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For the longest time, it was uncommon to listen to about aspect journeys from Baguio or La Trinidad. Given the sheer variety of Baguio tourist attractions that may simply fill any given traveler’s itinerary, it was troublesome to think about needing to exit in seek for extra locations to go to. Alongside got here Atok.

This rustic city has been a favourite day journey vacation spot amongst many Baguio locals however barely observed by vacationers. Immediately, when the excitement surrounding its flower parks resonated on social media, this bucolic city was instantly catapulted into fame.

Situated about 48 kilometers north of Baguio, Atok might be reached after a two-hour drive. Getting right here, the street is paved all the way in which however the drive isn’t all the time straightforward. It zigzags constantly and, due to the altitude, visibility is usually a problem. However those that courageous the winding street and steep cliffs get rewarded with an idyllic, usually unforgettable, escape.

If you’re planning to go to Atok quickly, listed here are among the must-see locations and must-do actions (in no explicit order).


And once we say superb, we imply gloooorious! This has received to be one of the crucial spectacular sunrises now we have seen. You see, Atok is perched atop naturally forested or manually terraced mountains, placing you at a fairly magnificent vantage level. All it’s essential do — though simpler mentioned than performed — is get up early and watch for the solar’s rays to slowly burst out of the ridges of the distant peaks.

Atok Sunrise from Sunrise Cabin

You’ll discover quite a few viewpoints in Atok, however our lookout of selection was Dawn Cabin, a tiny inn atop a cliff, excellent for dawn watching, therefore the title. When you’re fortunate, you additionally get handled to a view of a sea of clouds slowly drifting beneath.

One other favourite dawn viewing spot is Northern Blossom Flower Farm. Talking of…

This intricately designed flower farm performed an enormous function in placing Atok on the mainstream vacationer map. It’s normally photographs of their cabbage roses (rose cabbages?) bathing within the faint morning glow that make the rounds on Instagram and Fb, attracting increasingly more guests.

Northern Blossom Flower Farm

As for me, I simply adore flowers. To me, it means happiness, success, and good instances. The assorted lovely blooms in season add colours and life to our environment, eliciting sighs of marvel and awe from admiring spectators. Think about how delighted I used to be to be on the Northern Blossom farm, strolling in between towering stalks of blooms. The sight of flower terraces overlooking the silhouette of the mountains within the distance is completely tattooed on my thoughts.

Other than its signature rose cabbages, you’ll additionally discover various kinds of annual and perennial blossoms like lilies, hydrangeas, larkspurs, and sunflowers.

Northern Blossom Flower Park in Atok

It’s finest to go to early within the morning for 2 causes. One, to keep away from the gang. Two, to keep away from the solar. It’s straightforward to get sunburnt at larger locations when it’s chilly, simply because we don’t really feel it straight away. However in case you can’t assist visiting between 10 AM and three:00 PM, simply convey safety from the solar like a hat, shades, and umbrella.

The ticket price is inclusive of espresso and bread/snack. If you’re planning to remain in a single day in Atok, the flower farm additionally gives lodging — each home and room choices.

View and free coffee at Northern Blossom Flower Farm

Tackle: Northern Blossom Flower Farm, KM50, Sayangan, Atok, Benguet
Opening Hours: 6:00 AM – 4:30 PM (Monday – Saturday); CLOSED (Sundays). This would possibly change, so test the official Fb web page for updates and bulletins.
Entrance Price: P250 (11-59 y/o); P200 (Senior & PWD with ID); P50 (6-10 y/o); FREE (o-5 y/o)

One other flowery attraction in Atok is Haight’s Place, tucked in one of many municipality’s coldest corners. Similar to Northern Blossom, it’s house a to numerous rows of flowering crops like snapdragons, alstroemeria, and cosmos, portray the world in numerous colours. A couple of photograph spots are additionally put in all through the place.

Haight's Place

Other than its flowers, Haight’s Place can be open for tenting and pre-nuptial shoots. It additionally has lodging choices (cabins) for in a single day keep. And in case you get hungry exploring the place, there’s a restaurant inside the principle constructing.

