What to do in Manila without costing you a fortune? Feeling the need for urban escape? Do you feel like you need a break, even if it’s just for the weekend, to reenergize? Do you wish you could take a quick weekend trip from Manila, but you have no idea where to go? Learn more about the best day trips around Metro Manila that won’t break the bank by reading on.
We’ve all been there… On a particularly bad day, the trip from Quezon City to Paranaque City can take as much as three hours to drive. When you’re sitting in traffic for an extended period of time, it can feel as though you’ve spent your whole day, or even your whole life, traveling. It’s not fun at all to sit in traffic for three to five hours doing nothing but bumper-to-bumper…
However, are you aware of anything else requiring a three-hour journey time from Manila? It is also possible to reach a variety of stunning resorts in the provinces of Batangas, Tagaytay, Antipolo, and Laguna from Metro Manila by traveling for about three hours. Which of these would you rather be traveling towards right now?
These day outings and weekend getaways are perfect for escaping the daily grind. We did the math, and if you are frugal, you should be able to get by on a budget of roughly P1500 for two people per night if you keep the cost of meals at P200 per person. Naturally, if you include excursions and shopping trips in your itinerary, the cost will reflect this addition. So without further ado, In light of this, the following are some suggestions for activities of what to do in Manila that is favorable in one’s wallet.
What To Do In Manila On A Tight Budget
1. Recharge at the Makiling Botanic Gardens in Los Baños, Laguna
There is no better way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city than to surround yourself with old trees and the sounds of the forest, such as birds singing and crickets chirping. Take in some of the clean mountain air as you make your way through the Makiling Botanic Gardens with your loved ones or some good friends. Allow the tall trees to shield you from the heat of the sun (believe me, some are at least 100 years old). Somewhat rundown but still pleasant to stroll around for an hour or two, with plenty of vegetation and paths to investigate along the river.
During our time at the botanical park, not only did we spend several hours walking about and listening to the birds, but we also attempted to spot the birds as they flew from tree to tree. Eagles and other uncommon birds may appear before you if you’re fortunate enough to spot them.
The majority of the trees have labels affixed to them that include both their scientific and colloquial names. It was a very interesting experience for me to be able to learn the names of numerous native trees that I had seen before but did not know the names of.
A stroll through the verdant canopy of Mount Maquiling can be enjoyed here at Makiling Botanic Garden in complete safety. The longer paths have a more difficult hike with a variety of terrain, including stream beds, ascents, and descents. The trees are quite old and covered in epiphytes all throughout.
Be careful not to move too quickly, or else you might miss the huge millipedes, birds, and reptiles that are likely to pass you by. Hiking along the creek, climbing the cemented stairs (being wary of the damaged and rusty handrails), and having a lunch on the picnic seats are all options for those who are younger or less brave.
How to get to Makiling Botanic Gardens:
Take Sta. Cruz bus from Buendia corner Taft or from EDSA. Fare is about P99 from Buendia, or a bit more depending on where you are coming from along EDSA. Tell the conductor that you will be getting off College. From there, ride a jeep (P8) to UPLB. Ask the driver if the jeep will be going up to Forestry, which is walking distance from Makiling Botanic Gardens.
2. Take a dip at the hot springs in Pansol, Calamba, Laguna
A visit to the hot springs in Bagong Kalsada, which are located in Calamba, Laguna, will help you forget all about your worries. The residents of Calamba are confident that the Laguna Hot Spring is completely organic (no chlorine). The water that comes from the mountain springs in generally a warmer temperature. It has a volcanic cinder flooring that provides a sensitive light and tickly massage to the feet, and the warm, soothing, continuous flow of spring water brings all of the therapeutic benefits that cinder and spring water bring together.
For those looking for a place to eat, Pansol is home to restaurants such as Ihaw-ihaw ni Aling Tessie, which is located right next to Laguna Hot Spring and serves grilled food. In the commercial areas of Calamba, there are a great number of establishments to choose from, whether you are looking for a restaurant or a café.
How to get to Pansol:
Ride a Calamba-bound bus or a bus passing by Calamba like Sta. Cruz from Buendia-Taft or EDSA. The fare is less than P100. From Calamba, ride a jeep to Pansol, for about P10.
3. Go boating and chill in Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
Have you had enough of the smog, crowding, and pollution on the Metro? Are you still trying to figure out what to do in Manila? Then, escape to the tranquil haven of Nuvali in Santa Rosa, Laguna—just a leisurely drive of an hour from Manila. There, you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants, in addition to expansive green spaces, all in close proximity to one another. You could also bring your own picnic basket and spread out a blanket on a vast area of grass and trees, where you could eat lunch and then take a nap afterwards if you wanted to.
On the premises is a lake that was created artificially, and you can go boating on it (the fee is P30 per head). You also have the option to go around the lake on a bike, which can be rented for P60 per hour. Simply hanging out here, taking some time to relax, and exploring the area is a great way to spend time. The only thing that makes this location undesirable is the fact that some careless individuals leave their trash right where they had their picnics. Even though there are trash cans that are very obviously labelled, some people still choose not to use them. Seriously.
