Because Metro Manila and many surrounding towns are highly urbanized and congested, a lot of us are always looking for easy escapes for day trips and weekend getaways. Just a couple of hours from the metro, the nearby provinces of Laguna and Quezon are good choices for those who want to experience the “simple country life.” You can spend the day in a farm or natural resorts, stay in cozy bed & breakfasts, dine in artistic and homey restaurants, and visit artist’s studios.
For those who like nature-tripping, art, culture and food, here are my top picks of places you can drive to for an easy countryside getaway relatively near Manila (excluding Nuvali and Tagaytay). Continue reading →
When it comes to weekend destinations, Laguna is one of the most accessible provinces near Metro Manila. Most people driving cars usually approach the province from SLEX on the way to urbanized cities like Santa Rosa, Los Banos and Calamba. But from the Manila East Road, you can avoid traffic and traverse easily through the more laid-back towns on the Eastern side of the province.
Laiya in San Juan, Batangas is probably one of the most popular weekend beach destinations near the metro. I’ve been here several times before usually for day trips with friends and family. It may not have the best beach and coastline, but it’s a pretty memorable place for me since this is where Art and I got married. We actually had a Survivor / Amazing Race-themed beach wedding in Palm Beach Resorts.
Nuvali in Laguna is a master-planned residential, commercial and recreational development complex that has something for everyone. Whether you’re a foodie, adrenaline-junkie or leisure traveler, you can find something fun to do here. Located in Sta. Rosa, Calamba, and the municipality of Cabuyao, Laguna, the 2,290 hectare development is a sustainable and environmentally-friendly space that allows people and nature to thrive harmoniously. Here’s a look at some of the fun activities you can do here:
Whizzing down from the 4x track on a mountain bike felt like riding a roller coaster. On the first try, I gingerly held my brakes while going down, afraid I’d topple before I reached the bottom. After a couple more rounds, it was more exhilarating to just let go of the brakes and try to keep my balance.
The areas of Laguna, Quezon and Batangas are ideal for quick day or weekend trips from Manila. I usually like taking solo motorcycle rides to the Sierra Madre area (passing through the Marikina-Rizal highway) for some fresh air during the weekend. But for those who drive cars, most of the destinations are quicker via SLEX. In fact, the famed Viaje del Sol route lists many charming and unique places that celebrate Filipino culture, that you can visit on your road trip.
If you’re looking for a decent place to have a bite to eat and relax in the Laguna area, one option is Sierra Hills Exotik Restaurant. Like Balaw-Balaw in Angono, and Everybody’s Cafe in Pampanga, the restaurant has gained fame primarily for serving “exotic” fare, attracting curious foodies and tourists interested in trying out something unusual for novelty’s sake.
Fair warning for those who want to check out the place for themselves – the place is a bit of a tourist trap. Its location along the National Highway in Longos, Kalayaan makes it a perfect catch basin for road trippers, especially those doing a Visita Iglesia tour to churches in Rizal area during Holy Week. Continue reading →
We often like to spend Saturday or Sunday mornings riding through Marilaque – that scenic stretch of road which starts in Marikina, passes through Laguna and ends in Quezon. On my birthday weekend in October, we again found ourselves riding the route to see just how far we could go. It ended up being the longest motorcycle ride I’ve done – 5 hours straight, with a few stops for gas and to stretch our legs. Final destination: San Pablo, Laguna.
About a month ago, environmentalist friends Rina and Don tied the knot at Casa San Pablo in Laguna. I found their wedding venue so great that I ended up interviewing owner Boots Alcantara after the dinner reception for this article published in Sunday Inquirer Magazine.
It was our first time to visit Casa San Pablo, which is one of the destinations in the famous Viaje del Sol route, a popular art, culture and foodie destination tour. Continue reading →