Metro Manila – 10 Weekend Getaways near Metro Manila

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor May 15th, 2018 Posted in Asia Travel Blog, DIY Travel, Philippines Travel Blog, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 14 Comments

Been wanting to explore Metro Manila and its surroundings but don’t know where to start? Worried that you’ll end up on an organized tour from one tourist trap to the next? Well, fret not because you can start just a few hours outside of the corporate jungle! There are many travel destinations near Metro Manila which only require a day or two of your time, most likely your weekends (or long weekends!). So it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and live a little!

At Two Monkeys Travel, we’re are big fans of DIY trips, like Kach and Jons’ DIY trek to Machu Picchu, and helping people to travel expensive locations on a budget.  With that goal in mind, we’re going to show you the best travel destinations near Metro Manila to go exploring all on your own – No tour companies involved!   Metro Manila has plenty of accommodation options for all tastes and budgets too; with no defined backpacker or luxury areas like other large cities, there are lots of budget accommodation options in Ermita and Malate districts, or you can find luxury hotels all over the city if you fancy a little extra style.

Whether you’re into historic buildings, beaches, adventure sports or mountains and volcanoes, this list of 10 Weekend Getaways near Metro Manila is sure to show you a side to the city that you didn’t know existed!

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1. Revisit Old Manila – Historic Metro Manila

Instramuros and Binondo Travel Guide


Manila may get its fair share of negative press, but that wasn’t always the case, especially in its heyday. Why not start off your morning at Kilometer 0? Rizal Park, more commonly known as Luneta, is considered to be the largest urban park in Asia. Despite being photobombed by the Torre de Manila, it is still a must-see for locals and foreigners alike.   Devote a few hours to Intramuros, the Walled City, either on foot, by calesa (horse-drawn carriage), or by joining a Bamboo bike tour. These bikes are unique to Asia and beautifully handmade! If you’re interested in a walking tour, there are a handful of people and groups who offer informative and entertaining tours of Intramuros and Old Manila.   Indulge your inner foodie in Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world. Sample delicacies from Dong Bei, Sincerity Café, Masuki Mami, Ying Ying Tea House, and LGA Fastfood Estero among many others. Don’t be afraid to try the many hole-in-the-wall restaurants!   To burn off that big lunch, visit Binondo ChurchCruz ChurchQuiapo Church, and even San Sebastian Church (the only all-steel church in Asia) by walking around the area. Cap off the day by visiting the National Museum (free on Sundays!) to see the Spoliarium and other notable artworks up close.   If you visit just a few of the historic destinations in Metro Manilla, then  you’ll learn a lot about the history and cultural beginnings of the city.   You can also add: Manila Bay sunset cruise, Cultural Center of the Philippines

Recommended Hotels in Metro Manila

The Manila Hotel

A five star hotel located near the iconic Intramuros and Manila Cathedral with sophisticated rooms, great facilities, dining options and even an outdoor swimming pool.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

Hotel H2O

An aquarium themed hotel located in Ermita, walking distance to Ocean Park and Rizal Park and just a quick drive from Manila Cathedral, Palacio del Gobernador and Ninoy Aquino International Airport. A chick and stylish hotel well known for its unique interiors, first rate facilities and great services.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

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2. Roam around Rizal

For Antipolo, one can’t go wrong by starting the day at Antipolo Cathedral (Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage) before proceeding to the famous holy week pilgrimage site,Mystical Cave, which boasts stalactite and stalagmite formations that resemble religious figures.   One need not be a modern and contemporary art connoisseur to enjoy Pinto Art Museum, as the entire space is surely a feast for the eyes. Inside you will find a guided tour schedule as well as Bizu café (although if you’re on a budget, better eat elsewhere). It’s the best arts and culture destination in Metro Manila.   Be pampered with a view of Laguna de Bay and Manila’s skyline at Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa, Antipolo’s nature retreat. Loreland Farm Resort seems to really be the “place to be” with its wide array of offerings: accommodations, swimming pool, team building activities, and spa, all within a lovely green space. Located inside a private school, PACEM Eco Park aims to raise awareness for the care of the environment and features a butterfly garden, wildlife sanctuary and aviary, herbal garden, organic farm and green house, as well as a mini-forest.   Roasted cashew nuts are aplenty around Antipolo, and you even have additional variants to choose from – sweet, spicy, adobo. Be sure to eat at one of the restaurants along Sumulong Highway while enjoying the Manila cityscape.

