Two long weekends are ahead of us, so we're sure you already know the drill: grab your travel buddies, start planning and packing, because we can't promise that your wanderlust won't be triggered with this list!
If what your barkada craves is some good ol' nature-tripping without going too far from the city, the South would be your destination. From beaches and mountains to historical spots and hot springs, they really do have it all.
Wondering where you should visit first? We round up some of the South's best and most popular destinations for your daytrips and overnight vacations.
Estimated travel time from Manila: 3 to 4 hours
Batangas is only a short drive from Manila, so there's no wondering why its beaches are always packed with people who needs their dose of Vitamin Sea. The resorts in Laiya, Batangas are perfect for barkadas and families who want to just chill and enjoy the beach, while those in Anilao, Batangas is for anyone who's into diving as its waters are abundant of marine life.
Hikers need not go too far away as Batangas also has their fill of mountains to conquer. There's Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas, a mountain popular to both the beginners and the experienced hikers. From its summit, peopel get to see the panoramic view of the grasslands, of Batangas, and its neighboring cities.
Estimated travel time from Manila: 1.5 to 2 hours
Sure, Tagaytay is a part of Cavite, but we needed to create a separate item for Tagaytay because there's just so much you can do while in the area.
If cool weather is what you're looking for, but don't have the time to drive all the way up to Baguio, Tagaytay is your next best bet. Of course, everyone knows that it's famous for the view of the Taal Volcano but for the sake of an adventure, you could also go on a hiking tour which would take you closer to the volcano.
The mainland also has a lot of things going on – from amusement parks (Skyranch) and sightseeingspots (People's Park in the Sky and Picnic Grove) to bulalo houses and brunch restaurants (Bag of Beans) – so you wouldn't really run out of things to try every time you visit.
Estimated travel time: 2 to 3 hours
Batangas is to beaches, and Laguna is to waterfalls and hot spring resorts. Don't let TLC get you down and start chasing waterfalls because Laguna has an abundance of them. There's Pagsanjan Falls in Cavinti which is probably one of Laguna's most popular destinations. It's best experienced aboard a bamboo raft that would take you to the cascading water and the falls' famous Devil's Cave. Hulugan Falls, located near Luisiana and Pagsanjan, is also a must-visit because of its cold waters and its rocky and challenging terrain.
For hot springs, head on over to Pansol, Laguna where there's a bunch of resorts for the bigger groups. Then there's Hidden Valley Springs which is the perfect hideaway from the bustles of the city. Inside the resort, you'll be able to marvel at its rainforest, soak in one of their natural pools, and trek towards their hidden waterfalls.
4. Quezon Province
Estimated travel time from Manila: 4 to 5 hours
The beaches of Quezon Province are yet to be discovered, so you might as well visit them now while it's still not as crowded, right? For starters, there's Borawan Island. It boasts of white sand beaches – like the ones in Boracay – and rock formations that you think you can only find in Palawan (hence the name).
Another unspoilt sanctuary in Quezon is Jomalig Island, an island you can only reach via a 5-6 hour boat ride from Real, Quezon. There aren't any establishments or inns in the area, so you would have to pitch your own tent if you plan to stay overnight (which is probably the best option).
Cagbalete Island in Mauban, Quezon is also famous for its white sand beaches. It's a remote island so if you're planning to visit, better bring your own food and drinks as these can be pricey there. While you may opt to pitch your own tent by the beach, or stay in one of the inns or rooms there.
If you're not into beaches that much though, you could always visit Villa Escudero in Tiaong, Quezon. It's a plantation and resort that showcases the country's heritage, culture, history, and beauty. What they're most known for is the Waterfall Restaurant, where guests get to munch on some good food while enjoying the cascading waters from the manmade falls in the background.
Estimated travel time: 1 to 2 hours
One of the things Cavite is known for is its rich history, so if you're a history buff, this is where you should go. Of course, there's Emilio Aguinaldo's house in Kawit, and there's Corregidor Island (Yes, it is a part of Cavite!) which served as a fort during WW2. You could take part in a day tour organized by Sun Cruises, where you get to explore some of the island's historical spots.
History is not your thing? Try hiking. There's Mt. Pico De Loro in Maragondon, Cavite. It's easily recognizable because of its famous monolith, and the unrivaled view of Cavite and of the South China Sea. The province is also home to a number of caves and falls including Cabag Cave, Ulong Tubig, and Balite Falls.
Which of these will you be visiting first? Let us know in the comments!