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Stuck in Manila? Top 10 Weekend Destinations

Spending some days in Manila and getting sick of it? Here’s 10 weekend getaways – budget friendly!

aerial photography of Manilas city skyline
Manila – budget friendly weekend destinations

Things to do outside Manila

We all need a break from the monotony of our daily routines. For one thing, working in the vast Metro is anything but a breeze. With the tiring daily commutes and hellish traffic, it can be too tempting to quit our respective jobs and start daydreaming about things to do outside of manila if only we don’t have bills to pay.

And did we already mention the ongoing threat of the COVID-19? This potentially deadly virus has already infected more than 100,000 and killed more than 3,000 individuals worldwide. In the Philippines, there are 10 people already infected as of press time.
One more reason to leave the city for a bit, no?

Where to go now?

Hooray for long weekends! These are those times of the year that a lot of people look forward to. These are wonderful opportunities to spend a relaxing vacation with your loved ones. You can also go solo and spend some “me time”, away from the hustle and bustle of the Metro.

So you have already filed a leave, now what? Some people may have already prior plans to make the most out of their vacations. Meanwhile, there might be others who are not able to time their leaves due to their busy schedules. Unfortunately, traveling out of the country may not be an option as of now because of the imposed travel bans due to the COVID-19.

But no worries, friends! You can still enjoy a relaxing vacation without flying to faraway places. In fact, there are a lot of hidden gems within Metro Manila and nearby provinces where you can spend a short but relaxing vacation. What’s more, a lot of these destinations are not heavy on the budget.

Without further ado, here are some highly-recommended nearby travel destinations (in random order).

Things to do outside Manila


Baler, Philippines
Photo credits: Jopet Sy | Flicker

The province of Aurora, where Baler is located, lies on the eastern portion of Central Luzon and facing the Philippine Sea. Baler is known for its flourishing tourist destinations.

However, Baler offers more than spectacular resorts and surfing spots. Discover breathtaking waterfalls, cliffs for the thrill-seekers, and historical sites for history junkies.

Puerto Galera

Photo credits: Maliz Ong | Public Domain Pictures
Things to do outside Manila – Puerto Galera should always be o the top of your list

Located in Oriental Mindoro, Puerto Galera is home to hundreds of resorts and beach spots. You can tag along with your friends and go to the famed White Beach or Sabang Beach.

Or if you want to spend a peaceful family time, you can book a hotel in Aninuan. Spend a few days touring around town, eat legit Italian pizza and pasta, and take a photo of the Tamaraw Falls.

Laguna Loop

Cavinti, Laguna. Photo credits: Biyaheng Juan-Sided

The Laguna Loop refers to the several towns encircling the Laguna Lake. It will pass by some parts of Rizal and Laguna including Angono, Pililia, Paete, and Pagsanjan. Visit the windmills of Pililia, buy some wooden souvenirs in Paete, and explore the historical ruins of Pagsanjan.


Calatagan Beach| Photo credits: mrwhitepatch via Pixabay

You can never go wrong with Batangas when it comes to vacations and tourist spots. It is home to historical artifacts, pristine beaches, “Kapeng Barako” (coffee), and Batangas Goto (porridge). You can take a dip into their relaxing and cool pools, visit popular diving sites, and attend their local festivals.


Bolinao Falls | Photo credits: abujassim1981 via Pixabay
Things to do outside Manila – Pangasinan

Hundred Islands would be the top of mind when you say Pangasinan. Not to mention its hundreds of beaches and resorts and local food Calasiao Longganisa and Dagupan Bangus (milkfish).

La Union

La Union sunset | Photo credits: Leocadio Sebastian via Flickr

This province, located above the Pangasinan province, is known as a popular surfing spot. San Juan, Bauang, and San Fernando are home to La Union’s most popular beaches.

La Union also produces local handicraft, rice and sugarcane wines, dried fish, and vinegar that are sold both to locals and tourists.


A view from Camp John Hay | Photo credits: Jun’s World via Flickr

Some people might still not know this, but Baguio is not a province. It is actually a city in the province of Benguet in Northern Luzon. Baguio is one of the all-time favorite tourist destinations of the said province.

Foreigners will also love the cool climate of this popular tourist destination. Your itinerary won’t be complete without visiting Burnham Park, Camp John Hay, and Mines View Park. Taste strawberry-based dishes all year round, and don’t forget to buy Ube Jam before you go home!


Paoay Church | Photo credits: Bernard Spragg via Picryl

The Ilocos Region is filled to the brim of countless tourist destinations. Make sure to visit Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Paoay Church, Pagudpud, and Bangui Windmills among a few.

Try their local dishes such as pinakbet, Ilocos empanada, and the famous Vigan longganiza. You can go to Ilocos by plane. However, you can also travel by land via bus or private vehicle (around 10 to 12 hours).


Zambales | Photo credits: Jopet Sy via Flickr

This province in Central Luzon is home to Subic and other spectacular beaches in the region. You can shop, stay in hotels, or swim in beaches in Subic. You can also watch dolphin shows in Ocean Adventure that your kids will surely enjoy.

However, Zambales has more to offer than the bustling Subic. Visit Anawangin Cove, a popular beach in San Antonio as well as Potipot and Magalawa Islands. Include should hiking at the dormant Mt. Pinatubo in your itinerary and be at awe on the so-called “beautiful disaster” when you reach its summit.

Cagbalete Island, Quezon

Sunrise at Cagbalete Island | Photo credit via Trip Advisor

This hidden gem is located in Mauban in Quezon province. Cagbalete Island boasts of sand bars that are exposed during low tide. For individuals seeking a peaceful retreat, you should include this in your travel bucket list.

You can catch a bus going to Lucena City, another bus to Mauban, and pay for a boat tide going to Cagbalete Island. Your beach bum self will not regret going to this beach paradise.

Looking for more beaches in the Philippines? Click here!


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