Weekend Getaways Near Manila: Top 15 Destinations For Your Next Road or Day Trip (Philippines)

by Philippines, Road Trips12 comments

There are plenty of activities to try within Metro Manila — a food trip to Binondo’s Chinatown, a window-shopping spree in Taguig’s Bonifacio High Street, a leisurely walk through the historic Fort Santiago in Intramuros, a night of fun in Makati’s Poblacion, and so much more! After all, it is a melting pot of various urban delights; however, there are times that it wouldn’t be enough, especially if you’re looking for the allure of the Philippines’ beaches and natural beauty. (Weekend Getaways from Manila)

So if you need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy metropolis, there are several nearby destinations that you can try in North and South Luzon as a road trip itinerary. They make for great weekend getaways from Manila due to the close proximity as well as the efficient expressways. So without further ado, here are some of the best weekend getaways or day tours from Manila that you can try for exciting adventures or simple relaxation!

Best Tours in Manila?

Come and check out this list of the top things to do in Manila which features the best activities in the metro and more!

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Hiking Taal Volcano

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With its cool climate and vibrant scenery, Tagaytay city is a popular go-to-place for quick weekend getaways from Manila. It’s near enough the metro to make it easily accessible, but far enough to make each visit feel like a vacation.

To date, there are plenty of places to see and things to do in Tagaytay City and you can visit them all in a weekend — if not in just one day, depending on your planned itinerary. To list a few of them…

  • ★ Taal Volcano: The main attraction in Tagaytay City that never gets old, and its picturesque lake that gives a more stunning backdrop to the famous volcano.

    Wanna take it up a notch? Try hiking to Taal Volcano!

  • People’s Park in the Sky: Another favorite attraction as it is the highest point in the city where visitors can enjoy the chilly weather as well as the incredible views of Taal volcano along with the cityscape.
  • Calaruega Church & Pink Sister’s Convent: A basic itinerary to Tagaytay City includes these two famous churches, known for their beautiful architecture, if not a perfect place for devotion.
  • Skyranch: A leisure area with its own mini amusement park. It has become a go-to destination for the barkada, friends, and families, with the Sky Eye being one of the biggest Ferris wheels in the country.
  • Mahogany Market: Tagaytay Mahogany Beef Market is a famous go-to place for both locals and visitors when buying fresh beef meat. Along with this, eating bulalo is a must when you’re in Tagaytay so head on over here and try a scrumptious bowl at an affordable price!

Aside from these tourist attractions, Tagaytay is also well-known as one of the best weekend getaways from Manila for staycations and spa treatments. Various hotels and accommodations offer packages for families, couples, and groups of friends who want to relax, enjoy the cold weather and bask in the scenic views of the city.

Where to stay? See the top Tagaytay hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Tagaytay tours
How far from Manila? About 1.5 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •


Weekend Getaways from Manila : Anilao Batangas

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Due to its close proximity, a visit to Batangas is usually combined with Tagaytay as one of the options for weekend getaways from Manila. Besides, with its varying pristine beaches, delicious food, and stunning views, there are tons of things to do that can fill up your itinerary.

Batangas is a huge province and towns like Calatagan, Nasugbu, Mabini, San Juan, and Tingloy are just one of the many places where you can enjoy its delightful shores and local delights such as lomi, kapeng barako, tapa, etc. To start with, consider any of the below…

  • ★ Mabini: Anilao is a sought-after destination especially for divers given its rich marine wildlife and ecosystem that encompasses the ‘Coral Triangle’. Rest assured, if you’re new to diving, a lot of the resorts offer beginner courses and diving experiences — if not, snorkeling is already a worthy endeavor in itself. Though if you want to put in some variety to your activities, you can choose to climb Gulugod Baboy, translated to “pig’s spine”, is a sight to behold due to the peculiar contours of the surrounding hills in which there are 3 peaks.

