Suggested Pit Stops for the Sagada to Baguio Route

March 28, 2013

Suggested Pit Stops for the Sagada to Baguio Route

Sagada to Baguio (151 km)

10:00 AM: Leave Sagada

1. Head north toward Staunton Road for around 11 km until you reach Halsema highway.

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2. Turn right to enter Halsema highway and to continue to the Baguio-La Trinidad-Bontoc road. Continue for 26 km until you reach the fork in Sabangan.

3. Turn left to continue along the Halsema Highway for around 31 km until you reach Mt. Data Hotel.

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
First Pit Stop:
Lunch at Mount Data Hotel

4. From Mt. Data hotel, head south along the Halsema highway toward the Gurel-Bokod-Kabayan-Buguias-Abatan Road for around 42km until you reach the Highest Point Marker along the Halsema Highway at Cattubo, Atok, Benguet.

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Second Pit Stop
Philippine Highway Highest Point Marker
Cattubo, Atok, Benguet

5. From Philippine Highway highest point, head south along the Baguio-La Trinidad-Bontoc Road for 51 km till you reach Baguio City.

5:00 PM Arrival in Baguio

Suggested Pit Stops for the Banaue to Sagada Route

Suggested Pit Stops for the Banaue to Sagada Route

Banaue to Sagada (62 km)

Updated April 2014!!

Check out my post The Road from Banaue to Sagada!!

10:00 AM: Leave Banaue hotel

1. Head north via the Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao-Mountain Province Road. Travel around 36 km until you reach a forked road. Do not turn right because it leads to the town of Talubin

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2. Turn left to stay on the Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao-Mountain Province Road. Travel around 10 km until you reach Halsema highway. You are now in Bontoc.

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11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Pit stop: 
Lunch at Cable Cafe and Restaurant   

1:00 PM -3:00 PM
Visit Bontoc Museum 
Museum Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM 
Sunday: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM1:00 PM to 3:30 PM

3. Head south along Halsema Highway towards Dalican Road. Travel around 7 km till you reach the u-turn to Stanton Road before Dantay Primary School. Make a sharp u-turn to the right to go to Staunton Road.

4. Travel along Staunton Road for around 11 km until you reach St. Joseph's Inn.

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4:00 PM
Arrival at Sagada

Suggested Pit Stops for the Manila to Banaue Route

March 18, 2013

Suggested Pit Stops for the Manila to Banaue Route

Manila to Banaue is a very long drive that ranges from 9-12 hours depending on the speed of the vehicle. If you're bringing your own vehicle, I suggest the following pit stops for this route.  Making these pit stops will make the long drive less tiring for everyone, especially when you have restless kids with you. 

The pit stops are spaced every two (2) hours. It's designed with kids in mind. You can, however, choose not to make the pit stops as frequently as every two (2) hours. But knowing where the next pit stop may be will help you decide whether you need to make the current stop

The Manila to Banaue route is actually a very simple road to take. You can divide it in several major roads to make it easier to remember.

Manila to Banaue (367 km via SCTEX)

1. First, from Manila, you need to reach the Balintawak toll plaza.

2. After passing through the Balintawak toll plaza, you are now at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).

3. Continue along the North Luzon Expressway till you reach the SCTEX exit (Exit 85) (73km from the Balintawak toll plaza)

Balintawak Toll Plaza to San Fernando Exit. (53km)
San Fernando Exit to Petron Lake Shore Gas Station (5km)

7:00 AM:
First pit stop: Petron Lakeshore Gas Station (57 km until the 2nd Pit Stop)
  • this is the last pit stop before you enter the SCTEX. The SCTEX is approximately 35 km long and there are no pit stops along that length so you need to make a stop at this station.

