, OCTOBER 10, 2010 (BULLETIN) Photographer PHILIP CRUZ  pays tribute to Northern Luzon destinations.

Coconut trees, blue skies, and white sandy beaches overlooking vast waters – these are the images that come to mind when speaking of the Philippines. With its picturesque landscapes and stunning seas, tropical Philippines continues to be one of the best spots to find natural idyllic scenes.

Understandably, photo enthusiasts flock the country to capture these mesmerizing images but for Philip Cruz, the thrill is much more than simply taking pictures. The senior medical manager for a multinational pharmaceutical company will be migrating to Belgium and wanted to explore the country before saying goodbye. While tourists and photographers are drawn to the tropical paradise of Visayas, Cruz took advantage of Northern Luzon’s accessibility.

“Luzon exudes the charm and adventure in discovering its natural resources and landscapes. History plays a major role in the region especially during World War II and this adds to the mystery and culture in its historic landmarks. There are lots of choices in terms of places to go and undiscovered hideaways where one could unwind from the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature,” shared Cruz.

Northern Luzon is the perfect antidote to travelers seeking new adventures and authentic experiences at affordable prices. As Cruz discovered in his voyage, it is a treasure house of tradition, history, and raw charm all wrapped with gracious people naturally inclined to peace, kindness, and a generosity of spirit. No wonder, no one feels a stranger here for long.

Topping Cruz’s list are Bataan and Zambales. “These places are a melting pot of our rich history and culture complemented by breathtaking landscapes.

In Bataan, Cruz marveled in awe at restored antique houses offered in Las Casas Filipinas. With structures that have been in place in 100 years, the houses are a throwback to the past. Other memorable places that he unearthed in Bataan included Tortugas (the only island barangay in the province), Morong, Bagac, and Mount Samat (the site of Shrine of Valor and served as history’s witness during the 1942 Battle of Bataan).

For postcard-perfect sceneries, Cruz headed to Pundakit in Zambales, a fishing village enveloped by mountains, hills, and other islands. He savored the tranquil and relaxed environment filled with intriguing sea creatures. The place also served as a jumping-off point for Cruz when he went to Camara Island and Anawangin Cove. With its crescent shape cove, Anawangin Cove reveals impressive white sands topped with tall pine trees. A few steps away from the beach, one is transported to pine forest and natural springs. In Camara Island, Cruz was able to get a magnificent view of the open.

“The Philippines is a complete tourist destination. The fun is the thrill of discovering something new and immersing yourself in the place, people and culture. There is a lot more to discover,” he added. Cruz found a perfect travelling partner in Victory Liner, the country’s largest bus company that services North Luzon. “The ease and comfort of travelling via Victory is the best way to go. Safety is ensured since this is always a general concern in travelling. It really is having the best value for your money,” Cruz added.

Discovering the imagery of Northern Luzon is now made easier with Victory Liner providing daily trips to Baguio, Pangasinan, Cagayan Valley, Pampanga, and Zambales. For trip schedules and booking, visit

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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