A lovely trip on the paved Halsema Highway in the Philippines
Halsema Highway was considered one of the most dangerous highways in the world. Everyday, commuters, transporters, tourists, and residents drove this route, braving steep crags, narrow and sheer drop offs, some more than 1000 feet. But the road has now improved, and it’s a lovely trip by an asphalted road tracing a circuitous path, that crosses the massive Cordillera Central mountain range on the Island of Luzon.
Where does Halsema Highway start and end?
The road, part of the National Route 204 (N204), is 150km (93 miles) long running south-north from Baguio City to Bontoc, in Mountain Province. It’s a two-to-four-lane totally paved highway going through some of the most remote provinces in the country. It’s a long stretch of ‘twistis’ as they call it.
Who built Halsema Highway?
Tucked away in the northern part of Luzon island, the road was opened in 1930 as led by Engineer Euseibus Julius Halsema of whom this highway was named after.
Why is Halsema highway dangerous?
The road (also known Baguio-Bontoc Road or Mountain Trail), features dangerous sections, especially during the rainy season. Like many under-maintained mountain roads, landslides are a hazard on the road, where big stones and debris tumble from peaks. And along with the cloud forests comes mist that can ruin visibility. Bus drivers travel at high speeds making it very dangerous for smaller vehicles. Extreme foggy conditions and slippery asphalt during rainy season, complicate the driving, turning the road even more dangerous. It was considered back in the 1980’s to be one of the few dangerous roads in the world. But the road is now well developed. Driving a sedan is now possible because of the road conditions. There are a couple of gas stations along the way. Make sure to gas up properly and full. Always check your brakes and tires for safety. Going downhill always shift to low gears and never relay on just brakes. This will keep you safe on the road. Along the way pay attention to cars stopping in the middle of the way. They park on main lane. Ideal time to travel is daylight. Not advised night drive as there are no lamp posts.
Is the Halsema highway worthwhile?
Set high in the Cordillera Central range of the Philippines, the road, known as the “main artery” of the Cordillera’s road system, tops out at 2.300m (7,400ft) above the sea level in the municipality of Atok. It was the highest road in the country until 2019, when it was surpassed by theKiangan–Tinoc–Buguias Road in Tinoc, Ifugao. The road is extremely scenic and worthwhile. A few years ago, before the last improvements, it was one of the ten most dangerous roads in the world. But the once deadly and dangerous road now gives travelers a peek of otherworldly beauty. Don’t be afraid to take this highway. Roll down the windows and feel the cold breeze. Enjoy every natural wonder you encounter. The drive through Halsema features jaw-dropping scenery and a way to experience the famous spot, Sagada. Make sure your camera is loaded with batteries to take pictures as you will witness some sweeping views.