5 Fun Weekend Destinations You Can Reach by Bus from Manila

by Julia Escaño

It’s the weekend, and there is another mega sale in one – or God forbid, all – of the city’s many malls. You can already imagine the traffic that is going to lock the city down. The thought alone is stressful enough. So what better way is there to deal with Manila’s chaos than not having to deal with it at all? Perhaps this is the perfect excuse to head out of town for the weekend to properly unwind.

There are vast options for weekend destinations near Manila that you can reach by bus. Whether you decide to go north or south, there are beautiful outdoor destinations, cultural sites, and (best of all) delicious local flavors to enjoy. If a quick trip for a breath of fresh air sounds appealing, check out these awesome spots waiting just around the corner.

Angeles & Magalang, Pampanga

Start with a memorable meal at Bale Dutung
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Photo by louis r | CC BY

Start the weekend right with a 10+-course degustation by Chef Claude Tayag at his homey Angeles space called Bale Dutung. Chef Claude is most known for hosting Anthony Bourdain on his first visit to the Philippines. Now, part of the menus offered at Bale Dutung are the dishes Chef Claude prepared for Anthony Bourdain himself. Also offered are courses highlighting lechon, Kapampangan specialties, and Christmas dishes. The well-paced degustation is a whole day affair, starting at Continue reading 5 Fun Weekend Destinations You Can Reach by Bus from Manila

A Different World Awaits in These Lakes Near Manila

by Julia Escano

When you cross out all the mountains and hiking trails nearby, and had your fill with food trips, where do you go next? Sure, there’s always something to discover in the dozens of towns and cities surrounding Manila. But at some point all of them start to look the same and you crave for something different. What then?

One yet-to-be habitual destination for city dwellers are the lakes near Manila. While some are already famous, there are others waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. These lakes near Manila are perfect for weekend getaways and daytrips; where you and your family or barkada can while away the day swimming or having picnics.

So if your gang is looking for a different escape, check out these scenic lakes near Manila for your next weekend getaway.

Taal Lake, Batangas  

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Photo by Babak Fakhamzadeh | CC BY
taal-SUP-lakes-near-manila
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With the ever-increasing traffic jams going to Tagaytay these days, the thought of relaxing in the scenic ridge city is becoming more and more stressful. Instead of getting caught with the throng, why not escape to nearby Taal Lake and the smaller Crater Lake. While the rest merely enjoy the view, you can enjoy everything else this famous destination has to offer.

Resorts like Club Balai Isabel and Taal Lake Yacht Club offer tours to these spots. Packages usually start with a boat ride through Taal Lake to Volcano Island. Once on the island, you can have an easy trek or a short ride on horseback to the peak, Continue reading A Different World Awaits in These Lakes Near Manila

Enjoy Nature in Style in These 8 Glamping Spots Near Manila

by Julia Escano

Most of us are guilty of it. We romanticize camping, thinking it’s a cool way to show we’re hardcore outdoorsmen. We get it: the idea of lying outdoors with nothing between you and the stars does sound romantic. Then come the first few mosquitoes, the ants that find their way into our tent, and that annoying piece of rock that keeps digging into our backs as we sleep. While camping certainly has its charms, there is an alternative to enjoying nature without having to get rough and dirty.

Enter glamping. The concept of “camping with glamor” has been around for a while, and finally, it’s becoming a bigger thing in the Philippines. With glamping sites near Manila sprouting regularly year after year, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a crowd favorite for city dwellers. What’s so great about glamping is that it marries the best of both worlds: the rustic beauty of nature, and the creature comforts of luxury. What more can you ask for, right? So if you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone on your next weekend or holiday, here’s a list of the best glamping sites near Manila that you can enjoy.

San Rafael River Adventure, Bulacan 

glamping sites near manila - San Rafael River Adventure, Bulacan
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Along the stretch of the Angat riverbanks in the town of San Rafael, is a retreat that’ll make you feel like the city isn’t just two hours away. While amenities like an infinity pool are a major draw, the real attractions are the expanses of bamboo and the serene Angat River naturally defining the landscape. The best part is San Continue reading Enjoy Nature in Style in These 8 Glamping Spots Near Manila

These Eerie Spots Near Manila Will Get You Into the Halloween Spirit

by Julia Escaño

Between visiting departed loved ones and partying in your chosen costume, Halloween season is always full of festivities. But is this really what Halloween is about? Or is it about letting the spirits and elementals of the netherworlds roam freely for one night?