You can also go further to Tanay to take a dip in the cold and refreshing waters of the 14-meter high Daranak Falls. Trekking in Daranak and spelunking in the nearby Calinawan Cave is also recommended for adventure destinations near Metro Manila.   Adventurers can get their fix of adrenaline from trekking, spelunking, swimming and camping at Daraitan and Tinipak River (Quezon). Check out more Extreme Activities in the Philippines here.

Recommended Hotels in Antipolo

Date and Dine Resort

A perfect getaway in Antipolo having the convenient location and an easy access to the city’s must-see destinations. Offers great facilities including a library and their own barbecue.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

Loreland Farm Resort

With its perfect location, it’s just a quick drive from the renowned Hinulugang Taktak of Rizal. Hotel also has outdoor pools, zip line and even playground for the younger ones.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

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3. Antique Metro Manila – Viva Bataan!

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Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Bataan (Boom Daroy)

For military history destination near Metro Manila, visit Samat and go on up Dambana ng Kagitingan, one of the final strongholds of the Filipino and American soldiers before surrendering to the Japanese during World War II. On a clear day, enjoy a panoramic view of Bataan and Corregidor atop the shrine.   Fond of antique houses? You can avail a day tour at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar where you can walk on cobblestone streets and go inside 50+ manually transported and renovated heritage houses. Overnight accommodation, spa, batis-inspired pool, bicycle and calesa tours are also available.

Participate in the annual releasing of Pawikan hatchlings off to the sea together with other fun activities in this year’s Pawikan Festival 2015 (tentative November 29-30).   Lots of athletes and fitness enthusiasts go to Bataan to train in cycling because the varied terrain makes it one of the best training destinations near Metro Manila.

Two Monkeys Travel-Getaways near Metro Manila
Dambana ng Kagitingan, Bataan (Renan Bonifacio)

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Bataan.

Recommended Hotels in Bataan

The Plaza Hotel Balanga City

A smoke-free hotel situated in Balanga, great venue to explore this vibrant city. It’s an easy access from the airport, well located and near the city’s must-see destinations.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

The Oriental Bataan

A hotel offering a year-round outdoor pool and barbecue, the Oriental Bataan is a great choice for accommodation when visiting Bataan. Guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. With its convenient location, the hotel offers easy access to the city’s must-see destinations.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

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4. Scary Metro Manila – Conquering Corregidor!

Two Monkeys Travel-Getaways near Metro Manila
Welcome to Corregidor Island (Image by – Darlene Madrid)

This island fortress known as “The Rock,” is a popular destination for those who only have the weekend to spare. Aside from being the last stand before the Japanese takeover during World War II, it was foremost a military paradise before becoming a seat of the Philippine Commonwealth and headquarters of the Allied Forces.   Although the most popular activity remains the historical tour, you can enjoy a host of other activities on the island such as hiking, kayaking, sunrise/sunset viewing, camping, bird watching, zipline, and night lateral visit of the tunnels. You can also explore the island on board an ATV or your own bike. If you’re up for dark tourism, stay overnight and go ghost-hunting with your peers at the Hospital, the site of the Jabidah massacre which took place almost five decades ago. A historical, outdoors and horror destination near Metro Manila, all in one place – how awesome is that?!

Regular ferries and tours run from the ferry terminal in Pasay City, so if you feel like visiting the city in style, why not find yourself a 5-star hotel in Malate, Manila, where you can also visit the Cultural Center of the Philippines? The Cultural Center, an imposing, modernist, concrete structure, sits in 150 acres of land and includes the Tanghalang Pambansa (National Theatre) and the Folk Arts Theater among other attractions.   Be sure not to miss the Light and Sound show at Malinta Tunnel.

