love being different
This is the third week of my “how to plan a weekend getaway” series, and today I thought I’d give some of my recommendations. As I mentioned in a previous entry, you want to choose a location that you can get to in about two to three hours of driving time. So coming from Manila, my recommendations are:
About a two hour drive from the city, Lake Caliraya is probably my favourite destination in Laguna. The man-made lake is full of fun activities like fishing, wind-surfing, kite-boarding, sailing, and camping. Not a fan of any of these things? You can check out the Japanese Garden or Pagsanjan Falls as well as the town of Pagsanjan itself, which was declared a UNESCO Heritage site some years ago.
On the way to Caliraya, you can drop by the University of the Philippines in Los Banos. It’s a really nice place to have a picnic and to get some carabao’s milk.
Want some local dishes? Try pako salad and the ever-famous Laguna buko pie.
2) Nasugbu, Batangas
My go-to destination in Batangas, Nasugbu is home to plenty of beaches. There are a lot of resorts that you can visit and most of them are only two hours away from Manila. Some resorts offer activities like wind-surfing and diving, although both activities are better done at Anilao, Batangas, which is another worthwhile destination for a weekend getaway.
On the way to Nasugbu, you can drop by the Tagaytay Ridge and get something yummy to eat. There are also a lot of things to do in Tagaytay, which you can plan for either on your way to the beach or on your way back to the city.
Try a local restaurant while passing through the town of Nasugbu. Kainan sa Dalampasigan is a personal favourite and one that has never failed to deliver great food!
3) Quezon Province
Roughly a three-hour drive from the city, Quezon is also a land of beautiful beaches and delicious food. If you don’t find yourself near a beach, though, check out the different towns in Quezon. There is usually a historic church and many old houses that you can wander through and get lost in as you appreciate how the province has been able to maintain their hundreds-of-years old architecture.
Because there is so much to do at Quezon itself, I suggest that you find a town you would like to stay in, get there first, and then start exploring both your town of choice and the nearby areas. Also check to see if any of the towns will be having a festival. There’s nothing like a fiesta to complete your weekend!
Try some local flavours by grabbing some Lucban sausage to take home or some budin (cassava cake.) While there, don’t leave without trying their fried siopao and pancit habhab.
4) Subic Bay
Also about three hours from the city, Subic Bay is a great weekend getaway! Between the zoo, the marine park, the water sports, camping, trekking, and treetop adventures, you will need more than just one weekend to explore all of Subic. It’s the kind of place where you and your travelling companions will have to sit down and plan out all the details of your trip because there will be something to do almost every minute you’re there.
On the way to Subic, stop by Angeles City, a place known for its amazing cuisine. I am a big fan of Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung restaurant, and if you have the time to spare, you should definitely check it out.
Subic is where sisig was born so don’t leave without having some. You can also try the seafood, which is usually excellent, and if you’re feeling adventurous, some other local treats.
Note: When going on a road trip, be sure that you’ve checked your car, have a first aid kid, and make sure you bring cash because not every place accepts credit card as a method of payment!