15 Best Day Trips from Manila

Tourism is a very important industry to the heart and soul of the Philippines. Manila has several famous tourist attractions including national parks, heritage landmarks and museums. The city is also a major shopping mall in Asia, thanks to the numerous shopping malls located around the metropolis.

Manila’s tourist belt consists of Ermita and Malate districts. These offer a wide range of curios, antiques and memorabilia, as well as cosy music lounges and cafés. If you are planning to visit Manila, here is a list of the best day trips you can take from the city.

1. Malacañang Palace

Malacañang Palace

This 175-year-old palace is the official residence of the President. Over the years, the palace has been remodeled, expanded, demolished and rebuilt. It is strategically located in San Miguel.

The first known owner of the property was Spaniard – DonLuis Rocha. The property is fenced off by a stone fence and consists of a relatively large summer house built in stone, bathrooms and gardens. Luis later sold the property to Colonel Jose of the Spanish Army in 1802. In 1825, the property was purchased by the state.

Take a tour to learn how the palace was occupied several times during the protests that began with the People Power Revolution. At the Royal Palace, you will also learn about the 1989 coup attempt.

2. Taal Crater Lake

Taal volcano and lake

The stunning Taal Crater Lake is the smallest volcanic lake in the world. Originally, Taal Volcano was called Bumbu. The volcano has 33 historical eruptions; its last major activity was in 1965, a catastrophic eruption that killed an estimated 6,000 people.

Although the volcano has been quiet for a long time, it has shown signs of unrest since 1991.

Visit this volcano in the lake and witness the majestic view of the mountain, which offers the most beautiful panorama of the Tagaytay Ridge.

Crater Lake is located 50 kilometers south of Manila.

3. Corregidor Island

Corregidor Island, Cavite, Philippines

Be sure to visit Corregidor Island, home to one of the most famous battles of World War II.

During the war, Corregidor provided American and Filipino soldiers with the first line of defense against Japanese invasion. This played a huge role in shaping operations and the outcome of wars.

The five-square-kilometer island – nicknamed “The Boulder” – is also home to the remains of a barracks, some historical sites and secret passages. An example is the Marinta Tunnel, which was originally used as a shelter but was later converted into a hospital due to its bulletproof surface.

Visit Corregidor Island to relive history and learn a chronicle of events that shaped the outcome of World War II.

4. Rizal Park

Manila Rizal Park

Rizal Park is a 58-hectare urban park also known as Luneta Park. Luneta was its official name until the 1950s. Rizal Park is one of the largest and most popular parks in Asia.

In the center of the park, you’ll notice a monument, the Rizal Monument, to Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero who was executed on December 30, 1896. On the front of the monument is a 46-meter long flagpole.

Rizal has many paved walks, open lawns, ponds, ornamental gardens and woodlands. The park is ideal for a walk, and it remains a major tourist attraction with large crowds, especially on Sundays.

5. Pagsanjan Falls

Pagsanjan Falls

Pagsanjan Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines. It is also known as Cavendish Falls or Magdapio Falls. The waterfall is located in Pagsanjan Gorge National Park and covers an area of ​​152.4 hectares.

To reach the waterfall, a 2.5-hour river trip is required from Pagsanjan town. You can also hike to the falls from Cavanti. The waterfall is located 3.2 km from the border of Cavanti and Pagsanjan.

The best time to visit the falls is during the rainy season for a more profound experience. To avoid the maddening crowds, make sure you head here on weekdays and in the morning so you can see even more spectacular views.

6. Pinatubo Crater

Pinatubo crater

The Pinatubo Crater is located on Mount Pinatubo, about 90 kilometers (2.5 hours’ drive) from Manila.

The crater filled with water after the June 15, 1991 eruption to form Lake Pinatubo. At 2,000 feet deep, the lake is the deepest lake in the Philippines.

Before the June 15 eruption, little was known about the eruption history of the mountain. This is because the mountain is heavily eroded and covered with dense forest. The massive eruption spewed about 10,000,000,000 tons of magma and brought a deadly mixture of ash and rain.

7. Hidden Valley Hot Springs

Hidden Valley Hot Springs

These secluded springs are sandwiched between two mysterious mountains. Hidden Valley Springs is a place full of vibrant nature’s gifts such as lush vegetation, flowers, trees, crystal clear waters and most importantly, inspiring scenery.

Visit the stunning Hidden Valley Springs – located 75 kilometers south of Manila – away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

Take a day trip to unwind in a peaceful paradise an hour’s drive from the Philippine capital and enjoy a refreshing dip in the hot springs.

