Top 10 Day Trips From Manila in 2020

The Philippines is one of the most astounding countries in all of Asia. It is home to rich culture, tourism, biodiversity, and most hospitable people. There is much to explore and enjoy with its more than 7000 islands.  Pristine marine life, world-class surf spots, beautiful beaches and mountains, rice paddies, endemic wildlife, abundant flora and fauna, colorful festivals, rich culture, and authentic, savory Filipino cuisine are just a few of the best things you can get when you visit the country.

Manila, the capital city, is the gateway to all of these experiences. There is no need to book another local flight to get a taste of Asia’s “Pearl of the Orient Seas”. Only 1 to 3 hours away from the metropolitan, you can visit historical sites, discover white beaches, and even trek a supervolcano!

Get your backpack ready and check out our 2020‘s Top 10 Tourist Spots near Manila.

1. Tagaytay City

Located 1.5 hours away from Manila, Tagaytay City in Cavite is a great place to cool off while driving through rows and rows of pineapple fields. It is popular for its cool climate and picturesque view of the Taal Volcano.

Must see places include the Sky Ranch, a five-hectare amusement park where the country’s second-tallest Ferris wheel stood. You can also visit the 1028 puzzle collections at the Puzzle Mansion. This place was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records.

For an artsy cafe experience, you should drop by at Dreamland Arts & Crafts Cafe. They serve native coffee perfectly paired with their best-selling Tortilla Wraps. Dreamland’s main selling points is their native-culture vibes and colorful displays of handcrafted artworks and souvenirs.

The People’s Park in the Sky, situated in the city’s highest point, is also a popular destination. From there, you can see Taal – a volcano that is surrounded by a freshwater lake, with a lake inside its crater and an island within that lake.

If you are still confused about how this triple island looks like, you should see Tagaytay for yourself and book this day tour package!

2. Angono Petroglyphs

Angono Petroglyphs is only 2 hours away from the capital city but it will take you a trip down the Stone Age’s memory lane. Petroglyphs are rock carvings that were formed by the scratching of soft stones with harder stones.

It is also considered as one of the oldest forms of art. The petroglyphs in Angono, Rizal are the oldest rock art discovered in the Philippines. It holds primitive-quality drawings of human and animal figures. There are a total of 127 carvings inside the cave and all were found to exist more than 4000 years ago.

You will have to make your way through an artificial tunnel before reaching the stone carvings. This tunnel is manually built by Ibanag minorities in the 1990s to protect the petroglyphs. On-site, there is a mini-museum that displays fossils and artifacts such as flake stone tools and earthenwares.

Good news! There is no entrance fee to the site. You can visit Angono Petroglyphs along with other Angono Arts & Heritage by reserving a trip her

3. Corregidor Island

Corregidor Island was one of the battle sites during World War II. Situated right at the mouth of the Manila Bay, makes it a strategic defense location against the invaders. Corregidor Island means “Island of the Corrector” as it was where warships entering Manila would stop for inspection and signal enemy intrusion.

Highlights of the Corregidor Tour includes the Malinta Tunnel and the Mile-long Barracks. The Malinta Tunnel served as a bomb shelter during the war and is connected to a network of tunnels running through the mountains.

Today, this tunnel is used as an AV theater that presents a narration of battles in Corregidor. Meanwhile, the Mile-long Barracks is the iconic skeletal remains of what has been the soldier’s houses. These ruins are located on the island’s highest point and are said to be hurricane-proof.

The best way to tour the island is to rent a bicycle. To reach the island, however, tourists will need to take a short ferry ride from Manila. Be reminded that Corregidor Island only allows guided tours. Book here now and start your historical sight-seeing.

4. Mt. Pinatubo

Mount Pinatubo in Zambales once dealt a violent volcanic eruption leading a global temperature drop during the 1990s. While this volcano is yet to show signs of activeness, the disaster it caused created beautiful landscapes perfect for nature adventurers.

At the hillside, tourists will be required to ride a 4×4 jeepney to get closer to the mountain. It is a long and bumpy journey on a lahar field between valleys. The trekking starts at the end of the Crow Valley and will take approximately 2 hours to reach the crater. At the crater, there is a lake that gleams a turquoise hue, surrounded by giant rock formations.

If you wanted a bit of side-trip, do drop by at Capas Shrine. This is a memorial shrine built for the Filipino and American soldiers who died during the Bataan Death March. Also visit Telatau, a massive totem-shaped rock in Sta. Juliana.

