Tagaytay is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. For those coming from the metro, this is a favorite weekend getaway because of the refreshing scenery, cooler climate and the variety of restaurants for food tripping. While you can visit Tagaytay on day trips, it’s better to spend a night or two to really enjoy the place and have more excuses to eat. Last weekend, I found myself with a bunch of travel bloggers on a major food-trip staycation courtesy of Taal Vista Hotel.
When it comes to quick weekend or day trip getaways, Tagaytay City is always a top choice for those coming from the metro. The refreshing view of Taal Lake and the variety of restaurants always makes Tagaytay a favorite foodie destination. One of the best places for dining with a view is the historic Taal Vista Hotel. After enjoying several buffet meals at Cafe Veranda and dinners by the fireplace at the Lobby Lounge, our hosts saved the best for last with a heavy breakfast/brunch at Taza Fresh Table.
For someone who lives in Quezon City, going anywhere in Makati feels like a major hassle. I used to work in the area and hated the commute so much that I resigned and eventually became a freelancer who works from home. Now, I usually avoid going here unless absolutely necessary.
Villa Escudero is one of the oldest and most famous resorts in the Philippines. This coconut plantation and resort in Tiaong, Quezon has been around for decades, having opened to the public in the 1980s. It’s a top tourist destination for foreigners and balikbayans who want to experience traditional Filipino culture and heritage. I’ve always been curious about the place because of its famous restaurant by the waterfalls, but I never got around to checking it out during previous road trips to and from Bicol because of time constraints.
Bohol is one of the island provinces in the Philippines that I don’t mind visiting again and again. There are a lot of beautiful sights to see here for first-time visitors, including the famed Chocolate Hills, cute tarsiers and Loboc River. But if you’ve seen all that already, you’ll probably just want to take it slow and enjoy the laid-back beach life with loved ones.
The province of Bataan is best known for its historical and cultural attractions. The Battle of Bataan is famous for being one of the last stands of American and Filipino soldiers before they were overwhelmed by the Japanese forces during World War II. The Bataan Death March, where the infamous march started, was also named after the province.
But aside from its historical sites, Bataan is a rising eco-tourism destination with beaches, mountains, turtle sanctuaries, bird-watching sites, springs and waterfalls. Bataan lies within two major peaks, Mount Natib and Mount Mariveles, which are ideal destinations for adventure-seekers. If you’re a mountain biker or hiker, you’ll want to check out the natural trails that Bataan has to offer. Continue reading
For riders, cyclists and road trippers clocking in the miles, meals on the road often just consist of quick stops at fast food joints or meet-ups at gas station convenience stores before heading out. Most riders would be satisfied with cup noodles or hot coffee to warm up along the way. A few years ago, this was pretty much all there was along the Marilaque route (also known as Marikina-Infanta or Marcos Highway), the scenic twisting road traversing Marikina, Rizal, Laguna all the way to Infanta, Quezon.
During weekend rides, I’ve noticed a lot of new places to eat and a lot of other establishments being built along the route. Below is a growing list of old favorites and new places where you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy the view along Marilaque. Manila East Road (specially in towns overlooking Laguna de Bay) also has a lot of interesting dining places that makes it great for road trips.
If you’re on a road trip in the Bicol region and looking for a place to stay in Sorsogon City, Siama Hotel, a charming nature-inspired boutique hotel, is a great option. This hidden gem celebrates the beauty of Bicol’s natural materials in a contemporary artistic setting. Prior to my visit, I had already seen various photos of Siama Hotel online and was intrigued by the place. During a summer visit to Naga City, I convinced my parents to take a road trip to Sorsogon for a quick family vacation.
Combining Visita Iglesia, the Holy Week tradition of visiting seven churches, and the sport of biking is a unique way to mix faith and fitness. While most tourists would prefer to visit churches by motorized transport, there’s something about pedaling your way around under the heat of the sun that makes visiting churches feel like an actual sacrifice or penance rather than just sightseeing by car.
For travelers, backpackers and province-based tourists, Manila is often just thought of as a stopover between flights on the way to another destination. The big city can be overwhelming with the heavy traffic and crowded streets. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much to do except eat out, go shopping in the malls, visit museums or churches. There’s also the gritty and chaotic areas of Quiapo and Divisoria, which have become synonymous with Manila.
I often take the tourist sights in Manila for granted because this is where I live and work. But if I were a first-time tourist in the Philippines, or if I had to take around foreign tourists, balikbayans, expats or province-based friends, what would I do and where would I go? Here are some suggestions of unique and fun activities you can do while in Manila.