those of Batad, however they are quite stunning. Banaue is great for hiking or walking (no guide required). It’s worth staying the night because many of the hotel and accommodation options in the area offer beautiful balconies overlooking the terraces.
6. The Village of Adams
If you are looking for an authentic local experience, then head to the village of Adams. This small community is made up mostly of fishermen and their families who open their homes as homestay experiences. The area is also incredibly scenic with 18 waterfalls nearby. So spend your day chasing waterfalls and have a delicious fresh fish dinner with a local family at night.
7. Mayon Volcano National Park
Mayon Volcano National Park has plenty of great activities and adventures for those looking to explore the area and its namesake, Mt. Mayon, itself. Hike around the base of the mountain which is covered with rice terraces and rivers, take in the views from the observation decks or join a guided ATV tour with locals who will take you to some spectacular spots.
8. Mount Isarog National Park
This national park is great for hiking, biking, exploring, and spotting wildlife. There are hot springs, waterfalls, rice terraces, rainforests and mountains all encompassed in this beautiful area. Keep an eye out for the Isarog shrew rat, Isarog cloud frog, and Isarog forest skink; all of which can only be found in this area.
9. Taal Volcano
Taal Volcano, located in Tagatay, is a unique volcano. It sits in the middle of a lake and inside of the mouth of the volcano is another small lake with an island. Taal Volcano is quite active as well and can still be seen puffing smoke.
10. Explore the Pamulaklakin Forest
Pamulaklakin Forest is located near Subic, a coastal town that was once an American naval base. Nature lovers enjoy coming to Pamulaklakin Forest for the multiple trails that wind through rolling hills, past hundred-year old trees, and along the rivers. It’s an incredibly scenic spot and a good spot for those who enjoy the outdoors.
This popular beach town is a favourite escape in Luzon. It can be reached by bus (12 hours from Manila) or by flying into Laoag Airport. Expect beautiful beaches with plenty of restaurants lining them. It’s a great spot for a beach break. Pagudpud is considered one of the best beaches in Philippines.
Another town in Luzon that is definitely worth a visit is Vigan. Vigan is a Spanish Colonial Town that plays heavily on its historical roots. Cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, and horse drawn carriage rides add to the allure of this town which served as the unofficial capital of the Philippines in the 1950s during the Spanish Occupation.
13. Magalawa Island
Those looking for a luxury break should head to Magalawa Island, home to only one resort: The Armada Resort. Top class service and a very limited number of guests make it the ideal place for a quiet and secluded break while still being able to enjoy the beauty of the Philippines.
14. Burias Island
Off the coast of Pasacao town there are a series of small islands including Burias Island. It’s only an hour away from the mainland and makes for a great island getaway. Burias island is home to some guest houses and restaurants, but there are a couple of small island surrounding the region as well that make for a great island hopping day trip.
How to Get to Luzon
Since Luzon is home to the capital of the Philippines, Manila, it’s the easiest part of the country to get to. The international airport accepts flights from around the world.
Luzon is often skipped over by tourists, but it does have a lot to offer those who take the time to explore it.