    Related read: First-Timer’s Guide to Anilao Diving

  • Tingloy: An island near Mt. Gulugod Baboy that is known for its laid-back Masasa beach — perfect for those who want to escape the bustle of nearby Anilao. The path that leads to the shore is also a sight to behold what with its rice fields and friendly residents. Another option is Sepoc beach on the western tip which has a great viewpoint. If you want to take it a step further, ride over to Sombrero Island to do diving or snorkeling since the marine life is part of the ecosystem that is around Anilao and Verde Island.
  • ★ Nasugbu: This is the largest municipality in Batangas and with its mountainous terrain, you can find beautiful coves. In fact, for years, it is one of the top destinations for weekend getaways from Manila as people enjoy the fine sand in Calayo Beach or the beach camping spot in Bituin / Angara Cove or Layag-Layag Beach. If you’re rather up for exploring unique islands, head to Fortune Island with its Greek-like structures, or its shipwreck diving site that features a Dutch warship. For another option, there is Loren or Pulo Island for a unique escape.
    • TIP: For some thrill, drop by nearby Maragondon’s Mt. Palay-Palay or Mataas na Gulod Protected Landscape in order to climb the iconic ‘Pico de Loro‘ which is a tall protruding rock.
  • San Juan: The most well-known barangay will have to be Laiya! Due to the white sands and clear waters, the area has since been laced with a number of resorts and guesthouses.
  • Lian: Notable is Matabungkay Beach that was originally discovered in the early 50s by sun-starved Germans who were living in Manila. You will absolutely love its white shores!
  • Lobo: If you’re still up for some more beaches to check off your list, head over to this southernmost tip of Batangas to visit Malabrigo Beach. It’s a different kind of scene though given that the shore is carpeted with pebbles — but it still makes for quite a sight to see! Nearby you can also check out the Malabrigo Lighthouse.
  • Calatagan: Facing Verde Island, Calatagan enjoys being a part of the ‘Coral Triangle’; therefore, visitors can enjoy the rich marine life in its waters. A lot of people also seek out Manuel Uy Beach Resort for its camping scene as they go about their day exploring local highlights such as Starfish Island that has a magnificent sandbar. There is also the Cape Santiago Lighthouse which is said to be one of the oldest in the Philippines. For families who have kids though, head on over for some water fun at Aquaria Water Park — though there are also other activities for adults to enjoy such as jet skiing and others.
  • Lipa & Taal: Once you’ve had your fill of Batangas’ natural beauty, it’s time to explore the cities of Lipa and Taal that are both laden with historic sites like Taal Heritage Town, as well as grand churches like Lipa Cathedral. If I may add, there is also a unique Bali-inspired resort nearby that you can visit for a day called Cintai Corito’s Garden.

Where to stay? See the top Batangas hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Batangas tours
How far from Manila? About 2 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •


Potipot Island, Zambales

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Located in Central Luzon, Zambales is a region that is known for its sandy beaches and coral reefs — much like Batangas. Nevertheless, there are a number of key sights that separates it from the rest of the weekend getaways from Manila, namely…

  • ★ Anawangin Cove and Nagsasa Cove: Wanna enjoy crescent-shaped beaches of cerulean waters that are uniquely speckled with grayish volcanic sand from Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption years ago? If so, these coves are a must to see! The surrounding cliffs that rise several feet up high also make for great viewpoints, if not great locations for nice drone shots.
  • Capones and Camara Islands: From Pundaquit Beach, go on an island-hopping spree to Camara (15-minute boat ride) followed by Capones (additional 10 minutes). The latter is bigger than the former and with more sights to see such as a lighthouse that offers 360-degree views of the island. All and the same, both places feature scenic rock formations and boulders that are set against high cliffs.
  • Potipot Island: Found off the coast of Zambales in Candelaria is this island that literally translates to “small white sand”. This oval-shaped expanse prides itself on its powdery sand beach — add the tranquility that it offers and it definitely makes for an attractive getaway. Visitors can even choose to do a camping experience on-site.
  • Liwaliwa Beach: Found in San Felipe, its gray sand might not seem attractive at first but its sweeping shoreline gives enough space for everyone — especially during low tide. Plus, if you’re into surfing, the powerful waves will make any surfer the time of their life.
  • ★ Mount Pinatubo: The blue-green lake on the crater of this mountain is a sight to behold (and it’s the deepest in the country at 2,000 feet). Trekking to this place can be done in a day and it involves a 4×4 ride on a lahar field surrounded by panoramic sand walls. There are many local tour operators that offer packaged tours to the volcano’s crater-lake and price ranges from P2,000-P3,000 if via Capas, Tarlac — and P2,500 if via Botolan, Zambales.
    • Otherwise, you can book a guided packaged tour from Manila. For other options in the area, you can do a volcanic ash massage, apply a mud pack at Pinatubo Spa Town, or visit and interact with the Aetas in a nearby Aeta village. If you still have time after exploring the crater of Mount Pinatubo, you can also visit other attractions such as Capas Shrine, Japanese caves and tunnels, and ancestral houses in Zambales.

Where to stay? See the top Zambales hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Zambales tours
How far from Manila? About 4 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •

» SUBIC: Technically a part of Zambales, I decided to separate this into a sub-section since it is a municipality that holds quite a range of beach getaways and recreational activities. As a former US Navy facility, it sure has a lot to offer for visitors — from beach resorts, recreational places, theme parks, and even shopping centers!