No matter your flavor of Halloween, there’s no denying that ghost hunting and horror stories are part of the holiday. Looking for a destination to get your hands on some hair-raising excitement? These top haunted places near Manila are sure to give you a taste of Halloween’s essence. So bring your brave buddies, strap on those running shoes (just in case), and get the ultimate Halloween experience!

St. Pancratius Chapel, La Loma Cemetery

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Photo by cyndayco/ CC BY | Photo by cyndayco/ CC BY

Approximately 132 years ago the La Loma Cemetery, then known as the Cementerio de Binondo, opened its original wrought iron gate to the gentry of Manila. Since then, dozens of the country’s elite have been laid to rest in its grounds, lying beneath ornate tombs and magnificent mausoleums. It has also been years since the old St. Pancratius Chapel at the heart of the cemetery was put to use.

As creepiness goes, the abandoned chapel with its baroque design and skull and crossbones details is pretty hair-raising, especially when you visit it on a quiet afternoon. If you’re lucky enough to peek through an open window, the empty hall and debris on the floor are a haunting remembrance of decay. That said, actual horror stories at the St. Pancratius Chapel are pretty rare, so there should Continue reading These Eerie Spots Near Manila Will Get You Into the Halloween Spirit

24 Hours in Bataan: A Day In The Country’s Cultural Haven

by Julia Escaño

The weekend is coming, and you have nothing planned. Maybe your bones are still a little sore from that climb you did last weekend. But there’s the undeniable travel itch, and you just have to get out there and do something. You want to travel, but hopefully somewhere not too far it will take up your whole weekend again.

We get it. Wanderlust on a time budget is a thing, and we’ve got you covered.

Bataan province is a promising destination for culture and history enthusiasts. The best thing is that it’s only 2 hours from Manila — easily accessible by bus or car! Between shrines, memorials, and beautifully preserved colonial architecture, there is so much to see and do here to foster national appreciation.

If you’ve only got a day for exploration, make every minute count with this handpicked selection of things to do in the country’s cultural and historical mecca. You can kiss your travel itch goodbye for now.

In the morning: Get in touch with history in Mt. Samat National Shrine

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Photo by Storm Crypt | CC BY

Start your morning with a solemn but exhilarating bird’s eye view of Bataan’s hills and rice terraces at Mt. Samat Shrine. A scenic drive to Continue reading 24 Hours in Bataan: A Day In The Country’s Cultural Haven

10 Exciting Detours on Your SCTEX Road Trip

Ever since the Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) was opened in 2005, traveling to this part of the country and to its surrounding areas has become a breeze. Not only does it cut down travel time, but taking a road trip through SCTEX can also take you to a lot of exciting detours.

We’ve handpicked 10 fun-packed activities you can do with your gang or the whole family next time you’re on this expressway. Roll your windows down, cue the Eraserheads playlist, and rev up for an unforgettable road trip!

1.) Whitewater Kayaking at Camiling and Bulsa Rivers

Rapid Stream
Image Source by Rapid Stream.

Let the adrenaline rush through your veins as you brave the waters of Camiling or Bulsa Rivers. When you take a road trip through SCTEX and exit towards Tarlac City, your jump off point where you can experience this adventure. And now that the rainy season is here, you are in luck because this is the best time when water levels in the river rise, the current goes rough, and the ride gets crazy. You and your friends can have this fun escapade in San Jose, Tarlac but you can arrange for Continue reading 10 Exciting Detours on Your SCTEX Road Trip

8 Epic Daytrip Destinations Near Manila You Can Reach by Bus

Living everyday to the fullest is our philosophy here at Ellry. And what better way to do that than by going on memorable adventures? They don’t have to be far and exotic to be exciting either. There’s a ton of day trip destinations near Manila waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Just hop on a bus and you’re there!

If you’re looking for a thrill, cultural immersion, or just plain chillaxing, these spots have got you covered. The best part is, they’re all only a few hours away with multiple buses plying their routes daily. Whether it’s a weekend, a holiday, or just your day off, there’s no more excuse! It’s time to fill your Saturdays and free days with these awesome day trip destinations near Manila.