Aside from this, you can end your day in the Bueno and Dolores Hot Springs or couple it with a relaxing volcanic ash massage at the Pinatubo Spa. This adventure is only 2 hours away from Manila.

Don’t think twice and reserve a Pinatubo Crater Tour today.

5. Masungi Georeserve

Masungi geo-reserve is a conservation spot in Rizal that sustainably protects the biodiversity in it. For just an hour, you can already experience trailing along with this nature spot. Visitors will be coursing a trail that goes through the geo-reserve, witnessing the massive rock formations and the rich forest.

The trail walk, accompanied by rope courses and uphill climbing, will take around three to four hours.

To start, visitors will be greeted by a rope net, which they will have climb to get to a rock wall and onto the rest of the trail. Other rope courses include the Duyan, which is a giant rope hammock, Sapot, which is a metallic platform that hangs above the fairy chimney rocks, and the Patak, a cable car connected by a hanging bridge. The tallest peaks in the reserve are called Nanay and Tatay which are natural limestone formations. A man-made bridge is used to connect the two.

To preserve the site, the Masungi Geo-reserve only accepts advance booking and accommodates a maximum of four groups per day.

Book a group package now and have an awesome nature trip.

6. Capones Island

Three hours away from Manila, the Capones Islands in Zambales will surely make your hearts leap for an island hopping. This island is the largest among the three islands which during low tides, are connected by a sand bar. Like most of the Philippine coasts, Capones Island also has a creamy white sand shore and clear blue waters. Surrounding the island are rocky cliffs, where the Capones Lighthouse stood.

Plan and prepare in advance if you wish to visit this place. There is no internet connection, no house to rent, and nowhere to buy goods. So, make sure to bring a tent and enough food and water for your overnight stay.  It’s more fun if you bring diving equipment with you to explore its pristine waters. 

To reach the island, you will have to book a tour that includes visiting the Nagsasa Cove and Anawangin Cove.

Book this island hopping tour here.         

7. Pagsanjan Falls

Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna is one of the most famous falls in the Philippines. From Manila, you will be traveling for 2.5 hours to reach Pagsanjan’s jump-off point. From there, you are to take an hour-long canoe ride through lush greenery among the gigantic rock formations. After reaching the lagoon, you can ride a bamboo raft to get closer to the raging falls and into the Devil’s cave.

The Devil’s cave is the shallow opening behind falls that you can enter in. You are also allowed to swim in the lagoon for a couple of minutes.

The canoe ride back is the most exciting part because you will be experiencing Pagsanjan’s famous water rapids, also known as “Shooting the Rapids.”

Alternatively, you can opt to reach the falls from the top through trekking the forests of the Pueblo El Salvador Nature Park. This is an hour-long of rappelling down metal ladders before reaching the falls.

Remember that there are no food stalls out there, bring some snacks and water with you. Get that splash on and reserve this trip now!

8. Anilao

Anilao in Batangas is famed for its underwater sports and endemic marine life. The first scuba-diving experiences started here during the 1960s. There are more than 20 diving sites scattered in this place including the Balayan Bay, Sombrero, and Maricaban islands. The most famous diving site is the Cathedral Rock, a marine sanctuary that is only 23 meters from the shore.

Don’t be sad if you can’t go diving, you may try windsurfing and kayaking. Although swimming is not promoted because of its rocky shores, you can rent bamboo rafts, cabins, and picnic huts. They offer island hopping especially to make you see and enjoy Sombrero Island (a hat-shaped rocky island with white sand shores.)

Alternatively, trekking is also an option. This easy trek to Anilao Mountains includes the hills of Pinagbanderahan, Gitna and Gulugud Baboy.

Random fact: Anilao has gained an international reputation for muck diving and underwater macro photography for its rich marine biodiversity. Anilao is only two hours away from Manila! Book this trip to start exploring underwater.

9. Subic Bay

Subic Bay was formerly an American Navy facility but is now synonymous with weekend day trips from Manila. This place is two hours away from Manila. It offers many experiences: from an Ocean Adventure to Survival Training Camps, every destination is definitely worth the visit!

