Day Trips from Manila, Philippines

You could tour all of the 7,000 islands of the Philippines, but without Manila, the country’s resilient capital, you would not have the whole picture. There are so many things to do in Manila – you can take a Malacanang Palace tour, explore the famous waterfront promenade, visit the centuries-old Chinatown, or admire the colonial walled city of Intramuros in the heart of Old Manila. With the storied citadel of Fort Santiago and the baroque 17th-century San Agustin Church, both marvels of Spanish colonial architecture, standing side-by-side with modern skyscrapers, the densely populated ‘Pearl of the Orient’ can still surprise and enchant its visitors. In spite of all that, the high-tempo, bustling city streets and the expansive shanty towns can quickly become overbearing and have you looking for the nearest getaway from Manila. When that happens, you can always choose one of the many popular day trips from Manila for a change of scenery. Some of the most exhilarating, unique, and, frankly, best places to go near Manila include the fascinating Subic Bay, the majestic Pagsanjan Falls, the historic Corregidor Island, the scenic Taal Lake, and the idyllic Villa Escudero Coconut Plantation. After visiting one of these places, you’ll be ready to tackle the commotion of the evolving metropolis once again – or you may fall in love with one of these out-of-town locations and let your vacation take a completely different turn.

Day trips from Manila, Philippines

Villa Escudero Day Tour

DISTANCE FROM MANILA

Villa Escudero is located almost exactly 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Manila by road.

GETTING THERE

If you opt for a Villa Escudero day tour, it will take somewhere between two and two-and-a-half hours to get there by car via R-3 and the Pan-Philippine Highway, past Muntinlupa, Calamba, and San Pablo City.

You can also take the public bus to Villa Escudero. You need to take the bus going to Lucena, Quezon, operated by Jac Liner. The bus departs from the Buendia Terminal every 30 minutes, with the first trip at 5 AM, and the last at 10 PM. It takes two hours and thirty minutes to get to Villa Escudero, but you have to let the driver know where you’re going so he can drop you off right after the Quezon Arch near the gate of Villa Escudero.

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT

For those looking for a nature trip near Manila, the Villa Escudero day tour is a welcome change after all the hustle and bustle of the big city. Villa Escudero is a self-contained working coconut plantation, founded in the 1880s and open to the public since 1981.  The plantations and resort area provide visitors with a unique insight into the Filipino country lifestyle a hundred years ago. Live music, cultural shows, and the carabao-drawn carriage are some of the trip’s highlights. There is also a gorgeous history museum housing various collectibles and artefacts inside a charming pink church. The quaint pastoral setting and the lunch by the waterfalls really make this one of the best places to go near Manila. As a bonus, you will get to experience the warmth of Filipino hospitality owing to the attentive, helpful staff who make you feel just like you’re visiting a local village with friendly and generous residents.

Villa Escudero
Villa Escudero, Author: Gary Todd, Source: Flickr

OPENING HOURS/TICKET PRICES

The Eco-Tourism Resort of Villa Escudero is open daily from 8 AM till 5 PM. The Villa Escudero Waterfalls Restaurant is only open for lunch, from 11 AM – 2 PM. A Villa Escudero day tour costs 1,600 Philippine Pesos (1,250 September-November), with a welcome drink, a tour of the museum, a carabao cart ride, lunch at the waterfalls, and unrestricted use of outdoor recreational facilities included. The basic fee is equivalent to 30 USD

Villa Escudero
Villa Escudero, Author: Gary Todd, Source: Flickr

ACCOMMODATION OPTION

The Farm at San Benito is the absolute best place for a weekend getaway near Manila. Only 12 miles (19 km) from the Villa Escudero Museum, this beautiful property is tucked away in a lush 120-acre garden in Lipa City. With air-conditioned villas featuring an ideal blend of native and modern décor and the option of specially curated spa treatments, this little piece of heaven is perfect for a weekend getaway near Manila for couples.


ORGANIZED TOURS

Villa Escudero Coconut Plantation Day Trip from Manila

If you don’t feel like renting a car or going on long bus rides, then booking an organized Villa Escudero day tour is the way to go. With a knowledgeable local guide, pick-up and drop-off at your Manila hotel, transportation, entry fee, and lunch included, enjoying this unique experience has never been easier.  

