UPDATE January 2018:The Querocep Bridge along the Marifanta Highway was damaged by a landslide in December 2015 and is still being reconstructed. As of January 2018, what used to be a makeshift wooden bridge is now a steel bridge and is passable to all types of vehicles. The alternate route to get to Infanta is to pass through Real and Famy.
The beauty of the Philippines really shines in other provinces and islands. Destinations like Palawan, Cebu, Bohol and Boracay are top draws for foreign tourists. However, many international travelers have to travel through Metro Manila, the capital and main gateway to many of the other destinations before they can get there.
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 →
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.
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.