4. After exiting at the SCTEX exit of the NLEX, go straight ahead (around 3 km until you reach the  Mabalacat interchange. At the Mabalacat interchange, turn right to go to Tarlac. (If you turn left, you will reach Subic and Clark airport)


5. Continue along the whole SCTEX till you reach Tarlac Exit/Toll Plaza (Exit 228) (35 km)

6. When you reach the Tarlac Exit, turn right to go towards La Paz town proper and to Nueva Ecija.

8:00 AM:
Second pit stop: La Paz, Tarlac (59 km till the 3rd pit stop)
A.  Park and Grill Traveller's  Complex, where the Five Star bus company stops
  •  this pit stop is 5.5 km from the SCTEX Tarlac Terminal Toll Plaza

B. Gas Stations along the Santa Rosa-Tarlac Road

7. Continue along the Santa Rosa-Tarlac Road until you reach the Zaragosa Municipal Cemetery to your right (13km from entering the Santa-Rosa Tarlac Road). About 260 meters from the cemetery is a forked road. Take the left fork and pass by Zaragosa Central School. Then turn left to reach the Zaragosa-Aliaga Road.

7. Continue along the Zaragosa-Aliaga Road (for around 7km) until you reach a fork. Turn left at the fork to enter the Aliaga-Guimba Road

8. Traverse the Aliaga-Guimba Road (for around 7.6 km) until you reach the Sto. Domingo-Licab Road. Turn right at the Sto. Domingo-Licab Road.

9. Continue along the the Sto. Domingo-Licab Road (for around 8.1 km) until you reach the Shell Station at the corner of the Sicsican-Sto. Domingo Road. Turn left toward the Nueva-Ecija Pangasinan Road

10. Continue along the Nueva Ecija-Pangasinan Road (for around 6 km) until you reach the Maharlika Highway.

Check out this post: My Banaue and Sagada Itinerary with Kids (Day 1: Manila to Kiangan) for the updated route using the TPLEX.

11. Continue along the Maharlika Highway for 144 km until you reach the fork at Tuao, Bagabag. Turn left to continue along the Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao-Mountain Province Road.

You pass by the following towns and provinces and landmarks along the stretch of 144 km:
  • Science City of Munoz
  • Central Luzon State University
  • San Jose City
  • Dalton Pass (the zigzag road that connects Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya)
  • Sta. Fe
  • Aritao
  • Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Hospital at Bambang
  • Bayombong
  • Solano
  • Welcome to Bagabag Arch
  • Tuao

10:00 AM:
Third pit stop: San Jose City, Nueva Ecija (113 km till the 4th pit stop)
A. Shell Gas Station at Bonifacio St., San Jose City , Nueva Ecija
B. Jollibee at Maharlika Highway corner Bonifacio St., San Jose City, Nueva Ecija 
C. Chowking along Maharlika Highway, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija
1:00 PM-2:00 PM: LUNCH
Fourth pit stop: Solano town (69 km till Banaue)
A. McDonald's at Total Gas Station at Maharlika Highway, Solano
B. Mang Inasal at Maharlika Highway, Solano
C. Jollibee at Maharlika Highway corner Gaddang St., Solano
D. Greenwich at Centro Mall, Maharlika Highway corner Gaddang St., Solano
E. Chowking at Maharlika Highway corner A. Luna St., Solano

12. Continue along the Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao-Mountain Province Road for 32 km until you reach a fork. Turn right to continue along the Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao-Mountain Province Road.

You pass by the following towns and provinces and landmarks along the stretch of 58 km:
  • Lamut
  • Kiangan
Our accommodations in Kiangan: Ibulao Ibulao Bed and Breakfast at Kiangan, Ifugao: The Best Accommodations near the Banaue Rice Terraces
12. Continue along the Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao-Mountain Province Road for 22 km until you reach Banaue.

You pass by the following towns and provinces and landmarks along the stretch of 22 km:
  • Ifugao Provincial Capitol at Lagawe
  • Ifugao Provincial Hospital
Our pitstop: The Gazebo Restaurant in Lagawe: A Great Meal Stop on the way to the Banaue Rice Terraces

4:00 PM:
arrival at Banaue


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   A    Balintawak Toll Barrier

   B    Petron Lakeshore

   C    SCTEX Exit

   D    SCTEX Mabalacat Interchange

   E   SCTEX Tarlac Terminal Toll Plaza

   F   Traveller's Complex, Santa-Rosa Tarlac Road

   G   San Jose City

   H   Solano town

   I   Banaue

Impressions Sunday Brunch Buffet: My Dining Guide

March 12, 2013

Impressions Sunday Brunch Buffet: My Dining Guide

These are my simple tips on the best way to enjoy this buffet. A lot has been said already about the gourmet food they serve. The price of Php 2100 net per head is definitely worth it. Every meal they serve is sourced from the freshest ingredients, cooked well and plated  beautifully. For those of you who frequent fine dining restaurants which serve degustation menus and priced the same, this will be value for money. For the same price, you get unlimited food with superior quality and the quality of service of a fine dining restaurant. You can expect the same quality of food as in the degustation menus of fine dining restaurants.