Two Monkeys Travel-Getaways near Metro Manila
Mile Long Barracks, Corregidor (Image by – Darlene Madrid)

Recommended Hotels Near Corregidor Island

Pico Sands Hotel

With the best view, facing a man-made lagoon, this hotel offers modern spacious rooms with a balcony overlooking the surrounding mountains or lake. Well located and an easy access to many of the city’s landmarks and attractions.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

Camaya Coast Hotel

A family-friendly hotel with a nice beach for a quick getaway. A Luxurious hotel with nicely designed interiors. Definitely the perfect venue for unwinding weekend.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

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Transportation Tip: If you’re looking for the cheapest way to book the Trains, Buses, Ferries, Transfers on this route, we use 12Go.Asia to compare the prices!

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5. Batangas, the Land of the Valiant

Two Monkeys Travel-Getaways near Metro Manila
Masasa Beach, Batangas (Image by – Carla Manalo)

Batangas has long been a favorite of weekend warriors and holiday tourists, especially when it comes to beach destinations near Metro Manila. That is why more “unspoiled” beaches are gaining popularity during the past few years due to the proliferation of tourists in the more well-known areas of the province.

Burot Beach is a must visit in Calatagan with its crystal clear waters, fine sand, and rock formations. One caveat though, is that this beach could be closed at any time, to be developed by one of the prime real estate developers in the country. Better visit soon!  Masasa Beach, located on the fish-shaped island of Maricaban, is within the municipality of Tingloy, Batangas. It is best visited together with Anilao, one of the best diving spots in the country, and Gulugod Baboy.   What was previously a famous luxury resort is now open to the public off the coast of Nasugbu. Fortune Island is easily recognized because of the Grecian pillars and statues built atop the island. There’s also a museum commemorating the discovery of the MV San Diego Warship. Scuba diving and snorkeling are also popular activities on the island.   Make sure not to leave without sampling the province’s bulalo, lomi, tapa, and kapeng barako.

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Fortune Island, Batangas (Image by – Yob Red)

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Batangas.

Recommended Hotels in Batangas

Eagle Point Beach and Dive Resort

Located in one of the best diving spot, Anilao, Batangas, this hotel offers rooms with the best sea views. Beginner divers and snorkelers can take a dive in the reef pool which features baby sharks and other marine life. Excellent diving and snorkeling spots are located in front of the resort and at Sepoc Beach Center.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

Casita Ysabel

Well located in one of the best diving spot in the Philippines, in Anilao, Batangas. Hotel offers a spa, restaurant and air-conditioned rooms with a balcony. Recreational activities available include snorkeling, kayaking, island boat rides and beach barbecue bonfires.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

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6. Livin La Vida Laguna – Lakes near Metro Manila

Two Monkeys Travel-Getaways near Metro Manila
DSC_0963 by jojo nicdao / CC BY 2.0Majayjay, Laguna (Image by – Jojo Nicdao. Licensed by – Creative Commons)

What’s more to see in Laguna, you ask? It’s the best lakes destination near Metro Manila, that’s what! Well there are the seven lakes of San Pablo City, the newly reopened Cavinti Underground River and Caves Complex, river rafting, tubing and cliff diving in Magdalena (best from June to December), Taytay falls in Majayjay, wakeboarding in Calamba, Isdaan Floating Restaurant in Calauan, Buruwisan falls in Siniloan, as well as mudsprings, Flatrocks and Peak 2 in Mt. Makiling, Los Banos. There are also various cold and hot spring resorts available, as well as private pools for rent.   Specialty food products include kesong puti, buko pie, bibingka de macapuno, puto Binan, kinulob na itik, Mer-nel’s cake as well as espasol.

Recommended Hotels in Laguna

Auravel Grande Hotel and Resort

A 3-star hotel well located in the city of San Pablo, Laguna. A perfect venue for exploring the city and an easy access to the city’s must-see destinations.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

Sol Y Viento Mountain Hot Springs Resort

A homey-feel hotel, offering quality accommodation and services. It is well situated atop a hill overlooking Laguna de Bay, Mount Makiling and Makati City. A smart choice for travelers to Calamba, offering a relaxed and hassle-free stay.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

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7. Bountiful Bulacan – Cave destination of Metro Manila

Gear up for a weekend of eco-adventure at Biak na Bato National Park, aptly named because it is the place where Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo established the first Republic of the Philippines, the Biak-na-Bato Republic. The park, with its cave network and river system is also a DENR-protected area due to its ecological importance.   Popular attractions include the Aguinaldo Cave, Bahay Paniki Cave, Madlum Cave and River, Tanggapan cave, Tilandong Falls, Hospital Cave, Imbakan Cave, Ambush Cave, Bukal Cave, Bayukbok Cave, and Mt. Manalmon.