A one-day road trip is actually possible to explore the best of Subic Bay, but to make it one of your weekend getaways from Manila is a better choice! Some of the things to do in Subic are…

  • ★ Inflatable Island: This new attraction in Subic Bay calls the attention of beachgoers especially during the summer season. The 4,200 square meters floating playground is the first in Southeast Asia and the biggest in the continent! It features different inflatable attractions like a giant swing and slide, as well as giant trampolines — all in the water. Moreover, the inflatable island is not only famous for its water activities but also for its Instagram-perfect lounges and backdrops.

    Related read: Inflatable Island Travel Guide

  • Ocean Adventure: Considered the best Subic tourist spot, Ocean Adventure is the first to open a marine theme park in Southeast Asia. It offers tourists an extensive list of water activities such as swimming and interacting with sea animals, as well as a large collection of marine life. The highlight attraction is the up-close encounter with sea lions and dolphins through animal shows. To avail of affordable Ocean Adventure passes, book online.
  • Zoobic Safari: A 20-hectare safari where visitors can see wild and exotic animals in their natural habitat. The park has areas made especially for different kinds of creatures such as bearcats, camels, wild cats, birds, reptile species, and many more. A must-try experience in Zoobic Safari is feeding the tigers from a protected vehicle — you’re sure to see their sharp teeth and hear their loud roars up close!
  • Treetop Adventure: Yes, Subic Bay definitely has it all; from animal encounters and beach getaways to thrilling activities for adrenaline junkie travelers. This theme park offers thrilling experiences such as ziplines, Canopy Ride, Superman Ride, interactive free fall, and many more.
  • Duty-Free Shopping: Aside from visiting attractions, shopping for pasalubong (souvenirs/gifts) is a must when visiting a new destination. Lucky for you, Subic Bay is known as a haven of Duty-Free Shops where travelers can score cheap items, especially imported chocolates, chips, and even liquors.

Where to stay? See the top Subic hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Subic tours
How far from Manila? About 2.5 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •


San Guillermo Church, Pampanga

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Just 2 hours away, Pampanga is a great choice for weekend getaways from Manila not only because of its theme parks and history but also for its local cuisine. Some key highlights are…

  • The Sandbox: This attraction is located in the town of Porac and it offers different outdoor activities for every kind of traveler looking to try roller coaster zip line, rappelling, wall climbing, free-falling, ATV rides, giant swing, and aerial walk challenge! These are just some of the must-try activities that will challenge your balance and flexibility.
  • Aqua Planet: A 10,000-hectare resort that features about 38 thrilling water slides and attractions including Aqua Loop, Superbowl, and Tornado. To purchase admission tickets, book online.
  • Old churches: The province of Pampanga is also home to several historic churches and most are considered as national treasures because of their intricate designs and unique beauty. Some of the churches to visit includes Betis Church of Guagua, Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando, and San Guillermo Church of Bacolor. Catholic devotees not only visit these churches in Pampanga, but it’s also known for doing Visita Iglesia every Holy Week.
  • Culinary Heritage Tour: Pampanga is dubbed as the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines” because most of the all-time favorite Pinoy food including sisig, tusino, and kare-kare originated here. Naturally, Kapampangans are known as good cooks given that every household and restaurant can whip up great-tasting dishes. So when visiting Pampanga, don’t miss the chance to try their exotic and traditional delicacies. Visit some of the well-known ‘Old Kitchens of Pampanga’ that includes Atching Lilian Borromeo’s Kitchen, Kabigting’s Halo-Halo, Susie’s Cuisine, and Everybody’s Café.
  • ★ Hot Air Balloon Festival: This exciting and colorful festival is one of the most celebrated Pampanga tourist activities. Simply head to Lubao during the month of March to witness hundreds of hot-air balloons ascend to the sky. You can even get the chance to ride one of those balloons! The event also offers activities such as kite flying, skydiving, and even paragliding.

Where to stay? See the top Pampanga hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Pampanga tours
How far from Manila? About 1.5 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •


Weekend Getaways from Manila : Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

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Bataan is one of the weekend getaways from Manila that is gaining popularity among travelers. There are several ways to reach the province and visitors can either board a ferry from Manila to Bataan that will take almost an hour of travel time, or ride a bus from Manila with almost 3-4 hours of travel time depending on the destination.

