If you’ve been reading about the Philippines for some time now, what you’ll realize is that the country is lucky to have been blessed with stunning natural resources across the archipelago. Good news is that you don’t really have to travel far to see them for yourself. No need for domestic trips here. All it takes is some planning- or hasty arrangements- on your own or with family and friends, and you’re all set to explore the beauty of this country one region after the other.
To get you started on your journey, we’ve gathered a list of nearby Manila getaways you can visit for a day or two to help you de-stress and recharge your mind and body. Hit the road, drive for six hours or less and snag that restful weekend you’ve been dreaming of all week long. Know that you simply deserve the break, that’s all.
A less than two-hour drive by car from Metro Manila is one of the most popular travel destinations of locals, Tagaytay. Because of its proximity to the city and its average temperature (22°C -25°C), visitors come here often to spend a night or two. The cool breeze is a total bonus especially when it gets too warm and humid in Metro Manila.
Driving around Tagaytay gets you a dramatic view of Taal Volcano, the second most active volcano in the Philippines. But no reason to worry, it has been steady since the 70’s.
Most people take a road trip to Tagaytay for one main reason- food! It’s no surprise as there are many local restaurants that serve delectable dishes like the famous bulalo (Filipino beef marrow stew), vegetarian specialties and pies. Cap the night off with a cup of coffee or a hot chocolate, and a serving of desserts like cakes and tarts over an intimate conversation with your friends and you’ll find that you’re more than ready to get back to the city in no time.
Where to go: Antonio’s, Bag of Beans, Nurture Wellness Village, Sonya’s Garden, Concha’s Garden Café, The Dining Room at Gourmet Farms, Taal Volcano Trek
A little bit farther down south is the province of Batangas. From Metro Manila, you can reach it within two hours. You can choose a number of activities to do in Batangas. You can either hit the beach, scuba dive or climb mountains to help you relax. Take your family with you, bring new friends, it’s going to be an absolute thrill.
When you’ve finished the day’s activities, settle in the comfort of your choice of beach resort and munch some of Batangas’ delicacies such as lechon (roasted suckling pig) and Batangas bulalo. Of course, you can’t escape town without trying their signature Kapeng Barako (Barako coffee).
Where to go: The Farm at San Benito, Eagle Point Beach and Dive Resort, Cintai Corito’s Garden
Next on our list is Bataan. Located in Central Luzon, it’s only a three-hour drive from Metro Manila, so pack your weekender bag, put on your road trip soundtrack and get ready for a cultural adventure in Bataan.
Historically, Bataan is where Filipino and American soldiers fought the Japanese during the latter’s invasion, called Battle of Bataan, in 1942. Today, a major icon you can visit in the province is the Shrine of Valor at Mt. Samat, a memorial dedicated to the brave men who died fighting during the war. End your historical day tour by spending the night at the heritage resort by the sea, Las Casaz Filipinas de Acuzar.
Where to go: Pawikan Conservation Center, Playa La Caleta, Sisiman Bay, Joyous Tangway Grill
If you’re looking for a more laidback getaway from Manila, travel up north to San Juan, La Union, for some surfing good time. Known for its beaches and waves, it’s a great place for friends and beach bums alike to go to without having to break the bank. A five to six-hour drive is all you need and you’re set for a sunny vacay.
Newbie surfers may rent surfboards from different resort facilities and may hire a surfing instructor for the full La Union experience. That’s one thing to tick off your bucket list, so we dare you to grab the chance. Accommodations won’t be a problem as there are several beachfront resorts, hip hostels and transient houses to choose from.
Aside from surfing, La Union is a great place for socializing because you’ll meet all sorts of people from in and around town. This might be a great opportunity to expand your Filipino network.
Where to go: San Juan Beach, Flotsam and Jetsam, El Union Coffee, Kahuna Beach Resort, Tangadan Falls, Surf Shack
Now, are you tempted to get out of town this weekend? Take your pick and enjoy the ride.