Boracay. Palawan. Siargao.
Beautiful tourist destinations, but kind of a far away dream for the people who work eight hours a day, five days a week.
Unless you have your vacation leaves lined up right next to the weekend, then you’re likely just like me who needs to plan out of town getaways at least a year in advance to get the time off work.
It wouldn’t do to book just an overnight stay in Boracay, or to just go on a day trip to Palawan. It’s also a definite no to just staying a few hours in the surfer’s paradise that is Siargao, just because you have to be at the office on Monday morning.
So where do you go?
Ask anyone and where they’d choose to go away on their weekend getaway destinations and the answers would probably be the same: Pansol, Tagaytay, Baguio, and Baler.
But what about the more underrated places to go on a road trip?
Usually, when you think road trip or getaway, you’re thinking of a minimum 2-3 hour drive away from Metro Manila, but we bet you haven’t even considered that there was a place you could spend your weekends, and that it’s actually less than an hour’s drive. Imagine getting there in the fuel efficient Hyundai Eon.
Budget Friendly Vacations
Going on a road trip will mean you have to fork out cash, but that doesn’t mean you have to go broke.
Getaways outside the city, especially for large groups, usually mean that each person has to contribute P500 up to P1000 to cover everyone’s expenses – from the van and cottage rent, to food, alcohol, and karaoke machines.
But many don’t realize that you can still go on that road trip but not have to pay P10,000 for a group of 10.
Welcome to Rizal.
Rizal is one of the most underrated getaway spots. Maybe because it’s just so nearby Metro Manila that it gets overlooked.
Most people think beaches, hot springs, and/or soul searching (think Sagada in That Thing Called Tadhana) when they think road trip. It’s likely they’ve never considered that there could be places worth exploring just half an hour drive from the metro.
Antipolo City, the new Tagaytay.
A road trip can mean sightseeing, or going on nature trails, or even just eating at restaurants that are exclusive to the area.
Antipolo City, which is about an hour’s drive from Metro Manila, an hour and a half or two if you’re commuting.
This is one of the better things about going on an Antipolo escapade: the travel is made easy.
If you’re coming from Mandaluyong City, you have the option to ride a jeepney from Jose Rizal University that goes straight to Antipolo City. The jeepneys go through Shaw Boulevard, and pass by Metrowalk in Pasig City.
The jeepneys can get pretty full during the weekday rush hours, so plan carefully.
You also have the option of riding a UV express van from Farmer’s Market in Cubao, and there’s also a terminal at Valero Street behind RCBC Plaza in Makati City.
Jeepneys usually charge P50 from Mandaluyong to Antipolo City proper, and it’s usually the same for UVs.
Now it’s only a matter of where you want to go exploring.
Pinto Art Museum
Personally, I like art. I can’t draw to save my life, but I know how to appreciate good artwork when I see it.
For those who may not be as into the idea of it just yet, the Pinto Art Museum is one sure way to wake up the inner artist in you – or at the very least, help you learn to appreciate it.
The museum has a minimalist Mediterranean architecture style going, and sits in the heart of a garden that lets you enjoy the view, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Want something that you can post on Instagram? Say no more.
The Pinto Art Museum is any photographer’s paradise. If you’re a blogger looking for a new IG story-worthy shot, or just a traveller wanting to take a few good photos to remember you trip by, you can’t go wrong with this place.
Every crook and corner is worth capturing on film, digital or no. The venue has been flocked to by tourists and photographers alike since it opened back in 2010.
The museum has a wide collection of Filipino contemporary art, and going through its doors is like entering another world.
If you get hungry, you could always grab a bite to eat at Café Rizal, which is a quaint little restaurant that’s found just inside the premises of the Pinto Art Museum.
The café’s open space makes for a relaxing experience in case you need a break from all the walking.
To get to the Pinto Art Museum, your best bet would be to get off the UV or jeepney at Antipolo Church and ride a trike to the museum.
The museum charges a door fee of P200 for adults, P180 for senior citizens and PWDs, and P100 for children and students.
Want something a bit more adventurous? Then after you take a few shots for your new Facebook profile picture, head over to Mystical Cave for an overall magical experience.
Found in Puting Bato in Antipolo City, the Mystical Cave got its name from the brimming “mystical” stalactites and stalagmites that adorn the inside.
Catholic devotees flock to this cave because of many natural rock formations that resemble religious figures. A rock formation on the inside of the cave has a ceiling that resembles that of a cathedral, thus why locals have named it as such.
The cave is approximately eight storeys deep, with only the top part open to the public, and the rest being reserved for advance cavers and mountaineers.
If you’re the adventurous type, this might just be the place for you.
To get to the Mystical Cave, ride another jeepney from Antipolo Church at the back of 7-Eleven bound for Antipolo Hills subdivision. Ask the driver to drop you off at the terminal then ride a trike going to the cave.
The entrance fee for the caving is priced at only P40 per person, which already includes the fee for the tour guide.
So you see, you don’t have to go across the country just to give yourself a well-deserved vacation when you can just drive, ride a jeep, or if you’re feeling spendy, get a Grab and visit the stunning places that the east has to offer. Or better yet, take your road trip with your entire family in a brand new Hyundai Grand Starex.