Tackle: Haight’s Place, Paoay, Atok, Benguet
Opening Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Each day). The schedule could change, relying on particular occasion or personal gathering reservations, so test the official Fb web page of Haight’s Place for the bulletins.
Entrance Price: P150 (Common); P100 (Senior); P50 (8-12 y/o); FREE (7 y/o and beneath). Be aware that these charges embrace entrance to Sakura Park, Environmental Price, and Upkeep Price.

Do you know that the Philippines has its personal cherry blossom park? It’s located simply subsequent to Haight’s Place! In keeping with our guides, the Sakura Park is a totally separate entity. Haight’s Place is privately owned, charging an entrance charge, whereas the Sakura Park is public and is accessible for FREE. However as a result of they’re so shut to one another, most guests mistake the 2 as a single attraction.

Sakura Park in Atok

Situated in Barangay Paoay, the Sakura Park is the place they planted the cherry bushes gifted in 2016 by Japan’s Kochi Prefecture and the Japanese Embassy to the Province of Benguet. They gave a complete of 40 bushes in celebration of their 40 years of friendship, however solely 34 blossomed.

Why right here? The native authorities of Atok selected this spot as a result of it meets the environmental circumstances wanted for sakura to bloom. However after all, it’s seasonal.

When you want to see them in full bloom, it might get difficult as a result of it’s all about timing it proper. Once we visited in early March, the bushes have been naked. Our guides mentioned they need to bloom in late March to April, relying on the rain. And once they do, they normally simply final for every week or two, identical to different kinds of sakura. Regardless, the park has different flowering crops scattered across the website.

By the way in which, to handle your expectations, these bushes are a bit small (extra like massive shrubs than bushes).

Tackle: Sakura Park, Barangay Paoay, Atok, Benguet
Opening Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Each day). The schedule could change, relying on particular occasion or personal gathering reservations, so test the official Fb web page of Haight’s Place for the bulletins.
Entrance Price: FREE.

Second Highest Point National Highway Philippines

Situated alongside Halsema Freeway in Barangay Paoay, Atok used to carry the title of the best level within the Philippine Freeway System on the altitude of seven,400 ft (2,255 meters) above sea stage. It clung to that file from World Battle II till 2019, when a brand new highest level was proclaimed. Immediately that distinction is held by a spot at about 7,968 ft (2,429 meters) alongside the Kiangan-Tinoc-Buguias Street within the municipality of Tinoc in Ifugao.

Though the crown has been snatched, it nonetheless stays a worthy cease; due to gorgeous view of the craggy panorama beneath. Vacationers (presumably on the way in which to or from Sagada and Bontoc) nonetheless drop by to take photographs with the previous signage.

Location: KM52, Halsema Freeway, Paoay, Atok, Benguet

Protruding in the course of an unlimited space of vegetable terraces, the Wagangan Rock Formations safeguard the Lourdes Grotto, also referred to as the Bosleng Grotto. Hid atop a peculiar stack of big rocks, it’s arduous to overlook in case you’re coming from Haight’s Place or Sakura Park.

Wayangan Rock Formation

From the soar off level or parking space, you’ll must take a brief hike, previous gardens and vegetable fields. However don’t fear, the path isn’t that lengthy or that steep.

Fronting the doorway of the grotto is a humble open-air chapel adorned with a easy rock altar and a cross. Inside is a statue of Our Woman of Lourdes. It’s a functioning chapel and Mass is held right here usually, in accordance with our information.

Lourdes Grotto in Atok

The rock formations additionally cradle two viewpoints, one on the very high and and one other slightly below it. Vacationers can climb the rocks to understand the breathtaking views of the fields and the mountains past. However we discovered the decrease lookout to be significantly better. When you resolve to go all the way in which to the highest, watch out on the steep means down.

