Last updated on December 4th, 2018 at 07:14 pm
It is typical for a traveler to prioritize visiting the capital of a country. However, most capitals are bombarded with skyscrapers already. Don’t get me wrong, I also love those giant buildings that kiss the clouds, but blues and greens are just more appealing, right? Whether you are a local in Manila or a traveler from abroad, this blog post will help you decide where to go as we share 12 places to visit near Manila!
Philippines is indeed one of the favorite places of travelers around the globe. Manila, its capital city, is something a traveler shouldn’t miss!
If you are looking for tips on what places to visit near Manila, then continue reading! Oh actually, in this blog post, we will not just include places to visit near Manila but also places to visit IN Manila!
Read here how to get to Angeles City from Manila!
Manila is just like any other capital- densely populated, busy and productive. Still, there are hundreds of activities that could be done here.
Weather and Best time to visit places near Manila
If you don’t know, Philippines has only 2 seasons- wet and dry season. You should be prepared with the weather in Manila because it is hot and humid during the months of March to May, and can extend up to June!
However, wet season starts from June to November. But due to climate change (which affects Philippines the most), rainy season can start as early as May.
We recommend that you visit Manila during the month of January, as the weather is expected to be the coldest of the year plus you won’t compete with the locals during December’s holiday rush (traffic and all).
It depends on your preference after all. 🙂 You can click here for updates on accurate weather in Manila.
Transportation around Manila
There many modes of transportation available when visiting places in Manila- buses, trains, jeepneys, taxis, ferries, ride-sharing cars, Grab, and tricycles.
Book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
We advise you to be wise in picking drivers because some might take advantage of you being a tourist and overcharge you. It happens in most places in the world.
ATMs and Cash
There are thousands of ATMs around the city so withdrawing money from your bank will not be a problem. Just take note of the fees they might charge you if you are a foreigner. It can be 200 pesos or 4 USD or higher. It depends on your bank and the bank you are withdrawing from.
If you want to avoid this fee from withdrawal of money, no worries because there are also a lot of money exchangers in Manila. Read our blog post about how much you need when travelling in the Philippines.
There are many nationalities who can visit the Philippines without visa. Click here to know if you are one of them and to know the Visa policy of the Philippines.
Filipinos are one of the most hospitable, kind and welcoming nationalities in the world. However, it is common sense to be vigilant wherever you go to avoid bad happenings to happen during your trip. It is totally safe in the Philippines but always be mindful of your surroundings and belongings.
Daily budget to visit the places near Manila
There are many affordable places to eat and sleep near Manila. The cost of living in the country itself is quite low compared to other countries. You can expect to find cheap meals at local eateries for less than 100 PHP while a hearty, three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant costs around 700 PHP, which is only $14 USD. Beer costs around 40-70 PHP a bottle. Street food is abundant all over the Philippines and can be afforded for as low as 20 PHP for a rich assortment of food.
Going around the different cities is also easy since cheap transportation options abound in the country. The flat rate for the ride on a jeepney is 9 PHP while riding a taxi starts at 40 PHP and increases by the meter. If you’re traveling long distances, you can take the bus from terminals in Cubao, Quezon City. A bus ride to Alaminos from Victory Liner costs around 350 PHP with a transfer at Dagupan City. If you’re going to Quezon Province, you can take the super deluxe Jac Liner bus at 200-220 PH. The Araneta Bus Terminal has trips to Tagaytay for 120 PHP.
Prices in accommodations vary from city to city, with around 850 PHP on averagre for hostels and budget hotels. AirBnB is also available all over the country. Click here to get a discount on your first booking! Camping is also a great way to save on accommodations and is very common especially in the island destinations near Manila.
Day Trips in Manila
Here are the places to visit in Manila if you are planning for day trips. These places can be found either in Metro Manila (the National Capital Region) or in the city of Manila itself.
1. Fort Santiago, Intramuros
Take a glimpse back to the days of the colonized Philippines by visiting Fort Santiago, a part of a crumbling walled city of Intramuros. This place seriously gives you the vibes of Spanish colonization era in Manila. This can be found in Manila City and you can just walk around and enjoy.
Oh, do you hate long walks? Then you could choose to roam the place with a friendly-horse-drawn-rig if you have 20 USD to spare. It is easily noticeable that the structures are heavily Spanish inspired- they’re beautiful. You should seriously visit Fort Santiago when visiting Manila.
2. Star City
This amusement park in Pasay City in Metro Manila will surely wake your sleeping nerves up! For just 490 pesos or 10 USD, you can avail the ride-all-you-can ticket and enjoy their extreme rides- Star Frisbee, Ferris Wheel, Vikings, and many more!
