Halsema Highway was considered one of the most dangerous highways in the world. Everyday, commuters, transporters, tourists, and residents coming from Baguio or Mt. Province 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.
Halsema Highway (also known Baguio-Bontoc Road or Mountain Trail) has a length of 150 km and it’s a two- to four-lane highway that stretches from Baguio City to Bontoc, Mountain Province, in the Philippines. It also goes through some of the most remote provinces in the country. Like many under-maintained mountain roads, landslides are a hazard on the Halsema Highway, where big stones and debris tumble from peaks. And along with the cloud forests comes mist that can ruin visibility.
Known as the “main artery” of the Cordillera’s road system, the 150-mile Halsema Highway links Baguio and Benguet province to the rest of Northern Luzon. The road also leads to Sagada, which is 29 km farther from the junction. Landslides, mud slides, and falling rocks are common along this road. Bus drivers travel at high speeds on these narrow roads, 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.
Halsema Highway, the highest mountain road system in the Philippines
It is the highest altitude highway in the Philippines. with its highest point somewhere in Atok. The highest point is about 2,255meters above the sea level. That makes it higher than Mount Banahaw's peak. The road was opened in 1930 as led by Engineer Euseibus Julius Halsema of whom this highway was named after. Before the last improvements, the road it was known for rock slides, mud slides and buses driving dangerously fast on its narrow passage. Today, foggy conditions, and slippery asphalt during rainy season, complicate the driving, turning the road a bit dangerous.
Some years ago, Halsema Highway was one of the ten most dangerous roads in the world. It was not well maintained and was the site of many accidents and overturned buses on a yearly basis. Landslides and rock falls were common, often stranding motorists for long periods of time. Foggy conditions only complicate the Halsema Highway’s already dangerous conditions. 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.
It was considered back in the 1980’s to be one of the few dangerous roads in the Philippines. It’s a long stretch of ‘twistis’ as they call it. The road is now well developed. Driving a sedan is now possible because of the road conditions. Make sure your camera is loaded with batteries to take pictures as you will witness some magnificient views. 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. Ideal time to travel is daylight. Not adviced night drive as there are no lamp posts. Going downhill always shift to low gears and never relay on just brakes. This will keep you safe on the road. Drive at moderate speed. You’re not on a race. Along the way pay attention to cars stopping in the middle of the way. They park on main lane.