So why Bataan? Top of mind answer would be the fact that it is a top heritage and eco-tourism destination with many places and activities to offer, not limited to…

  • Mt. Samat Nationa Shrine: Start your exploration of Bataan province by hiking the historic Mt. Samat, a place where the famous Dambana ng Kagitingan or Shrine of Valor can be seen on its summit. The huge memorial cross has a wall-engraved narrative of the Battle of the Bataan, and along with it is a memorial of fallen soldiers of World War II. Aside from history, the summit also offers a breath-taking view of the Bataan Peninsula.
  • ★ Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar: This is the Philippines’ first-ever heritage resort that houses Spanish era structures and old-traditional Filipino houses. It is a favorite location for those who want to have a glimpse of history — as well as for those looking for an Instagrammable location. The entrance fee is a bit expensive (at P1,500/head during weekdays and P1,850 during weekends) but it is worth it especially when you witness the beauty and uniqueness of the whole place.

    TIP: You can get a discounted ticket if you book online.
    ALTERNATIVE: Vigan, one of the few Spanish colonial towns left in the Philippines and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site — but it’s a bit far, about 6 hours from Manila. If you’ve got time, it’s a great place to visit though!

  • Morong Beaches: Bataan also has exciting beaches that even offer fun water activities that are ideal for families and groups of friends. Banana boat rides, Jet Ski, and others, for instance, are offered by different resorts within the town of Morong.
  • Tarak Ridge, Mt. Mariveles: If you want to get up-close with nature and experience a different kind of adventure, hike, and camp at the Tarak Ridge in Mt. Mariveles. Majestic views and incredible sunsets await every traveler there who wishes to explore the highest peak in Bataan.

Other sights to visit in Bataan include Pawikan Conservation Center, where sea turtles are protected in a facility — or if you want to know more about the history of the province as well as the unfortunate story of the Bataan Death March, visit the Bataan World War II Museum.

Where to stay? See the top Bataan hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Bataan tours
How far from Manila? About 2 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •


Monasterio de Tarlac

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Tarlac is an emerging tourist destination in Luzon that will give travelers a different perspective on travel. The province is most often a pit stop for visitors going further north (e.g. Baguio), so its beauty is sometimes less explored, making it one of the best weekend getaways from Manila.

Tarlac offers a wide variety of sights and adventures, and they are…

  • KCT Kart City: An entertainment hub known for go-kart hustling! This place is ideal for visitors who are seeking thrills. The price range of go-kart rental is around P250 for 5 minutes.
  • Monasterio de Tarlac: Inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s Christo Redentor, this is a standout amongst the best spots to visit in Tarlac. The 30-foot statue of Jesus Christ stands and stretches along the serene and vibrant mountains of the province.
  • Goshen Resort: Located in Bamban, this place will give visitors a glimpse of Rome because of several structures that are inspired by Roman architecture. The main highlight of the site is a coliseum that resembles the famous Colosseum in Rome, making it an ideal place for photo opportunities.
  • ★ Isdaan Floating Restaurant: If you want to experience a unique eating experience, dine here and indulge in delicious local delicacies while being serenaded by local folk singers or walk in a pond full of coy fish for a relaxing fish spa.

Aside from these top tourist attractions, there are also natural wonders that you can visit such as Bulsa River, ANZAP Twin Falls, and Ubod Falls.

Where to stay? See the top Tarlac hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Tarlac tours
How far from Manila? About 2 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •


Jomalig Island

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Found in Calabarzon region, the province of Quezon has a rich heritage, a number of natural wonders, and some unique sights to entice you in making it one of your weekend getaways from Manila!

  • ★ Borawan & Dampalitan Islands: Wanna feel like you’re in Palawan‘s famed limestone cliffs, but not in the mood to fly too far? Head over to these islands that boast towering cliffs reminiscent of the ones that you’ll see in Coron and El Nido. In a way, it’s a ‘cuter’ copy but you’ll love how it’s coupled with its white beaches. So arm yourself with your camping gear and have some fun with friends and family! The island is equipped with stores, bath, toilets, and even rock climbing services.
  • Jomalig Island: It’s not easy to reach this place since you will have to do a 4 to 6-hour boat ride from Ungos Port — but if you want a vacation that’s unique and undisturbed, this is the place for you. Once you get to camp or stay in a hut accommodation, you can take your time exploring the various stretches on the island such as Kanaway Beach, Golden Sand Beach, Little Batanes, and many others.
  • ★ Villa Escudero Plantations: One of the oldest resorts in the Philippines that is situated in the town of Tiaong. It’s a top tourist attraction for those who want to experience traditional Filipino culture and heritage. Truth be told, this resort became famous because of its restaurant by the waterfalls called Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant and it usually gets crowded during lunchtime and weekends. But aside from this waterfall restaurant, there are a lot of other things to do here such as visiting museums, watching cultural shows and trying river rafting.

