There’s another holiday coming and we can’t wait to spend our extended weekend elsewhere. Can you? Don’t worry, there’s no need to hop on a plane if you’re only willing to have a brief vacation. Here are tourist attractions that might meet your expectations for a quick getaway near Manila.
Also read: 15 Budget-Friendly Getaways Near Manila
1. Sy Juco Heritage House
If you have an appreciation of ancestral homes built during the Spanish-era, then the Sy Juco Heritage House should be on your bucket list. Located in Ibaba, Malabon, this is approximately only an hour away (minus the traffic, of course). This heritage house was built in 1869 and was home to a Swiss-Filipino family. The story goes that during WII, the house was spared by the Japanese military because a Swiss flag flew from the window. The house was also used as a school and tobacco factory.
2. San Bartolome Church
While you’re in Malabon, it would be practical to also visit the San Bartolome Church in San Agustin. The church was built in 1564 with Baroque-inspired architecture. Although it suffered from heavy damages during WII, this Pantheon-like church was restored and is well-preserved until today. From the towering pillars outside to the high ceilings and golden accents inside the church, local and foreign tourists alike will be in awe of the grand facade.
Tip: You can explore Malabon more with the Malabon Tricycle Tour. The tricycle tour will bring you to popular food and heritage destinations that will cross out everything in your Malabon bucket list. Plus, it’s great for people on a budget!
3. Masungi Georeserve
Located in Baras, Rizal, the Masungi Georeserve has become a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure-seekers. The reserve is a conservation area and a rustic rock garden which allows visitors to encounter wildlife and different plant species. Guests have a trail to trek and follow in order to get to Masungi’s attractions such as Bayawak, Tatay, Nanay, Ditse Patak at Duyan, and perhaps the most famous one you’ve also seen in pictures, the web-style platform called Sapot. It’s better to book your reservation the earliest you can if you’re planning to visit during a long weekend.
Weekday – ₱1,500
Weekend – ₱1,800
4. The Twin Lakes of San Pablo
Laguna is known for its seven lakes, but the most famous for tourists are Lake Pandin and Lake Yambo in San Pablo. Get even closer to nature by riding a raft to the middle of Laguna’s most pristine lakes, and admire the surrounding lush greenery as you have a pleasant lunch with your friends and family. Lake Pandin has two stops, a Balete Tree with thick vines which people use to swing and dive into the water, and a grotto where locals can source fresh water. The landscape of the two lakes is picturesque too. You also have the option to swim in Lake Pandin and trek to Lake Yambo. This is actually a pretty chill and affordable getaway activity for barkadas, don’t forget about it!
Rates: ₱180 to ₱500 depending on group size, raft size, and the inclusion of food
5. Sisiman Bay
Sisiman Bay in Mariveles, Bataan, a three-hour drive from Manila, is still underrated considering how beautiful the place is. There’s so much natural wonder to take in such as the rock formation and pebbles scattered along the beach. The contrast between the green and brown of San Miguel Peak to the deep blue of Sisiman Bay. In good weather, the blue sky is the perfect canvas when the sun sets over the bay. There’s also a lighthouse which tourists have often made a backdrop in their photos, but don’t get me wrong. Every inch of Sisiman Bay is already picture-perfect.
6. BenCab Museum
If you’re tired of the typical museums in Metro Manila, then you really only have a few options left, that is, if you’re willing to drive for a couple of hours more than usual. The BenCab Museum in Baguio is undoubtedly one of the most popular museums in Luzon, and a go-to tourist spot whenever one is in Baguio. It houses several paintings of Philippine National Artist Benedicto Cabrera; plus, the museum itself is a work of art. It has a modern architecture with a high ceiling and glass walls where natural light penetrates.
At the back, you’ll see a man-made duck pond, bridge and gazebo. It isn’t just a place to appreciate contemporary and Cordilleran art, but also a place where you get to relax and take in mother nature amidst a cool breeze you’d never get in the city.
General admission – ₱150
Students with valid Philippine school-issued ID – ₱120
Seniors/ PWD with valid Philippine government issued ID – ₱80
7. La Union
Ah yes, the Surfing Capital of the North, and what millennials would sometimes spell as “Elyu”. This has become the ultimate barkada getaway as of late, mainly because of the beach and surfing but there’s a lot more you can do in La Union. Your barkada can hike to Tangadan Falls and swim in the pool. Aside from this, you can visit Lomboy Grape Farm and pick fresh grapes and guapples for a fee to bring home. If you’re feeling a bit artsy, you can go to Red Clay Pagdamilian where they have daily pottery making lessons and a pottery tour. Now, aren’t all these worth trying too?
Tangadan Falls – ₱480 (all equipment included)
Lomboy Grape Farms – ₱100 (entrance); ₱250 per kilo of grapes
Pottery Tour – ₱50
Pottery Making – ₱450
Also read: 13 Long Weekends in the Philippines in 2018
As we’re waiting for the long weekend, why not mull these options over and see which one best suits your mood and preference for a quick vacation near Manila? You have enough time…and options.