One Day Trip from Manila to Tagaytay and Taal Volcano

DISTANCE FROM MANILA

Tagaytay, the popular holiday town overlooking Taal Lake, is located approximately 37 miles (60 km) south of Manila.

GETTING THERE

By car, the fastest way to get to Tagaytay is take the South Luzon Expressway to Santa Rosa, and then turn onto Santa Rosa – Tagaytay Road until you reach the Silang Junction South. The whole trip should take less than an hour and a half.

Alternatively, you can take the bus from the Araneta bus terminal in Quezon City. You will need to take the “Nasugbu-Tagaytay” line. There’s a bus every 30 minutes on average, and the ticket price is quite low- just 120 pesos (2-3 USD).

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT

The town of Tagaytay itself is primarily known for its mild climate, which is much more bearable compared to Manila, and the fact that it is perched on top of a ridge overlooking Taal Volcano Island, located in the middle of Taal Lake. The volcano, which is still active, is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, and can easily be reached by boat. From Tagaytay, you can enjoy amazing views of the Volcano Island and the lake. Some other nearby attractions include the historic People’s Park in The Sky, and the scenic Tagaytay Picnic Grove.

Taal Volcano Lake
Taal Volcano Lake

OPENING HOURS/TICKET PRICES

Naturally, there are no specified opening hours for the Taal Volcano Island. However, boat rides to the island are only available at a certain time of day, between 6 AM and 4 PM. If you want to rent a boat, it will set you back 1,500 pesos.

The Picnic Grove in Tagaytay is open from 7 AM till 7 PM. The admission fee is only 50 pesos. The grove is a great family getaway near Manila, where you can enjoy all kinds of mellow family-oriented activities, in addition to zip-lining (200-400 pesos) or horseback riding (350 pesos an hour).

Lake Taal
Lake Taal

ACCOMMODATION OPTION

The Perfect Get away hotel is one of the most beloved properties in the small holiday town. A relaxing place near Manila not far from Picnic Grove, offering magnificent views from the balcony, The Perfect Get away has everything you can dream of and more – and it looks even better than the pictures.

ORGANIZED TOURS

Tagaytay and Taal Volcano Day Trip from Manila

Organized day trips near Manila are often the way to go if you want to see and learn as much as possible without having to worry about every little detail. The Tagaytay and Taal Volcano Day Trip from Manila is no exception, as it includes a visit to Taal Lake, Volcano Island, the City of Tagaytay, and the Palace in the Sky. Round-trip transportation is included, as well as a skillful local guide, all admission fees, hotel pickup and drop-off, and even the boat ride.

One Day Trip from Manila to Corregidor Island

DISTANCE FROM MANILA

Corregidor Island, one of the most exciting historic places to go near Manila, is located at the entrance of Manila Bay, roughly 31 miles (50 km) southwest of Manila.

GETTING THERE

There are no public transport options available when it comes to getting to Corregidor Island. Consequently, you will have to book a tour to get around the island. Nevertheless, it is one of the most beloved day tours near Manila, guaranteed to be a highlight of your stay.

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT

Corregidor Island is a relatively unimposing island whose modest size belies its massive historic significance. Due to its location, it has always been strategically important, even during the Spanish colonial era and the subsequent Spanish–American War. Most of the historical landmarks on the island today memorialize the island’s vital role in World War II, when it was the site of two major, costly battles between the U.S. Army and the Imperial Japanese Army, one in 1942, and one in 1945. The devastation is evident in the ruins of the hospital on the island, while the remains of several artillery batteries still contain 12-inch mortars that were used to defend the island.

Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island, Author: Gareth Williams, Source: Flickr

OPENING HOURS/TICKET PRICES

Most of the day trips to Corregidor Island depart early in the morning, at 8 AM. The trip takes one hour fifteen minutes. The ferry back leaves at 2:30 PM. Starting from $128.00 USD.

ACCOMMODATION OPTION

There are no accommodation options at Corregidor island, but you can stay near the ferry terminal in Manila at Hotel Jen Manila by Shangri-La, a beautiful property overlooking Manila Bay, with floor-to ceiling windows to really take in the sweeping views and the amazing sunset in the evening.

ORGANIZED TOURS

WWII and Corregidor Island: Historical Sightseeing Tour from Manila

In addition to a guided tour of Corregidor Island’s World War II sites, you can also count on hotel pick-up and transport in a comfortable air-conditioned coach, with lunch and round-trip ferry ride included in the price.

Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island, Author: airforcefe, Source: Flickr

One Day Trip from Manila to Pagsanjan Falls

DISTANCE FROM MANILA

The road distance between Manila and Pagsanjan Falls is approximately 65 miles (105 km).

GETTING THERE

As per usual, public transportation options are limited, and getting to Pagsanjan Falls in a private or rented vehicle is by far the preferred mode of transportation. You can take the bus from Manila to Santa Cruz, Laguna (multiple stations), but then you’ll have to rent a jeep for Cavinti.

If you’re driving from Manila, just take the Pan-Philippine Highway south, and then, after the City of Calamba, continue onto Manila S Rd, National Hwy, and eventually the Pagsanjan – Cavinti Road.

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT

First of all, Pagsanjan Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines. Also known as Cavinti Falls, the three-drop waterfall is extremely secluded and an important subject of multiple local legends. The breathtaking site can be reached on foot or by shooting the rapids on dugout canoes downstream through the lush tropical gorge created by the Pagsanjan and Cavinti rivers. The gaping Devil’s cave behind the waterfall makes the falls look like a portal into another dimension. Due to their unique beauty, the falls and the surrounding area became a national park in 1939 (Pagsanjan Gorge National Park).

OPENING HOURS/TICKET PRICES

The area is open to the public from 8 AM till 3 PM. To get to the falls, you’ll either have to “shoot the rapids” or rent a small boat from Pagsanjan, the jump-off point. Expect to shell out 1250-1500 pesos (23-28 USD) per person, with the entrance fees, life vests, and the return-trip boat ride included. Tipping the boatmen is also expected – around 250 pesos (5 USD) is OK.

ACCOMMODATION OPTION

In spite of the relatively small number of properties in the small town of Pagsanjan, Casa Marina Bed and Breakfast manages to exceed expectations, with amazing views of the river from the terrace, and the traditional Spanish style of the old house, with colorful tiles, charming furniture, and distinctive architecture.

ORGANIZED TOURS

Pagsanjan Falls Adventure from Manila

All of the benefits of a typical Pagsanjan Falls day tour near Manila, but with none of the hassle. Every little detail is taken care of, and it’s up to you to have the time of your life as you take in the breathtaking sights, shoot the rapids, or swim in hidden caves behind the waterfalls.

One Day Trip from Manila to Subic Bay

DISTANCE FROM MANILA

The distance between Subic Bay and Manila is a bit over 50 miles (81 km). In terms of road distance, it amounts to much more, 100 miles (160 km), since you basically have to go around Manila Bay to get there.

GETTING THERE

By car, you have to take the E1 expressway north until you reach Angeles, and then turn onto E4 to Olongapo.

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT

Subic Bay is an amazing place for a weekend getaway near Manila, famous for its many attractions such as the Zoobic Safari, a tropical animal park with tigers, a large open-water marine park in a natural setting, multiple beautiful beaches, adventure parks, and waterparks. While it is a very family-friendly area, Subic Bay is also important as a place for exploring the complex indigenous culture and military history of the Philippines.

Subic Bay
Subic Bay, Author: TauchSport_Steininger, Source: Flickr

OPENING HOURS/TICKET PRICES

The Zoobic Safari is open from 8 AM till 4 PM. The regular admission ticket ranges between 9.31 and 10.66 USD. Ocean Adventure, Subic Bay is open between 9 AM and 6 PM. The admission fee is 15 USD for adults, 12 for children under 12 and seniors.

Subic Bay
Subic Bay, Author: Patrick Wesley, Source: Flickr

ACCOMMODATION OPTION

Court Meridian Hotel & Suites in Olongapo is a great property if you decide to turn your day trip into a couple of days at the bay. The hotel features a nice outdoor pool, excellent spa service, a good restaurant, and all the regular amenities.

ORGANIZED TOURS

Subic Bay Day Trip from Manila This organized day tour from Manila takes care of everything so you don’t have to cut corners and come up with ways to see all of the amazing attractions in Subic Bay. You can choose between the tiger safari and the marine animal show, in addition to touring a former US naval facility and interacting with Aetas, the indigenous people of the Philippines, who will gladly share ancient knowledge and jungle survival tips and tricks with you.

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