Long weekend ahead: Leisure trips to consider just outside NCR

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

December 29, 2023, 9:33 am

<p><strong>QUICK LEISURE TRIP.</strong> White beach in Calatagan, Batangas. Within just a three-hour drive from Manila, you can either enjoy the sand and sea in Batangas or the scenic, cool mountain breeze of Tanay, Rizal. <em>(PNA photo)</em></p>

QUICK LEISURE TRIP. White beach in Calatagan, Batangas. Within just a three-hour drive from Manila, you can either enjoy the sand and sea in Batangas or the scenic, cool mountain breeze of Tanay, Rizal. (PNA photo)

MANILA – Thinking of traveling to make the most out of this upcoming long weekend but have yet to decide where to go?

Look no further as nearby towns outside Metro Manila are teeming with a myriad of destinations that can surely satisfy all types of travelers.
Below are attractions and activities anyone with only a day tour or a 3D2N trip in mind should consider:

A visit to Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs, Masungi

For avid lovers of nature and history, the petroglyphs of Rizal is a must-see site located only about two hours away from the capital.

The rock shelter, which borders Angono and Binangonan, features a total of 179 engravings of people, animals, and geometric shapes that to this day no one has yet determined when they were carved or what symbols they represent for the group or culture that made them.

The Angono Petroglyphs (Photo courtesy of TPB)

The petroglyphs is believed to be the oldest rock art in the Philippines and was discovered by National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco while on a field trip with a troop of boy scouts in 1965.

If you're in for more nature activities, you can visit the sprawling karst landscape at Masungi Georeserve in Baras.

The geotourism destination, located at Kilometer 47, Marcos Highway, is famous for its well-maintained limestone garden and trails perched on towering trees.

Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal (PNA photo by Robert Alfiler)

The sprawling nature reserve is part of the 26,000-hectare Marikina Watershed and offers the Discovery Trail to beginner hikers and Legacy Trail to those who want to immerse themselves into forest conservation activities.

You can easily finish the trail in 4 to 5 hours.

Explore the sea, nature in Batangas

Batangas is home to Anilao and Verde Island, known for their rich marine biodiversity and rich reefs, making the province a perfect destination for tourists who want to get a glimpse of life underwater.

Anilao alone is blessed with more than a dozen premier dive sites, including the Cathedral Rock, Secret Bay, and Twin Rocks where you can even chance upon sea turtles swimming with you.

A diver in Anilao, Batangas (Photo courtesy of TPB)

Dubbed as the birthplace of scuba diving in the country, Anilao serves as a playground to underwater macro photographers due to the notable presence of nudibranchs and other critters.

While December is the coldest month of the year here in the Philippines, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) attests that diving in this part of the country is a “year-round” activity that anyone can enjoy.

On top of great diving sites, Batangas has a number of beaches and hiking spots that can cater to tourists who simply want to relax or connect with nature.

It has the famous Mt. Batulao for leisure hikers and Mt. Maculot for those looking for a more challenging trail.

Camping, cafe-hop in Tanay

If you don’t mind the long drive, why not go on a quick road trip and go hopping on cafes and restaurants dotting the scenic mountain highway in Tanay, Rizal?

With its cool mountain breeze and rugged terrain, Tanay does not disappoint for campers and adventure seekers, too.

For adrenaline rush, you can go for a quick hike or just set up tents and picnic mats to watch the sea of clouds hanging low by the Sierra Madre mountain ranges.

Conveniently located along Marilaque or the Marikina-Infanta Highway, Kape Natividad Roastery and Cafe offers more than a good brew — it serves Batanes-inspired all-day breakfast and a relaxing view of the Sierra Madre mountains and Laguna de Bay.

Tocino breakfast served with Batanes-inspired rice (PNA photo)

It also has an interesting menu featuring unique and local drinks like tsokolate batirol-based Chocolate Smores and Taho Latte.

Another popular cafe in the area is Palpitate, a three-floor community space that had been drawing digital nomads and families for its stunning interiors and panoramic view of greeneries surrounding the mountainscape. (PNA)