There are also other attractions here like the Snow World, Lazer Blaster, Art Alive Museum, and many more. These attractions are not included in your ride-all-you-can ticket so you have to pay separately to enjoy these attractions.
3. Mind Museum
Unleash your innermost curiosity and watch as how science comes alive. This interactive museum in Taguig City (another city in Metro Manila) is reasonably one of the most entertaining museums near Manila. You feel like you’ve just awaken your sleeping Einstein after visiting this place. It is full of interactive exhibits from interests of atoms to cosmos and everything in between.
Rates here start at 625 pesos or 13 USD for a 3-hour pass and 750 pesos or 15 USD for an all-day pass.
4. Legazpi Sunday Market
I know that Sundays are rest days and that is the reason why we are recommending you to go here when visiting Manila! The Legazpi Sunday Market has lots of varieties. It’s hard to save even a penny from these country food favorites, medicines, crafts and more.
You’ll go stall hopping and buying all the way to the exit and wonder if you should buy a thing or two more before finally leaving. One thing to keep in mind is that the market opens at 7:30 am and closes at 2 pm, it’s better to go earlier.
Just don’t forget to bring your cash with you so that you’d enjoy visiting the market fully. Legazpi Sunday Market is in Makati City, a nearby city of Manila.
If you love all things Chinese, then you should not miss going to Binondo when looking for places to visit in Manila!
It is the first Chinatown in the world and you will be surprised seeing old Chinese shops that sell different Chinese cuisine, herbal medicines, jewelries, and many more. You can stroll around the area through riding a jeepney or a calesa. Our first trip outside Angeles City was in Binondo.
Places to Visit Near Manila (Affordable Getaways near Manila)
So the first five places we included above are for short day trips in Manila. The following places are the ones you should definitely visit for getaways near Manila! They are found in cities but mostly provinces that are 2-6 hours away from the capital of the Philippines.
If the travel time makes you cringe, then you should rethink because nothing can beat these places we are going to recommend!
6. Antipolo, Rizal
Antipolo is a city found in the province of Rizal, Philippines. Rizal is more or less a 2-hour drive from Manila.
Fall in love with arts when you visit Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo, Rizal. You won’t probably notice that you have spent 5 hours already in this beautiful art museum that displays contemporary Filipino paintings and sculptures.
Another spot you can visit in Antipolo, Rizal is Hinulugang Taktak. It is one of the nearest waterfalls you can visit near Manila. It used to be allowed to swim in this waterfall but due to urbanization and pollution, people are now highly discouraged to swim here, However, there are villas, gazebos, and pools you can enjoy.
Lastly, another place you should visit in Antipolo is the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. It is a 17th century wooden image of the Virgin Mary in a Roman Catholic church in Antipolo that attracts pilgrims especially during the Holy Week.
7. Quezon Province
Another province of CALABARZON region, Quezon Province is at least 4 hours away from Manila. You surely wouldn’t want to miss splurging on beautiful beaches of Quezon Province when looking for places to visit near Manila.
A tourist spot of Quezon Province includes Salibungot Beach, which has golden sand! It is an unusual but beautiful beach in Jomalig, Quezon that you will surely love. Locals and tourists love to camp here especially at night.
Another beach you would love in Quezon Province is located in Lamon Bay, Mauban. It is called Cagbalete Island, which is famous for its miles long stretch of which sand and sandbar from the shoreline during low tides. You can do different activities here like playing beach volleyball, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, island hopping, and many more.
Those are just two of the beaches you can explore in Quezon Province but there’s still a lot. Aside from going to the beach, you can also visit churches like Tayabas Church, Lucban Church, and Kamay ni Hesus Shrine.
Don’t forget to have a taste of Quezon Province’s unique food like Lucban Longganisa (local sausage), Cassava Cake, and Lambanog (a kind of liquor).
8. Tagaytay City, Cavite
Known for its cold weather, Tagaytay City is a crowd favorite for a getaway near Manila. People typically come here to enjoy the cold breeze they don’t usually experience in Manila. Plus, it only takes 1-2 hours to get here!
One of the most famous tourist spots here is the Taal Volcano. Feed your eyes with the amazing views from the top! Trekking Taal Volcano will surely be worth it. If you want to read our guide on hiking Taal Volcano.
Another famous spot in Tagaytay is the amusement park called Sky Ranch. You will surely love the breathtaking views from the top of their famous Sky Eye (Ferris wheel).
9. Anilao, Batangas
Anilao is a quiet barangay in Mabini, Batangas. We already visited this place last year and we had the best experience!
Stop drooling with mesmerizing underwater photos online and witness the elegance yourself. Anilao is a haven for scuba diving enthusiasts. Experience the charming underwater utopia just three hours away from Manila. Anilao is one of our favorite getaways near Manila.
