The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It is home to 7,641 beautiful islands perfect for adventure and exploration. Most of these tourist destinations are even perfect for over-the-weekend getaways with your family and friends.
If there’s any travel hack you need to know, it’s definitely this: make the most out of your long weekend, file a vacation leave, and go destination-hopping here at the Pearl of the Orient!
Working an 8-5 shift is no easy feat, especially if that involves the scorching heat of the sun in a country like the Philippines. In the same way, visiting a tropical paradise for the first time isn’t so bad. After all, the Philippines is also home to cities and regions with a much colder climate, perfect for those who long for a break from the sunny streets of the metro.
Planning on a destination-hopping for the first time? Here are the top long weekend destinations in the Philippines you definitely shouldn’t miss:
Dubbed as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City is situated high up in the mountains, which explains its year-round cold and misty weather. There’s something about Baguio that refreshes everyone. Despite the influx of tourists over the last couple of years, Baguio maintains its charm and keeps luring back tourists time and time again. Most tourists plan overnight trips to Baguio, but you can stay much longer if you want to enjoy a handful of other activities and visit new tourist destinations. Some of the best places to visit in Baguio include the following:
- Burnham Park (make sure to try their roller skates and bike rides)
- Minesview Park
- Wright Park
- Treetop Adventure at Camp John Hay
- Sky Ranch Baguio
- SM Baguio (probably one of the few shopping malls you will ever visit that has an open-air system!)
- Session Road
- Good Shepherd Convent (also the best place to buy pasalubong)
- Vizco’s Restaurant and Cake Shop (make sure to try their bestseller – the strawberry shortcake!)
- Baguio Night Market
The only downside of going to Baguio is travel time. Many travelers dread an 8-hour drive going up the mountains. But thankfully, new roads and expressways make it easier for riders to reach Baguio in just about 5-6 hours.
Not a fan of long drives? Nothing to worry about! Tagaytay is only about an hour to an hour and a half of drive away from Manila. It is also regarded as the Second Summer Capital of the Philippines, so you pretty much get the same vibes as Baguio. Apart from the pleasant cool breeze, this city also provides tourists with a variety of places to visit and activities to try. Did you also know that Tagaytay is the best place to view the Taal Lake and Volcano? Though located in the province of Batangas, since Tagaytay is situated on top of mountain ridges, it gives off a scenic view of this natural attraction.
Tagaytay is also home to the best mountain resort there is in the country. Tagaytay Highlands is a perfect place to relax, unwind, and engage in different recreational activities. Unleash your inner Tiger Woods as you play golf all afternoon, accompanied by the breathtaking views of the hills and the Taal Lake and Volcano. Other famous Tagaytay tourist spots include:
- People’s Park In The Sky (Tagaytay’s highest peak, perfect for photos)
- Picnic Grove (make sure you ride the zipline!)
- Sky Ranch Tagaytay
- Mahogany Market
- Puzzle Mansion
Zambales is the perfect weekend getaway spot if you prefer the beach over the mountains. It’s only a few hours’ drive away to the north of Metro Manila. This town is a paradise with diverse flora, fauna, islands, beaches, and coves. You can choose from the many beaches and vacation options this city offers, but make sure you don’t miss out on the ones in Pundaquit!
If you have a thing for adventure, then Zambales is the perfect place for you. Forget about fancy accommodations. Camp out, dine, and sleep under the stars when you visit any of these coves:
- Anawangin Cove
- Nagsasa Cove
- Talisayin Cove
- Silanguin Cove
You can choose whether or not to visit all four coves in a span of 2-3 days while making a side trip to Capones Island, an island with rocky white sand and clear waters.
Apart from Tagaytay, Laguna is also a popular weekend destination among many tourists. It is a province that borders the southernmost cities of Metro Manila. Its close proximity to the metro is one of the many reasons why it’s a preferred weekend destination. Many tourists flock to Laguna for its variety of hot spring resorts. But more than that, the province’s natural resources like its lakes, rivers, mountains, and waterfalls are also favorite places to visit for both locals and foreigners alike.
The town of San Juan in La Union is the best place for surfing. Both professional and first-time surfers can enjoy and hit the waves as early as the sun starts to show up. La Union has become a popular tourist destination over the years because of its laid-back vibe. And besides, who wouldn’t want to go to a beach with lesser tourists as compared to Boracay and Palawan, right? La Union is just the right place for those who would love a perfect balance of relaxation and recreation over the weekend.
Friendly reminder: The island is trying to promote sustainability; hence, it’d be better if you bring your own reusable straws and utensils. If not, the least you can do is disposing your trash properly.
Adventurous souls would definitely love it here. Trekking down to the crater of Mt. Pinatubo is a must-do at least once in your lifetime. The remains of what once was an active volcano include emerald green waters surrounded by the ridges. This will make you appreciate the beauty of such a tragedy, which is why it is popularly tagged today as a beautiful disaster.
Got zero clues on where to travel over the long weekend? The list above is a perfect reference for when that time comes! The Philippines is indeed a beautiful country worth visiting. Don’t miss the chance of exploring such beauty. Book a flight now while you still can!
Angelo Castelda is a known feature writer and contributor for a news magazine in Asia. One of his most featured articles talks about the beauty of the Philippines. On his free days, he loves to travel around the country and wishes to explore all 7,641 islands in all 81 provinces.