Nothing beats a good ol’ road trip with friends and family. A bag full of snacks, fun playlist, and wacky travel companions are all you need for a good time. Fortunately, old roads are being renovated and new expressways are being built making road trips safer and faster.
A good idea for road trips is to travel to the farthest destination first. then visit the interesting attractions and fun activities on your way back. This will ensure you still have energy for sightseeing and not get bored of the travel back home.
Now that you have everything prepared, here are some incredible destinations you should venture when you plan to road trip outside Manila.
The Northwest Road Trip – Ilocos
Probably one of the most popular road trips in Luzon, many undertake this 12-hour drive to the province of Ilocos northwestern part of Luzon. If you love history and relics from the past, this road trip is perfect for you. This trip might take a few days depending on how long you intend to stay at each destination. Three to four days are sufficient for most.
On your first day, head to the edge of Luzon at Pagudpud (12-hours from Manila). Take a break from the long journey by dropping by these interesting points along the way:
– Surf at San Juan, La Union
– Eat Calasiao Puto, Pigar-pigar, and Bangus at Dagupan
– Take a quick dip at Suso Beach, Ilocos Sur
Summer is well on its way, and with it comes the face-melting heat we all know and love (not really). Thankfully, we’re also blessed with a ton of natural resources which provide instant relief from the sun. Apart from beaches and lakes, we also have dozens and dozens of waterfalls – some in one province alone!
Just an hour or two from Manila are a plethora of choices for a relaxing and refreshing summer day trip. Check out these waterfalls near Manila for your next barkada adventure.
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Dahoyhoy Falls is merely 1 of a rumored 20 waterfalls in the town of Mauban. Along with Hagdan-hagdan Falls and Alitap Falls, Dahoyhoy is one of the more popular falls thanks to its accessibility and natural beauty. Getting there is a scenic hike through rice fields and hanging bridges, though it is relatively easy thanks to a cement pathway. There are stone picnic tables and lots of shade right beside the basin, perfect for a relaxing lunch by the waterside. Despite its accessibility, the falls still aren’t overrun by tourists, which means that if you’re Continue reading Awesome Waterfalls Near Manila for Cool Summer Daytrips
Ilocos Norte, the northwestern-most province in the island of Luzon, has become synonymous with windmills and white beaches. Rightly so, we think, with these popular sights truly a breathtaking experience. But while tourists crowd all the usual spots, there are lots more to see in this rich and laid-back province. Check out these underrated spots in Ilocos Norte for a one-of-a-kind trip (and unique selfies!).
Cabo Bojeador Lighthouse, Burgos
Also known as the Burgos Lighthouse, the Cabo Bojeador Lighthouse was first lit in March 1892 and is still operational up to this day. It marks the northwestern-most tip of the country and serves as a beacon for ships entering our waters from the north. The lighthouse offers commanding views of Cape Bojeador from its hilltop location. It’s perfect for sunset selfies against the structure’s beautifully preserved Spanish colonial architecture. The lighthouse’s volunteer staff also offer short guided tours where guests can learn all about its Continue reading These Underrated Spots in Ilocos Norte will Redefine Your Vacation
The US has the Pacific Coast Highway; Canada has the Columbia Icefields Parkway, and Australia has the Great Ocean Road. But you don’t have to go abroad just to see beautiful drives and breathtaking highway views. The Philippines has its fair share of gorgeous routes, starting with the most scenic drives in Luzon.
With these vistas, the journey truly becomes half the destination (if not more!) So check your tires, gas up, and pack your car chow as these scenic drives around Luzon give a whole new meaning to road trips.
Halsema Highway to Sagada
When talking about scenic drives in Luzon, Halsema Highway is perhaps the most famous – and for a good reason. Now that Sagada is a tourist hotspot, Halsema Highway is becoming just as busy. This stretch from Benguet to Mt. Province first became famous for its rolling terrain and sharp zigzags, where the mountain falls off on either side of the road and transforms into rice terraces, small fields, or quaint little villages. It’s also famous for its gasp-inducing turns, where you don’t see the road beneath your car when you look out the window. Another attraction on the Halsema Highway are the rickety old buses speeding like rocket ships, which add a whole new layer of excitement to the experience.
