NLEX SCTEX Stopover Guide | Northbound Travel Tips
The north of the Philippines has always been a favorite destination for epic road trips or quick weekend getaways. And going this route, the usual, the smoothest & fastest road to take is always the NLEX SCTEX expressway.
In the recent years, we’ve seen a lot of new tourism attractions that broke ground around central & northern Luzon. Exciting waterparks have mushroomed around Bulacan, Pampanga has gone famous beyond sisig & farm tourism in Tarlac is fast-becoming an in-thing.
Then there’s La Union that boasts of its hippie-vibe surf camps & Pangasinan that screams of island getaways by the hundred. If you haven’t been to the fab coves in Zambales, well it’s about time that you visit them before it gets too crowded. And of course, no one gets tired visiting Baguio, Vigan & Pagudpod over & over.
Imagine all of these destinations & more on your bucketlist without the NLEX SCTEX expressways? We’d all probably end up spending half of our vacation time stuck in the madness of MacArthur Highway’s traffic jams.
Cheers to more wonderful road trips via NLEX SCTEX
Admit it, any road trips to the north never goes without making quick stopovers in NLEX. Over coffee & waffle, chippy & noodle, we fire our first groufies & flood the internet with the hashtag #thejourneybegins, #roadtoadventure or #firststop.
Say yay if you’ve bought a thing or two at Nike factory outlet or Pampanga’s Best on your way home to Manila. Or how many of us are guilty by illegally stopping at SCTEX to take a selfie with Mt. Malasimbu in the background?
Are you guys ready for your next road trip? But first, check out this complete guide on where to fuel up, get refreshments or do your much-needed bladder breaks along NLEX SCTEX. Make sure to bookmark this so it’s easy for you to find what you want, when you need it.
NLEX North Bound
Have you visited the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy? Don’t forget to check out the Guadalupe Chapel at the basement of the church. Many devotees of the Our Lady of Guadalupe believe that the floating water at the bottom of the image is miraculous. Take Marilao exit ahead.
Slow down here. You might want to visit the heritage town of Malolos in Bulacan. Don’t miss out too on its delicious snacks & exquisite handicrafts like puni & pabalat. If you’d like to sample the favorite food of our heroes, head to Bistro Maloleno. Yes, exit to Tabang for that wonderful cultural experience.
When in Pulilan, make your way to Pulilan Butterfly Haven & Isla de Pulilan. But if you’re in town on May 14, check out their lively fiesta in honor of San Isidro Labrador that highlights a colourful procession & the Kneeling Carabao Festival.
If you’re into antique pieces like furniture, lamps, beds, jars & chandeliers or reproductions of vintage items, this stopover is a good place to buy.
This is your last chance to get gas or food on NLEX north bound. But don’t worry, just push a little further & you’ll get to Mexico exit. Know what’s best here? Atching Lillian Borromeo, she’s the goddess of traditional Kapampangan cuisine. Take home some of her famous San Nicolas cookies — shhhh, if you don’t know it, it’s the oldest cookie in the Philippines.
NLEX South Bound
Don’t go home to Manila yet because Angeles City has so much in store for you. This city is a wonderland of heritage homes, awesome restaurants & one-of-a-kind handicrafts.
Do you love to shop for branded sportwear & gears at factory outlet price? Then you gotta make a stopover here. Don’t forget to sample Razon’s halo-halo, of course.
Exit here if you like waterparks because this side of Bulacan has so many resorts that are best for family & barkada outings. Have you been to any of those? Tell us about it the comment section below.
If you’re really speeding home to Manila but wants a chow along the way, you can drive thru Chowking in this stopover. Or if you think you need your car fixed, Bridgestone has a service center here.
Running out of gas? This is your last chance to gas up before you hit Balintawak. There are no food stalls here yet but development is on its way.
SCTEX Tarlac Bound
Good to know that in the entire stretch of NLEX SCTEX, this small gas station has the most beautiful motorist lounge. Check out Restroom 20 because here, it feels like you’re in a hotel (or even better). What to do in Tarlac? Go on a food trip, trek Mt. Pinatubo via Capas or check out its wonderful shrines.
This is the only gas station in NLEX SCTEX that has a mall. Yes, not just a food hub but a mid-size mall that houses a variety of fastfood brands. It also has the biggest 7-11 in the entire expressway.
SCTEX Subic Bound
Yeah, the beaches in Subic may be calling you now but hey, your bladder must be complaining already after that 93-kilometer drive from NLEX. Just past Tipo exit is Total, don’t worry. By the way, this side of SCTEX is also called SFEX or Subic Freeport Expressway.
Here is your last spot to gas up before driving home on the long smooth ride along SCTEX. And if you feel you need a leak along the way, there’s a lay bay on Km 29.
NLEX SCTEX is not just a road network that makes our trips easy-breezy. It’s also the best gateway to wonderful places in central & north Philippines that offer exciting adventures. And yes, enjoy your stopovers along this route, after all, it’s not just the destinations that matter, it’s the journey!
Important Numbers to Remember in Cases of Emergency
NLEX (02) 3-5000; (02) 580 8910
Or dowload the NLigtas app to get real-time traffic update or road assistance
Click here to download for free.
To know more about north Philippines, get in touch with
North Philippines Visitors Bureau