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Tropical Experience Travel Services - Tours of the Philippines
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Let’s say you’re lucky to have a couple of days available to travel around some provinces nearby Manila before you hop on a plane to your tropical beach destinations. You’re into explorations and nature. You like the outdoors, have an active lifestyle  and love doing physical recreation. There are a couple of things ideal for you to discover nearby Manila that may not necessarily be beach-y. Mountains and volcano trekking, lakes and waterfalls explorations are around, mixed with some cultural exposure in the countryside and great food adventures. If you are in good physical shape and have the adrenalin for some outdoor action, then you are in for a ride!

Manila Bay. Photo: Tropical Experience Travel Services.

Let’s see some dynamic discoveries  near Manila with this travel diary.

Driving northward from Manila, your first destination can be Mount Pinatubo. This active volcano erupted in 1991  after 600 years of sleep. The catastrophic disaster brought about a beauty that draws people to visit this place. With a thrilling 4×4 off road adventure, you ride across a moon-like terrain with vast ash fields and rocky rivers to view. 2 hours of trekking takes you to the view of the blue-green volcanic crater’s lake and its majestic surroundings. You could also have a chance to interact with the Aetas, one of the oldest tribes in the Philippines that lived in the slopes of the volcanoes for many centuries.

You then transfer to Laguna province, located in the south of Manila. Here, you experience an adrenaline-filled adventure in nature, experiencing the whitewater rafting in Magdalena. This exciting 10km-long river running from the town of Majayjay to Magdalena takes around two hours. After that, you head to Nagcarlan, to witness the local underground cemetery (the only one of that kind in the Philippines), built during the Spanish colonial era. Another chance to experience some history and local culture is a visit of the nearby town of Liliw, where you can stroll around local markets and old churches.

Then, it’s time to go back to nature with the charming Pagsanjan Falls (indigenous name: Magdapio Falls), among the most famous of the country. These beautiful waterfalls can be reached with a boat while shooting the rapids (the boat ride was an attraction already during the colonial times). Afterwhich, it’s perfect time to unwind at the nearby relaxing and calm Lake Pandin, enjoying a freshly-prepared lunch on a bamboo raft.

A bamboo raft (Balsa) on Lake Pandin. Photo: Tropical Experience.

As the last (but not least) stop, you transfer to Tagaytay, home to the world’s smallest active volcano, the Taal Volcano situated on an island in the middle of Taal Lake. The lake in its crater (with a small island inside), situated on an island on a lake on another island, makes it a geographically unique destination. You then reach the Volcano Island by a short boat ride and then you will have a hike up the crater for a breathtaking view. Tagaytay is also a popular fresh destination thanks to its cool breeze: enjoy having a lunch while admiring the beautiful panorama of the lake.

Being in transit in Manila, this is definitely the ideal itinerary for travelers with strong interests in ecotourism, who like to discover the beauties of nature and to enjoy outdoor activities. It is perfect for those who want to discover local natural wonders in a limited amount of time. The itinerary is advisable only for people in good health conditions and are used to doing sporty activities. No special skills are required, though.

Let’s do a recap of the main destinations/highlights of the trip:

  • Mount/Volcano Pinatubo adventure

  • Whitewater rafting in Magdalena (Laguna)

  • Underground Cemetery of Nagcarlan + Churches and markets o Liliw (Laguna)

  • Pagsanjan Falls with boat ride

  • Lake Panding with bamboo raft ride

  • Taal Volcano and Tagaytay

Best Time to Go: the best time to visit Luzon is during the months between November and June, when you can find a more favourable climate with less rain. Anyway, the trip can be organized all over the year.

How Many Days: the trip should take a minimum 4 full days to be completed. It can also be extended to 5-7 days  by adding other neighbouring destinations or more time to rest between the adventures. Or, you can also have fewer days if you choose fewer destinations.

Transportation: this trip, if made entirely, necessarily needs road transfer starting from and back to Manila. The ideal way is to have a charterred vehicle with a dedicated driver to take you around. During the day tour activities, you will use boats, 4×4 vehicles, bamboo and rubber rafts.

Accommodation: out of the cities, the offer of hotels is surely simple and a bit “sporty”. It is anyway possible to find cozy and clean hotels with all the basic comforts. If you want, it is also possible to find some good 3-4 stars hotel in some of the destinations.

How to organize your trip: we (Tropical Experience Travel Services) are a local travel agency in the Philippines and can organize this trip.

Contacts: you can send an e-mail to experiencetropical@gmail.comor contact us on Viber or Whatsapp at the number +63 9998019918

Have 5 minutes? Check what else you could see in the Philippines with this video

(written on June 2016)