Ocean Adventures is a marine park, almost like the Manila Ocean Park, in offering lists of aqua-related activities. You can swim with sea animals and even have up-close encounters with the dolphins. If the kids can’t still get enough from these animals, let them visit the Magaul Bird Park. This nature park holds bird shows including the segments Survival Demo, Talk and Feeding Times, and Winged Wonders.

Meanwhile, sharpen your survival skills by enrolling at the JEST Camp. JEST is short for Jungle Environment Survival Training, is the best survival school in the Philippines. You can come with your kid in their Wild Child program, a survival course designed for kids.

You can do all of these by booking here now.

10. Hidden Valley Springs

Give yourself a break and take a refreshing dip in mountain-fresh waters of the Hidden Valley Springs. This destination is situated between Mount Makiling and Mount Banahaw and is blessed with virgin forest, giant ferns, and wild orchids. Only 1.5 hours away from Manila, this resort blends in with a natural jungle setting.

Hidden Valley Springs highlights its secret waterfall, hot and cold springs, and six natural pools.  There is also a Jacuzzi, known as the Soda Pool, which massages your back using the force of water. The water from this resort is said to have rejuvenating power coming from the mountain minerals.

Aside from these, you can also hike around the forest park and follow a hidden path to a secret waterfall.

Complete this experience by enjoying a buffet lunch of traditional Filipino specialties by booking a trip here.

Final Words

Experiencing the Philippines does not have to be far! You can enjoy historical sightseeing at the Angono Petroglyphs and reminisce the war-ravaged past at Corregidor Island. You can also escape the summer heat at the cold city of Tagaytay or be refreshed at the Hidden Valley Springs. If you are in the mood for some beach-vitamins, visit Capones Island or dive the waters of Anilao.

Looking for a trekking adventure within a couple of hours of Manila? The lahar roads of Mt. Pinatubo and the forest trails of Pagsanjan Falls is the way to go.

What are you waiting for? Start booking now and enjoy these quick escapes. Truly, it is much fun in the Philippines!

Top 12 Things To Do In Manila

Planning a trip to the capital of the Philippines, but don’t know what to do in Manila? Guess what? You, as an international traveler, will be spoiled for choice, once you’ve arrived at the Manila Airport.

A wondrous mash-up of American, Spanish and Filipino cultures, Manila is overflowing with colors, life and activities. Even if you’re visiting the city for a short time, the options for Manila tourist attractions to visit are simply endless.

Looking for ideas on things to do in Manila, Philippines? Check out our picks for the top Manila tourist attractions!

For most tourists, Manila is only viewed as the gateway to the Philippines’ most beautiful tourist spots. Unbeknownst to many, the country’s capital also offers great experiences just around the corner. Here are is our top 10 adventures to do on a day out exploring Manila:

 

 

1. Intramuros Manila

Intramuros

They don’t call Intramuros the best tourist spot in Manila for nothing. Also known as Manila’s Walled City, Intramuros boasts 16th-century architecture and is only a 30-minute bus ride away from NAIA.

This former Spanish empire colonial outpost exudes a wondrous European charm, thanks to its colonial-style villas, towering churches, and cobblestone streets.

Among the top spots to stop at the Intramuros are Fort Santiago, Stone Sentries, and Casa Manila.

Fort Santiago is now opening its restored dungeon that was once used as ammunition storage before it was converted into prison cells and torture chambers. The Stone Sentries are the barricade of walls that are meters high, once built to position canons. We also have Casa Manila, a cultural mansion museum containing antique furniture, paintings, and books that depict the lifestyle of the people during the Spanish-era.

One great way to end your Intramuros experience is to shop at Casa Manila’s souvenir store or have a coffee at their on-site café.

While you can do a DIY Intramuros tour, the best way to experience Manila’s oldest district is to take a guided walking tour. Click here to review and choose your preferred dates! 

 

2. Ayala Museumayala museum

Set right at the heart of Manila, this tourist spot in Manila is famous for its contemporary art collection inspired by the Philippine history.

Here, you’ll find a heritage library as well as a collection of textiles, trade ceramics, and archaeological artifacts. And, while it houses permanent dioramas, it frequently updates its current programs and exhibits, meaning there’s a different experience every time you visit it.

Ayala also has a place called Greenbelt Park. This is a natural oasis in the middle of four shopping malls that allows you to shift into a mountain park atmosphere in the middle of the buzzy city life. What makes this place a five-star tier in travel recommendations is perhaps the diversity of mini lagoons, waterfalls, and fountains that disrupts the cosmopolitan monotony. The best time to visit Greenbelt Park is at 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, so why don’t you take a nature walk after dining at one of the Filipino restaurants near it?

