While work and other commitments may prevent you and your SO from taking an extended holiday, you can always grab your car keys and hit the open road for a quick and fun weekend trip. You don’t even need to drive too far to embark on an epic vacation—some of the country's most stunning destinations are just a few hours’ drive from Metro Manila. A few make for good day trips, while some are more suited for a weekend away—but all of them set the mood for a memorable trip with your bae.
1. Minalungao National Park, Nueva Ecija
You often pass by the farming province on long trips up north. It has a lot more to offer than just scenic rice paddies. Minalungao National Park is a fun, nature-filled escape located in the municipality of General Tinio, about four hours by car from the Metro. Here, you will find the emerald-colored Peñaranda River cutting its way through limestone cliffs, as well as picturesque hills and lush greenery. Bamboo rafting down the river or picnicking on its banks are a couple of romantic and relaxing ways to take in the sights, although more adventurous couples can opt to kayak down, zip-line across the river, or even cliff-dive from the rock formations.
2. San Antonio, Zambales
City dwellers tend to make a beeline to the La Union surf scene for a quick beach trip, but if you’re after something more low-key, set your sights on the beaches of San Antonio, Zambales, such as Pundaquit Beach, Anawangin Cove, or Nagsasa Cove—most of which are just three hours away from the city. Splash in calm waters, dig your toes in powdery white sand, and enjoy a cold drink underneath Casuarina and palm trees. You can stay at one of the heritage houses in San Antonio, bunk down in one of the simple resorts by the beach, or camp out on the shore.
3. Antipolo and Angono, Rizal
Located about 45 minutes to an hour from Manila, the two towns provide the perfect intersection between culture and geography. Both are thriving art communities with excellent museums and a handful of gallery-cafes and studios, including the Pinto Art Gallery in Antipolo and AngNewNo Arts Design Café in Angono. Called the “Art Capital of the Philippines,” Angono’s streets are galleries in themselves, displaying sculptures and murals outside the town hall and on the gates of residents’ houses. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to spot the scenic hills of Rizal looming in the background. It's possible to do Antipolo and Angono in a day, but a longer trip at a more leisurely pace will allow you to fully experience their charm.
4. Treasure Mountain, Rizal
Nature-loving couples don't need to go far to spend some quality time in the great outdoors. This mountain in Rizal—just an hour away from the Metro—has everything you need for a combo of swoon-worthy scenery and crisp fresh air. It’s fantastic for those looking to escape digital distractions and bond over leisurely hikes. The best views come early in the morning, so camping overnight is recommended to catch the early morning sunrise.
5. Taal Heritage Town, Batangas
If you and your other half are looking to unwind in a small community that’s big on old-school charm, Taal Town is a wonderful multicultural experience that's both fun and educational. There are several historic landmarks across the heritage site, including the ancestral home of Juan Cabrera Goco, the treasurer of the Katipunan, and the colonial mansion of Marcela Agoncillo, one of the makers of the first Philippine flag. In between touring these notable sites, venture into the quaint cafes and sample an array of Batangueño fare such as adobong dilaw, bulalo with sotanghon, crispy suman, and kapeng Barako.
Whether you want to take a quick drive or a leisurely road trip to that romantic destination, you’ll need a reliable car to do it. The all-new 2019 RAV4 is all about style, efficiency, and comfort—just what you need on a road trip with your significant other. The fifth generation model comes with luxurious interiors, a spacious luggage compartment, a power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory and lumbar support, and speed-sensitive power steering to make your journey all the more enjoyable.