5 of the best long weekend breaks

Jeepney Tours managing director and Food Holidays publisher Clang Garcia lists her favorite destinations for long weekends, from luxe beaches escapes to soothing springs in the middle of a jungle

By Celia Nachura

1 Beach break in Laiya, Batangas

Photo from Acuatico Beach Resort & Hotel Facebook page

Laiya, roughly 184km from Manila, is a coastal escape in San Juan, Batangas that offers beach lovers a long stretch of pristine white sand to lounge and play on. The calm waters are ideal for swimming, while many of the resorts in the area provide activities like kayaking and snorkeling. Known as one of the most developed beaches in the province, Laiya is a tourist favorite and attracts flocks of city folks come holidays and long weekends. Jeepney Tours managing director and Food Holidays publisher Clang Garcia recommends booking a room at the Acuatico Beach Resort, a luxe beachfront resort with rooms from P7,600 (US$158). Visit Acuatico Beach Resort, +632 892 7577 to 79, +632 869 0236.

How to get there
Take the ALPS bus from Cubao to San Juan, Batangas. In San Juan, ride a tricycle going to Laiya.

2 Wellness vacation in Tagaytay

Photo by Jocas See

Nurture Wellness Village, a spa and wellness retreat around 71km from Metro Manila, is a tranquil space untouched by the rapid-fire development and bustle of the rest of Tagaytay City. Nestled in a lush one-hectare tropical garden, the village inspires peace and wellness and offers a range of spa services, weight loss programs, natural healing packages and activities like Tai Chi. Ifugao-inspired huts are scattered throughout the property, while those who are up for a more outdoorsy experience can go “glamping” or glamorous camping onsite. Book at Nurture Wellness Village, +63918 888 8772, +632 710 9786.

How to get there
From Manila, it’s only about an hour-long drive to Nurture Wellness Village. Take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), and exit through Sta. Rosa or Greenfield City where there are signs leading to Tagaytay. From the ridge, turn right to the direction of Tagaytay City and head to the rotunda, in the direction to Nasugbu, Batangas. The row of restaurants to your left marks the next junction (Magallanes Square) where you are to turn right. Signs will easily lead you to Nurture Wellness Village.

Jeepney Tours bundles the Nature Wellness Village activities with a fresh and delectable lunch at another beloved Tagaytay gem, Sonya's Garden, for P6,000 per person.

3 Be one with nature in Hidden Valley Springs, Laguna


#hiddenvalley @noyamar4388

A photo posted by Orly Mizrahi Lifschitz (@orlymiz) on

Roughly 80km from Metro Manila is Hidden Valley Springs, a concealed paradise of secret caves, gigantic 300-year-old trees and soothing natural pools. Step into this enchanting spring resort in Calauan, Laguna that looks like a page from the Jungle Book. A stroll through the property will bring tourists closer to the flourishing flora and fauna endemic to the valley. Other activities include golf, yoga, mountain biking and more. Visit Hidden Valley Springs, +632 818 4034, +632 840 4112. 

How to get there
From the JAC Liner Kamias terminal on the corner of Mapagmahal Street and EDSA, ride a bus headed to Lucena City. Tell the driver to drop you off at the Alaminos market, where there are tricycles that can take tourists to Hidden Valley Springs about five kilometers away.

4 Malabon Tricycle Food Tour

Set in Metro Manila, this Malabon City activity is proof there’s no need to venture far for some fun adventure and food tripping. Hop on a tricycle and let yourself be toured by a born-and-bred local driver who knows the hidden gems of the city like the back of his hand. Yup, the tricycle drivers double as tour guides and they will take you to the different destinations, from the 400-year-old San Bartolome Church and numerous art galleries to the best and cheapest eats in the Concepcion public market. Contact the Malabon City Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office at +632 281 499, +63998 965 4761, +63921 513 2409.

How to get there
From anywhere in Metro Manila, take a taxi to the Malabon City Hall on F. Sevilla Blvd., Malabon City.

5 Rediscover Intramuros, Manila

San Agustin, Intramuros. Photo by Ferdz Decena

At the heart of Metro Manila is Intramuros, the immaculately preserved walled city that had held court to some of the country’s most significant events in the last few centuries. Take the tour riding the quintessentially Pinoy jeepney and rediscover how vibrant old Manila truly is from churches and museums to ancestral homes and cultural shows. Book a tour with Jeepney Tours, +632 994 6636.

How to get there
Take a taxi to Intramuros from anywhere in Metro Manila. 

About the insider

Clang Garcia is the managing director of Jeepney Tours and publisher of the Food Holidays, a culinary travel guidebook available at all major bookstores National Book Store, Powerbooks and Fully Booked, and online at The Kitchen Bookstore for P500. 

Jeepney Tours, +632 994 6636, +63918 897 4670, [email protected].

Cover photo by Jocas See

Published October 2016