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Now that I've done some research.....

australia
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Now that I've done some research.....

I posted some questions a few days ago asking for advice on spending one week in the mountains in Northern Luzon. Thanks to those who replied. However, as much as I'd like to spend some time roaming around the cool high areas - particularly Sagada- I now realise that with only one week, this is fairly impractical. Given that it would take two days on the bus to get there (6-7 hours to Baguio and another similar journey to Sagada) and then would take another day to get to Vigan, the whole thing looks like it's too much for such a short stay even if I didn't include Vigan. So,alternatively, if I arrived in Manila and spent a couple of days there, would it be practical to spend the rest of the time somewhere like Taal or Tagaytay and use that for a base to do some walking and exploring? I looked at the possibility of just taking daytrips out of Manila, but from what I've read of the traffic, it seems that I might just spend most of my time in a car or bus leaving and returning to a Manila base. I'd be glad of some help in deciding whether it's even worth going for such a short time. I have only one week and live in Brisbane Australia - and am trying to avoid the monsoon season of south east Asia and so am looking for somewhere with some cool highlands and walking opportunities. I've already travelled to Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China and India - and am looking for a new desitination. Any help is appreicated. Hope to hear some good ideas - thanks in anticipation.

Jane

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: Now that I've done some research.....

You can easily get to tagaytay in less than half a day, even with manila's shocking traffic.

I took a taxi two or three years ago - P1700 one way - but buses are available at a fraction of that.

Read my (and others') reviews of hiking to Taal Volcano. (Politely) ignore the persistent locals who try to get you on a horse and walk up instead. Do it as eaarly as possible in the morning: despite the illegal settlers at the 'village' where your banca (small boat) comes in, it's a great little hike.

Tagaytay has much accommodation: search on TA.

You could also do a day trip to Pangasinan (Falls).

You could also go by air for say three days to Coron (Busuanga) for snorkelling and the general laid back, less busy than Boracay atmosphere.

Singapore, Singapore
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2. Re: Now that I've done some research.....

But has the Taal track open? I rememebred it was close a few months ago due to increasing volcanic activity.

Singapore, Singapore
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3. Re: Now that I've done some research.....

Another suggestion.

If you like volcano, you can try to trek Mount Mayon and also have a whale interaction in Donzol but I think one week is too long there.

So you can consider to combine Tagaytay and Mount Mayon within your one week trip.

australia
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4. Re: Now that I've done some research.....

Okay - I'm working on those suggestions now. Looks like that could work. Thanks for the advice. Can't seem to find anything about the Taal track closing but I'll keep looking. I'll be back with a plan!

Thanks again

j

alkhobar
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5. Re: Now that I've done some research.....

Few years back, I took Manila-Banaue-Sagada-Baguio-Manila on a private vehicle tour. It took us 6 days on a leisure pace.

With your time allowance, forget Tagaytay. Its a beautiful place but it looks congested once you been in the places mentioned above.

The view on the road trip between Banaue-Sagada-Baguio is so stunning that Tagaytay look like a half minute advertisement clip in a full length movie.

Edited: 27 November 2011, 09:56
australia
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6. Re: Now that I've done some research.....

Now this is exciting news. Any idea who you booked with? It's much closer to what I wanted to to and even if it means just spending an afternoon in Manila, then I could take 6 days. Looking forward to any clues. Thanks

J

alkhobar
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7. Re: Now that I've done some research.....

Fortunately, I live in Manila. I planned with my family, made hotel reservations, put the family van in condition & went our way.

There's a way to do by it public transport but you have to research & plan well.

Manila, Philippines
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8. Re: Now that I've done some research.....

If walking is your thing and budget allows, I would strongly recommend Batanes. This is a cluster of islands at the northernmost part of the Philippines and is just breathtakingly beautiful. From my personal experience, there is probably no better place in the Philippines to just get lost walking all day, because of the fantastic scenery, the cool climate, and the peaceful surroundings. You will have to take a domestic flight there from Manila via Seair and I would suggest 3 to 4 days for this.

Using Manila as your base, you can also do the Mt. Pinatubo Trek as a day trip, although this would be a fairly long and tiring day as you will have to leave Manila well before dawn for the land trip to Pinatubo.

As others have said above, Taal is also another easy day trip from Manila for walking.

australia
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9. Re: Now that I've done some research.....

I've been checking out various sites and it looks like I could fly in on a Monday and out either on Wednesday or Friday. 19000 pesos for the return flight. I'd be tempted to conserve my time and just go for 2 nights but seems like a lot to spend for two days. If I opted for the longer stay (4 nights) you think there'd be plenty to fill my time? That would leave me two full days (one either side of this trip) to see Manila - presumably enough time for Taal and Manila itself? In addition, the Rough Guide mentions that flights are frequently cancelled and travellers should allow 3 - 4 days flexibility in their booking. This would be impossible so I'd have to find out if they have a refund policy. Regarding accommodation, would you stay in Batanes Resort (the little stone cottages) or Shanedels? I'm travelling alone and so while I love solitude, it's nice to connect with other people for a walk or a coffee at times. Shanedels might be more in the thick of things? So, thanks for the suggestion. I'll keep looking for information but am glad of any help.

j

Oslo, Norway
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10. Re: Now that I've done some research.....

Ed, colorful description and so true..>>>so stunning that Tagaytay look like a half minute advertisement clip in a full length movie.<<<