north loop itinerary

2023 North Loop Itinerary + Budget: Backpacking 5 Provinces

During the last few days of 2021, we managed to pull off an epic road-trip slash backpacking trip during this pandemic. Actually, this was a surprise Christmas present from my partner — a North Loop trip for 6 days! So in this North Loop Itinerary, I’ll be giving some inputs, tips for requirements and some reminders to help you prepare for your trip.

Moreover, this was supposed to be a backpacking trip from Ilocos Sur – Ilocos Norte – Apayao – Cagayan – Isabela – Quirino. However, upon researching online the tourist destinations in Cagayan, Isabela and Quirino are still closed due to COVID-19. So a good rule of the thumb these days would be researching which destinations are open or closed to the public. As a result, this led us to rerouting the original itinerary.

This 6-day North Loop itinerary is assuming that you’ll arrive early morning to your first destination which is Ilocos Norte. As for us, we came from Pangasinan so we started travelling at 5:00 in the morning to get to our first destination by 9:00am.

Day 1: Ilocos Sur Province

Places to Visit: Pinsal Falls, Old Quirino Bridge, Vigan Calle Crisologo, Bantay Church Bell Tower
Travel Requirements: Vaccine Card and Valid ID

Pinsal Falls & Old Quirino Bridge

Our first destination in Ilocos Sur was Pinsal Falls. Take note that there is an entrance fee of Php20.00 and parking fee of Php30.00. From the parking lot there will be a 5-10 minutes walk going to the falls. Things to here includes rivercruising, hiking up to the top of the falls, and/or picnic.

North Loop Itinerary

Vigan, Ilocos Sur

They say you’ve never been to Ilocos Sur if you haven’t been to Vigan’s Calle Crisologo and tried their famous delicacy okoy and empanada with sukang iloco.

Other things you can enjoy here aside from strolling the historical streets are (1) kalesa ride, (2) crisologo museum and (3) see the Bantay Church Bell Tower.

North Loop Itinerary

Day 2: Ilocos Norte Province

Places to Visit: Paoay Church, Sand Dunes, Bangui Windmills, Pagudpud Beach, Patapat Bridge
Travel Requirements: You will be required to fill up a pass-through slip that you will surrender upon exit too. Vaccine cards will be checked.

Just like Ilocos Sur, there are a bunch of things to do in Ilocos Norte too! The adventure that awaits here is a must. Consider staying here for approximately 2-3 days so you can enjoy adventures like the sand dunes, check out the magnificent Bangui Wind Mills, and relax at the Northern beaches like Pagudpud.

North Loop backpacking trip

Day 3: Apayao Province

Places to Visit: Lussok Crystal Cave (still closed, updated as of March 2022)
Travel Requirements: Vaccine Card

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any recent posts online about Lussok Cave. So we weren’t sure if the destination is open or not. We risked the chance to check it out ourselves so we went there still. Sadly, the place is still closed until further notice.

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(CTTO: Photo Grabbed On Google)

Day 4-5: Buscalan, Kalinga

Places to Visit: Buscalan Village
Travel Requirements: Vaccine Cards

It was my 2nt time coming here and the vibe is still the same as the first time I came here! Although significant changes were made in the village but it’s still the same village I’ve fallen in love with before. Don’t miss the chance to meet the oldest mambabatok in the country!

Updated Travel Guide: 2022 Buscalan Travel Guide (Itinerary + Expenses)

North Loop Itinerary
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Day 5-6: Sagada & Bauko, Mountain Province

Places to Visit: All falls and caves still closed until further notice.
Travel Requirements: QR Code from umalikayo (get the special code from the accommodation upon booking and input the code in umalikayo website to attain QR code), Vaccine card, negative antigen result within 24 hours or PhP960.00 at the checkpoint. Updated as of March 2022

Sagada is everyone’s dreamy place. Aside from the unique culture, the serene atmosphere is what most people are after of. If you are after adventure, the caves here are waiting for you! Spelunking, sea of clouds, lemon pie, pine trees, hanging coffins, local food etag, and so many more! Read me travel guide below for complete details of budget and itinerary.

Updated Travel Guide: Top Places To Visit When In Sagada

North Loop sagada

Help me improve my North Loop Itinerary guide! By commenting suggestions in the comment section below, I am very open to new ideas. Photo credits to Milo Quinantoto.
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