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The Long Weekend

Corporate slave from Mondays-Fridays and doing nothing on weekends. Well, that’s how I can summarize the past 7 months of my 2017.

Except this month! From Aug. 25- Aug. 28 I will have an extended weekend. In fact this was the case last week as well. This month, I have had the opportunity to bum a little and pretty much explore the word “fun”. An extra day because of a holiday whether regular or non-working can do so much to someone who works as hard as me. (At least that’s what my boss thinks!) This allows me to do more than just hanging out in the mall or playing basketball with my buddies. This gives me the chance to do things I don’t get to do when I only have 2 days to chill. Sometimes, only a day when I have to do chores at home (pity me). So, the question is, what would I recommend to you when we have 3 days to spare for fun?

Below are some of the best getaways outside of Manila you can fit in 3 days. Whether you are an adventure monkey, a sea mermaid, a water junkie or just a plain old cuddly lazy bear, you definitely would want to try some of these. And by the way, I’ve categorized them accordingly. Take note, I only recommended the ones that will be “Paolo” friendly. Which means, budget bestie that will not drain your pocket before the next pay day!

Read on comrades!


Vitamin Sea

If only I can be beach bum every week, I will. But man, the closest sea we have here in the big city’s Manila Bay and I am pretty sure none of you reading this would want to take a dip here on weekends. So we’ll cross that one out. Since the Philippines consists of a thousand islands, it’s pretty easy to suggest the beaches. But then again, who wouldn’t want to have their dose of vitamin sea every once in a while. Even with the rainy season, this getaway never runs out of style. So here are some of them beaches on my list!

Laiya, Batangas

Been here many times already. A three hour drive via car of bus from Manila, this is a good place for those who just want to step out of the busy grinds of the big city and chill with friends or meet new ones.This place has long been a popular destination for families and even company team buildings. The long coastline is perfect for outdoor activities both in and out of the water. The sand though not as white as the ones you got used to is also perfect for afternoon walks and romantic star gazing. Better yet, you have lots of beach resorts and hotels to choose from depending on your budget.

Subic Bay, Zambales

One of my favorite places to go to on weekends is Subic. Mostly because you will never run out of options on things to do. But if water is your thing like mine, well, this place will suffice. Travel time is approximately 4.5 hours from Manila depending on traffic but it will sure be worth it when you get there. Just like Laiya, hotels and resorts are never lacking in Subic. They get fully booked during peak seasons, but hey, if we’re talking about this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday- it’s worth a try!

Anawangin Cove, Zambales

Not that far from Subic Bay is Anawangin Cove who thanks to Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991, the coastline is covered with white volcanic ash and sheltered by pine trees. Travel time will cost you five hours from Manila and if you’re just as an adventure seeking ninja like me, camping outdoors overnight is an option. But if not, there would be some hotels and resorts nearby to stay after a visit in this majestic place. Great destination to clear your mind and mend a broken heart too!

Puerto Galera

Here’s the thing, beach and night parties are perfect combinations to make a long weekend worthwhile. And one of my recommended places is Puerto Galera. Yep, I know some of you will suggest that it’s not as amazing as it used to before because it is a bit crowded lately, but so is Boracay isn’t it? And if you’re just as into vitamin sea as me, you wouldn’t mind the crowd. Travel time would be four and a half hours. By the way, not far from this place is the unspoiled Aninuan Beach. That’s my personal secret place worth your visit! 🙂

Leave Nothing But Footprints

I am not a professional trekker but I sure enjoy one when I get the chance to. I love nature. A breath of fresh air, the cool breeze, the sound of leaves on trees and birds singing along, all this you get to experience during a mountain hike. Then the sense of fulfillment, the proud glimmer of your eyes when you reach the summit, a selfie up top the mountains to tell your friends in social media, “hey guys! I did it!” All these for a short run of adventure and fun. Not bad things to do when you got three days to spare!

Mt. Maculot, Batangas

One of the popular mountains for beginners is Mt. Maculot. There are 3 destinations. – The Rockies (most popular), The Summit and The Grotto. The famous Rockies provide the best view of the Taal Lake and Volcano whilst the saddle, which serves as the jump point going to the Rockies and the Summit can serve as a place to spend the night for some mountaineers who wish to. Be prepared for the climb to be steep and moderately difficult during the trek. This is 2.5 hours from Manila.

