We’ve been holing up at home for a while, but definitely for a good reason: COVID-19 is still out there, and we want to minimise the effects of this virus. If we’re vulnerable, we want to protect ourselves. If we’re absolutely healthy, we want to protect others. Without a doubt, all of us just want a safer world to live in.
Of course, locking ourselves at home isn’t always fun — nor is it healthy! Thankfully, many areas in the Philippines are easing up their travel restrictions while still implementing safety protocols. In case you decide to take a quick (and, let me stress it again — safe) breather, here are some destinations near Manila still booming amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Destinations near Manila booming amid COVID-19
1. Tagaytay City, Cavite
When the community quarantine started to ease, Tagaytay was among the first tourist hotspots to welcome Manila residents. Our favourite quick getaway near Manila has opened several establishments, including a few of our favourites: Sky Ranch, Tagaytay Highlands, Picnic Grove and People’s Park. You can now book hotels and Airbnbs for staycations, dine at breezy open-air restaurants and cafés, or even chill at public parks.
2. Antipolo City, Rizal
Home of Pintô Art Museum, Antipolo has been seeing many visitors even during the community quarantine. After its famous museum reopened its doors in September 2020, more travellers have been considering this city to relax and unwind.
Aside from the Pintô Art Museum, Antipolo also has breathtaking spas, restaurants, and cafés that are open during COVID-19. If you’re planning to spend the night here, you can also book an Airbnb that adheres to safety protocols.
3. Masungi Georeserve, Rizal
Rizal is a treasure trove of natural wonders, one of the most popular being the Masungi Georeserve. Pre-pandemic, the conservation site flourished as a tourist attraction. Its income from tourism was used to further preserve and beautify the area. But come COVID-19, the Masungi Georeserve Foundation was forced to shell out personal resources to keep their workers and conserve the georeserve.
Fortunately, Masungi Georeserve reopened its doors in November. To ensure social distancing, only 50 visitors per day are allowed to enter per trail. Travellers may now reserve their slots at their website.
4. Nasugbu, Batangas
Aren’t we all craving for the beach? Great news, water babies — Batangas is open for recreational diving! In October, the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD) under the Department of Tourism (DOT) released diving protocols for accredited establishments. Visitors of all ages can travel to these sites. Not sure where to head first? Go for Nasugbu, Batangas, as the town has several establishments operating today.
5. Nagcarlan, Laguna
This underrated gem in Laguna might not be the first destination near Manila you’d think of visiting during COVID-19. Nevertheless, Nagcarlan is a beauty that you should certainly consider. Tucked in the scenic province of Laguna, Nagcarlan is home to the tranquil Yambo Lake, majestic Bunga Falls, and historic Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery.
6. Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Bataan
If you’ve been eyeing Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar for a while, you’d be pleased to hear that the site has reopened to travellers. To keep the area safe, the management has been implementing several safety protocols including thermal scanning, regular sanitisation, and contact tracing. Guests must accomplish the Health Declaration Form upon entry.
7. Tanay, Rizal
These past few years, Tanay has finally been getting the attention it has always deserved. Interestingly, more travellers are keeping tabs on this destination near Manila amid COVID-19.
One of the hottest spots right now is El Patio Razon, a privately-owned resort with amenities reminiscent of Bali. Ricardo’s Vista del Cielo, an open-air restaurant, has also been trending for a while now.
As with most destinations near Manila during COVID-19, Tanay has checkpoints where you will need to present a medical certificate and a valid ID. If you’re planning to stay somewhere, make sure to book in advance.
Our tourism has started adapting to the new normal; but obviously, it is our role as individuals to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols if ever we do decide to travel. Especially now, being responsible for our choices means that we think beyond ourselves. Let’s all make sure that we cooperate with safety measures to avoid adding fuel to the pandemic’s fire.
Safe travels, everyone!