Manila’s hustle and bustle can easily wear you down, not to mention make you all cranky and counter-productive. Before it gets the best of you, why not take a breather and plan a weekend escape? No need to stray too far from Manila to shake off that stress and re-energize yourself. Here are four quick weekend getaways  ideal for your much-needed R&R.

Angono, Rizal: Awakening Your Love for Art and Nature

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Angono Petroglyphs – Image Credit: Wikipedia

If you are into art and nature, you can never go wrong with Angono, Rizal. Touted as the art capital of the Philippines, it should not come as a surprise that this weekend getaway near Manila is teeming with museums and art galleries, showcasing the finest works of Filipino artists, some of which are for sale. Once you have re-awakened your love for the arts, you can bask in Angono’s natural wonders. From a massive forest park teeming with high rising trees and shrubs to ancient rocks engraved with some of the oldest known artworks in the Philippines, Angono has a lot of natural gems that are waiting to be explored.

Points of interest: Blanco Family Museum, Tiamson Art Gallery, The Second Gallery, Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs, and Angono Forest Park.

Getting there: Public utility vehicles going to Angono, Rizal are stationed across Cubao Farmers Market and near EDSA Central/Crossing in Mandaluyong. Ride the Angono-bound jeepney and ask to be dropped off at the town proper.

Corregidor Island, Cavite: Exploring the Country’s Last Military Stronghold During Japanese Invasion

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Mile Long Barracks – Image Credit: RJCabagnot via Wikimedia Commons

Going back in time and having a grand history lesson is always a worthwhile experience, and Cavite’s Corregidor Island is a destination that has so much history to share. This tadpole-shaped rocky island that strategically sits at the entrance of Manila Bay is the Philippines’ last military stronghold when Japan invaded the country in 1942. The war may long be over, but Corregidor is a stark reminder of what transpired during that dark point in history, as seen from the island’s artillery batteries, ruins, and tunnel systems, just to name a few.

Take note that the island can only be accessed via a guided tour, making Corregidor ideal for a day trip with family or friends or a romantic getaway near Manila if you and your partner are history geeks. And since the crowd is somehow under control, going around the island will help you wind down and regain your zen.

Points of Interest: Mile-Long Barracks, Malinta Tunnel, Pacific War Memorial, Eternal Flame of Freedom, Cine Corregidor, and Spanish Lighthouse.

Getting There: As mentioned earlier, the only way to access Corregidor Island is via a guided tour. Sun Cruises operated by Magsaysay Shipping is the only tour company that provides scheduled tours to the island. Their ferry service is situated at the Hoverferry Terminal near the Cultural Center of the Philippines. You can find more information on their website.

Tagaytay, Cavite: Enjoy the Town’s Mild Climate and Panoramic Views of Taal Volcano

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Sky Ranch Tagaytay – Image Credit: Philippine Travel Site

The second entry from Cavite is perhaps one of the favorite overnight getaways near Manila by Pinoys who want to get out of the metro’s heat but do not have the luxury of time to go too far for a vacation. Sitting at high altitude lends Tagaytay its mild climate as well as spectacular view of Taal Volcano Island, an active volcano seated at the center of Taal Lake . On top of those, this component city also offers a wide array of tourist spots, from a historical, unfinished palace to a leisure park to a picnic spot that provides a panoramic view of Taal volcano. Also, don’t forget to treat yourself to a good deal of sumptuous dishes like the town’s popular Bulalo and Tawilis.

Points of Interest: People’s Park in the Sky, Picnic Grove, Sky Ranch, Puzzle Mansion, Museo Orlina, Flower Farm, Calaruega, and Ambon-Ambon Falls.

Getting There: There are buses from Metro Manila that either travel directly or pass through Tagaytay. You can find them in Coastal Mall and the terminals near LRT Taft and Gil Puyat (Buendia) station. Another option is to take a van or FX stationed at EGI Mall near LRT Gil Puyat station or Starmall Mandaluyong. 

Taal, Batangas: Walk Down Memory Lane by Visiting Ancestral Houses and Heritage Sites

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Taal Basilica – Image Credit: Eric Jam (Wikimedia Commons)

A lot of people often look to Vigan, Ilocos Sur if they want to find  ancestral houses and other heritage sites. But, why travel further when you can enjoy the same experience in Taal? Just a couple of hour’s drive from Manila, this town’s roads are lined with well-preserved ancestral homes of prominent Taaleños, some of whom were major supporters of revolutionary forces who fought against the Spaniards.

When you start your walking tour of the town, you will  definitely feel like you have been transported back in time, with all the capiz-adorned windows and intricate woodwork of the ancestral homes you will see. Some of these properties were converted into museums, allowing visitors to view mementos from the past. Once you are done with your heritage tour, you can hit the streets of the town center for a quick meal and to buy pasalubong for family and friends. Better yet, treat yourself to a bit of sun, sea and sun, as the neighboring towns of Taal boast some of the best beaches near Manila.

Points of Interest: Taal Basilica, Ancestral House of Doña Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio, Goco Heritage House, San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps, Casaysay Church, and Sacred Well of Sta. Lucia.

Getting There: To get to the heritage town of Taal Batangas from Manila, take a bus bound to Lemery. Ask the driver if it will stop at Taal Basilica, which should be your drop off point. If not, disembark at Taal Lemery Junction where you can find jeepneys heading to Taal Basilica.

The ones mentioned above are just some of the best places to visit near Manila, especially if you want to quickly escape the city for a bit of relaxation with minimal planning involved—just prep up your stuff, tag along your friends or loved ones, and you’re good to go! Best of all taking any of these nearby trips will not spread your wallet thin.

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