Luzon

Overview

Luzon sits at the most northerly point of the archipelago; it’s the Philippine’s biggest island, as well as the economic and political hub.

The supercharged capital, Manila, is located in the south, while the island’s topography is characterised by rugged mountains, rolling valleys and the ivory-white beaches typical of the Philippines. Countless unspoiled islands lie off the coast, awaiting exploration. It’s also the gateway to some of the nation’s most celebrated attractions, making it a popular stop for luxury tours.

In the Manila, you can explore the reminiscent colonial remnants left by the Spanish in the historical quarter. A short drive south lie internationally-recognised spa and wellness centres, famed for their luxury treatments.

Venture into Southern Luzon and discover the formidable volcanoes of Bicol, all of them climbable, and including among their ranks the kingly 2,634-metre Mt Mayan. Quiet tropical beaches line the shore, and visitors come from all over the world to snorkel with huge whale sharks in Donsol.

In the west, the former US naval base of Subic Bay offers world-class wreck diving, including old Spanish colonial vessels, and Japanese and American ships from WWII.

The breathtaking north that’s the highpoint for most however, and it’s essential you include it in any itinerary or tour. It’s a spectacular landscape of mist-shrouded mountains, lush forests and national parks, and whitewater rapids, ringed by an almost unbroken stretch of white sandy beaches.

The centrepiece is the dramatic inland mountain region of the Cordillera in the tribal heartlands, with its caves, thundering rivers and waterfalls. The road that lead to Cordillera takes in the remarkable rice terrace steps carved into the hills around Banau, a Unesco World Heritage site. There’s top surfing on the beaches of the northeast coast, while to the west lies the Lingayen Gulf, home to the idyllic Hundred Islands.