    Tip: Join an organized tour by booking online.

  • Mauban: This is a quaint town that you can consider if you want to explore black sand beaches, waterfalls, caves, and hills. For one thing, don’t forget to make a trip to Cagbalete Island which is great for its creamy sand that gets perfectly exposed during low tide. When it comes to waterfalls, check off Dahoyhoy Falls which is a layered beauty with a shallow pool, as well as Hagdan-Hagdan Falls that is a series of wide cascades ranging from 3 to 6 feet (hence the name that roughly translates to ‘terraces’).

Where to stay? See the top Quezon hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Quezon tours
How far from Manila? About 5 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •


Weekend Getaways from Manila : Masungi Geo Reserve

If you’re looking for a place for relaxation, art appreciation, nature activities, and nightlife — you don’t need to travel far either. After all, Rizal is one of the best getaways from Manila with the city Antipolo topping the list as the most sought after destination.

  • ★ Antipolo: One of the vibrant weekend getaways from Manila that is easily accessible — and with a lot of experiences to offer…
    • Pinto Art Museum: A haven for art-lovers. The museum holds unique works of art from local artists and visitors can have their Instagram-perfect shot on the aesthetic corners and vibrant gardens of the museum.
    • Hinulugang Taktak: This waterfall is considered as the icon of Antipolo City for so many years; but unfortunately, it became polluted and it underwent years of rehabilitation. Last 2018, it has once again opened its doors to the public and almost recovered its natural beauty.
    • Antipolo Cathedral: This is one of the major pilgrimage churches in the Philippines. It is also known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, making it a favorite amongst Filipinos when they want their newly-bought cars to be blessed. Pay a visit and grab some suman and kasoy (Antipolo’s local delicacies) outside the church for your snacks and as pasalubong, too.
    • Cloud 9’s Hanging Bridge: Get a 360-view of Antipolo city when you cross this famous hanging bridge that’s found at Cloud 9 Hotel and Resort.
    • Bar Hopping in Sumulong Highway: Another thing that Antipolo City is famous for? It’s the lively nightlife along Sumulong Highway! Several bars and karaoke hubs are aligned along this zigzag highway and these hang-out places don’t only offer good drinks but also a relaxing night view of the busy Metro Manila city’s skyscrapers.
    • Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa: Don’t ever leave Antipolo without doing a pampering activity, and this is one of the most relaxing resorts that you can get spa services from. To book it at a discounted price, reserve online.

      Not a fan of DIY travel? You can book an organized Antipolo day tour that covers all the highlights of the city!

  • ★ Baras: One of the places in Rizal that is gaining popularity from travelers, hikers, and nature lovers due mainly to its Masungi Geo Reserve. This is a sanctuary with stunning limestone rock formations within a 600-million-year-old rainforest. It is perfect for beginners and experienced hikers alike, and the trails are filled with surprises and challenges. Potential visitors need to reserve their slots and should have at least 7 persons in the group. The rate per guest is P1,500 on weekdays while P1,800 per guest on weekends. The fee includes complimentary light snacks as well as a local park ranger guide.
    • You will love the spectacular view of Laguna de Bay on Sapot, a web-style viewing platform — or try the suspended bridge above a rainforest on a large Duyan (hammock).
    • The best way to get to Masungi is via a private vehicle since there are available parking slots within the area. Visitors can also commute via jeep from Araneta Center, Cubao to Cogeo. Ride another jeepney bound to Sampaloc and alight at the Kilometer 47 Masungi Entrance. Expect a lot of walking and hiking that requires a lot of physical endurance so it is advisable to eat before the start of the hike.
    • Tickets to Masungi Geo Reserve can also be purchased online.
  • Tanay: A popular combination that is made when visitors come by Tanay is the Mt. Daraitan and Tinipak River. The former is at the heart of the Sierra Madre mountain range with a 600-meter ascent, and only 300 people are allowed on the summit per day (so it’s best to come early to register for the hike). Meanwhile, the latter is an interesting trek in itself with the option to explore the Tinipak Cave.
  • Avilon Zoo: Said to be the largest zoological institution in the country, you can gain access here at a discount if you book online. Come roam around the 7.5-hectare facility that houses more than 3,000 exotic wildlife and learn their practices on how they strive to do conservation efforts.

Where to stay? See the top Rizal hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Rizal tours
How far from Manila? About 5 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •


Enchanted Kingdom

Laguna, as one of the near weekend getaways from Manila, is often the top go-to choice for quick swimming trips and out of town road trip vacations. It’s the perfect place to take a short break without having to go too far from Manila, given that it has a number of recreational resorts. From hot springs, lakes, and private resorts, the province has a wide range of options for the entire family or barkada.

