The northern part of the island of Luzon is easily accessible. The roads are in a good state and there are numerous airports. There are several sights to see, some of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are the pride of the region, attracting many travellers every year. Among these are the famous Banaue rice fields, which cover 95 sq mi and (some of which) are over 3,000 years old. Dubbed the "celestial stairway" they are a real marvel to gaze at! A little further to the north, the city of Vigan is a place to fall in love with. This little ancient colonial town seamlessly blends Asian architecture with European colonial architecture. It is, in fact, a journey back in time! The streets have been carefully restored to resemble what they looked like in the 18th century.Finally, there are many churches to visit in the region: St William Church in Laoag (it is sunk into the ground because of the earthquakes), as well as St William Cathedral, which dates back to 1870, and the Assumption Church of Bantay, at the gates of Vigan, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999.
Spend the night at Vila Angela: this is a traditional colonial house built in the heart of Vigan. It is not quite as comfortable as a luxury hotel, but it is such a pleasure to spend some time in this residence that dates back to 1873 and was restored in 1986.
Paoay Church : built out of coral, this incredible building is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Santa Monica church, built in the Romanesque style, with it's roof that includes over 300 beams. The tomb of M. Marcos (1917-1989) at Batac. St Paul's cathedral in Vigan, which dates back to 1641.
Out of respect for the religion, you should cover your shoulders when entering a church. Filipinos are extremely devout and might be offended if you don't. Even the police sometimes check that visitors to such places are suitably dressed.
You should avoid coming here during the rainy seasons when there are still quite a few typhoons, especially between July and October. The dry season is from November to April. The hottest months of the year are March and April. Take some warm clothing with you if you're visiting the central mountains, where the night temperatures can get colder.
The Filipino national dish is called the adobo, and it is a spicy mix of meat (chicken or pork) cooked in garlic, oil and vinegar, with a touch of soybean sauce. Do not be surprised if you see rice served with every dish; Filipinos can eat up to five helpings of rice a day! Pork is also very popular, and often served on a skewer. Not a morsel is wasted. Furthermore, as the sea is closeby, the local cuisine includes many fish-based dishes: bangus, milkfish, lapu-lapu, tilapia, etc.
There is a multitude of souvenirs that you can bring back with you in your suitcase. You will find large quantities of fabric, items and jewellery made of nacre, basketry, coconut vinegar, among other things. Table cloths are the local speciality in Vigan, as are all sorts of other souvenirs, such as towels, handbags, etc.