Holiday season is right around the corner and aren’t we all frantically searching for budget – friendly places which are also drop – dead gorgeous so we can have a fun time with our friends or family? Think scenic beaches, pristine white sands and colourful sunsets to mark the evenings with happening night life and great hospitality too! The search ends here.
This blog piece talks about 7 great places to be this vacation season which are easy on the pocket, maybe close-by to Manila, the capital city and also the most coveted holiday destinations for the modern – day traveller.
A mere 40-kilometre distance and an hour’s drive from the thriving and vibrant Manila, Bulacan Province is a gold mine of tourist friendly destinations with options ranging from natural beauty to religious monuments and places of interest, historical places in cities like Malolos, San Miguel, San Jose Del Monte, Claumpit, Baliuag etc.
Bulacan offers beautiful churches, museum and other architectural points of interest and rivers, falls and national parks too. La Purisima Conception Parish Church, Philippine Arena, The Garden Ciudad de Victoria and St Andrew Kim Ta Gon shrine are a few architectural highlights of the urban landscape. You can visit the Puning caves, Mount Manalmon and Candba bird sanctuary for nature trips around the province. There are many national parks and biosphere reserves along with biodiversity conservation setups across the province too, if that interests you.
A 3-hour drive from Manila, this destination lies a 100 – kilometres away from the capital. Batangas can be explored for a variety of tourist destinations – Batangas city, Nasugbu, Calatagan, San Juan, Lipa city, Santo Tomas, Lemery etc.
Tagaytay Ridge and Taal volcano can be done as a three – day itinerary. The volcano visit can be clubbed with the Pagsanjan falls trip for a day but if you do so it is better to book an organized tour. Calruega church, Masaga beach, Milea bee farm, Cape Santiago lighthouse etc are a few things to see in Batangas. One can do museums, bike trips, hikes and even bus tours for Batangas, mainly the Taal volcano and the ridge. San Juan, Lobo, Mabini, Tingloy, Nasugbu, and Calatagan are all ivory sand beches in Batangas if you want a leisurely holiday right off Manila.
San Antonio, Zambales
A 3 hour journey from Manila, Zambales offers great holiday options for cheap. San Antonio in Zambales is unique in geography, has amazing views and is a stone’s throw from Manila. It is accessible and yet quite holiday – worthy. The volcanic ash that is strewn on the beaches of San Antonio, unlike any other beach of the country makes then unique and interesting. This ash is from the volcano nearby, Mt Pinatubo. The Anawangin cove is the most popular destination to which the local fishermen have become boatmen and guides to. It is a hidden cove which also involves a bit of trekking over relatively bare landscape too. It has zero connectivity by electricity or mobile range.
After 1991 eruption of Mt Pinatubo, the geography of this place has changed drastically. The rocky coast then has become a lush and scenic landscape of now – the sea pine trees have grown profusely and it looks like a Boracay – Baguio cross now.
Other interesting places to visit are Nagsasa Cove, Silanguin Cove, Talisayin Cove, Camara Island and Capones Island.
An hour’s drive from Manila, Mt Pinatubo is a volcano which last erupted in the year 1991 and changed the environs of Philippines and around. A day’ excursion from Manila can be an exciting adventure.
The early morning ride takes you to the jump off point for Mt Pinatubo from Manila. Hereon, you get to ride in a 4*4 vehicle and the trek begins at 8 AM towards the foot of the Mt Pinatubo crater.
A 2-hour long hike takes you to the crater lake which is famous for its coloration from green to blue depending upon the season. Lunch is generally included in this tour and you can come back to Manila by the end of the day. A longer tour includes a boat ride on this lake and overnight camp stay at the volcano. While coming back, you can stop over at Angeles city and sample some of the great dishes from the very popular Pampanga’s cuisine.
Puerto Princesa, Palawan
A first class and urbanized city in the Philippines, is amazing for its rich architecture and beaches. Take a day trip from here to the underground river and cave system which will blow your mind away. The city tour can include all the great churches and architectural amazements the city has to offer, like the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, City Baywalk Park and the like.
Other things like Ugong rock, Sbang Beach, Honda Bay, Nagtabon beach and Cowrie Island are a few places which are unmissable. Also, include the butterfly park in your itinerary. You can also take a day beach trip from here to Port Barton.
Voted the most amazing tourist destination for years together, Boracay is truly a heavenly island which is small but packed with many things to do and experience. The 9 square kilometre island strip is packed with great resorts, water sport opportunities, party scene on the beach, rich marine life and superb beaches to frolic on.
Boracay has faced problems with ecology due to over-tourism for some time and has been though a detox when inflow of tourists was stopped for a good six months in 2018. But not it has restarted and now after the rehabilitation it has been opened for the tourists again.
Now the tourism in Boracay has resumed with precautionary changes to avoid the negative impact on environment.
A city in Philippines, it is the capital of the central Visayas province and popular for its chocolate hills, which are perfectly shaped and distributed mounds in the land. The vegetation turns brown in autumn inspiring the name chocolate hills.
You can also visit the Panglao Island, Alona Beach, Hinagdanan cave (the subterranean cave system) Nalusuan Island and the Tarsier Sanctuary are great ways to spend time in Bohol. The conjoint ecosystem with forests and beaches and terrain variations make sure you have a good time in Bohol. Loboc river cruise is a must-do, Mag-Aso falls are great too. All in all, Bohol gives tourists a composite experience.
Since it is connected well with flights from all over the world, Philippines proves to be a convenient travel location for the global tourist. The Filipino hospitality, great environs and hidden gems present in the country which is full of lovely islands and variety that they offer are lucrative for all kinds of travellers. These destinations are especially relevant for the budget traveller because of the pocket – friendly attribute of Philippines. Any destination here is quite within budget, even Boracay, which is the land of fancy resorts. There are options for the shoe-string budget tourist here as well!