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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

May 24, 2021

Take me home country roads

In 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte embarked to build the Luzon Spine Expressway Network—a 1,040-kilometer expressway network, which would connect the northernmost and southernmost parts of Luzon.

By building a 655-kilometer expressway network, Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar aims to complement the existing expressway grid spanning 385 kilometers. The goal is to increase the road network by three fold.

Included in the masterplan, which will eventually reduce travel time from La Union to Bicol by half, are the NLEX Harbor Link Project, the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, the Urdaneta Bypass Road, the Radial Road 10, the Central Luzon Link Expressway, the Plaridel By-Pass Road, the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, among others. While 2020 might be remembered as the year international travel ground to a halt, with hope 2021 is the year domestic travel recovers.

With the completion of 26,494 kilometers of roads and 5,555 bridges nationwide—eight provinces in the North are now closer to Metro Manila.


Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay (BLISTT) are now more accessible with the opening of the Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEX) and the BLISST Outer Circumferential Road.

The BLISTT Outer Circumferential Road is a 144-kilometer road network, which provides access to the northern areas of Cordillera Administrative Region to Cagayan Valley Region via the Benguet-Vizcaya Road.

The Philippine Military Academy can also be accessed from this route via the Baguio-Bua-Itogon-Dalupirip Road.

Ilocos Sur

The completion of the 7.13-kilometer Candon City Bypass has reduced travel time from Sta. Lucia and Santiago, Ilocos Sur from 40 minutes to only 20 minutes.  Motorists headed to the northern part of Ilocos Region may now use this alternate road that begins at Barangay Ayudante and ends at Barangay Tablac.

Other big-ticket projects in the region include the Bantay-San Ildelfonso Bypass Road, the Bantay-Vigan Diversion Road, and the Tagudin Bypass Road.


Pangasinan is only two hours away from Manila with the opening of the 88-kilometer TPLEX.

Travel time from Villasis to Binalonan has also been reduced to only 30 minutes via the newly opened Urdaneta Bypass Road. Heading to Aguilar in Pangasinan? Check out the 24.22-kilometer scenic Daang Katutubo Road, which will be completed in 2022.


The completion of the 24.61-kilometer Plaridel Bypass Route will ease the traffic congestion in Daang Maharlika by providing a direct route from NLEX to San Rafael in Bulacan. The completion of the project, having diverted about 15,000 vehicles on Pan-Philippine Highway, provides an alternate route to Angat, Balagtas, and Pandi in Bulacan.

Travel time from Manila to San Rafael has been reduced by about 45 minutes.

Ilocos Norte

The completion of the Sicapo, Tabbayagan, and Madduang Bridges along Apayao-Ilocos Norte Road in Apayao Province has reduced travel time from the provinces of Apayao and Ilocos Norte by at least three hours. Now, travel time from Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to Ilocos Norte has been reduced from six hours and a half to only three hours.

The Apayao-Ilocos Norte Road connects the towns of Conner, Kabugao, and Calanasan in Apayao to the municipality of Solsona and the city of Laoag in Ilocos Norte. It serves as an alternate route to motorists coming from CAR going to Laoag International Airport and the Manila North Road in Ilocos Region.

Mountain Province

Heading to Sagada to break across Echo Valley or explore Mt. Kiltepan? Try the 9.44-kilometer Balili-Suyo-Sagada Road and the 9.85-kilometer Sabangan-Sagada Road leading to the hanging coffins, Bomo-ok Falls, and Sumaguing cave.

La Union

With the completion of the last section of the 88.85-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, travel time from Manila to Rosario in La Union has been reduced from six hours and thirty minutes to only three hours and thirty minutes.

Nueva Ecija

With the opening of the first 18-kilometer section of the 30-kilometer Central Luzon Link Expressway this year, travel time from Tarlac to Nueva Ecija will be reduced from 70 minutes to only 20 minutes. The toll-free expressway can be accessed via the interconnection structure of SCTEX and TPLEX in Balingcanaway in Tarlac City. CLLEX is expected to decongest traffic in Pan Philippine Highway by 48 percent and reduce travel time by 70 percent.

Going to the Ditabuyan Falls in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija? Try the newly completed two-kilometer access road in Barangay Cadaclan.

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