8. Tagaytay Ridge

Tagaytay Ridge

Tagaytay, a 2.5-hour drive south of Manila, is the most popular tourist destination in the Philippines. The ridge is a beautiful natural place and a great place for a wedding reception.

Motorists can easily access Tagaytay via the Aguinaldo Expressway. The high altitude provides a cool climate, a great escape from the sweltering heat of the metropolis 59 kilometers away.

The island overlooks the Taal Volcano Lake and offers great views of the Taal Volcanic Island.

Amazing Tour: Full-Day Panoramic Tagaytay Ridge Tour

9. Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago, Manila

The fort was originally built by the Spanish conquistador Mihguel Lopez de Legazpi. Fort Santiago is a very important historical site in Manila. During World War II and Spanish colonization, many people died in the prison’s dungeons.

It was here that one of the country’s national heroes was imprisoned before being executed. The Shrine of Rizal was built in memory of Jose Rizal. At the shrine, expect to see Rizal’s footsteps inlaid in bronze on the ground.

Fort Santiago, built in 1571, is the oldest fort in Spain. Even though visitors are not allowed to enter the dungeons and basements, you can walk around the grounds while enjoying the view of the ruins.

10. Subic Bay

Subic Bay, Philippines

Subic Bay is located 100 kilometers northwest of Manila. Subic Bay includes the Hanjin Shipyard, the town of Barrio Barreto, the former U.S. Navy base, the city of Subic, and the former U.S. defense housing complex.

This bay in Luzon is known for its deep and protected waters. However, its development stalled due to the lack of flat terrain.

After the Cold War, the once large U.S. Navy facility closed in 1992. Subic Bay has been an economic zone for many years.

11. Acapulco Sailing Museum, Manila

Manila Acapulco Sailing Museum

Not only is the museum academically meticulous, it’s stunning. This novel museum was conceived as a cultural and historical center as well as an entertainment facility.

Anyone interested in experiencing a treasure trove of antiques and a treasure trove of digital experiences should add this destination to his list of must-sees in Manila.

Currently, the museum features the construction of a huge galleon. It will be built to a high standard in strict accordance with 18th century naval architectural plans.

Acapulco museums attract tourists, diplomats, collectors, celebrities, government officials, children and teenagers. Basically, it appeals to various audiences at all levels of society.

12. Quezon Memorial Circle

Quezon Memorial Circle

Quezon City was the capital of the Philippines from 1946 to 1972. There is a national park within Quezon City known as the Quezon Memorial Circle. The main feature of the national park is the 66-meter-long mausoleum, which houses the remains of Manuel Luis Quezon Molina, the second president of the Philippines, and his wife, Aurora Quezon.

The Memorial Circle has undergone a major landscaping makeover to allow it to attract more tourists.

13. Villa Escudero Plantation

Escudero Plantation Villa

This 800-hectare coconut plantation is about a 2.5-hour drive south of Manila.

Villa Escudero Plantation is open to tourists, who can visit the village and museum. Since the plantation officially opened to tourists in 1981, various accommodation centers and restaurants have been built.

Originally, the plantation grew sugar cane, but in the early 1900s it was converted into a coconut plantation.

If you want to experience the charm of Filipino culture in a breathtaking rural setting, visit Villa Escudero Plantation on a day trip from Manila.

You can also visit the Home Museum, which contains archaeological and antique artifacts from World War II and the Spanish colonial period.

14. Ayala Triangle Gardens

Ayala Triangle Garden

The two-hectare triangular garden is named after its owner and founder, Ayala Land, who was inspired by London’s Hyde Park. The Ayala Triangle Garden opened to the public in November 2009.

More than a hundred acacia trees, golden palms, fire trees and tropical plants are planted in the park; therefore, it is recognized as one of the few green spaces in Makati City, Manila.

This peaceful and beautiful haven covers over 20,000 square meters. Head to the Ayala Triangle Gardens for lush greenery and magnificent artwork.

15. People’s Museum of the Philippines

Philippine People's Museum

The People’s Museum of the Philippines is now known as the National Museum of Anthropology. This Anthropology and Archaeology Museum is an integral museum of the National Museum of the Philippines.

The museum is located in Rizal Park, adjacent to the National Museum of Fine Arts. It houses a large and diverse collection of ancient artifacts and a department of zoology. An example of the treasure you’ll see here is the skull of the country’s first known inhabitant – the Tabung people who lived around 24,000 BC.

Another part of the museum is dedicated to the San Diego Shipwreck that sank in 1600. Some of the salvaged items from this Spanish galleon include coins, swords, jewellery and porcelain plates.

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