  • Splash Island: This is one of the most visited resorts in Laguna and it is dubbed as the province’s biggest water park since it offers more than 20 slides and rides designed to provide thrilling aquatic adventures. For affordable Splash Island tickets, you can purchase them online.
    • If you’re rather looking for a resort with exciting amenities and recreational activities, Caliraya Resort Club has swimming pools, wave pools, and fun water games. It’s only an hour away from Splash Island and you can purchase day tickets online too.
  • ★ Enchanted Kingdom: This is the Philippines’ first and only theme park, and it’s a favorite among locals especially since it is so close, making it a top day trip from Manila tour. In this 25-hectare ‘kingdom’, you’ll get to enjoy 8 themed zones with over 20 rides and attractions — Space Shuttle, Anchor’s Away, Rio Grande, and more! For affordable entrance tickets (and even a shuttle bus transfer), you can purchase them online.
    • Found nearby is Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, an area packed with outlet malls and restaurants; thus, it has become a popular ‘stopover’ whenever you’re coming to Enchanted Kingdom or Tagaytay, or before you come back to Manila. Don’t forget to check out the Republic Wakepark is you’re up for wakeboarding with your friends.
  • ★ Pagsanjan Falls: Go and chase waterfalls by starting with Pagsanjan. It’s a known 300-feet roaring waterfall for locals as it is mentioned a lot in school (and also featured in the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’). Getting there is a bit of an adventure though since you will be hopping on a canoe or ‘bangka’, and I’m sure you’ll be awed by the skillful maneuvering of the boatmen as they move you upstream.
  • Mt. Makiling: This is the ‘crown jewel’ of the province, a dormant volcano that plays a popular role in a lot of Filipino mythologies and legends (it is named after a guardian spirit named Makiling). As a visitor, you won’t regret taking the hike up especially since it’s not too difficult for beginners with an option to take a guide.

Where to stay? See the top Laguna hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Laguna tours
How far from Manila? About 5 hours, see Google Maps for options[

• • •


Corregidor Island Memorial

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Corregidor is an island situated west of Manila near Manila Bay, and it is part of the municipality of Cavite. It is best known for its huge role back during WWII because given its rocky landscape (earning it the name “The Rock”) and strategic location, it helped form a line of defense against enemy forces to the country.

As such, a lot of visitors who are interested in history (which is akin to a trip to, let’s say, Normandy) would often make this one of their best weekend getaways from Manila. After all, there are several ruins and memorials set up all over the island in order to brush up your knowledge of World War II — the Malinta Tunnel‘s 1000-bed hospital area, Japanese Garden of Peace, Mile-Long Barracks, Pacific War Memorial Museum, Filipino Heroes Memorial, and more.

Beyond this, however, you can also enjoy the natural beauty of Corregidor by partaking in a biking trail that will lead you to scenic spots and then end your day afterward with a sunset experience at Battery Grubbs which is one of the 23 batteries on the island that has ‘disappearing’ guns perched on a hill (another option is at the Corregidor Island Lighthouse). If you rather want to go on foot, you can trek through the Cadena de Amor; it will lead you to the tail of the island that grants you sweeping views of Manila Bay.

Where to stay? See the top hotels near Corregidor
What else to do? Check out these best Corregidor tours
How far from Manila? About 1 hour by ferry

• • •


Weekend Getaways from Manila: Puerto Galera

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Found on the southwest coast of Luzon, the island of Mindoro — which is sectioned into Oriental Mindoro (east) and Occidental Mindoro (west) — has a variety of unspoiled beaches and natural wonders to fill up anyone’s itinerary for weekend getaways from Manila. In fact, it’s a tranquil escape from the metro that is often not too crowded and the top things to do are as follows…

