1 Escape to Sonya's Garden
Book lunch or a weekend break at Sonya's Garden in Cavite just 21 kilometers south of Manila. Sonya's has a restaurant, bed and breakfast, and a country store selling silk robes, linen, and herbs. Herbs and vegetables served to diners come straight from Sonya's own garden. The food is good and the setting romantic. Book a room for the night or the weekend. Included with the stay is a free lesson on “The Art of Doing Nothing” where nothing means basic gardening, compost making, plant propagation, firefly watching during the mating season, walking, trekking and a tour of the scented greenhouse and edible landscape gardens. At night, unwind with a treatment at the in-house spa or catch the fireflies twinkling in the dark. The big bay windows of the cottages are the perfect place to settle in and enjoy the rain showers.
Book a cottage at Sonya’s Garden for P3,000 ($63) per person on weekdays and P3,400 on weekends. Fee includes a full breakfast and lunch or dinner.
2 Eat Your History (Saturday, August 6)
Catch up on a Philippine history lesson and a chance to try delicious local fare by joining Jeepney Tours' Eat Your History tour which includes stops at well-known Cavite landmarks like the Aguinaldo Shrine and the Parish of Maragondon. Along the way, sample native delicacies including a traditional Cavite breakfast of quesillo (kesong puti or carabao’s milk cheese), tamales, tinapang Salinas (smoked fish) and more. This tour also includes a visit to the production plant of the local favorite bibingka Samala (rice cake).
Reserve your slot with Jeepney Tours for P3,800 per person. Includes air-conditioned transportation, food, water, culinary historian and cultural fees. Call +639188974670 or [email protected]
3 Sing your blues away with a Jeepneyoke Party!
Belting out a tune is an activity you can indulge in rain or shine. Put a spin on your regular jam sessions by hopping aboard a private, air-conditioned jeepney decked out for the ultimate videoke experience. Get together a group of 18 people and choose from over 5,000 songs in the hopes of nabbing the highest score and the Jeepneyoke Challenge prize.
Book your Jeepneyoke Party at Jeepney Tours for P9,999 for four hours. Package includes drinks.
4 Hit the road to Antipolo
Go on a road trip to Antipolo, a city in Rizal 25 kilometers to the east of Manila, for its cool-weather, vintage shopping, and art museums. It's also a more restful alternative to crowded Tagaytay. It’s not quite without its commercial establishments – a Robinson’s Place recently sprung up along Marcos Highway – but the city has its quaint locally-owned spaces such as the ever-expanding Pinto Art Museum in Grand Heights Subdivision just past Ynares Center. Set within a 1.2-hectare landscaped property, the museum is home to some 300 modern artworks, mostly of local artists, ranging from paintings to sculptures to installations and other quirky art pieces. Seen here are works of painters Emmanuel Garibay and Jerson Samson, steel wire installation artist Stephanie Lopez, and a massive mural named “Karnabal” by the Salingpusa group of artists. It’s becoming a huge draw for the young and Instagram-savvy crowd. The museum also has a cafe called Café Tan-Aw and a new well-stocked library. For an art-centric lunch experience, check out Crescent Moon Café and Studio Pottery, the home studio of Filipino artist Lanelle Abueva-Fernando.
Pinto Art Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9AM to 6PM. Entrance fee is P200 per person with a 50% discount for students. Crescent Moon Café is open for lunch Thursday to Sunday, 12NN to 2PM. Merienda is available 9AM to 4PM. Set menu on Thursday to Saturday is P450. Buffet lunch on Sunday is P550.
5 Explore Cubao
Cubao, Quezon City has shops, markets and the popular Art in Island, a 3D interactive art museum that offers visual wizardry in the form of life-sized 3D pieces that are a perfect lure for the Instagram generation. Kids and adults alike can take photos of themselves in strange and wonderful settings— being attacked by a piranha, trapped in a bottle floating at sea and climbing out of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. Our insider, Jeepney Tours managing director Clang Garcia also recommends stopping by Farmer’s Market in Cubao for a seafood lunch or dinner. You get to select your fresh fish and have it cooked on the spot.
Art in Island is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30AM to 9:30PM. Entrance fee is P500 for adults and P400 for students and senior citizens.
6 Go to the beach!
Who says the beach is exclusively for the summer months? Garcia calls dancing in the rain “liberating”. While distant islands are not tourist-friendly in stormy weather, there are a few beaches near Manila ideal to visit in the off-peak season. Batangas, about 110 kilometers south of Metro Manila, is home to many beaches including Canyon Cove in Nasugbu or Anilao for diving. La Union, although several hours away from Manila, is an easy enough trip to take for a weekend escape. Head to the northern surf town of Urbiztondo. Surf season in the province is July to February.
Partas Transport buses ply to La Union everyday for P419.
7 Visit Solidaridad Bookshop
Every rainy day is an opportunity to curl up with a new book or to find new ones to read. Stop by the Solidaridad Bookshop in Manila, a 51-year-old bookshop owned by F. Sionil Jose, the Philippines' National Artist for Literature. The small shop sits along busy Padre Faura, a treasure trove for book lovers. Rare Filipino and international titles are available. “If you’re lucky and he’s around, you can have a nice chat with the 91-year-old literary genius,” Garcia said, adding that the trip to the bookshop is a good a “digital detox”. Visit Solidaridad Bookshop Monday to Saturday, 9AM to 6PM.
About our insider
Clang Garcia is the managing director of Jeepney Tours and publisher of the newly-released Food Holidays, a culinary travel guidebook available at The Kitchen Bookstore for P500.
Read about the top things to do in Manila.
Find out more about the artisan scene in Laguna and Rizal.
Cover photo pinched from @giorgianne.montefalco.
Published July 2016