North Luzon: 5 Cities, 5 Days for only Php5,000

There must have been something amusing about the number 5 during my recent out of town trip. Working harder for my annual pension plan payment, I was geared to be wearing my tipid mode hat for this 5 day trip up north. Luckily, I ended up using less than my target budget. With only Php5,000 this trip covers Baguio, Benguet, Vigan, Laoag and Pagudpud leg with the Panagbenga Festival Grand Float Parade as the trip’s highlight. So how in the world did I manage to work within that budget? Here are my saving tips for those planning to travel to North Luzon:

Instead of staying in expensive hotels or resorts, choose to stay in transient homes/homestay, especially if you'll be out touring the vicinity most of the time.

Hotels in Baguio are expensive, especially during the Panagbenga season. We stayed at a house with a newly built basement that they rent to tourists. It has 3 rooms with common kitchen, sala, dining, heater, utensils and a water dispenser. We paid Php300/pax per night. We have the whole studio type basement all to ourselves. The place is clean and has nice homey touch. It’s so new that we were told we were the second visitors to rent the place. Plus the owners were also very welcoming and friendly and the house is a few steps away from Lourdes Grotto.

Hotels in Vigan can range from Php2,600+  for a room good for 4. We stayed overnight in Dadapilan, an ancestral house recommended by my cousin's friend where we rented 2 rooms and paid about Php300 each with breakfast included. The house is a tourist spot in itself, showcasing old and antique furniture and pictures of the prominent family who actually owned the house. (Update: Ate Malot clarified that the house is not open as a homestay business). We were just lucky to have someone know someone in Vigan. :)

Rlyn's Homestay
Resort rates in Pagudpud that are good for 4 are priced as much as Php5,000+ during peak season. Good thing ate Malot of Dadapilan recommended Rlyns Homestay. We asked tricycle drivers if they know the place and good thing they do. Their rooms are priced at Php1000 per night (with breakfast served) and could accommodate up to 4 in each room. I think they have 5 available rooms (some with aircon). We stayed at a non-aircon room with a double size bed and 1 double deck bed and it's still pretty much airy at night. We didn't miss the aircon as we had enough of the chill in Baguio. We asked if they could prepare us meal for dinner since there weren't really much affordable resto to choose from within that area. And so we only paid Php300/pax with dinner and breakfast included! The homestay is located just in front of Saud Public Beach where entrance is a relatively cheap price of only Php10. We went there off peak season and we have the beach all to ourselves the whole morning.

Instead of buying the Php750 deluxe bus ticket of Victory Liner (the one with extra leg room, wi-fi, snacks and nonstop ride), we decided to buy the ticket of their regular air con bus. We left Cubao station at 1:45am sharp and arrived in Baguio at 7 in the morning, a swift 5 hour ride. Plus for someone like me who gets chilled easily, I didn't need the extra space since the cold aircon breeze could quickly get into me so I opted for the much more enclosed spot which by the way is still too cold for me. I won't be surfing while on the road since I will be sleeping anyway. I didn’t have the problem of going to comfort rooms since the bus stopped twice for 15minutes per stop. It’s really wise to leave Manila by night since it saves time from traffic.

Was able to save on transportation cost especially during taxi rides since I get to divide the fare by 4. Note though that I traveled with my friend MC, my cousin Leah and her 5 year old son Cocoy.

On average our food costs about Php50-Php70 per meal. When we dined into Good Taste and O’Mai Khan, we took home the left overs for our dinner. All of us aren’t really big eaters thus the savings. It’s also a good thing my cousin bought her homemade pesto and other foods we ate during our stay in Baguio. We didn’t have to buy our breakfast the day they arrived. We also bought with us our preferred brand of gano coffee and with the availability of water dispenser on our homestays, we can drink hot delicious coffee for free!

