So… it’s February. The highly commercialised day of the year is almost upon us, single souls. But lucky for us, Valentine’s Day this 2016 fell on a weekend which can only call for a quick getaway, yay!
While everyone’s thinking of crowding the Hot Air Balloon festival, movie houses, malls and restaurants, you can fly solo or go on a road trip with your favourite squad and enjoy the most romantic time of the year in any of these five destinations for whatever kind of fix you need!
This is your Valentine weekend getaway on a budget. No romantic partner required.
For a White Sand Beach Fix
1. Beach bum at Puting Buhangin at Kwebang Lampas in Pagbilao, Quezon
Camp or Glamp in this perfect (romantic) escape on a budget. It’s a five-hour trip from Manila to the powdery sands of Puting Buhangin at Kwebang Lampas. I kid you not when I say that this is the best white sand beach I have seen so far in Luzon. The sand clings on your skin, water’s crystal clear, moon and stars shine brightly at night. It’s truly a teeny piece of heaven on earth.
Things to do: Wind down, swim with fishes, bask in the sunlight, crack open a fallen coconut (don’t climb the trees please, it is a private property), skip stones, explore the cave towards the other side of the island when it’s low tide. The island’s all yours!
How to get there:
- Take a bus to Lucena from Alabang, Buendia-Taft or Cubao to Lucena Grand Terminal
- Take a mini bus to Padre Burgos and asked to be dropped at the public market
- The port is a short walking distance from the market but you can take a tricycle as an option
- Take a boat going to Kwebang Lampas
Commute: 5 hours
Private: 4 – 4 hours and a half
Bus Ride from Manila: P 209 one way
Mini Van: P 35
Boat Ride Cost: P 20 round trip
Entrance Fee: P 180 per head for overnight stays / 50 per day trip
Accommodation: P 300 per tent
(More info on a separate post)
For the Adventurous Water Babies
2. Learn to Surf in Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
Two of my most favourite things about San Juan, La Union (and why I keep coming back) are the promise of an ice cold beer while watching the sun set beautifully and sharing this view with San Juan’s friendly locals. Of course there’s the surf, sun and sand plus the beach bumming you can do all day!
And if you’re still looking more reasons to grab your weekend backpack and head straight to La Union, this might be the push you need – watch loggers/surfers dance with the waves for the Single & Unattached surf competition, indulge in a free beach concert and party the night away!
How to get there:
Take Partas bus from Cubao or Pasay going to Laoag or Vigan and tell them you’re going to San Juan, La Union.
Commute: 6 hours by bus
Private: 4 hours and a half
Where to Stay: The Circle Hostel
Learn to surf from the pros of Elyu Classic Surf School
Cliff jumping at Tangadan falls
Night market in San Fernando
Bus Ride: P 543 (one way)
Accommodation at The Circle Hostel:
- P 500 for bunk beds
- P 400 for hammocks
- P 400 surf lessons with surf instructor/hour
- P 200 board rental/hour
For Cliff Jumping please inquire directly at The Circle Hostel
For Adrenaline Junkies
3. Day hike to Mt. Manalmon in Tanay, Rizal
Not a fan of romantic gestures, are you? Impress your partner (someone you’re dating) by arranging a day trip to San Miguel, Bulacan. Take a hike to Mt. Manalmon and find out whether you both share the love for nature and adventure. 😉
How to get there:
Take Cabanatuan-bound bus from Cubao or Pasay to San Miguel, Bulacan then take a tricycle to Sitio Madlum, Brgy. Sibul, San Miguel.
Commute: 2 hours and a half
Private: 2 hours or less
- Ascend 2 summits in one day (Mt. Manalmon and Mt. Gola) barely 2 hours of trekking in total 🙂
- Swim in Madlum River
- Boulder along the river
- Visit Bayukbok Cave
- Walk on the Monkey Bridge
- Visit Madlum Cave
Bus from Kamias to San Miguel Bulacan: P 117
Trike to Brgy. Madlum: P 200 per trike divided to the number of pax per trike (4 pax maximum but they put a sign that a trike can only accommodate 3)
Registration Fee: P 5
Bamboo raft Fee: P 5
Guide Fee: P 300 for a group of 8
Caving at Bayukbok Caves: P 300 additional
additional for Mt. Gola: P 300 but you can haggle it to 200php
Trike back to Kamias: P 200
Bus back to Manila: P 117
Note: Secure a permit before you climb or simply call Mang Karling to advise himin advance of your arrival.
Contact: Sir Carlito “Mang Karling” Carpio – 0919 574 6470
For the Thrill-Seekers
4. Wakeboarding in Republ1C, Nuvali, Laguna
Situated a mere 2 hours from Manila, Nuvali is the destination any thrill-seeker has to experience at some point. Doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or not, all that matters is that you have the grit to be okay falling flat on your face!
What made me include it in the list, you ask? For starters, it’s the perfect opportunity to show off some hidden wakeboarding skills when trying to impress someone. If you don’t have the skill then you WILL get credit for originality anyway 🙂
How to Get There:
Take a bus from Buendia/Gil Puyat Station. Look for JAM or BBL transit going to Balibago/Sta Rosa. Ask the bus driver to drop you at Sta Rosa Exit.
Take a tricycle going to Solenad 2. At Solenad 2 behind Robinson Mall is the Avida Shuttle service to the wakepark.
Commute: 2 hours
Private: 1 hour and a half
For a Spa Weekend Getaway
5. Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa in Antipolo City
You didn’t know this paradise exists in Antipolo didn’t you? It’s okay, I also heard about this place just recently when my friend from heyitschel.com asked if I’d like to go on a spa weekend with her.
This oriental-themed nature spa is located inside Loreland Farm Resort in Antipolo. It features infinity pools, water massage, massage, jacuzzi, and a sweeping view of Manila and Laguna de Bay. If you plan to go on a spa weekend, make an early reservation before they get fully booked.
How to get there:
- Take a jeepney (P27) from EDSA corner Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City going to Antipolo Church. Charter a tricycle (P60) to Loreland Farm Resort, where Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa is located, 4 km from the city center.
- Alternatively, there are Antipolo-bound vans (P60) at Ayala Center Terminal in Makati City, but it only departs from 4PM.
- Going back to Metro Manila, take a van bound for Ayala Center/Ayala Avenue from Antipolo Church.
Source: The Byaheng Laguna
Transpo: P200 – P250
Spa rates: click here.
Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa
Loreland Farm Resort
Sitio Loreland, Brgy. San Roque,
Antipolo City, Philippines 1870
Phone: (02) 622 8779
Mobile: (0917) 544 4432
Pinto Museum <3 for art and nature lovers!
However you choose to spend this day, don’t let the pressure of going out on a date get to you.
Who would want to be stuck on a bad date when you can have fun binge-watching at home, eating your heart out or choose to be a little adventurous ala-Wander Junkie? 🙂