Halsema Highway: The Philippines’ Most Dangerous Road

Highly Elevated Hanselma Highway photo courtesy of Raredelights.com

One of the World’s Most Dangerous Roads

Have you heard of Halsema Highway? If you frequently explore the northern region, chances are you are familiar with this infamous road. Those who enjoy the mountaineering adventure offered around Sagada will have driven through this road.

Hanselma Highway in Cordillera Region
Hanselma Highway in Cordillera Region

It’s the highway up north that starts from Baguio’s city limit to the municipality of Bontoc. It reaches up to 7,400 feet above sea level at its highest point, and it is considered the highway with the highest altitude in the Philippines.

Driving through Halsema, you will pass by 8 municipalities in Benguet, 4 towns in Mountain Province, and once it reaches Dantay in Bontoc, it splits to downtown Bontoc or straight towards Sagada.

If you’re on a Northern adventure, chances are you’ll be driving through this highway, otherwise known as Baguio-Bontoc Road or the Mountain Trail.

In fact, passing through this highway is the only way to get to a popular tourist spot, Sagada. Driving through this road is scenic, with drop off points that are so high in altitude, it’s even higher than the peak of Mount Banahaw! But that’s not the only thing it’s famous for.

Highly Elevated Hanselma Highway photo courtesy of Raredelights.com
Highly Elevated Hanselma Highway photo courtesy of Raredelights.com

Halsema Highway is also one of the most dangerous roads in the world. It’s certainly the most dangerous road in the country.

Why is it dangerous? When it rains, which is often, the asphalt portion of the road becomes slippery. It is also built along a very landslide-prone area. During wet seasons, the fog becomes too thick that visibility is impossible.

Before it’s completion recently, some areas lacked guard rails, and other areas were still unpaved. Buses have been known to topple right off the edge!

Fortunately, dangerous is no longer the case for Halsema Highway. Renovations had greatly improved the construction that was put in place when the road opened in 1930.

You can now take a leisurely and beautiful drive through the highway and even experience the famous Hanging Coffins.

Passing through, you can also spend a few minutes at the Guerilla Saddle and glimpse the Cordillera way of life. Take in the beauty of the Philippine Pali peak.

If you time your trip right, you can even watch the sunrise over the hills. View the Centipede Rice Terraces right by the Sabangan Stop.

Prone to Landslides photo courtesy of rusa4.wordpress.com
Prone to Landslides photo courtesy of rusa4.wordpress.com

Some areas of this highway are still dangerous. If you take precautions, however, you shouldn’t worry. Schedule your trip when you know you won’t likely meet a downpour. If you’re uncertain that you can make the drive yourself, take the bus instead.

Drive by day. Not only is it safer, but you can also best experience the views during this time. It’s always better to err in the side of caution when you’re going through the country’s deadliest road.

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 this adventure won’t be your last and keep safe!

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