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Benguet Benguet La Union La Union Philippines Road Trip Travel

Lakbay Norte 2: Tam-awan Village, BenCab Museum and Hotel Elizabeth

While I found the first Lakbay Norte in 2010 a bit cramped and rushed, it was still a fun trip going through the 8 provinces in 4 regions in 7 days that’s why when an invitation came for Lakbay Norte 2, I decided to join again. I checked the itinerary and there are new places I haven’t been to that caught my interest. And this time around there are two separate legs where media participants can choose which one to join or both. Let’s see where this year’s Lakbay Norte 2 will take us.

Tam-Awan Village Pond and Tourist
Tam-Awan Village Pond and Tourist

While I found the first Lakbay Norte in 2010 a bit cramped and rushed, it was still a fun trip going through the 8 provinces in 4 regions in 7 days that’s why when an invitation came for Lakbay Norte 2, I decided to join again. I checked the itinerary and there are new places I haven’t been to that caught my interest. And this time around there are two separate legs where media participants can choose which one to join or both. Let’s see where this year’s Lakbay Norte 2 will take us.

The Lakbay Norte 2 Bus at Victory Liner Kamias
The Lakbay Norte 2 Bus at Victory Liner Kamias

Day 1 started on a 2am meeting time at Victory Liner Kamias. Our lakbay Norte Bus rolled out en route to Baguio by 3am after everyone is called for and all the ceremonial send-offs were done by our host the Northern Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) . It was amusing to see the same dependable and humorous motley crew holding the wheel. It also seems to be the same freezer-bus with some involuntary chairs leaning without halt. But we got more real estate this time on our chairs making the trip a lot more comfortable.

Alamid Coffee ready to be served at SOUL Cafe
Alamid Coffee ready to be served at SOUL Cafe

S.O.U.L. Cafe (SOUL for Spice of Urban Life) was our breakfast stop before heading to Baguio proper. I was able to eat here before, covering for a magazine assignment and really enjoyed their food and thought they are one of the better restaurants outside manila.

Creativity abound at Tam-Awan Village
Creativity abound at Tam-Awan Village

It was nice to visit Tam-Awan Village again since the first time I went here, we just breezed through. Now we get to sit around for a while, get to know the other participants, zip a few shots of their rice wines, learn a little about the Ifugao and Kalinga houses as well as their culture altogether. It’s a perfect place to bond with people, nature and culture. They also have a restaurant there now where we ate pinikpikan chicken and some salad with brown rice.

Bulol at the rice grainary huts
Bulol at the rice grainary huts

Another good revisit that afternoon was BenCab Museum. I wrote about it before and thought it was one of the best Art Museums in the country. But this time, we get to meet the National Artist himself, Bencab along with his family. It was great to finally meet the man himself, still seeming humble in his tall stature.

National Artist BenCab entertained our queries
National Artist BenCab entertained our queries

It was a rainy afternoon so the organizers decided to forego one of the activities and head straight to Hotel Elizabeth so we could check in and rest, having starting out real early. I like the colors and Mediterranean-inspired architecture. The interior design is lavish yet stylish, which we soon learned came from the creative mind of Tessa Prieto Valdez. There’s free wifi which is strong from the lobby but it had trouble reaching our rooms below.

Lakbay Norte 2 Participants viewing the Art Pieces at BenCab Museum
Lakbay Norte 2 Participants viewing the Art Pieces at BenCab Museum

The first day of Lakbay Norte was more relaxed than expected. Some of us even had time to walk more than an hour in the evening around the hotel’s vicinity. Doing our rounds from Wright Park to Mines View and back, and boy there were really dark streets or maybe we’re just walking too late a night. As soon as we got back at the hotel, it was lights off to get ready for another day.

Hotel Elizabeth
The Hotel Elizabeth, Our Wonderful home for a night in Baguio

Also checkout the Food Side of this trip at Happy Foodies “Lakbay Norte 2 Food Trail from La Union to Baguio”

Essentials:

Tam-Awan Village
www.tam-awanvillage.com

BenCab Museum
www.bencabmuseum.org

Hotel Elizabeth
www.hotelelizabeth.com.ph

Join our Backpack Photography Workshop, Photography 101 at Banaue at March 4-5, 2011 and Island Hopping Photo Tour in Batanes on April 17-23, 2011.

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