If you are looking for a place to beat the summer heat, this country will never run out of spots for you. However, places like Baguio, Baler, and Quezon could be tough choices especially when you're planning to use your everyday car. Although going to these towns with a subcompact car is possible, such places are easier to reach with an SUV due to their winding roads, steep inclines, and unexpected uneven paths.
However, in case you don't have an SUV parked in your garage, we jotted down 5 summer getaway destinations you can visit with your 5-seater car, which are only a few hour-drive from Manila.
Just past Alabang, there is a place where hot springs and private resorts are a thing. You may have heard of Laguna when your friends asked you to come check out Enchanted Kingdom in Santa Rosa. But there is more to this province than an amusement park, you just have to pass a couple more toll gates to get to these relaxing hot spring resorts.
Simply type "Pansol, Laguna" on your GPS mobile application, and the next thing you'll know is you're about to plunge yourself in these relaxing warm treats. It will require you to take Calamba exit toll and travel via National Highway. Pansol is located between Calamba and Los Banos, and it offers tons of neighboring private and public pool resorts.
Alternative: Along Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay road, before you start climbing up to Tagaytay, you will find the Nuvali Ecoliving. It's an eco-friendly community composed of shopping centers and different variety of restaurants. A water park, called Republ1c Wakepark, is located at the inner part of the place where you can go wakeboarding or paddleboarding.
Not a fan of swimming pools? Maybe you’re now thinking about “Baguio.” But do you know that there's a place similar to its climate that’s just south of Manila? Tagaytay, which is known to be the 2nd summer capital of the Philippines for many. It offers countless of places to eat and stay – with a bonus of exemplary sceneries.
You can take Santa Rosa exit and traverse Santa Rosa – Tagaytay road. It is only 2 hours away from Manila, and it brags diverse views of Taal. If you prefer this getaway, try the well known places to visit like the Picnic Grove, Palace in the Sky, and the Skyranch leisure park. Plus, there are also great coffee shops here, such as the Dreamland Arts and Crafts Café and Java Jazz Coffee, which you can find through your GPS app.
Bonus: If you ever prefer Tagaytay on a night drive, head to the Palace in the Sky. As you reach the base of the mansion, you’ll have this great view of the city lights. There’s a spot where you can park your car directly facing the cliff—although we recommend that you park tail-first—so you can open your trunk and sit as you watch the flickering lights. Don’t forget to bring a hot beverage to warm yourself.
Now, if tanned skin is your thing, the beach is the perfect place for you. You can either go north or south, depending on the distance of travel you prefer. One of the closest to Manila would be Nasugbu in Batangas, where the sea is calm and the food are nice. Yes, aside from Batangas' Lomi, all other delicacies like their version of Pares are a must try.
Batangas is just 92 km away from Manila so there's no point of not visiting it, especially on a weekend trip. There are a lot of beaches there, such as the ones in Nasugbu and Laiya. But if you're looking for a low-cost sunbathing on a quick 2-day getaway, beaches like Tali Beach and Munting Buhangin are two of many you can check out.
Suggestion: Aside from Santa Rosa exit, you can reach Batangas via CavitEx. It’s a must try route as it includes the Kaybiang Tunnel, also known as Philippines' longest subterranean road tunnel. Just wait until you reach the end of the tunnel, there’s a cliff nearby where you can have a stopover and savor the outstanding oceanic view down below.
This must be one of the most favorite places of surfers and beach-goers, especially the town of San Juan. It’s a 5 to 6-hour drive from Manila, where most roads you'll traverse are flat. It's guaranteed that your car will be able to handle this. The beaches here, especially at Urbiz Tondo, produces up of 1 ft to 5 ft waves depending on the season. So if you ever plan on visiting there, consider trying out surfing. It's worth it.
Aside from the beach full of amateur and professional surfers during the summer, the locals here are as good as the place. More so, there is a wide variation of food and accommodations just across the street from the beachfront. But if you're fed up of beaches, try the Tangadan Falls in the town of San Gabriel.
Bonus: There are a lot of falls around La Union. Most of these hidden beauties are ungoogleable and are only accessible if you happen to know a local. One of these falls is called "Pwet ng Kalabaw", which is a good spot for short cliff diving.
At the bottom part of Zambales lies Subic, a land composed of a number of great beaches and a blast of scenic places. Just 3 hours away from Manila, the town's exit toll can be easily reached along Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).
Freediving, snorkeling, and scuba diving are just few of the many things you can do in the beaches of Subic. But it's not just the beaches that this town boasts. Found inside Subic Bay Freeport Zone is Zoobic Safari, a jungle where you can witness wildlife animals up-close and personal. If you're not into forests, the Ocean Adventure might be a good choice. It’s a water-themed park known for performing whales and sea lions.
Bonus: If you’ve ever been wanting to go zip-lining, or into above-ground level kind of activity, try to look for the Tree Top Adventure Nature Park. Yes, there's one in Baguio but what's the point of going too far if there's one inside Subic Bay Freeport Zone, right?
The point here is that there are alternative places around you that are near and can be accessed via your compact car. In that case, we hope this cheat sheet refreshes your usual list of summer getaways. See you in one of these places.