As in any buffet, you can only eat so much. Below are some of my tips on how to make the most out of your experience dining at this restaurant.

1. Make sure to make advance reservations.

The restaurant can seat only 70 people so I encourage you to make advanced reservations. Since I do not want to be disappointed at not being able to get a seat after going all the way to Resorts World, I made sure to make advanced reservations. Two days before the date of your reservation, an Impressions staff calls to confirm the reservation.

While we were dining, a lot of customers wanted to walk-in and dine at the restaurant but they were turned away because the restaurant is full. If you plan to walk-in and wait for a table to free up, prepare for a long wait. A lot of customers already in their tables prefer to leisurely enjoy their meal, especially since the price per head is very expensive. Considering the price, expect the turnover of customers to be almost nil. In our case, we arrived early at 11:30 AM for our 12:00 PM reservation. We ended our meal at 1:30 PM. The buffet runs from 11:00 AM till 3:00 PM. I don't think you can leisurely enjoy your meal and pace yourself if you arrive midway and after the first batch of customers have left already. There won't be enough time to taste all the must-taste food in the menu and make the most of your dining experience.

2. Limit your intake of liquids.

The buffet includes freshly made fruit juices and coffee. I personally don't do well in buffets because I can't take in a lot of food. But a technique I discovered is to drink your liquids after you've tasted everything you want to taste and ended your meal. If there's  soup, just have a small cup, only enough to be able to taste and enjoy it. If you need to drink water, limit it to one (1) glass all throughout the meal, making small sips just to wash away some of the taste of the previous meal. At the end of the meal, order your fresh fruit juice and coffee. I personally like the carrot juice because it cleanses the palate and removes all the taste of the food you've eaten. It refreshes you.

3. My recommendations of must-taste meals, their location, and how it's presented

Panoramic view of Impressions restaurant 
(Click the photo to zoom on the image)

 3 stationsCold StationHot StationDessert Station
(Click the photo to zoom on the image)

The restaurant is divided into 3 stations: Cold Station, Hot Station, Dessert Station. Not all the items are already available and spread out in each station. Some of it are only cooked when ordered, unlike the usual buffet presentation where everything is laid out and ready to be taken by the customer. 

Take note: The list below is not everything they offered. There are so many more choices. These are the food I was able to taste. I loved all that I tasted.

Cold station:
Feta cheese (which you should dip in honey)
Baba ganoush and Hummus (order freshly made pita bread to go with it)
Melt-in-your mouth French oysters (order freshly baked and topped with cheese)
Large melt-in-your mouth imported scallops (order it freshly baked and topped with cheese)
Tuna and salmon sashimi (guaranteed fresh)
Foie gras (cooked only when you order)

Hot Station:
Onion soup 
Baked potato soup
Prime rib cooked according to your preference (medium rare, if you want), and served with vegetable sidings

Dessert station:
Salted chocolate cake
Coffee jelly
Carrot cake

Pistachio souffle (made when ordered)
Cinnamon churros (made when ordered)
Chocolate churros (made when ordered)

Pistachio gelato

  • I can't remember the names of all the desserts I've tasted in the dessert station. What I remembered is that each one is of superior quality. Make sure to leave space for the dessert.

Drinks: carrot juice, coffee


This buffet is more suited to couples who are on a date or adults who enjoy and appreciate great food and fine dining. This buffet is not kid-friendly, especially since the selection of food appeals to more adult taste. The manner of service and the fact that the best food in the buffet needs to be ordered (like the foie gras and the prime rib) and the manner of cooking be specified (like in the oysters and scallops) shows this is more suited to adults and less attractive and a bit intimidating to kids.

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Location: 3rd floor, Maxim's Tower, Resorts World Manila (across Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Terminal 3.

Tel. No. +632-9088883

Price: Php 2,100 net per person