Mt. Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas

Travel from Manila is 2.5 hours. The rolling slopes and the scenic view of Batangas are what you should look forward to during this hike. There are 2 routes to choose from. For beginners, the new trail will bring you to the summit faster, 1.5 hours. While for those experienced hikers and want a more adventurous hike can opt for the old trail which takes 2-2.5 hours to reach the summit. Mountains, trees, greens, what more can you ask for?

Mt. Daraitan, Tanay

Be in one with nature through Mt. Daraitan. This is where you experience other sights in one go. At the summit, you get to see Sierra Madre mountains, check. The long stretch of Daraitan River, check. Other mountains, check. After the summit, there’s the Tinapak River. Be sure not to miss out the natural pools and caves too! You and your friends would definitely have fun in this adventure. Plus, it’s only 2.5 hours away from Manila.

Mt. Balagbag-Maranat Rizal

Travel or hike across these mountains. Take a dip in the Maranat falls and get to experience the beauty of the sunset as you traverse thru Mt. Balagbag late in the afternoon. Not that far from Manila which will set you off 2 hours but then again, when you consider the experience, adventure and fun you can tell your future grandchildren, hey, it’s all worth while!

And There’s More

I get it, some of you may not be as happy go lucky as I am so here are some family friendly destinations to go to as well. After all, it’s not really the place you go to but whom you spend your time with is what gets remembered most. When you have a long weekend to make the most of, why not spend this time with the people you love more than anything else.

San Rafael River Adventure

Ever heard of romance, serenity and adventure all mixed into one? Well, that’s what SRRA is known for. It’s situated in San Rafael, Bulacan not more than 3 hours away from Manila depending on traffic. When was the last time you swam in a river? What more ride a jet ski, a banana boat among other water sports in a river? Yep. you heard me! R-I-V-E-R. Ever heard that river cruise lunch that was so popular in Loboc (Bohol)? You can experience this here too without having to take a plane! Better yet, the glass cottages blends in nicely with the greenery all around thus making your whole stay all that memorable.

Tree Top Adventure

Ok, if you’re not that into beaches in Subic, you can try the Tree Top Adventure for a change. Here you can experience both extreme adventure and extreme relaxation thru their state of the art motorized zip lines. I have fear of heights but I love trees and I love adventure. There are a lot of outdoor adventures you can do here. Again, with NLEX-SCTEX providing you with faster access from Manila to Subic, there’s got to be no excuse for you not to try!

Zoobic Safari

When you got kids and you want to teach them animals and stuff, well this is the place for it. A close encounter with a tiger is what this is popular for. You can go ala National Geographic ninja on this one as you feed the tigers your hands… just kidding, you get provided with meat to feed them. Learn animals and have fun while doing so. You don’t get that chance in Manila anymore. This is another place you can visit in Subic.

Enchanted Kingdom

I bet you would agree, sometimes, we wish we were kids again. But why not? Theme parks are for all ages. Every once in a while, we get this feeling that we’re too old for things but who doesn’t get old? But having fun for a whole day is not that bad. What more if you got kids, nieces and nephews to hang out with! This is less than a couple of hours away from Manila. And yes, before you plan on going there, make sure you do the “sun dance”. You don’t want to experience heavy rain while on board the “space shuttle”!


When you have three days to rest due to a long weekend, more often than not, you don’t want to rest. You feel like you can do a lot of things with the extra day. Well, the above represent my opinions and ideas based on my experiences. Am sure there are a lot of things to do in the next 3 days. Some will probably have better ideas in mind. But then again, like what I said earlier, all you have to do is look for one and make the most out of it. It is a choice you have to make. Whether you go out with family, friends, or just be a lone wolf is up to you.

As my mountaineering friends always tell me…

Take only pictures and leave nothing but footprints!

May the force be with you this looooong weekend! 😉

Paolo is your regular 8 to 5pm work guy who loves to travel and plays sports once in a while to keep up with his work-life balance. He always bring with him his Oleia Topical oil wherever, whenever.