Tackle: Our Woman of Lourdes Bosleng Grotto, Paoay, Atok, Benguet
Opening Hours: Wayangan Rock Formation 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Each day); Lourdes Grotto Gates 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Saturdays). The schedule could change with out prior discover. It’s possible you’ll contact the Atok Tourism Workplace for the newest bulletins.
Entrance Price: P120/head

Halsema Half Tunnel in Atok

Alongside the winding Halsema Freeway (Baguio-La Trinidad-Bontoc Street), a 50-meter half-tunnel (with 3.8 meters top clearance) has turn into certainly one of Atok’s in style points of interest. After Hurricane Trining devastated the area, washing out the street within the space, the one viable possibility for street development was to carve out this enormous rocky outcrop making a pure half-tunnel.

Coming from Baguio, you’ll move by the half tunnel simply earlier than reaching Atok Municipal Corridor and Atok Vacationer Heart in Sayangan. A couple of ft away from the half tunnel, there’s a restroom and a few outlets. You may park right here if you wish to cease for photographs.

Location: Halsema Half Tunnel, Halsema Freeway, Atok, Benguet

The Osocan Spanish Path (or generally merely Spanish Path) was a part of the complicated community of horse and foot trails utilized by the Spaniards centuries in the past. Additionally referred to as the Salt Path, this was the route used to move salt all through the area. Again within the day, right here within the highlands, salt may be very treasured.

Osocan Spanish Trail in Atok

In keeping with our information, the path stretches for 2-3 kilometers, that includes three man-made tunnels or caves carved by enormous rocks.

There are literally two trailheads — the better downward path and the upward path. The descending route’s trailhead is positioned close to the Sakura Park space, whereas the ascending route’s trailhead is positioned between KM46 and KM47 (Landmark: JNB Diesel Station).

Situated alongside Halsema Freeway, someplace between the Half Tunnel and the Northern Blossom Flower Farm, Loyung’s Restaurant is a well-liked roadside relaxation and eating cease for vacationers, particularly these heading to or coming from Sagada or Bontoc. It has an enormous parking zone and a spacious eating space.

It serves inexpensive Filipino dishes with comparatively larger servings in comparison with the everyday roadside eateries. We tried sinigang na ulo ng baboy (pig’s head in bitter soup), chopseuy, and fried liempo (pork stomach).

Sinigang na Ulo ng Baboy

Egg Pie

For desserts, we had custard cake and egg pie. In keeping with them, the bestseller is the custard cake, however the crew appreciated the egg pie higher.

Tackle: KM49, Halsema Freeway, Atok, Benguet
Opening Hours: 7:30 AM – 8:30 PM (Monday – Friday, Sunday); 6:00 AM – 8:30 PM (Saturdays)

At over 2700 meters above sea stage, Mt Timbak is the third highest mountain in Luzon. (Close by Mt. Pulag and Mt. Tabayoc are first and second respectively.) And sure, you’ll be able to entry it from Atok. (You may see its summit from the Second Highest Level.)

Once we have been exploring the city, our driver Kuya Bobby extremely advisable it to us for our future journey. We didn’t get to climb it then as a result of we didn’t have time, it wasn’t in our itinerary, and we weren’t even certain if it was open. (The city was simply beginning to reopen once we visited.)

The path to the highest, they are saying, is punctuated by the Stations of the Cross. Evidently, the summit affords an imposing view. Additionally close by is the positioning of the Cave Mummies of Timbak.

Whereas many vacationers go straight to points of interest, we extremely encourage you to drop by the Atok Tourism Workplace (throughout the Municipal Corridor complicated) to register, pay the ecological charges, and rent a tour information. This fashion, not solely do you earn a greater understanding of each cease, you additionally get to assist the native tour guides and drivers.

If you’re all in favour of reserving a guided tour, listed here are your choices. The charges are inclusive of information and transportation inside Atok, however unique of entrance charges.

    P1,500 (Good for five pax)
    – Sakura Park
    – Lourdes Grotto
    – 2nd Highest Level
    P2,200 (Good for six pax)
    Sakura Park
    – Lourdes Grotto
    – 2nd Highest Level
    – Spanish Path

Co-written with Yosh Dimen
Images by Yosh Dimen & Asta Alvarez

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