Challenging rock formations, hanging bridges, spelunking, camping, river traverse, trekking, bird watching, swimming and picnicking are what await the adrenaline junkie. The park is best accessed via San Miguel.   There is also an assortment of water parks with various theme attractions around the province that families can enjoy.   Bulacan is also famous for Pastillas de leche, Malolos ensaymada and inipit, sukang Paombong as well as crunchy chicharon.And it’s all only one hour away from Metro Manila!

Recommended Hotels in Bulacan

Hollywood Suites and Resort – Bancal

Fun and relaxation is what this hotel offers. It is well situated just a kilometer away from the city center and an easy access to the town facilities as well as to the city’s must-see destinations.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

Pacific Waves Resort

For travelers who want to take in the sights and sounds of Bulacan, Pacific Waves Resort is the perfect choice. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. This modern hotel is in the vicinity of popular city attractions such as Pinagrealan Cave.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

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8. Rediscovering Nueva Ecija – Nature near Metro Manila

Minalungao National Park
Minalungao National Park Photo taken by CARLA MANALO

Marvel at the towering limestone formations of Minalungao National Park in General Tinio, either by foot or by bamboo raft along Penaranda River. One can also fish, picnic, swim, camp, spelunk, and cliff dive in the park. After spending a few hours beside the river, challenge yourself to climb the 1,000 steps to the summit where a man-made cross is built overlooking the whole area.   If you would like to see more of Nueva Ecija, visit one of the largest reservoirs in Southeast Asia, Pantabangan Dam. Sport-fishing or game-fishing aficionados can get their fix in Pantabangan Lake, while others can hire a boat to tour around the lake. This is clearly your one-stop nature destination near Metro Manila.   You can also add: Gabaldon Falls and Eco Park, and Dupinga River.

Recommended Hotels in Nueva Ecija

The Harvest Hotel

Modern and elegant accommodation is what this hotel offers. Well situated near city centre and has a strategic location near local points of interest. Tastefully furnished, air-conditioned rooms and suites and even has a fitness centre and spa.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

Farmhouse Hotel and Cafe

For travelers who want to take in the sights and sounds of San Jose (Nueva Ecija), Farmhouse Hotel and Cafe is the perfect choice. Well situated and near the city center, it provides accessibility to important town facilities. With its convenient location, the hotel offers easy access to the city’s must-see destinations.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

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9. Pampanga Adventure – Volcanoes and food near Metro Manila!

Two Monkeys Travel-Getaways near Metro Manila
Mt. Pinatubo crater (Image by – Mejas Nikolas)

Aside from a day hike to Mt. Pinatubo’s crater, foodies will surely love going to the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. Just in Angeles alone, gastronomical delight awaits you in Historic Camalig Restaurant, Aling Lucing’s sisig, Binulo Restaurant, Didi’s Pizza, and 19 Copung Copung to name a few. It’s best to combine all the eating with some walking around Bayanihan Park, Clark Museum, Clark Memorial, and Founder’s residence.

Newbies and experienced wakeboarders alike will find exhilaration at Deca Wakeboard Park.   Try out the new outdoor fun facility at Porac and get your excitement rolling with the Giant Swing, Aerial Walk Challenge, Avatar One (first roller coaster zip line), Adventure Tower, Archery, and ATVs.   Check out the Zooc ride in Zoocobia, the first and only gravity car in the country, and be a kid for the day.   Only 2 hours from Manila, this is a destination near Metro Manila that has pretty much everything!