Here's my detailed expenses of our 5 day North Luzon trip starting from Victory Liner Bus Station in Cubao:

Day 0
Victory Liner bus ticket to Baguio (regular aircon) - Php420
Late Dinner at Jolibee - Php40

Day 1
Transportation (taxi/jeep shared by 2) - Php148
Homestay (for 2 nights) - Php600
McDonalds breakfast - Php90
lunch at Good Taste (daming leftovers, good for dinner na!) - Php91
photo-op with the Igorot Tribe at Php10/Igorot (Php60 shared by me and MC) - Php30
Good Shepherd strawberry jam - Php150

Day 2
Breakfast - free from my cousin's pasalubong
Tam-awan Village entrance - Php50
BenCab entrance - Php100
Transportation (taxi/jeep shared by 4) - Php85
Strawberry picking (Php300 per kilo shared by 4) - Php75
lunch at O'Mai Khan (Php738 shared by 4) - Php184.25
Dinner - from left over pasalubong and O'Mai Khan

Day 3:
breakfast - free from leftovers and baon
Jeep to plaza - Php 8
lunch at Chowking - Php100
Jeep to Lourdes Grotto - Php8
Taxi to Partas Terminal (Php90 shared by 4) - Php22.50
Jollibee - Php71
Partas Bus to Vigan - Php294

Day 4:
Vigan homestay (inclusive of breakfast) - Php300
Baluarte photo with Bengal tiger (Php100 shared by 4) - Php25
Baluarte tip (Php50 shared by 4) - Php12.50 
Kalesa ride for 2 hours (Php300 shared by 4) - Php75
lunch at McDonalds - Php114.50
Partas Bus to Laoag - Php 121
Ordinary non aircon bus to Pagudpod - Php60
Tricycle to Rlyns Homestay (Php40 shared by 2) - Php20
dinner at Rlyn's - Php50

Day 5:
Entrance to Saud Public Beach - P10
Ryln's Homestay (inclusive of breakfast) - Php250
Tricycle to Bus stop - Php20
Bus to Laoag - Php60
Tricycle to Jollibee (Php20 shared by 2) - Php10
Lunch at Jollibee - Php92
Tricycle to Laoag Airport (Php 100 shared by 4) - Php25
Plane ticket to Manila via Cebu Pacific - Php868
Terminal Fee - Php40
Shuttle Bus to LRT station - Php 20
Bus to Laguna - Php35
Tricycle - Php25

Day 0 - Php460
Day 1 - Php1109
Day 2 - Php494.25
Day 3 - Php503.50
Day 4 - Php778
Day 5 - Php1,455

Grand Total: Php4,799!!!

Baguio Accommodation:
Homestay at Queen of Angel St. near Lourdes Grotto
contact ate yas (owner) at 09159932508

Pagudpod Accommodation:
Rlyns Homestay
infront of Public Saud Beach
09185698886 / 09179386116


  1. wow, that was cheaper than the package that we would like to avail.. i mean this tour agency will tour us laoag vigan pagudpud for 3 days 2 nights for 4,600. do you think its more convenient if go for the tour or just do what you did? thanks :)
    would you please email me? i also have a fb acct with the same email.

    thanks and i appreciate it!♥

  2. HEY WHAT YOU DID IS JUST AMAZING!BRAVO! gusto ko talaga siya gayahin. can you give me all of the contact numbers of all the places that you stayed.yung accomodations po na mura.please po. I am also a traveller, this month I have been to zambalez, bohol and quezon province, Travelling is something that really takes my stress and pagod away. hehehe.heres my email po by the way if you are going to bohol just contact meand i can give you a lot of ideas on cheaper accomodations and tour there. take care po

  3. Hi sis Saggi, your blog is really helpful!..thanks for sharing your saving tips. can u please share it to me too all the contact numbers where we can stay in baguio, vigan and pagudpod at a very low cost?..Me and my husband is planning to go north this coming september to celebrate the 2nd birthday of my only son..hope u can help me so i can spend less than 5K just like what u did..Thanks! hope to hear from u soon..btw heres my email Thanks Saggi!=)

  4. Its meaningful and somehow sharing this to readers like me, makes me want to surf the web to be able to get more wonderful ideas.Thank you for posting this. Thank you

  5. Hi, I can't help but notice those "homestay" portions in your list, may I ask how you found them and are they still open for transients?

    I'll be visiting Vigan later this year and it would really help to cut cost on accomodation. Thanks and, I really would appreciate your respones. Thanks again.

  6. Hi Xan, thanks for visiting my blog. The house we stayed in Vigan is unfortunately not open as a homestay business but if you'll also be staying in Baguio and Pagudpod then you may want to contact the owners of the homestays listed at the bottom of the post.


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