Discovering the Wonders Around Manila: Popular Day Trips for Travelers
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Tagaytay, Taal Volcano & Lake Taal
One of the most exciting day tours from Manila is a visit to Tagaytay, Taal Volcano, and Lake Taal. Taal Lake is the country’s third-largest lake, located within a massive crater. Within the lake rises Volcano Island, which contains another small crater, like a set of Russian matryoshka dolls.
The best way to experience this beautiful place is to take a boat across the lake to reach the island. From there, visitors can hike or ride a horse to the top of Taal Volcano for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Adjacent to Lake Taal is the relaxed holiday town of Tagaytay, a popular getaway for Manila residents. Visitors can enjoy the cool weather, delicious food, and stunning views of the lake and volcano from Tagaytay’s numerous restaurants and cafes.
Taal Heritage Town
Taal is a charming historical town renowned for its heritage-listed colonial buildings. Its relaxed streets are lined with ancestral houses, making it a perfect day trip escape from Manila.
The town’s most popular attractions include the Galleria Taal, a well-preserved ancestral house that has been converted into a museum, showcasing the town’s rich history and culture. Visitors can take a tour of the house and learn about the lifestyle of the wealthy families who once lived there.
Another must-see attraction in Taal is the baroque-style Basilica of St Martin de Tours, one of the largest and oldest Catholic churches in Asia. The church’s grand architecture and intricate design are truly awe-inspiring and a testament to the town’s religious heritage.
Exploring Taal’s charming streets, visiting its museums and historical sites, and soaking up its laid-back atmosphere is an experience that visitors to the Philippines should not miss.
Located about 90km northwest of Manila, Mount Pinatubo is one of the Philippines’ most accessible and exciting adventures. The volcano erupted in 1991 for the first time in 600 years, causing widespread devastation.
Today, visitors can climb Mount Pinatubo and experience its breathtaking beauty firsthand. From the jumping-off point in Santa Juliana, visitors can ride a 4WD across an eerie, lunar-like landscape before embarking on a two-hour hike to the crater.
The highlight of the trip is undoubtedly the stunning natural lake that fills the crater, with its gorgeous green-blue waters reflecting the surrounding hills and sky. It’s a mesmerizing sight that will leave visitors in awe of the power and beauty of nature.
Climbing Mount Pinatubo is a thrilling adventure that combines the excitement of off-road driving, hiking, and stunning natural scenery. It’s a must-do experience for adventure seekers and nature lovers visiting the Philippines.
Located in the Bataan Peninsula north of Manila, Subic Bay has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, thanks in part to the nearby Clark Airport, which offers increasing budget flights and destinations to key cities in Asia and the Middle East.
Subic Bay offers plenty of activities for families, with several themed and water parks to keep everyone entertained. For those seeking a more adventurous experience, wreck diving is a popular attraction. At a depth of 28m, the USS New York is the most impressive of the seven wrecks found in the area.
Visitors to Subic Bay can also take part in jungle survival training at the Survival Training Camp. The untouched rainforest in the area offers fantastic opportunities for pristine jungle trekking and birdwatching.
Located 100km southeast of Manila, Pagsanjan Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines. The falls are made up of three drops, and visitors can reach them by taking a river trip on long, narrow canoes.
The upstream ride takes visitors through a dramatic gorge and ends in a natural pool below the falls. Here, skilled boatmen will take you under the 10m-high falls on a bamboo raft for an unforgettable experience.
But the excitement doesn’t end there. The return trip, known as “Shooting the Rapids,” is a thrilling ride through fourteen rapids as the skilled boatmen expertly maneuver the canoe through narrow rocks and downriver currents.
Pagsanjan Falls offers visitors a unique and unforgettable adventure, from the peaceful upstream ride to the heart-pumping excitement of shooting the rapids on the return trip.
Located 48km southwest of Manila, Corregidor is a rocky island that serves as both a historic monument and a scenic destination. It commemorates the battle fought by US and Filipino forces against the Japanese during World War II, and offers sweeping views of the surrounding area.
Visitors to the island can explore numerous war monuments and ruins, including General MacArthur’s HQ, the mile-long barracks, various gun batteries, and the Spanish lighthouse, which offers stunning views over Manila Bay.
While the island is primarily a tourist destination, mostly visited by locals on weekends, it is also a somber reminder of the bravery and sacrifice of those who fought in the war.
San Fernando Pampanga
This industrial town may not be a typical tourist destination, but every Easter, visitors flock here to witness the solemn and intense crucifixion ceremony.
On Good Friday, dozens of penitents, following the footsteps of Christ, are nailed to wooden crosses and whipped until they bleed. It is a powerful and moving experience that draws both locals and tourists alike.
While not for the faint of heart, the ceremony offers a glimpse into the deep religious devotion and cultural traditions of the Philippines.