  • ★ Puerto Galera: This is a popular beach town on the island wherein you can find a myriad of resorts, restaurants, and shops — and for a good reason, because the region has great white sandy beaches and marine life, making it a favorite among divers too (besides, it has been declared as a ‘Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO’). Don’t forget to drop by White Beach on the west of Puerto Galera for lesser crowds.
  • ★ Apo Reef National Park: Since I’ve already mentioned diving, this is the spot that you must NOT miss if you’re a diver. This is the Philippines’ largest coral reef system, as well as the world’s 2nd largest (next to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef). You will love the huge variety of marine species but fret not if you’re not an experienced diver because snorkeling is also an activity that you can do here (as well as dolphin-watching and lagoon-rafting). It is even possible to camp here for the night.
  • Pandan Island: Situated 2km west of Mindoro is this little island that has exceptional marine life. A lot of visitors would often book into the island’s only resort which is a private hideaway made by a French adventurer back in 1986. It’s fully booked from November to May which is the diving season; so if you plan to head here, you should book in advance.
    • If you want to venture more to the south and see its remote places, check the Islands Of Bulalacao: Target, Aslom, Suguicay, Liawagao, Tambaron, Maasin, Pocanil, Sibalat, and Buyayao.
  • Mount Halcon: For seasoned hikers, you might want to conquer this mountain that is one of the toughest to climb in the country. With a height of 2,500 meters, you’ll encounter steep trails and dense forestry (that will take you 4 days to reach the summit) so it will require some time to prepare — but it will all be worth it!
    • Alternatively, you can hike Mt. Iglit-Baco National Park and reach Mt. Iglit’s summit at 2,364 meters. Other than that, this ASEAN Heritage Park has a huge expanse of 75,445 hectares so you’ll have lots of fun crossing its rivers, meeting the Mangyans (an indigenous tribe in Mindoro), camping on the grounds, and more.

Where to stay? See the top Mindoro hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Mindoro tours
How far from Manila? About 1 hour by plane or 3 hours from Batangas — book a hassle-free bus + ferry transfer from Manila tours

• • •


Hundred Islands Pangasinan

Photo by: Shutterstock

Grab a car and venture out to the coastal province of Pangasinan, a hidden gem that will grant you adventures of sorts, notable of which are…

  • ★ Hundred Islands: This is a well-known national park in which the islands totaling to 124 at low tide and 123 at high tide. It might be a joy to explore all if you have the time, but only 3 of them have been developed for tourism, namely Governor Island, Quezon Island, and Children’s Island (UPDATE: Trips to Pilgrimage, Lopez and Marcos Island is often also possible too). You will absolutely enjoy the clear waters and variety of sea life.
    • Want a hassle-free day trip tour to these islands from Manila? Book online!
  • Patar Beach: Often dubbed as the ‘Boracay of Pangasinan’, visitors love the long shoreline and white sand by the waters thereby making the province a common choice for weekend getaways from Manila.
  • Sunflower Maze: Found in Tayug, this 2,100sqm flower farm is a hit amongst locals and as the name implies, it’s a bit of a maze with a capacity of over 100 people and a tour that lasts up to 30 minutes.
  • Bolinao Falls: A mesmerizing set of 3 waterfalls by the Bolinao river, with the first one being the most popular as visitors love to dive from its jump-off point.

Where to stay? See the top Pangasinan hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Pangasinan tours
How far from Manila? About 3 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •

La Union

Weekend Getaways from Manila : La Union

Photo by: Shutterstock

Mention La Union to locals and they will instantly tell you that it is known for surfing — after all, it is the surfing capital of North Luzon. Rest assured, if you’re not a surfer, the province has lots to offer you if you ever choose it as one of your weekend getaways from Manila (if not a day trip from Manila!).

For starters, head on over to San Juan. The coastline has great swells that will thrill any surfer and the peak season starts from October to March. The most popular beach will be Urbiztondo, but there are other places too like Bacnotan, Taboc, and Darigayos. Once you’re done with some water fun, don’t miss out on the incredible sunset views on the beach and then capping it off with some good local food from the various beach bars and restaurants like Surf Shack, Mad Monkeys, etc.

TIP: Book discounted surfer lessons online!

If you want to venture out, go north to Luna and visit Pebble Beach for its unique landscape. Nearby, you can make a stop at Bahay na Bato which has interesting stone and wooden sculptures — or if you’re religious, visit the Spanish colonial church of St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish which is also listed as a National Cultural Treasure of the Philippines.

Want a different scene? Drive to San Gabriel’s Tangadan Falls which has a beautiful pool that locals love to swim in. You can even ride a bamboo raft to get closer to the falls, if not do cliff diving.

Where to stay? See the top La Union hotels
What else to do? Check out these best La Union tours
How far from Manila? About 4 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •


Sabang Beach Baler

Photo by: Shutterstock

Yet another famous surfing town, but Baler in Aurora also boasts a range of attractions. Plus, you will love the winding yet scenic drive that leads to this town. To fill up your weekend, consider the following activities…