Because this is a public area that is open to the public free of charge and designed for the enjoyment of the whole family, it is our responsibility to maintain its current state. There are a lot of exciting things to do in the neighborhood of Nuvali, such as taking a water taxi, feeding koi fish, going on bike rides, and a multitude of other stuff!
How to get to Nuvali:
Ride a Balibago-bound bus from Buendia-Taft or EDSA. The bus fare is Php61 from Buendia and can be more from EDSA. From Balibago, take a Tagaytay-bound jeep (Php14) which passes by Nuvali, or ride a trike (Php16 per head, if you wait for the tricycle to be full).
4. Explore art and architecture at Pinto Arts Garden in Antipolo, Rizal
My cousin and I went on a day trip to Antipolo to visit the Pinto Museum. It is undeniably the museum in Rizal that receives the most guests each year. The Museum presents a vision that is distinctive in that it brings together archaeology, history, art history, and contemporary Filipino art. This is one of the reasons why the Museum is so special.
The museum’s collections are housed in their Open Galleries, which are a collection of villas modelled after those found in the Mediterranean and spread out across the 1.3-hectare property that Dr. Joven Cuanang owns. Because of this, it is one of the best places to go to take incredible photos for Instagram feeds. Pinto is able to display objects thanks to this one-of-a-kind setup, which allows him to show off his extraordinary treasure trove of art that he has been collecting since the 1960s and which features both permanent and rotating exhibitions.
There is a painting gallery as well as a souvenir shop right when you walk through the gate of the museum. At a landing, a flight of stairs divides into two paths, one of which leads to a miniature chapel and the other to the garden that has been landscaped. The large art gallery, which can be found to the left of the chapel in the middle section of the garden, is home to several enormous murals, one of which is titled “Karnabal” (carnival).
A cluster of villas featuring rounded arches and ornate columns can be reached by taking a turn in the front direction to the right of the chapel and heading towards the wishing well. On the roof, there is a deck where guests can relax in the sun and enjoy a beautiful view of Pinto’s beautifully landscaped garden as well as the treetops of Antipolo.
The Pinto Arts garden serves as the establishment’s central walkway and the point of visual interest for Pinto. It provides direct line-of-sight access to the Pinto Art Museum’s entire garden. Because the Pinto Art Museum was designed to be open-air, it features a number of intimate outdoor spaces. These spaces contribute to the impression that the museum is more of a destination than a large, open area. Along the pathways are old white iron beds and chairs in the style of an antique.
The courtyard is like an outdoor living room and serves that purpose. In addition to statues, there were a number of straightforward fountains made of stone bowls. The presence of such large trees all around the garden helps to maintain a mild climate that is ideal for plants that prefer to live in the shade. Flowering perennials grow beneath and all around the trees, eventually leading to a lush garden that receives a lot of shade. There are low retaining walls interspersed with broad plant beds that slope gently downward. Sandstone is used to pave the walkways, and stucco is applied to the wall surfaces.
A truly breathtaking experience is to be had when one spends time in the galleries of the Pinto Art Museum. ART EVERYWHERE You can find art not only in the galleries of Angono, but also in the streets and other public spaces throughout the city.
Address: 1 Sierra Madre St, Grand Heights Subdivision, Antipolo, 1870 Rizal, Philippines
Open Hours: Tuesday – Sunday (9 am – 6 pm) except Monday
How to get there: A tricycle rides away from the museum, though (along the Antipolo church area) will also take you to streets lined with restaurants.
— What To Do In Manila On A Tight Budget —
5. Discover the Oldest Rock Art at Angono Petroglyphs
Visit the Angono Petroglyphs (there is an entrance fee of Php10, but it is well worth it) to view some of the oldest artworks in the Philippines. These artworks are in the form of carvings on the rock walls that are found at the location.
Due to the fact that the Angono Petroglyphs are located in the mountains, the cost of a trike ride to get there is P300. Having a car, on the other hand, is a huge advantage.
The only exciting part of the adventure is that you have to go into a cave in order to see the petroglyphs, but other than that, there isn’t much else to it. There is already a barrier in place inside the cave that protects the petroglyphs from any potential vandalism that might be committed by visitors. As unfortunate as it is, vandals will be vandals, and there are signs of their work scattered throughout the site.
Even so, you should go check it out.
How to get there:
From Crossing or Cubao, ride an FX to Angono (estimated fare at P45) or any FX passing by Angono. You can then take a tricycle (minimum fare of P8) to get around the town proper, where the galleries and restaurants are. The tricycle ride to Laguna de Bay may be a bit expensive (around P10 or P15)
That some of the budget-friendly things to do around Manila. So, what are you waiting for?
— What To Do In Manila On A Tight Budget —