FlipPicks: Five Easy Weekend Destinations Outside of Manila

For most of us who are slaves of capitalism and thriving by the help of that magic well of cash that replenishes every 15 days, getting a quality weekend escape is a challenge. Long weekends are truly gems that are sporadically strewed across the calendar year. And if we get the chance to stretch it for an extra day, I know for sure that just like me, you already mastered the art of utilizing that one great employee benefit ever invented—sick leave.

Three days and two nights may not be the best form of vacation in the staycationultimate adventure continuum, travel packages are available for hassle free weekends, but this is better than nothing and when I say “nothing” that equates to Facebook browsing with a can of beer and a box of pizza. Which is exactly what is happening to me right now, a weekend of nothingness.

Philippines is an archipelago and that made the huge problem in terms of getting from one place to another. So you have dream of exploring the off-the-beaten-tracks in the Visayas, chances are, you will temporarily push it on the side for a longer block leave later on in life.

But there are some amazing destinations that will not require you to take long-haul tricycle rides and hours of butt numbing boat trips. Here are our favorites:

#1 The Towns of Laguna de Bay

Visit the beautiful churches and rustic towns around the biggest lake in the country. The trail is the cultural center of the colonial town as it has the largest preserved tradition and architecture from the Spanish occupation outside the capital. Start the trip from Angono Rizal and stopping town after town across Baras and Tanay. Cross the provincial border to Siniloan and enjoy the more traditional towns of Pakil, Paete and end the adventure in Pagsanjan. Best experienced by public transport.

#2 Road Trip to Pangasinan

Drive yourself up north and island hop to the hundred islands in Alaminos and other topnotch beaches like Tondol. Driving will just burn 4 hours of your time.

#3 Coron Palawan

The top notch beaches of this unspoiled beaches in Palawan Philippines can go head to head with the world class beaches of the South Pacific Islands. Last minute deals are everywhere. Book a package and enjoy the typhoon free weekend with an assurance of clear blue skies and turquoise water.

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#4 Puerto Galera

Other than the party shores and LGBT paradise known as white beach, there are other coves and pockets of sandy beaches in this popular destination 2hours of bus and 1 hour boat ride away from Manila. We stayed in Encenada and it is a quiet refuge with hidden from the crowd, a perfect place to read a book while you soak your feet in its calm waters.

#5 Cebu City 

From one city to another, Cebu is the biggest city in the southern part of the country. It boasts a good selection of gastronomic gems and the cultural flavor is leaning towards the more colonial identity. Flights are on regular schedule giving you time flexibility and options from budget to first class.

A good weekend destination should have four important elements: Availability of transportation, readily available accommodation, safety and variety of cultural flavors. There are a lot of other good and perhaps better destinations for your weekend escapade from Manila, but believe that these five will offer you the best experience with an assurance that you will have a bed to sleep on even if you book at the last minute and transportation that will bring you back to the capital on a set date without the possibility delays.

  • eduardo retiza jr.

    Yeah, I agree on what you said about Cebu. Many resorts, hotels, and beautiful spots to explore. On top of that, the costs are so cheap. One of my suggestions is to stay at cheap hotels for you to stay like M Citi Cebu Suites.

  • Robert Racelo

    Totally agree. Hundred islands is breathtaking. But make sure you relax on one of the islands to truly get the feel of it. Cebu City is where my wife’s family is, so we always go there. Great night life! We especially love life singing. It’s true, everyone can sing in the Philippines. Well, at least better than me, ha ha. I love the PI so much, that I created a website/blog to showcase the many beauties of the Philippines. Check it out. http://www.philippineunderground.com

  • Stella Sandoval

    I am glad that Cebu is part of this list, although I somehow expected it. Being a Cebuana myself, I can attest to the fact that it “boasts a good selection of gastronomic gem.” The different provinces of Cebu offer various delicacies. Torta and other rice products are quite popular here, and vendors even hop on buses to sell their products. I know because I’ve tried buying some, and they’re really good! Food, beaches, tourist spots — almost everything is indeed present in Cebu. I have been to other places, but I think I’d still be coming to this haven. Thank you for your post, by the way.