Tabuk to Tinglayan, Kalinga
Officially, the almost 3-hour-long route is called the Mt. Province-Tabuk-Enrile-Cagayan Road – a mouthful. And when driving through its winding mountainous highway, the road is an eyeful as well. Some turns would reveal verdant rice terraces carved on the mountain ranges as far as the eye can see, while some turns would unveil sparkling blue rivers snaking through the thick forest below. This is one of the most common routes to Buscalan, where the now legendary Apo Whang-Od, the mambabatok, lives. It’s also possible to commute this way by taking a Victory Liner bus from Kamuning to Tabuk, then taking a jeep to Tinglayan. When passing through this road, make sure to keep your windows Continue reading These Scenic Drives in Luzon Will Leave You Breathless
Sometimes, the best adventures are found right outside your door – or at least kind of close to it. Take Tarlac, for instance. It is only 2.5 hours from Manila and is a downright mecca of exciting activities. Sure, there is the famous Pinatubo trek, which tourists flock to, year in and year out. But not many are aware that there is so much more to see. Rappelling? Canoeing? Whitewater rafting? There is no shortage of outdoor pursuits in this province north of Manila. If Mother Nature calls out to you on a weekly basis, check out these fun activities in Tarlac that will surely quench your thirst for thrills.
Fly high on a helicopter ride
Few things truly capture the phrase “experience of a lifetime,” but a private helicopter ride over the lahar canyons of Tarlac and the turquoise crater of Mt. Pinatubo is one of them. PhilJets, a renowned aeronautics company, offers private charters over the famous volcano. Guests can experience views few have seen, and appreciate one of the country’s most iconic destinations from a breathtaking perspective. PhilJets offers tours ranging from 1 hour and 25 minutes to up to 3 Continue reading Awesome Adventures in Tarlac Perfect for Every Kind of Outdoorsman
Bulacan is one of the most historical provinces in the Philippines. From the Malolos Constitution to the Battle of Quingua, many momentous events in our country’s story took place here. It’s also rich in culinary tradition and natural resources, making it a great destination for short vacations.
So for you weekend warriors out there, we created a list of the must-visit tourist spots in Bulacan! Choose between natural wonders, cultural landmarks, and delicious food for a fun weekend with the gang.
If the constant stream of tourists in places like Vigan and Taal say anything, it’s that there’s still space in the Filipino’s heart for culture and history. After all, there’s no better way to get a feel for the olden days than to visit a town that’s pretty much a time machine. One such place is the Pila Heritage Town in Laguna.
Pila’s historic town center is located in Barangay Sta. Clara Norte. In 2000, The National Historical Comission (NHC) declared it as a National Historical Landmark, but didn’t gain traction as a mainstream tourist spot until a few years ago. If you’re looking for a cultural weekend experience and a quick break from the city, check out Pila Heritage Town for a good dose of history.
It’s only 1 of 4 such towns in the country
Over the centuries, one war or another obliterated most of our rich heritage. After 300 years of Spanish colonization and the subsequent American reign, we were left with only 4 towns recognized as national historic landmarks. These are the city of Vigan, the town of Taal in Batangas, Silay in Negros, and Pila, Laguna.
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
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
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
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.
With 7,107 islands locked by dozens of seas and one vast ocean, it’s no surprise we have a bounty of destinations for every kind of water activity. Our love for all things water even led to man-made sites just to provide space for our favorite recreations. Despite this abundance, there are still areas in the Philippines that are considered the best destinations for water sports. And we’re not talking about the famous ones where hordes of people flock to at every opportunity. These travel spots may be less popular and less crowded, but they offer conditions that are just as good – if not better – than their more famous counterparts.
Check out these Philippine hidden water sports spots if you think it’s something you want to get into. You may just find your next weekend destination.