Scratch the surface of Manila, and you’ll find charming architecture coupled with vibrant nightlife. Travel out a little further, and you’ll open your eyes to a whole new side of the Philippines.
Read on for our guide to getting the most out of your stay in Manila with a selection of unforgettable trips within easy travelling distance of the capital.
There’s perhaps no better place to start than Corregidor Island. A symbol of the battle for the South Pacific during WWII, the island acted as a stronghold for Filipino and American forces in the conlfict against Japan, and was the headquarters for Allied forces within the region.
Tours leave for the island from Manila daily, and once there you can explore the buildings and tunnels that dot the island solo, or enlist the help of a local guide.
A two hour drive out of Manila is all it takes to reach the Pagsanjan Falls – one of the most beautiful spots on Laguna Del Bay.
Hire a boat to travel upstream through the Magdapio river, and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of gorges, cliffs and the wildlife that call the riverbank home. Once you’ve reached the site of the falls themselves, you can even get up and close to the water itself. For obvious reasons, we recommend packing some waterproofs…
Tagaytay City, a charming little town in the province of Cavite, is the yin to Manila’s bustling yang. Set to the backdrop of the Taal volcano (also the world’s smallest volcano), the area is home to sites of outstanding natural beauty as well as beautifully preserved churches and buildings. What’s more, the city is only a 90 min drive from Manila (ok, 2 hours with traffic) – perfect for time poor tourists who want to see a little more than just the capital’s hustle and bustle.
Snorkeling is one of the easiest ways to witness the beautiful marine wildlife of the Philippines first-hand. Sumbrero Island (and the neighbouring Tingloy island) are some of the most popular spots for first timers, and you can find a number of different tour operators that cater for both seasoned divers and novice snorkelers.
A few hours in a 4x4 is all it takes to transport yourself from the crowds of downtown Manila to the face of Mt Pinatubo – an active volcano that was responsible for changing the global temperature by half a degree upon eruption in 1991.
Once you’re armed with that (slightly useless) piece of volcano knowledge, we recommend an early start to take in the charms of Pinatubo and its stunning crater over a single day. We promise that you won’t regret it!
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