Living in the city with its constant traffic jams, noise and pollution can really drain your energy during the week Thankfully, there are quick and easy getaways near the metro for you to relax and recharge on the weekend.
Here are a few suggestions on destinations just two hours away from Manila. Pack up the gang and get ready for a road trip!
While it’s gotten more crowded in recent years, Tagaytay remains a favorite for Manileños seeking cooler weather and scenic views during the weekends. It’s always pleasant to visit hidden garden restaurants and farms, while stopping over at fruit, flower and food stands along the way.
If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to include Sky Ranch Tagaytay, People’s Park in the Sky and Puzzle Museum in your itinerary. For history buffs, destinations like the Aguinaldo Shrine and the Geronimo Berenguer de los Reyes Jr. Museum or GBR Museum in General Trias, about 30 minutes away from Tagaytay are also worth a visit.
Pampanga, the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, is another popular choice within easy reach for the weekend. Aside from being a great destination for food-tripping and sisig, Pampanga also offers a lot of activities for the adventurous.
There’s Deca Wakeboard Park, where you can try wakeboarding and other water sports. Sandbox Alviera offers a unique getaway for families redefining outdoor adventure and fun, with attractions like a giant swing, ATV and UTV rides and outdoor archery. You can also take day trips from Angeles City Pampanga to the scenic Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake, geographically located in Botolan, Zambales. For a fun family-friendly time, visit Prado Farms in Lubao.
The underrated province of Rizal is home to many interesting sights for art and culture enthusiasts. Popular destinations near the metro include Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo, the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs and Folk Art Museums and restaurants like Balaw-Balaw.
Going up to Baras and Tanay along the Sierra Madre mountain range, you can find a few lovely countryside restaurants, mountain resorts, hanging gardens, hanging bridges as well as beautiful clean rivers and rock formations.
The province of Laguna offers a lot of farm resorts and lakes, where the whole family can enjoy the provincial life amidst refreshing views. Just 45 minutes away from Manila via SLEX is Sta. Elena Fun Farm in Cabuayo, where kids can ride carabao carts, try horseback riding, go boating and ride a mini-zip line! Driving two hours South will take you to the Seven Lakes of San Pablo, where you can cruise and enjoy a native lunch and fresh buko juice on a bamboo raft.
The Eastern side of Laguna, via Manila East Road is home to many historic churches, cultural towns. hot spring resorts and waterfalls. You can stop by the Rizal Wind Farm in Pililla on your way to other destinations like Caliraya Lake or Pagasanjan.
While the best beaches in Batangas might still be a good hour or so away, there are plenty of nearer destinations you can visit for just 2 hour road trips. One of the most relaxing experiences is to see Taal Lake from an eye-level view from towns in Batangas and visit ancestral houses in Taal Heritage town. You can even take a boat ride to Taal Volcano and go hiking or horseback riding there.
The Pusod Taal Lake Conservation Center in Brgy. Kinalaglagan, Mataasnakahoy offers a panoramic view of the freshwater lake and Taal Volcano. The center is situated in the eco-tourism area, where you can do early morning or sunset kayak rides or just commune with nature. Another intersting destination in Balete is Cintai Coritos, a Balinese-inspired garden where kids can enjoy the swimming pools, playground and free roaming animals.
You really don’t have to go far to enjoy the simple life. What’s your favorite go-to weekend road trip destination? Let us know in the comments!
Photos courtesy of Kara Santos.