Anilao and diving are the same and it’s honestly hard to let go of an opportunity to dive or learn how to dive in Anilao. Most packages for scuba diving revolves around 100$/person and it is considered cheap because of the expensive experience it gives you.
Allot a day for your visit so that you’ll enjoy the dive entirely and you still could rest at near hostels and hotels. It’s worth saving up for an amazing getaway. Read our tips on where to sleep and what to do in Anilao!
10. Puerto Galera, Mindoro
There are a lot of beaches near Puerto Galera but White Beach and Sabang Beach are the favorites of both foreign and local tourists. Interestingly, White Beach is called “little Boracay” because of its white sand while Sabang Beach is popular for its nightlife. Both beaches offer scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming.
To go here, you must first go to Batangas pier by bus (costs about 4$) and take a ferry to Puerto Galera (costs 5$). The trip from Manila to Batangas by bus will take about 2 – 3 hours depending on traffic while the trip from the Batangas Pier to Puerto Galera by ferry only takes about an hour and half.
Rachel and I had a wonderful experience in Puerto Galera back in 2015.
11. Subic, Zambales
Subic is the source of cheap goods but it also boasts fun nature activities (really FUN activities!). One of the places that you must go to is Zoobic Safari. Zoobic Safari is the only zoo in the Philippines that has an animal jungle safari like experience. Prepare for lion and tiger encounters, varied animal petting, and animal sanctuary train roam.
Subic is also known for its water sports. Rent and drive Jetskis and try an exhilarating parasail with Networx Jet Sports. Read more of our adventure in Subic.
12. Alaminos, Pangasinan
Alaminos is mostly known and recognized because of Hundred Islands. It is the first protected national park in the Philippines. The national park has 120-ish islands but only three of which have been developed for tourism, Governor Island, Quezon Island, and Children’s Island.
You must need to rent a boat to visit the Islands. The boat prices vary according to the number of passengers, ranging from 20 to 30 USD. Tell your boatmen that you’re planning to swim on these three Islands or if you like less populated island then ask your boatmen for their suggestions. They most likely know the fluctuations of visitors per island.
The things you could do here are swimming, island hopping, beach bumming, zip lining, snorkeling and kayaking.
Book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
To go here, you must take a bus (5 to 6-hour trip) from Manila to Alaminos via Pasay Terminal or Cubao Terminal, costing you 8$ for an air-conditioned bus. After arriving to Alaminos, take a short tricycle ride to Lucap wharf, which only costs a dollar.
Where to stay in Manila
It’s located in Makati and Hotel I’M is very modern just 2 years old. We recommend you Hotel I’M as best place for relaxing while staying in Manila. Since the pool area which is quiet and beautiful, to the gym. The food at The Common Good Restaurant is so delicious and you will find all the options as buffet for breakfast and dinner. Western choices and also Asian choices.
Our favorite part of the hotel? Onsen Spa is the best Spa in Manila. We enjoyed our massage in the couple room. Before the massage we enjoyed our lemon and pepper tea and we had an hour for our private jacuzzi and sauna. So when the massage is coming you are already totally relaxed. Everybody knows how busy can be Manila for the traffic, so we consider is the best way to spend your day in Manila. And after the massage you can enjoy a buffet dinner to end your day in the best way.
Apart from the restaurant and the Onsen Spa, there is more that I’M Hotel can offer. In the rooftop you can have an amazing view and sunset. The bar Antidote will offer you the best cocktails and you can see an amazing jellyfish aquarium with lights. The only bar in the Philippines where you can see this!
Festivals in places to visit near Manila
If you’re planning to visit Quezon Province, you might want to go on May as the city celebrates one of the most famous festivals in the country. Pahiyas Festival is an event that celebrates the creativity and culture of the city of Lucban. It also honors San Isidro de Labrador, the patron saint of Farmers, to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. Processions are done in honor of the saint while houses are lined with decorative leaf-shaped wafers called kiping. Prizes are given to the homes with the best decor. Thousands of tourists attend the festival held every 15th of May.
Longganisa is the Philippine version of the Spanish sausage. It varies in flavor based on what city it originates from, and some of the best longganisas in the country are found in Alaminos City, Pangasinan. The city celebrates the Longganisa Festival in March with parades honoring the salty and zesty delicacy.
Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival
Created in 2011, the Malasimbo Festival is a celebration of the arts and music scene in the country. With performances by the country’s biggest bands along with international acts, visitors flock to Puerto Galera to attend the event. It is also a venue for Mangyans, the indigenous people of Mindoro, to showcase their art and culture. Malasimbo Festival is held on top of the mountain with the same name and is one of the biggest events in the country in March.
Among the twelve places to visit near Manila we included, which one is your favorite? Which spot have you visited already? Let us know your experiences!