There are only a handful of long weekend holidays every year, so travelers must make the most of them when they do come around. Luckily, there are plenty of awesome destinations near Metro Manila perfect for a weekend getaway. No plans for the long weekend ahead? Read on for our top eight picks for your next road trip, whether you prefer climbing mountains, island hopping, or exploring bustling foodie cities.
- Island Coves (Anawangin, Nagsasa, Talisayen)
- Subic Bay Freeport Zone
Just three to four hours from Manila, the laidback province of Zambales is on top of the list of beach and nature lovers. Tourists often visit for isles and beaches off the coast of Pundaquit, including Anawangin Cove, Nagsasa Cove, Talisayen Cove, Capones Island, and Camara Island. Thrill-seeking wave riders can head to surfing spots Liwliwa Beach or Crystal Beach Resort. Hiking Pinatubo is also a popular activity.
Looking for more? Subic Bay is a popular weekend destination in Zambales that’s worth a separate trip, especially with fun-filled attractions like Ocean Adventure, Zoobic Safari, and the Inflatable Island.
Read: Your 2022 Guide to Visiting Subic
- Corregidor Island
- Mt. Pico de Loro
- Historical Sites
Cavite isn’t just known for its historical sites, although it houses significant landmarks like the Aguinaldo Shrine, Bonifacio Trial House, and the famous Corregidor Island. Nature abounds in the province, with hiking spots (Mt. Pico de Loro) and majestic cascades (Malibiclibic Falls and Balite Falls).
And while it’s not especially known for beaches, Cavite is home to a few pristine beaches that aren’t as crowded as the ones in nearby Batangas. Some of the great options include Boracay de Cavite, Caynipa Cove, and Paniman Beach. If serene rivers are more your speed, a river cruise along the unspoiled Maragondon River is a must-try.
Read: Cavite’s Best-Kept Secret Spots
- Renowned Restaurants
- Museums (Museo Orlina, Puzzle Mansion)
- Sky Ranch
Technically, Tagaytay is a part of Cavite, but this tourist favorite is so packed with hotels, restaurants, and fun attractions that it warrants its own two-hour road trip from Manila. Come here for exceptional cuisine, first-rate staycation spots, and sweeping views of Taal. The city has something for everyone, whether you’re into kitschy stops like the Puzzle Mansion or some well-deserved pampering at Nurture Wellness Village. For families, this is an ideal weekend destination as there are plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Tagaytay, including Sky Ranch, Paradizoo, and ZOORI.
Read: Your 2022 Guide to Visiting Tagaytay
- Mountains (Mt. Makiling, Mt. Banahaw)
- Lake Caliraya
- Seven Lakes of San Pablo
- Hidden Valley Springs
- Pagsanjan Falls
Embark on the two-hour drive to Laguna and bask in the beauty of nature. Unlike other nearby provinces, beaches aren’t in the spotlight here. Instead, there are lush mountain peaks, tranquil lakes, and rejuvenating hot spring resorts. The magnificent Pagsanjan Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the entire country, while Lake Caliraya is an impressive man-made lake that’s now a well-loved spot for water sports and fishing.
Read: Your 2022 Guide to Laguna
- Dive Sites
Beaches, beaches, beaches! A quick two to three hours from Manila, Batangas has long been the destination of choice of metro dwellers in need of a healthy dose of vitamin sea. Countless beaches dot the province, but a few of the tourist favorites include Burot Beach (Calatagan), Laiya (San Juan), Sombrero Island (Tingloy), and Fortune Island (Nasugbu). Freedivers, scuba divers, and snorkelers frequently flock to Mabini for some of the best diving spots near Metro Manila. Batangas also has its share of mountains to climb, including Mt. Gulugod Baboy and Mt. Maculot.
Read: Your 2022 Guide to Visiting Batangas
- Antipolo Restaurants
- Pinto Art Museum
- Tinipak River
- Treasure Mountain
Most spots in Rizal are only an hour or two away from Manila, so this is a great pick for travelers who don’t want to spend too much time on the road. Antipolo is a popular city for artists and foodies, but nature lovers will want to explore Tanay’s range of mountains, rivers, and waterfalls. Admire the sea of clouds from atop the no-hike Treasure Mountain or swim in the pristine Tinipak River dotted with massive white boulders. Angono, known as the Art Capital of the Philippines, is another must-visit town in Rizal for artsy travelers.
Read: Your 2022 Guide To Visiting Rizal
- Villa Escudero
- Islands (Cagbalete Island, Borawan Island)
- Kamay ni Hesus
A quick two- to three-hour drive will take Manileños to Quezon, a province with plenty of beautiful beaches and islands. Powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters make Cagbalete Island a fan favorite, while more adventurous travelers can visit the faraway Jomalig Island for more unspoiled and secluded beaches. The coastal town of Pagbilao is also a great stop, with boat tours that will take you to Biliran Sandbar, Kwebang Lampas, Borawan Island, Dampalitan Island, and Isla Salamin.
Besides its stunning coast, Quezon is also popular for religious pilgrimages. Notable sites include Kamay ni Hesus in Lucban, Lucena Cathedral, and the historic Tayabas Basilica.
Read: Visiting Quezon Province In The New Normal: Where To Go And What To Do
- Arayat National Park
- Wakeboard Parks
Known as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, Pampanga is the ultimate destination for a food trip. The province is well worth the two-hour drive, just to savor iconic dishes like sisig, murcon, and halo-halo. If you’re more interested in the great outdoors, Pampanga’s got you covered, too. There’s Mt. Pinatubo, Mt. Arayat National Park, and Miyamit Falls, while Sandbox Pampanga offers a range of obstacle courses for adventure lovers. Wakeboarders can visit Pradera Verde (Lubao) or Deca Wakeboard Park (Clark) to try beginner and expert ramps. There are also a variety of family-friendly amusement parks, including Aqua Planet and Zoocobia Fun Zoo.
Read: 10 Best Filipino Restaurants To Try In Pampanga
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*Featured photo via KKday Suppliers and Pixabay