PRO Tip: Visit Ayala Museum during the afternoon when the clock is near the golden hour. The sun rays even make the artifact look magical. Also, look out for their special events as they occasionally hold talks, lectures, and special exhibitions.

Looking for a tour that includes Ayala Museum? Click here to check out this private half day tour of the best museums in Manila on Viator

 

3. Manila Ocean Park

Looking for kid-friendly places in Manila? Why not include Ocean Park to your list of must-visit Manila tourist attractions? Praised for its lively aquatic performances, this park allows you to get an up-close look of some gorgeous tropical fish.

Manila Ocean Park is the nation’s first world-class marine-themed park highlighting the Oceanarium – a 55-meter walk-in aquarium that houses 14,000 indigenous marine animals. The crowd favorite was the 220-degree underwater tunnel but certainly, the fun does not stop there. This park also offers 14 more attractions: including Trails to Antarctica and the Jellies Exhibit.

You may also want to book their Aquanaut Voyage that enables you to experience ultimate underwater encounters. A special diving helmet is given to allow guests to breathe making it 100% safe and ideal even for non-swimmers. The price range starts at Php 570.00 to Php 995.00 per head depending on the package.

And, if you can’t get enough of this tourist spot in Manila, you may spend the night at any of H20 Hotel’s marine-themed rooms. Hidden inside the park, the hotel rooms boast a ceiling to the floor aquarium wall. Head’s up and clicks here to start this underwater adventure: 

 

4. Divisoria

Manila shopping experience is almost as interchangeable with the iconic Divisoria Market. Imagine the alley at your neighborhood with side shops and yelling vendors plus the seven RTW malls that stood nearby. Welcome to Divisoria, the “shopping mecca” right at the heart of Manila.

Divisoria is one of the oldest marketplaces in the city known for its super low-priced goods. This place is a great find from textiles, office supplies, and even your kitchenware. A word of caution though: never bring jewelry or expensive gadgets with you.

Remember: To make the most out of your money, don’t forget to haggle with the sellers and vendors in this shopping district. Keep in mind as well that this is an urbane market, and you might lose something valuable while finding those cheaper deals. 

Check out this Viator tour  for a shop-til-you-drop tour!

 

5. Binondo

Food trip is one of the best things to do in Manila, and there is no other way than a quick visit to the oldest Chinatown in the world –Binondo. Although it was originally built for Chinese immigrants, it has amazingly turned into a premier tourist destination in Manila. Famed for its mouthwatering culinary goodies, Binondo will appease your taste buds with authentic Chinese dishes, such as dumplings, century eggs, and Peking duck. What’s more, Manila’s Chinatown offers an endless array of souvenirs and cheap knock-offs.

What’s more? There are cooking schools in Binondo for those who want to learn the art of Chinese and Filipino cooking. Check out your preferred dates and book this Chinese-inspired experience on Viator

 

6. Manila Bay

stroll along Manila Bay

A perfect way to end a perfect day of sightseeing in Manila is to savor the magnificent sunset views at Manila Bay. As the sun begins to set, stop by the bay and look for a prime spot to enjoy a world-famous view. Afterward, take a stroll along Roxas Boulevard’s pedestrian-friendly paths, which are lined perfectly by palm trees.  To cap off the Manila Bay experience, make your way to a nearby bar or al fresco restaurant and enjoy some cocktails while relishing in the scenery.

The best spots for a cocktail with a view in Manila are the Sky Deck View Barn in The Bayleaf Hotel and Manila Sunset Bar in Sofitel. You can even book a cruise dinner just right before the sunset.

 

7. National Museum

On a tight budget? Worry no more! The Philippine’s all-in-one museum offers you Fine Art, Natural History, and Anthropology exhibitions for free.  Even if you’re not a history buff or art connoisseur, you’ll still have a blast exploring the national treasures displayed inside the National Museum Complex.

The museum is developed to be an educational, scientific and cultural institution that acquires, preserves, and exhibits the country’s artworks, artifacts, and unique specimens. It also offers interactive displays and a library to quench your mind.

