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.
Atburan Rockies is a very raw and unknown site with caverns and towering limestone rock formations hidden in the mountainous region of General Nakar, Quezon. Aside from locals who call it “Kulungang Bato,” the site has only been explored by a handful of outdoor enthusiasts and mountaineers from the UP Outdoor Recreation Group (ORG). In fact, when I was researching about the place, I couldn’t find any existing write-up or background information about the area.
Summer is coming soon, and beaches in popular destinations near Manila are going to be really crowded as usual. For those looking for a different destination to visit this summer, Jomalig Island in Quezon offers an escape. It’s not that easy to get to, which means the place remains unspoiled. The golden sand beaches, agoho pine trees, refreshing atmosphere and naturally sights here are just stunning. Jomalig Island is best for those who enjoy unspoiled beaches. This is where you can enjoy back to basics camping away from the crowds.
Since I previously wrote about our Weekend in Jomalig Island, I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about how to get there and other questions. So here’s a travel guide to help you out with tips compiled from my experience, helpful locals who left comments on my previous post, Jomalig Quezon’s Facebook page and some 2016 updates from blog reader Senilicius (in the comments section).
I’ve gone to Naga City from Manila and back countless times. I lived there growing up and still go back home several times a year. Most times I just hop on an overnight bus without a second thought. I rode the PNR Bicol Express train when it was still running. I’ve gone there by plane. My family and I used to take long car trips there and back several times for holidays.
But last Christmas was different. It was my first time to drive a motorcycle all the way there.
On a motorcycle, the scorching heat can only be countered by movement. You feel the worst of it when you’re stuck in traffic. Even if you’re wearing a jacket or jeans, you can feel the sun just burn through layers of clothes. You wait for the light to flash from red to green flanked by rows of hulking trucks. Once it’s green, you navigate to avoid jeeps that stop without any warning or taxis that recklessly swerve and cut you off. But in the mountains, there are no traffic lights. The road is a blur and all you feel is the breeze rushing by even at the height of noon.
Outdoor enthusiasts know Daraitan as a village nestled in the Sierra Madre mountain ranges somewhere between Rizal and Quezon. After visiting the place during a trail run and on a mountain bike ride, Art of Outside Slacker likened it to Rivendell, the Elven realm in Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. After finally seeing the place first-hand, I have to agree. The scenery wouldn’t look out of place in a fantasy film. You get that sense of wonder just walking through the white rock formations and crossing the clear streams snaking through the mountains.
For those in the regular workforce, vacations can be tricky. Not everyone has the luxury of time to do long-term backpacking or visit exotic locales every month. But everyone needs a beach and adventure fix once in a while. Located just 3-4 hours away from Manila, Real in Quezon offers such a quick weekend getaway.
Raindrops trickled down through the holes in the tarpaulin that served as the roof of the boat, forming a puddle right next to me and waking me up from my sleep. “Duct tape,” I mentally added to my list of things I should always bring on a trip, as I moved my bag and huddled in the center of the boat with the rest of the people on the boat.
Jariel’s Peak in Infanta, Quezon is a popular weekend spot for motorcycle riders based in Manila. It has everything that makes a for a great half-day trip – enough distance to make the ride feel “not bitin,” twisty mountain roads, and cool climate and scenery that transports you visually to Baguio or Sagada. In fact, the place is located in a sitio called Little Baguio. Plus, it’s off the grid, if you like that kind of thing. No electricity or phone signal here, folks. You’ll have to wait to post on Instagram or Facebook once you get home
Updated March 2016
Surfing is an extreme sport that involves riding the waves towards the shore while standing or lying on a surfboard. With more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is blessed with beach breaks along both the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea, as well as reef breaks throughout the archipelago. For surfers, this means that there are numerous surfing spots to check out.