Biak-na-Bato National Park, Bulacan

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daytrip destinations near manila: Biak na bato (2)
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Located in San Miguel, the Biak-na-Bato National Park isn’t only rich historically, but also ecologically. This is the spot where the first Philippine government was founded under Emilio Aguinaldo, and where many meetings of the Katipunan were held. These days, it’s where families and barkadas converge to do some nature tripping. Most adventurers come here to climb Mt. Manalmon and its twin peak, Mt. Gola. But its tens of caves, including the Madlum and Bayukbok Caves, and the Madlum River and its giant rock formations are not to be missed either. It’s considered by many to be an easy and scenic hike, perfect for those looking for some outdoor fun without difficulty.

How to get there: From Cubao, take a Baliwag Transit or Five Star bus bound for Cabanatuan. Get off at Brgy. Kamias, San Miguel. From here take a tricycle to the jump off point.

Travel time: 2 hours Continue reading 8 Epic Daytrip Destinations Near Manila You Can Reach by Bus

Take the Kids on These Fun Outdoor Activities near Manila

by Mich Escultura

Looking for fun outdoor activities near Manila that the whole family can enjoy? Whether your family is into extreme sports, educational tours, or a little bit of both, we’ve compiled this list just for you. Here are some of the fun outdoor activities to do with your kids near Manila where your family can have a day (or two!) of fun!

Don’t worry, just because these places are fun for kids, doesn’t mean adults won’t have fun too!

1. Flow House Manila

With the simulated surfer waves at Flow House Manila, you won’t need to go very far to learn how to surf with their flowboards! Flow House Manila is an all-in-one water attraction that allows the entire family to experience the beach lifestyle within a Mall. So just imagine the endless possibilities – shopping, dining, relaxing, Continue reading Take the Kids on These Fun Outdoor Activities near Manila

Non-surfing Activities in La Union You’ll Want To Check Out

By Claire Marie Algarme

Nowadays, just mention the word “La Union” and people will instantly picture the large waves and the thrill-seekers riding them. While it’s true that La Union is the surfing destination in this part of the Philippines, there are other exciting activities to indulge in this province apart from braving the waves.

You can look for adventures inland that will take you to magnificent waterfalls or try your hand doing something different and marvel at the results. Either way, you will enjoy these experiences beyond surfing in La Union whenever you visit this Northern Province in the country.

Pottery making in Taboc, San Juan

Pottery making in Taboc, San Juan, La Union
Pottery Making. Image Source

Do you want to experience the thrill of making pots and creating your own design? You can enjoy it in Taboc, San Juan, La Union where you get to express your creativity through pottery making. Red Clay Pottery Crafts has set up the Red Clay Pagdamilian, with the last word referring to “clay pottery production area” in the Ilocano language. Who knows, maybe when you get back to your place, you can contemplate on filling your home with your clay creations and set up a business yourself.

Red Clay Pottery Crafts
Address: #14 Mc Arthur Highway, Brgy. Taboc, San Juan, La Union
Contact Information: +63 72 607 0798|+63 929 233 9730
Continue reading Non-surfing Activities in La Union You’ll Want To Check Out

These Attractions Will Make You See Batangas Beyond Its Beaches

By Claire Marie Algarme

Only a few hours away from Metro Manila and with so many attractions to offer to adventurers, it’s no mystery why the province of Batangas is the favorite go-to destination of travelers from the capital. From its beautiful beaches to its magnificent marine life, Batangas is teeming with scenery that your eyes can feast on. But more than that, its various towns offer exciting activities that can let you forget time and the world you left behind.

Take a look at the best that these towns can offer and find out what’s brewing in this side of Luzon. Here’s a rundown of activities we recommend you should try, as well as a few resorts where you can make your stay extra memorable.

Anilao, Mabini

Mermaid Swimming in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas
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Anilao is known to be a diver’s haven with the beautiful corals and other underwater landscapes that abound on its sea bed. Although it has some parts with white sand beaches, most of the resorts in Anilao are set on cliffs, mostly offering amazing snorkeling sites. But apart from snorkeling and diving, Anilao is fast-becoming a favorite destination for those who want to get their hands on windsurfing, which are available in many resorts in the area. Better yet, you can be a mermaid for a day and swim like one in the depths of Anilao. Another activity that you can include when you travel to Anilao is to trek Mt. Gulugod Baboy, which can be summited for about an hour, Continue reading These Attractions Will Make You See Batangas Beyond Its Beaches