As you hit the Museum of Fine Arts, you’ll see the internationally acclaimed and most renowned artwork in the Philippines – Juan Luna’s Spolarium. Meanwhile, the Museum of Natural History – the newest installment of the complex – is a magnificent architectural wonder housing the skeletal remains of the world’s largest captured crocodile. Aside from the museums of Natural History and Fine Arts, the complex is home to the National Museum of Anthropology and the National Planetarium as well.

As a reminder: the museum of Fine Arts, Natural History, and Anthropology are stationed at different buildings so expect a short commute in-between.

Pair this with an Intramuros-Rizal Park-Ayala Museum tour and you have completed the Manila historical quest! Looking forward to doing this? Review your preferred dates and book a tour now on Klook

 

8. Bonifacio Global City

Need a break from Manila’s hustle and bustle? You might want to spend a few hours or the whole day at Bonifacio Global City. A man-made urban oasis, BGC is a cool, relaxing, and hip spot where trendy locals and expats socialize, drink, eat and shop. For photographers, the place teems with sophisticated and colorful street art.

You may join a guided art tour where you’ll make stops at every splashy and visually appealing wall within the vicinity. Going around Bonifacio Global City on a bike or foot, these tours will highlight the murals as well as tell stories of every piece of art there. There is also a novel museum inside called the Mind Museum and you can easily book it here: www.klook.com

 

9. Upside Down Museum

Upside Down Museum ups your travel photos by creating a mishmash of wonderfully bizarre photographs. Cars, bedrooms, kitchens, and offices have been flipped to an angle or upside down to create an illusion on your camera that you’re balancing in amazingly impossible positions or standing on your hands. Bring your phone or camera and ask the staff around the area to snap your photo. For sure, they know all the best and most fantastic angles. Review your preferred dates and book by clicking here

 

10. Rizal Park

Rizal Park, or also referred to as Luneta Park, isn’t just a historical landmark dedicated to the national hero of the Philippines, Doctor Jose Rizal. Today, it’s a local, go-to spot for family picnics, sightseeing, and free activities in Manila. Furthermore, it has an open-air auditorium that serves as a venue for a variety of year-round events.

With a land area of more than 60 hectares, the park offers a smorgasbord of entertainment for everyone. Not only is home to ornamental gardens and open lawns, but it also a Chess Plaza and tons of artworks. Moreover, it has magical dancing fountains and statues of some of the notable heroes in the Philippines. And, with its relaxing atmosphere, it’s a favorite strolling destination for locals in the early evening or late afternoon. You can book a private or group tour by clicking here.  

11. Art in Island

Art in the Island is the world’s first selfie museum and Asia’s largest trick art gallery. With over 200 3D paintings at different theme zones, these artworks bank on the illusions that when viewed from a certain angle would look realistic.

You might be Spiderman one minute and then become a shark attack survivor next. One thing to keep in mind: bring a camera and wear socks since the museum won’t allow you to wear your shoes inside. Visit this fun tour on Viator for reviews and booking options.

 

12. Van Gogh is Bipolar

Wait, we still want you to dine with excitement. Presenting the unpredictable and ever-shifting meals of Van Gogh.

Much like Alice in Wonderland, this place is filled with random objects – from a test tube to a giant clock, its diversity is endless. Before ordering, the restaurant requires you to brew your tea depending on your mood (though this may change again depending on Van Gogh’s mood). It highlights its daily-changing menu where food is 100% organic and cooked without preservatives. If you are someone who wants a Manila tour while also passively helping for a cause, try this restaurant. The owner advocates for mental health awareness and gave job opportunities to his servers who have ADHD and Chronic Depression.

BONUS:

13. Sip and Gogh

Looking for more things to do in Manila? Another unique experience is a painting session while drinking your favorite wine. Sip and Gogh is the first paint and sip studio in Manila envisioned by its owners to be a cozy venue in finding your creative self. There are art instructors in the studio who personally coach you how to paint for three hours.

The quality reviews from its customers are the reason why this place made it to our list. First-time painters and even ‘stick-figure artists’ testified that this art studio has a friendly and open atmosphere making even the introverts become comfortable and able to express their art.

 

While these may be the best places to visit in Manila, there are also other destinations from Manila that are perfect for hiking or nature tripping. The nearest must-see spots from Manila were Pagsanjan Falls, Taal Lake, and Corregidor Island. Here is a quick list https://www.viator.com/en-PH/Manila/d4674-ttd to unlock your best Manila experiences!