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10 nearby provinces you can reach by bus from Metro Manila

by Leila Salaverria

THE long and tiring workweek is finally over, and you’re raring for a getaway to rest and recharge. But you only have the weekend and don’t have the luxury of time for a lengthy vacation. 

Don’t worry. If you live in Metro Manila, you could hop on a bus and visit one of several nearby provinces for a day trip or a quick overnight stay. 

Here’s where you can go for your quickie trip from the metro: 

Rizal 

Rizal is not too far from Metro Manila, but it offers breathtaking views and unique sights that are very different from what can be found in other cities. 

There are buses traveling between Metro Manila and several areas in Rizal. 

What to see: 

Rizal’s capital Antipolo is home to the famous Antipolo Cathedral and Hinulugang Taktak falls.

Visitors could indulge their artsy side by checking out the Pinto Art Museum. It’s one of the most Instragrammable places around.

Antipolo is also known for its views, so a stop at the Cloud 9 Sports and Leisure Club is highly recommended. The view deck and the hanging bridge over the best vantage points.

The Masungi Georeserve in Baras is also fast becoming a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. 

Cavite

Cavite has several popular tourist spots, including Tagaytay, a favorite of Metro Manila residents who want to enjoy chilly weather without traveling too far.

Several buses leaving from the Araneta terminal in Cubao or the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange and bound for Nasugbu stop in Tagaytay. 

Other bus companies also have routes traveling to Cavite towns and cities. 

What to see: 

Tagaytay is known for its view of Taal Volcano. Several restaurants, from the posh to the simple, offer clear views of the famous volcano and its lake. 

For those who want to be a bit more active, the Sky Ranch is where you could get your adrenaline rush. It offers various rides and attractions and games for all ages.

Cavite is also home to history. 

The town of Kawit is regarded as the birthplace of Philippine independence. It hosts the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine, the site of the proclamation of Philippine independence. 

Batangas

Batangas is a popular destination as it offers some of the most accessible beaches for Metro Manila residents.

Commuters can easily enjoy some sand and surf by taking a bus to San Juan, Batangas, where the beaches of Laiya are located.

They could also hop on a bus to the Batangas Grand Terminal to visit Anilao’s dive sites. 

What to see: 

Beach resorts in Laiya offer overnight stays or day tours. Prices of day tour packages vary depending on the amenities that the visitors want to use. 

Guests could swim in the water or indulge in other activities such as kayaking, helmet diving, or snorkeling. 

Anilao has a lot of famous dive sites for those who want to explore the underwater world.

Batangas also has something to offer to those who would rather visit the mountains. 

Mt. Maculot, which has a panoramic view of the Taal Lake, and Mt. Batulao, whose trails are friendly to newbies, are some of the famous hiking spots in the province. 

Laguna 

Laguna is one of the most accessible provinces just outside of the capital region. Several buses ply routes between Laguna towns and cities and the Metro Manila.

The towns and cities of Laguna each have their own distinct charms and offer a wide array of sights and adventures to visitors. 

What to see: 

For those who want to have some fun, the Enchanted Kingdom in Santa Rosa is a popular destination. The kids and the kids at heart could try the theme park’s daring rides. 

History buffs, on the other hand, could get to know the country’s national hero Jose Rizal by visiting his birthplace in Calamba.

For those who would rather enjoy nature, San Pablo’s seven lakes offer a relaxing view. Visitors could also go swimming, cycling, rafting, or trekking in the area. 

Quezon 

Quezon is another easily accessible province that has a variety of attractions to offer.

Nature lovers would have a lot to enjoy in Quezon.

What to see: 

Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort is a classic. It is a working coconut plantation and offers visitors something uniquely Filipino

Quezon also has its share of beautiful beaches. One of these can be found in Cagbalete Island, which has fine white sand and picturesque sandbars.

For the religious, the Kamay ni Hesus shrine is a top destination. Its church is said to be a healing church. 

Zambales

The province of Zambales has a lot to offer the adventurous.

Metro Manila residents can access its popular spots via bus rides that depart from major terminals.

What to see: 

Zambales is home to Subic, the former American naval base that now hosts various attractions. 

These include the Zoobic Safari, which bills itself as the only tiger safari in the country, and resorts such as the Adventure Beach Water Park.

Visitors to Zambales can also go trekking to Mt. Pinatubo.

Another popular destination is Anawangin Cove, which can only be reached via a boat ride or a lengthy trek. It has few amenities and is considered a camping haven.

La Union

La Union is one of the surfing destinations closest to Metro Manila.

But the northern Luzon province is also popular among those who just want to enjoy a quick beach getaway.

Thankfully, they can reach La Union via a bus ride from Cubao.

What to see:

Several beach resorts dot La Union’s beaches, catering to different tastes and budgets.

For the budget conscious, the Flotsam and Jetsam Artists Beach Hostel is a popular place to stay, and its easygoing vibe encourages visitors to chill.

For those who want a bit of luxury, the Thunderbird Resorts in Poro Point is one option. The mediterranean-inspired resort overlooks the San Fernando Bay and West Philippine Sea. 

Visitors who want a break from the beach could go on a hike to see the Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel.

Bulacan 

Metro Manila’s neighbor Bulacan is only a short bus ride away and has a lot to offer history and food buffs.

It is so close to Metro Manila that many who work in the metropolis reside in Bulacan.

What to see: 

Bulacan is home to the Barasoain Church, the site of the first Philippine republic.

It likewise has the Biak-na-Batp National Park, which served as the hideout of Philippine revolutionaries who fought the Spanish conquistadors.

Bulacan is also known for pastillas and chicharon.

Aurora 

Aurora is also another top destination for surfing aficionados. 

The town of Baler has been making a name for itself as a good surfing spot because of its good waves and friendly locals who offer surfing lessons. 

Buses regularly depart from Metro Manila to Baler.

What to see:

Aside from enjoying the beaches in Baler, visitors to Aurora could learn a bit of history by visiting the house of Doña Aurora Quezon, wife of former President Manuel Quezon.

They could also take a look at the more than 600-year-old Balete tree that has been designated the “Millennium Tree” of The Philippines. 

Benguet 

Benguet is home to Baguio, one of the most popular destinations in the country. 

The construction of new expressways has made Baguio more accessible to Metro Manila residents, who are now able to cut their travel time to the mountain city by half. Because of this, many think nothing of hopping on a bus and visiting to Baguio for a day trip or quick overnight stay.

But Benguet also has a lot more sights to offer. 

What to see: 

The Bencab museum in Baguio is a popular spot for those who want to see good art and support environmental conservation efforts.

Camp John Hay is always a good place to visit, and visitors never seem to get tired of its pine trees and cool breeze. 

Mt. Pulag is the highest peak in Luzon and the third highest mountain in the Philippines, and it is famous for its sea of clouds. 

La Trinidad is the country’s strawberry capital, so a visit to the La Trinidad Strawberry Farm is a must. Visitors can go strawberry picking and snack on different foods made of strawberry. 

Photo credit: DOT 

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