Valentines Day is right around the corner and we’re sure couples out there are thinking of where to spend that special day. Here’s a list of places near and around Metro Manila for just about every couple type there may be.
For the Art Enthusiasts
1. Pinto Art Museum (Antipolo, Rizal)
Pinto Art Museum is best known for its huge exhibit halls with walls adorned by hundreds of artworks, but there’s more to this place than that. The mediterranean-inspired art space also has an arboretum boasting of lush foliage, with comfy day beds randomly distributed around the area, a cafe for when you go hungry and a chapel for some quiet time. Entrance fee is P200 for adults, P180 for senior citizens/PWD with valid IDs and P100 for children and students with school IDs. Children below are free of charge.
How to get there: Ride a jeep or FX bound for Antipolo and get off at Ynares Center or Antipolo Cathedral. From there, ride a tricycle to Pinto Art Museum.
2. National Museum (Manila)
The National Museum was renovated a few years ago to be at par with famous museums in other countries. It was only fitting that the government beautify the structure, as it houses valuable artworks by world-renowned Filipino artists like Juan Luna, Felix Hidalgo, Jose Rizal, Fernando Amorsolo, and many more. Get ready to be in awe as you stand in front of the massive Spoliarium painting by Juan Luna, and take in the story it tells, near the entrance. Admission to the National Museum is free of charge.
How to get there: Ride a jeep or FX bound for Taft Avenue and ask to be dropped at P. Burgos. Walk to the National Museum from there. Another option is to ride the LRT 1 to either the United Nations Station or Central Station, and walk to the museum from there.
For the Adventure Junkies
3. Mt. Batulao (Nasugbu, Batangas)
Just a 2-3 hour ride from Manila, Mt. Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas offers a trail that’s friendly to amateurs and first-time hikers and a view that’s as breathtaking as any other peak. Famous for its rolling slopes, unique rock formations at the top, and scenic 360-degree view of the provinces of Cavite and Batangas, Mt. Batulao does not disappoint.
Although beginner-friendly and doable for a daytrip, the hike to the 811 MASL summit still packs a bit of challenge as hikers get to experience steep and slippery slopes, as well as some rock climbing (from the old trail). Registration fees at Mt. Batulao range from P80 to about P150 per person depending on your choice of trail (old trail, new trail, or traverse).
How to get there: Take the bus bound for Nasugbu, Batangas and get off at KC Hillcrest (formerly Evercrest Hotel & Golf Club). This should be easy to spot as it is a big landmark and comes just after you cross the Tagaytay-Batangas border marked by an arc (you can also ask the bus conductor to drop you off there, just to be sure). KC Hillcrest serves as the jump-off point for the hike.
4. Sandbox (Porac, Pampanga)
Sandbox is a giant playground for thrill seekers. Some of the activities that they offer are: Giant Swing, Aerial Walk Challenge, Avatar One, Adventure Tower, ATV/UTV Rides and Outdoor Archery.
Quick Tip: Make sure you arrive before 9am, not only avoid the harsh afternoon sun, but also the long queues.
How to get there: Ride a bus bound for Dau. Get off at Dau Terminal and ride a jeep to SM Clark. From there, ride a jeep or FX to Porac, and ask the driver to drop you off at Sandbox.
5. Mt. Pinatubo (Capas, Tarlac)
If it’s adventure you want, why not go on day trip to Mt. Pinatubo so you can enjoy a scenic 4×4 ride, and a two-hour hike to the peak of an active stratovolcano? The trail is as picturesque as the view of the crater lake at the top, making every kilometer worth it.
Quick Tip: It is best to get a package tour for this day trip, and we recommend getting one from Majestic Mount Pinatubo Tour and Homestay, for a hassle-free adventure. Rates start at P1,900.
How to get there: Ride a bus bound for either Baguio, Dagupan or Urdaneta, and ask to be dropped of at Mcdonals Capas. From there, ride a tricycle to Sta. Juliana Capas Pinatubo Jump Off.
For the Science Buffs
6. The Mind Museum (Bonifacio Global City, Taguig)
Have an uber fun date and feel like kids again at The Mind Museum where you can explore science through five interconnected stories and wander through the exhibitions of Atom, Earth, Life, Universe and Technology.
Say hello to the giant T-Rex, “experience” wandering in space through the Tunnelcraft, or get your shadows frozen at the Shadow Box!
The Mind Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9am-12nn | 12nn-3pm | 3pm-6pm. For the 3-hour viewing slots, tickets are priced at P675 for adults, P475 for children and private school students (up to college), P190 for public school student (up to college), and P190 for teachers. If you want to take your time going through the exhibits, you can purchase an all-day pass for P750.
