here does one go for some R & R without spending too much or going too far? Here are 8 destinations and activities from north to south, all within six hours from Metro Manila.
What to do: Sta. Rosa is about as close (literally) as you can get to get away. Go and check out Enchanted Kingdom, and/or head on over to Nuvali and experience a movie montage-worthy day with your family. Feed the koi, take a short boat ride in the man-made lake, rent a bike, and then eat and go outlet shopping at any of the many establishments in Solenad. The best part? It’s near enough that you can drive back home after you fun-filled day.
How to get there: If you’re driving to Enchanted Kingdom, head to South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and take the Sta. Rosa Exit. Parking is P50 for cars and P30 for buses. If you’re commuting, they have a shuttle service that goes from the open parking of Intercontinental Manila to the theme park and back for just P300. You can check the schedule here.
If you’re driving to Nuvali, just take the SLEX and take the Sta. Rosa exit, you’ll be Nuvali in about 15 minutes from the exit. If you’re commuting, check this page for the complete info.
Total travel time: About 45 minutes to an hour.
How much to bring: Aside from money for gas or the bus ride going to Sta Rosa and your meals, here’s a list of things you will have to pay for:
Parking – P50/car, P30/bus
Regular day pass – P600 (for weekends and holidays), P500 (for weekdays)
Junior day pass – P320 (for weekends and holidays), P250 (for weekdays)
Water taxi ride – P30/head/round trip
Fish feed bags for sale – P15/bag
Bikes for rent – P60/hour
What to do: For the older millennials (if you dare call yourself that), Tagaytay is almost synonymous to a post-inuman drive where you just park and have coffee while watching the sunrise. But now you realize there are other things to do in the area and we have two suggestions: bed and breakfast at Sonya’s Garden and a super-sized fair feel (with the tallest Ferris Wheel in the country at 63 meters) at Sky Ranch.
Sonya’s Garden is perfect for those craving nature, good sleep and great food, while a Sky Ranch trip is more for the little ones (or for those who want to feel like a child again).
How to get there: If you’re driving to Sonya’s Garden, take SLEX and exit to Sta. Rosa. When you reach the Tagaytay Main Aguinaldo Highway, turn right towards Nasugbu, Batangas. Go past the rotunda and proceed 10 kilometers. After Splendido Golf Course and Sunrise Hill, make a right turn on Buck Estate. Drive two kilometers and you’ll a gate with a sign at your left. If you’re commuting, here’s a helpful guide.
Take the same route to go to Sky Ranch, the huge Ferris Wheel will be hard to miss.
Total travel time: About an hour and a half.
How much to bring: If you want real rest and relaxation, you’ll be spending a little more at Sonya’s but it will be all worth it.
For the buffet:
P683/person (please click here for details)
For bed and breakfast:
P3,000/person (net) on weekdays
P3,400/person (net) on weekends and holidays
P5,000 for single occupancy rooms
Includes complimentary early dinner or lunch with breakfast. Check here for details.
Entrance – P100/person
Sky Eye (Ferris Wheel) – P100/person
The rest of the rides range from P50-100/person and for P250/person, you can ride a horse(!) for 30 minutes.
What to do: If you’re a diver and you’ve been itching for a quick diving trip, check out Jo and Johnny’s Beach and Dive Inn in Tali Beach, Nasugbu, Batangas. You can dive, relax, sunbathe, swim in the pool and just spend quality time with loved ones.
How to get there: From the end of Sta. Rosa exit in SLEX, follow the road signs to Nasugbu. When you reach KM 92, look for the intersection and make and extreme right to the direction of the Nasugbu town proper. From the town proper, enter the town of Wawa and follow the road till the dead end and turn right. You’ll be in Tali in about seven kilometers. You’ll see all the resorts on your left. If you want to go straight to Jo and Johnny’s keep driving till you reach the fork and you will see the main entrance to Tali Beach (a white guard house) on your left, from there, turn left on Seaside Drive and then right to Seashell Drive and you’ll see the resort on your right.
It’s a little harder to get to Tali via commute so it’s best if you bring a car.
Total travel time: About two and a half hours.
How much to bring: The rates at Jo and Johnny’s go from P3,000-5,000/room. Click here to see complete details.
