5 Budget Weekend Getaways from Manila this Valentine’s Day

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:

  1. Take a bus to Lucena from Alabang, Buendia-Taft or Cubao to Lucena Grand Terminal
  2. Take a mini bus to Padre Burgos and asked to be dropped at the public market
  3. The port is a short walking distance from the market but you can take a tricycle as an option
  4. Take a boat going to Kwebang Lampas

Travel time:  

Commute: 5 hours

Private: 4 – 4 hours and a half

The Damage:

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

Weekend Getaway on a Budget

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.

Travel time: 

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

The Damage:

Bus Ride: P 543 (one way)

Accommodation at The Circle Hostel:

  • P 500 for bunk beds
  • P 400 for hammocks

Surf Lessons:

  • 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

Weekend Getaway on a Budget
Photo Credit: JM Saguil of Jamboree Mountaineers
Weekend Getaway on a Budget
Photo Credit: JM Saguil of Jamboree Mountaineers

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.

Travel time:

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

The Damage:

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

Source: www.mrbratpacker.wordpress.com

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

Weekend Getaway on a Budget
Photo Credit: Project Gora

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.

Travel time

Commute: 2 hours

Private: 1 hour and a half

Wakeboarding Rates:

Visit www.republ1cwakepark.com

 For a Spa Weekend Getaway

5. Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa in Antipolo City

Weekend Getaway on a Budget

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

The Damage:

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
Email: ramon.marinas@bienvenidotours.com

Sidetrip Suggestion:

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? 🙂

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Hi, I’m Sofia! A restless soul traipsing through life one (mis)adventure at a time or sometimes... well, multiple.