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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Roadtrip Hidden Gems near Metro Manila


Destination Drive: 4 Roadtrip Hidden Gems near Metro Manila

Living in the concrete jungle that is Manila, with a work schedule allowing you to barely breathe (and the urban smog that often gets in the way of fresh air), can often turn your stressed out hardworking self craving for a quick escape -- the easiest solution being a short roadtrip to anywhere exciting to refuel yourself with new and interesting experiences that will boost your mood. For the veteran roadtripper, though, not just any destination will do. After all, frequent daytripping from Metro Manila has lead travelers to stick to their 'tried and tested' mainstream cities -- which leads to everyone and their grandmother's dog going to the same getaway places all the time.

A little change is good once in a while, and discovering hidden gems while others go through their same old roadtrip itinerary is always exciting. Ready to go off the beaten track? Round up your travel buddies and fuel your wanderlust by exploring these three underrated destinations just a short roadtrip away from Manila.

1. Rodriguez, Rizal

my_location Distance from Manila
40.9km
access_time Travel Time
1hr and 16mins
The Calabarzon destination named after our national hero is a tourist destination popular for its views from the mountains; the Arts Capital of the Philippines and the Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines are also located in Rizal province. When traveling to Rizal, the top of mind destination is always Antipolo, with its scenic views, art galleries, and old churches. Take a different path and head to Rodriguez for a unique way of nature tripping.
Highlights
  • placeWawa Dam
    a picturesque river that runs through a limestone gorge, the Wawa Dam is where you can swim, hike, and ride on bamboo rafts to enjoy a serene adventure.
     
Wawa Dam
Image: Zedher Ann Hernandez
  • placePamitinan Cave
  • a historical site where it is said that Andres Bonifacio staged his own declaration of independence from Spain in April 1895. Eager to go trekking? head to the ticketing booth to begin your climb to Mt. Pamitinan.
Pitstop While in Rodriguez, pay Rodriguez Ancestral House a visit. The town, formerly called Montalban, was renamed in the honor of Eulogio 'Amang' Rodríguez, Sr., a former Senate President born and raised in Montalban. The ancestral house is now a museum, with different personal and family memorabilia on display, including the vintage vehicle of then Senate President.

2. Majayjay, Laguna

my_location Distance from Manila
105.1km
access_time Travel Time
2hrs and 37mins
Just a day trip away from Metro Manila is the province of Laguna, which surrounds the Laguna de Baý, the largest lake in the Philippines. A Laguna roadtrip by default will have people flocking to Los Banos, Pagsanjan, and Calamba, for their popular hot springs and resorts. But there's more to explore in this birthplace of Jose Rizal, and you can start discovering more with a roadtrip to Majayjay, a town located at the foot of Mount Banahaw.
Highlights
  • placeDalitiwan River
    boasting of cool, crystal clear water, this river is very near the famous Taytay Falls too, so you can enjoy two beautiful getaways for a relaxing nature trip.
     
Taytay Falls
Image: Magalhães / CC BY 2.0
  • placeSan Gregorio Magno Church
    say a prayer in one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in the Philippines, which has also been declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
Pitstop Drive to Liliw and stop by Gat Tayaw street to check out the many affordable, locally made footwear available at the Tsinelas Capital of the Philippines. Stretch your budget with their bargain prices for assorted shoes and slippers, and don't forget to haggle.

3. Amadeo, Cavite

my_location Distance from Manila
60.3km
access_time Travel Time
1hr and 43mins
Manileños often drive down south to Cavite, a province rich in historical attractions, golf courses, Catholic churches, and a variety of outdoor activities. For most, driving to Cavite is synonymous to a roadtrip to Tagaytay, and not a lot have discovered the hidden gems tucked inside the other parts of the province. Head to the municipality of Amadeo to discover a beautiful waterfall and enjoya cup of joe at the coffee capital of the Philippines.
Highlights
  • placeBalite Falls Resort
    For nature lovers, this destination is perfect for relaxing while looking at the calming water streaming down.
     
Balite Falls
Image: Wong Hoi Li / CC BY-ND 2.0
  • placeCafé Amadeo
    the specialty coffee shop to get all sorts of caffeine fix. Enjoy your beverage in-store or bring home pasalubong of local beans sourced from different regions of the country.
Pitstop Nearby but quite off the beaten track is Ilog Maria Honeybee Farms in Silang, where they offer many all-natural and nutritive bee products from derived from their honeybee colonies. Aside from buying beauty, household, and health products, the farms offer tours in selected parts of the bee farm.

4. San Miguel, Bulacan

my_location Distance from Manila
78.8km
access_time Travel Time
2hrs and 6mins
Another nearby neighbor is Bulacan, located north of Metro Manila and most popular for its iconic religious structure in Malolos, the Barasoain Church. Bulacan is also the birthplace of Marcelo H. Del Pilar and Gregorio Del Pilar, and is represented in the Philippine flag as one of the sun's rays. While museums, shrines, and churches dominate most travel itineraries in Bulacan, with Malolos and Bocaue as focus, a visit to San Miguel will give both history buffs and andrenaline junkies something to enjoy.
Highlights
  • placeBiak-na-Bato National Park
    Biak-na-bato served as the secluded hideaway of revolutionaries during the Spanish regime, and later on declared a national park by Presiden Quezon. This destination offers a unique and historic eco-adventure, with hiking trails, waterfalls, and a number of caves to explore, most popular of which is Madlum Cave, occupying most of the whole reservation.
     
Madlum River
Image: Angeles624 / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • placeMt. Manalmon
    in San Miguel which is destination that’s for outdoor enthusiasts who want a thrilling adventure. As part of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, this hidden paradise offers a variety of outdoor activities such as swimming at the Madlum River, crossing the Monkey Bridge, river rafting, diving, rappelling, and rock climbing.
Pitstop For more history and architecture, drive by the barangay of San Vicente and take photos of the ancestral houses. Some of the Spanish-era houses in this heritage town include the Tecson ancestral home and the De Leon mansion.

Don’t hold yourself back when a one-of-a-kind travel experience is just a road trip away. Take time to unwind with that much-needed road trip with your family of barkada! Gas up at Caltex and munch on some free pizza to jumpstart your getaway with a happy tummy. Roadtrippers will be treated to a solo size Ultimate Overload pizza from Greenwhich when you load up your car with Techron products at Caltex.
For every P1,000 single receipt of purchase with Gold with Techron, Silver with Techron and Diesel with Techron D at Caltex, you will get (1) one pizza stamp. Collect (3) pizza stamps and exchange them for a Greenwich coupon from any participating Caltex stations. To know more about the Have a Slice Day promo, click here.
But wait, there’s more! Using your Greenwich coupon, you get a chance to win an ultimate road trip with your barkada of three with the cast and crew of GMA’s Biyahe ni Drew in one of their adventures. You just need to enter the code of the Greenwich pizza coupon at http://caltexsliceday.com, upload a photo of you on a road trip and tell them why you should be on the show. Easy as (pizza) pie, right?
Promo runs from October 1 until November 30, 2015.

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