  • ★ Surfing: Head to Sabang Beach for your surfing needs! This is also the place where most resorts and restaurants are found, given that the beach is a magnet for visitors that are looking to take beginner surfing lessons if not professional surfers looking for amazing swells.
    • When you’re up for some food grub, check out Kubli Bistro, Bayler View, or Myrtle Park.
  • Chase waterfalls: First up, jot down Ditumabo Falls for its grand cascades. Reaching it will take a 20-minute trek, but you will love the cool waters as you wash away the sweat from the hike. Another option is Caunayan Falls; it may not be as grand as the former, but it’s a good option if you don’t want to hike.
  • Visit other beaches: Top of the list would be Dicasalarin Cove, a private beach but quite scenic due to its white beach and rock formations. Or you can also jump to Dicasalarin Bay for some snorkeling since it holds quite a lot of colorful corals. Other options would be Cemento Beach, Anlao Islets, or Diguisit Beach.
  • Walk around town: Make a stop at Balete Park to witness its ‘Millenium Tree’ — a famous 600-year old balete tree that towers at 213 feet and with a diameter of 197 feet. Other landmarks to check out would be Baler Church, Museo de Baler, and Doña Aurora House.

Where to stay? See the top Baler hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Baler tours
How far from Manila? About 4.5 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •


Weekend Getaways from Manila : Baguio Mines View Park

Photo by: Shutterstock

Much like Tagaytay, Baguio is a favorite amongst locals when they want a chilly escape from Manila. It was originally built as a hill station in 1900 during the American Colonial Period — which will explain why a lot of the key locations’ names below are western in nature. Nevertheless, its high altitude warrants you to pack a jacket but it will be one of those weekend getaways from Manila that you will never forget!

TIP: Want to do a day trip to Baguio from Manila instead? You can join this tour!
ADDITIONAL STOP: If you don’t mind going a bit further (about 5 hours more from Baguio), you can drop by the famed Banaue Rice Terraces!

  • ★ Camp John Hay: Covered with tall pine trees, this area holds some key places such as…
    • Treetop Adventures: Where you can try a zipline ride or a Tree Drop (harnessed free fall).
    • Yellow Trail: An easy 1.5-kilometer path that will make you go around the pine tree forest.
    • Butterfly Garden: A fun stop for families or kids.
  • Burnham Park: Yet another typical stop made by visitors, with families loving the option to rent a swan boat and paddle if not pedal through the Burnham Lagoon. Other activities that you can do is to try a Go-Kart or bike rental, if not just lounge around the grounds.
  • Mines View Park: A great viewpoint for watching the sunset as you get a glimpse of the copper and gold mines of Itogon town in the distance. It can get quite crowded here though, but it’s still another favorite spot in the city.
    • You can also drop by the nearby Wright Park if you want to try some horseback riding for a fee of Php200.
  • Strawberry Farm: Found in La Trinidad, this is a common must-do of tourists where you can basically pick strawberries yourself from the plots for an added fee. Otherwise, you can just buy fresh strawberries per kilo at a price that starts at Php250.
  • Colors of Stobosa: Just near the strawberry farm is this community project wherein you can find hillside mural houses painted in various colors — a bit similar to the Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, Korea, but in more vibrant colors.

Where to stay? See the top Baguio hotels
What else to do? Check out these best Baguio tours
How far from Manila? About 3.5 hours, see Google Maps for options

• • •

Booking Essentials

Book an AirBnB

TIP: It’s a good idea to crosscheck the prices with other popular travel insurance providers like World Nomads and HeyMondo (as my reader, you get 5% off)!
However, take note a travel insurance’s affordability typically means lesser coverage; so please always ensure that you read the fine print in order to decipher which travel insurance company is the right fit for you and your trip!

Looking for more travel tips for the Philippines?

Check out my other detailed Philippine travel guides!

• • •

Top 15 Destinations for Weekend Getaways from Manila (Philippines)


The Philippines’ capital may not have white sand beaches or picturesque hills, but it sure has a ton of nearby towns that can be turned into weekend getaways from Manila (if not day trips) to make the most of your stay!

• • •

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Hey there! I am Aileen Adalid.
At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to pursue my dreams. Today, I am a successful digital nomad (online entrepreneur, travel writer, & vlogger) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.

My mission? To show you how it is absolutely possible to create a life of travel no matter the odds — and I will help you achieve that through my detailed travel hacks, guides, resources, tips, and MORE!

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  1. Jay Eleanor

    I love La Union, I’ve been there and it’s a great place. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Your article is very great in detail and recommendation. Can’t wait to go back here. I miss La Union

  2. Jammy Hernandez

    This is very informative! Please make about beach camping spot here in the Philippines :) thanks :)

  3. Juliet

    Beautiful places! Good for relaxing. Can’t wait for this pandemic to be over and we can start exploring the beauty of our country.

  4. Maria

    What a great blog! Thanks for sharing. I really wanna explore those places when everything’s back to normal.

    • Aileen Adalid

      Thank you so much! I hope you get to soon!


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