Have you ever felt the need to get away from the city, but couldn’t afford to escape for more than a few days? You don’t actually need to book a plane ticket to get your much-needed vacation – in fact, you don’t even need to drive too far from the city at all! We know how important a quick recharge is for all of us hard-working individuals, so we listed all the good places you can escape to if ever you need a quick weekend getaway.
1. Sonya’s Garden
Location: Alfonso, Cavite
How long to get there from Manila: Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes
They say that being close to nature is the best way to recharge and re-energize. Sonya’s Garden delivers on this – and provides so much more – with its dainty bed and breakfast accommodations set against a lush garden of flowers and aromatic herbs. This private sanctuary in Alfonso, Cavite not only brings you closer to all things green and colorful, but it also encourages you to disconnect from the usual habits that clutter your everyday lifestyle. Wi-Fi access is limited only in the dining area of this B&B and there are also no televisions to encourage visitors to appreciate everything that’s around them. The place also offers soothing massages and has a restaurant where they serve homemade dishes made with some of the herbs plucked from the garden.
2. Masasa Beach
Location: Tingloy, Batangas
How long to get there from Manila: approximately 3 to 4 hours
Until recently, Masasa Beach in Tingloy, Batangas, was a hidden gem. Thanks to the place’s turquoise clear waters and the variety of activities it offers, the island has become an open secret to weekend warriors who want to escape and enjoy the island life. Not only is it accessible (you can reach it via boat at the Anilao ports), a day or two here is also very affordable because of the price-friendly lodging and island activities. Its sand is not as pearly white as that of Boracay's, but you can try various adventures here like snorkeling, island hopping, cliff-diving, and even hiking! We recommend a stay in Nanay Rosie Kubo because of its very cheap rates and beachfront location.
3. The Hot Springs of Laguna
Location: Los Baños and Pansol, Laguna
How long to get there from Manila: Approximately two hours
Though not as popular as its neighboring provinces like Batangas and Tagaytay, Laguna has its own distinct charm that attracts visitors to it. The barangays of Pansol and Los Baños offer some of the best hot springs resorts in the island, so it comes as no surprise that the province is dubbed as the “hot spring capital of the Philippines.” The water of the hot springs come from the mountains surrounding it so you can easily find dozens and dozens of resorts in the area where you can enjoy a therapeutic dip. Go and book a stay at 88 Hotspring Resort and Spa, a Korean-Filipino resort with 11 spring water pools that are dedicated to different types of therapeutic benefits. The place also has a restaurant offering a fusion of Korean and Filipino dishes.
4. San Juan Beach
Location: San Juan, La Union
How long to get there from Manila: Approximately 4 hours
San Juan beach started gaining popularity as the go-to place for surf enthusiasts who don’t have the time and money to travel to Siargao, but over the years, this municipality has built a name for itself as one of the must-visit places in the Philippines. Lucky for us living in Manila, we don’t need to travel that far just to experience the unique vibe and charm that the place offers. Though the beach doesn’t have white sand (it’s more of a grayish silver), it has beginner-friendly waves for those who want to try their hand at surfing. Not to mention, the place has a magnificent sunset that’s begging to be captured, too. San Juan is also the place where you can find Flotsam and Jetsam, one of the hostels that helped drive the popularity of the place thanks to the laidback-almost-hippie-partying beach vibe it offers. Make sure to reserve early if you are planning to stay here because they are ALWAYS fully-booked!
5. Masungi Georeserve
Location: Baras, Rizal
How long to get there from Manila: approximately one to one and a half hours
If you’re updated on all things touristy, then you’ve probably come across magical photos of people standing or sitting on a metal spider web or relaxing on a giant hammock against a breath-taking backdrop of beautiful rock formations. These sceneries are taken in Masungi Georeserve, a conservation area in Rizal dedicated to protecting the amazing flora, fauna, and rock formations in the area. The geopark offers a variety of activities including the rope courses which takes about three to four hours of hiking, overnight stays on the trails, and even helicopter rides! Take note though that it may be challenging to make reservations to this place because it only accepts a limited amount of groups for the tour to conserve the park well. Make sure to try the Silayan Dining Experience when you drop by for a visit. The restaurant offers seasonal dishes inspired by the landscape – a perfect way to cap off your adventure in this almost mystical place.
6. Sights and Experience in Antipolo
Location: Antipolo, Rizal
How long to get there from Manila: Approximately 40 minutes
Just less than an hour away from Manila is Antipolo, a first class city that is well-known for being a Catholic Pilgrimage site. The place has been receiving a lot of love from weekend jet setters thanks to the melting pot of sights and experience that it offers. There’s the Hinulugang Taktak waterfall for those who want to get closer to nature, the Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa for people who want some R&R, and the Pinto Art Museum which showcases beautiful works of art for the culture lover. The food is top-class in this area too with its many cafes, restaurants, and other culinary hunts. It’s so accessible from the city so you don’t have to worry too much about the long drive home.
7. Heritage tour at Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar
Location: Bagac, Bataan
How long to get there from Manila: Approximately 3 hours
You don’t need to travel half a day to the Northern part of the country just to experience the beauty of the olden times with Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar, a Philippine-Spanish Heritage site in Bagac, Bataan. With its brick homes and old world furnishings that have been gathered and restored from different parts of the country, you will be immediately transported back to a time when barongs and sayas were the norms. Other than the one-of-a-kind cultural experience, the place also offers other activities like brick-making, calesa rides, and traditional hilots. Buy a cone of sorbetes while enjoying the heritage tour and drop by Las Casas’ beach in the afternoon for a refreshing swim!
Are you excited to plan your next weekend getaway? Which of these places are on the top of your list?