Where to go this summer without traveling too far

Seat sales, vacation promos and warmer days are all testaments that summer really is here, and all of us are tempted to go on a quick getaway. With these travel destinations just a few miles away from Manila, try and pick one for you and your family and friends for that summer power up!


This is the crowd favorite of many for years now. Just two hours away from Manila, Laguna is where vacationers flock for hot spring resorts and other private spots. But for a change, a visit to these following destinations could liven up our dream provincial vibe without going too far: the Majayjay Falls and Cold Springs, Hulugan Falls, and Pandin Lake for a quick breath of fresh air amongst nature. You can also go to Nuvali if you want a breezy stroll with your kids and pets, or the Rizal Shrine for a historical and meaningful trip.



For those who really want to beat the heat, beaches are their top choices. Batangas comes to mind as it is dotted with beachfront resorts. From hiking adventures to three-day trips, Batangas has also been the crowd favorite. Only three hours away from Manila, these popular names offer the best escape from stress: Taal Heritage Town, Matabungkay Beach, Fortune Island, Masasa Beach, and Malabrigo Beach.

Playa Calatagan Beach in Batangas

If you are willing to splurge and go all-out with the budget, Calatagan has various resorts. Nearby also lies Punta Fuego and Tali Beach — where most millennials flock!


Although often overlooked by Manileños, Rizal is rich with various spots to lounge on. From art museums, boutique restaurants and cafés, and of course the swimming spots like waterfalls, rivers, and even resorts and Airbnbs. Travel time is only an hour or two from Manila. Try the Daranak Falls, Tinipak River, Masungi Georeserve, or the famous Pinto Art Museum.

Daranak Falls in Tanay, Rizal

For dining experiences, you can easily do a web search, type “Rizal restaurants” and you’ll be surprised at the number of places you’ll be offered!


For overnight getaways, especially for those who are into solo backpacking, Zambales is a good choice. Here lies the famous Capones Island, the Anawangin Cove and Liwliwa Beach — all possessing the perfect beachfront scenery. Nagsasa Cove and Potipot Island are also Instagram-worthy spots just three to four hours away.

Mount Pinatubo in Zambales

La Union

La Union is more than just a surf town and its giant rolling waves. Though somehow gentrified by the budding businesses and establishments like hotels, inns, resorts and restaurants, it still exudes that laid-back vibe sought after by the youngsters.

Surfing in Urbiztondo Beach in La Union

For only four hours’ worth the drive, you can already get a taste of the following: Tangadan Falls where you can go cliff diving; the Luna and Urbiztondo Beaches where many beach activities like parties and surfing lessons take place; and the Baluarte Watchtower; the Kamay na Bato Art Gallery, and the many churches in the region for that history lesson you need every now and then.


This place is the perfect destination for your family and friends if you want to experience the Philippines in a different timeline. An hour by ferry and under three hours by land, Bataan is rich in history because of the Bataan Death March and the Battle of Bataan (See related story on B7). Here, one can travel back in time, at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, a sprawling piece of land that gives an Old Manila feel with its surrounding structures reminiscent of our Spanish roots.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan

To beat the heat, island hopping is also possible in this region with the Five Fingers Cove there to save the day. The Pawikan Conservation Center, Mount Samat National Shrine and Sisiman Bay and Lighthouse are also highly recommended spots.


It is the Culinary Capital of the Philippines but Pampanga is more than just its gastronomic identity. A relaxing day trip at the Mt. Pinatubo crater is perfect if you’re craving for the eye-catcher views, or at the Zoocobia Fun Zoo, Puning Hot Springs, and Aqua Planet for the adventure-hungry individuals.

Only about two hours away from Manila, Pampanga’s tourist spots are as welcoming as its homegrown dishes that has made history over the years.