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 →
Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth from Manila to my hometown Naga City in Camarines Sur. I’ve also gone on road trips with the family to nearby provinces of mainland Bicol: Camarines Norte, Albay and Sorsogon. The Manila to Bicol route passing the Asian Highway 26 (AH26) (also known as the Pan-Philippine Highway or Maharlika Highway) is a major road trip route on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. After traversing from Manila to Bicol, you can cross all the way to Visayas via the Roll-on Roll-Off Ferry from the Matnog Port in Sorsogon to reach Allen in Samar and head towards Mindanao.
I’ve been getting inquiries from people planning to drive this route whether by car or motorcycle (and even a few long-distance bikepackers), so I’ve decided to compile a suggested itinerary covering the essentials and some travel tips. Continue reading →
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.
Aside from Marcos Highway / Marilaque, the Manila East Road is another popular destination for cyclists, riders and road trippers. This highway traverses the provinces of Rizal, Quezon and Laguna, starting from the junction of Ortigas Avenue in Taytay, Rizal all the way through towns surrounding Laguna de Bay and ends at a junction with the Pan-Philippine Highway in Calamba City.
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.
One of my favorite dining destinations along the Manila East Road is Kawayan Farm in Pililla, Rizal. Situated on a hilly landscape overlooking the scenic Laguna Bay, this is a popular spot for cyclists, motorcycle riders and road trippers. It’s an easy enough drive to via Marilaque and you can get here in about two hours from Quezon City, making it an ideal stop for late breakfast or lunch during weekend or day trip rides.