Recommended Hotels in Pampanga

Central Park Tower Resort

A hotel well located in Angeles City offering elegant and comfortable accommodation with free WiFi access throughout the property. It features a rooftop outdoor pool, a fitness centre and free parking space on site. It’s a 4-star hotel conveniently located and an easy access to the city’s must-see destinations.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

Mystique Lane Drive-In Hotel

Nestled in the heart of San Fernando, Mystique Lane Drive-In Hotel is an ideal spot from which to discover San Fernando (Pampanga). From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. With its convenient location, the hotel offers easy access to the city’s must-see destinations.

Read Reviews on: AgodaCheck-Rates

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10. Sojourn in Quezon – Festival destination near Metro Manila

Two Monkeys Travel-Getaways near Metro Manila
Pahiyas Festival ( Image by Potpot Pinili or

Come and celebrate one of the most famous and colorful festivals in the country on May 15th, Pahiyas!   Try spending a day in Dolores at Bangkong Kahoy, a retreat resort midway to the summit of Mt. Banahaw, the province’s sacred mountain.   Experience eating lunch with your feet partially under water and a man-made waterfalls in front of you at Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant inside the popular plantation and resort, Villa Escudero.   Discover the “unspoiled” beaches of Cagbalete, Puting Buhangin, Borawan and Dampalitan, and experience camping overnight by the beach.   A trip to Quezon wouldn’t be complete without Pancit Habhab, Chami, Pansit Balibag, Rodillas’ yema cake, and Longganisang Lucban.  Quezon is probably the most unique destination near Metro Manila!

You can also add Polillo Island to your to-do list!

Villa Escudero Tiaong Quezon – Memorable Staycation with the Grandparents

Recommended Hotels in Quezon Province

Batis Aramin Resort and Hotel

If what you’re looking for is a conveniently located hotel in Tayabas, look no further than Batis Aramin Resort And Hotel Corp. Situated near the city center, the hotel’s strategic location ensures that guests can quickly and easily reach many local points of interest. With its convenient location, the hotel offers easy access to the city’s must-see destinations.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

Samkara Restaurant & Garden Resort

Whether you’re a tourist or traveling on business, Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort is a great choice for accommodation when visiting Lucban. The city center is merely 5.4 km away and the airport can be reached within 150 minutes. With its convenient location, the hotel offers easy access to the city’s must-see destinations.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates

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World and City Guides (Awesome Things to do in each Destination) . For cheap and luxurious places to stay while traveling, here’s our ultimate list of best hostels and hotels!

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

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Transportation Tip: If you’re looking for the cheapest way to book the Trains, Buses, Ferries, Transfers on this route, we use 12Go.Asia to compare the prices!

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About the Author

Two Monkeys Travel-Getaways near Metro Manila

A self-confessed foodie with a gypsy soul, Darlene left the corporate jungle behind to become a freelancer and have more time to travel. She is fond of taking photos of places and things rather than herself. She also dreams of someday having her own food truck while traveling the world.

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14 thoughts on “Metro Manila – 10 Weekend Getaways near Metro Manila

  1. I will start tagging this in my planner ? for adventure ,to unwind …
    I’ve been in Manila for so long yet not familiar to these weekends getaway place.


  2. There are really many beautiful places in the Philippines worth exploring. Me and my wife started talking about going to these place (one among them every time i go for vacation from my OFW job).

  3. Awesome list! I’ve also been wanting to go to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar for the longest time. The place is so picturesque. 🙂

  4. Ah, Binondo. How I’ve missed you; your traffic, your crowd, but most especially your food.
    I went to Fortune Island 2 years ago and I must say, it’s one trip I will never forget. Such beauty and appeal.

    I need to visit these other places too. Especially Rizal. I love museums!

    Happy 2016!

  5. I would definitely visit the Pinto Art museum next month together with my friends. I’ve never been into any art museum. Sana makapunta na ako this time

  6. Thank you for this! I’m always for the lookout for quick weekend getaways from Manila. 😀 Minalungao National Park seems to be calling out to me!

  7. These are great ideas! I wish i knew these when I was traveling to Manila every week. I wonder how long it takes to get out of the city’s horrendous traffic though. I once attempted to spend a weekend in batangas and got stuck for over two hours just trying to leave Makati 🙁

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