What to do: If Tagaytay feels like it’s still too close to the city, go a little farther down south to Los Banos, Laguna where you can hang out and and be one with nature at the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) campus, or you can check out the floating restaurant. Also, two words: Mount Makiling! And two more words: hot springs!
How to get there: Take the Calamba exit at SLEX and drive towards Los Banos, which is around 10 kilometers from the city of Calamba. To go to Splash Mountain, just follow the sign boards along the national highway. UPLB is about five more kilometers from there.
If you’re commuting, take an HM Transport bus heading to Sta. Cruz, Laguna from Cubao and just tell the driver where your stop is. Buses leave every 15 minutes and the last trip is at 8PM. The bus fare’s around P100-120/person.
Total travel time: About two hours.
How much to bring: You can drive around to survey other resorts and restaurants but you can use the rates below as your guide.
P2,500-6,000/room with free breakfast (click here for details.)
Isdaan Floating Restaurant
Around P300/person for the food
What to do: If you’ve been beach-hungry for months, drive up north because Subic Bay is your quick fix.
How to get there: If your driving, take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) all the way past San Fernando through Dau and exit to the Subic Bay Freeport Expressway (Tipo Road, Bataan).
If you’re taking commuting, go to Cubao and take a Victory Liner bus to the Olongapo terminal and then hop on a trike to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and take a cab to your destination.
Total travel time: About two hours.
How much to bring: At the Camayan Resort, rates range from P4,000 up. You can check here for details.
What to do: Surf and lounge. Hello, stoke-hungry surfers! If Tali is the closest divers can get to paradise, Zambales is the surfing equivalent of that. Most surfers check in at Crystal Beach for the convenience.
How to get there: If you’re driving, take SCTEX and head to the SBMA tollgate. From there, turn right to Rizal Highway and go straight until you reach the dead end and then turn left (near the Olongapo City tollgate). Turn right to Canal St at the first intersection and the take the Kalaklan gate. Turn left going to Zambales until you reach Subic town proper and head to the town of Castillejos, then San Marcelino and then San Narciso. Turn left after the San Narciso town hall and then follow the road signs to the resort.
If you’re commuting, take a Victory Liner bus from either Cubao, Caloocan, Pasay or Sampaloc to Iba Zambales, go down at San Narciso and take a trike to the resort.
Total travel time: About five to six hours.
How much to bring: Room rates range from P1,200-8,000 depending on how many you are. Please click here for complete information.
What to do: La Union offers spots for both beginner and pro-level surfers. If you want a little more hardcore action for your drive, then head farther up north to Urbiztondo in San Juan, La Union, Pangasinan. If you’re trying out surfing for the first time, San Juan is also home to the Billabong Surf School. You can try to check that out.
How to get there: From SCTEX, exit at Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac and follow the National Highway (MacArthur Highway) through Pangasinan and then La Union. When you reach Rosario, the first town of La Union, turn left at the Rosario junction. Drive through the towns of Sto. Tomas, Agoo, Aringay, Caba, Bauang and then San Fernando City. At downtown San Fernando, you will see Lorma Medical Center/College to your right. From there, Urbiztondo is about five minutes away.
If you’re commuting, take a Partas bus to San Juan from the terminals at Cubao or Tramo. It will cost about P500. You can take a trike to Urbiztondo when you get to the terminal.
Total travel time: About five to six hours.
How much to bring: Room rates range from P2,000-5,000 a night, depending on how many you are. You can check out the rates at the Kahuna Resort here but there are also many others to choose from.
If you’re planning to take surf lessons, can coordinate with Kahuna or talk to the local instructors. Kahuna charges P400/session with the board and a one-on-one instructor.
What to do: Eat, explore and enjoy the cold weather! The BenCab Museum and Kidlat Tahimik’s Oh My Gulay! are two very popular places to check out.
How to get there: Take the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX)!
Total travel time: About four(!) to six hours. (And dramatically less in the near future.)
How much to bring: Prepare around P2,000-5,000 a night for the accommodations depending on how many you guys are and around P3,000/person for meals for two days and a little more money for cab rides around town. Entrance to the BenCab Museum (open Tuesday to Sunday, 9AM to 6PM) is P100 and P50 for students with valid ID and senior citizens.
Where do you go to reboot? Let us know in the Comments Section.