Quick Tip: Try not to miss the shows especially at the Space Shell (Life: A Cosmic Story is truly a visually spectacular journey through time!) and don’t forget to bring coats as the museum tends to have really cold air conditioning.
How to get there: Get to the BGC Bus Terminal (near EDSA-Ayala) and buy a bus ticket (P12 per ride). Take any of the three West bus routes — West Route, Upper West Route, Lower West Route — and alight at either the Net One 3rd Ave Stop (for both West Route and Lower West Route buses) or the Bonifacio Stopover (Upper West Route buses).
7. Manila Ocean Park (Manila)
More than just aquariums and fishes, Manila Ocean Park also houses a number of great attractions which include encounters with sharks and rays, penguin parks, jellyfish exhibits, sea lion performances, bird shows, and more! An aqua-themed hotel is also integrated within the park premises. Basic ticket packages range from P580 to P990, depending on the attractions included.
How to get there: Take the LRT to United Nations (UN) Station. From here, cross Taft Avenue towards Times Plaza and then turn right. Continue walking along Taft Avenue until you get to Teodoro M. Kalaw. Take a left turn at Kalaw and walk 2-3 blocks more until you get to Parade Avenue/Quirino Street. Walk past by the Old Luneta and Rizal Park, and then take a right turn. From here you can see Manila Ocean Park behind the Quirino Grandstand. Another option is to take a bus to Taft Avenue/Lawton, get off at Luneta/Rizal Park, and walk to the ocean park from there.
For the Chill Couple
8. Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa (Antipolo, Rizal)
We’re not even exaggerating when we say this: one of the best massages we experienced by far, was from Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa. How can you not enjoy the spot on strokes of the masseuse, when you have the wonderful view of the Antipolo mountains right in front of you?
Note: Their spa packages start at P2,575 — inclusive of access to the Hanging Gardens Facilities (Sauna, Dr. Fish Spa, Heated Jacuzzi, Hydro-massage Pool, Infinity Pools, Meditation Lounges), Snacks of Antipolo’s Best Suman, Set Meal (soup, salad, pasta and dessert), and Choice of Luljetta’s Signature Massage with Ear Candling OR A Cup of Coffee Scrub.
How to get there: Ride a jeep or FX bound for Antipolo and get off at Antipolo Cathedral. From there, ride a tricycle to Loreland Farm Resort. Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa is located inside the resort.
9. La Luz Beach Resort (San Juan, Batangas)
If you want to spend hearts day lounging by the sea, try taking the road to La Luz Beach Resort. Enjoy a hassle-free day at the white sand beach where you have unlimited use of the resort’s comfy cabanas, an array of water activity equipments you can rent, and yummy buffet lunches and meriendas all for just P930 per person.
Note: They require reservations even for day trips so they can include you in their food preparations. Make sure to book at least a week before your planned day at the beach.
Driving Directions: Take South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and stay on until you get to the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway. From STAR Tollway, take the Jose-Ibaan Exit (after Lipa Exit) and turn left. Drive 2.5 kilometers until you reach an intersection pointing to Rosario and take the left turn. Go straight until you pass by the Ibaan Municipal Hall (on your right) and the church (on your left). When you reach a forked road, turn right towards the sign pointing to San Juan; keep driving for about 8 kilometers until you reach the Rosario town proper. From here, drive past by the road with a Jollibee branch on your left and continue for 23 kilometers all the way to the San Juan town proper. Once in San Juan, take a right after the Municipal Hall (comes after a Petron gasoline station and a Dunkin Donut store) and drive on for approximately 24 kilometers until you reach rough roads. From here just follow the path and take note of street signs directing to the resort. La Luz Beach Resort’s entrance will be on the left side.
For the Foodies
10. Balay Dako (Tagaytay)
Why not celebrate Valentines Day either a few days early or late, and feast on a hearty Filipino breakfast buffet at Balay Dako on a weekend? The restaurant opens at 7am, but guests come in as early as 6am to ensure good seats. Their fried rice station is utterly genius and just thinking about their tapa makes us drool. Overall, the buffet spread has great variety and flavor. The P650+ price per person is totally worth it!
Driving Directions: From South Luzon Expressway, take the Sta. Rosa exit. Go straight along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road and turn right to Tagaytay-Calamba Road. Go straight until you see Balay Dako on the left side of the road.
Happy hearts day, everyone! ♥