MANILA -- Looking for somewhere to go this Valentine’s weekend? How about a scenic road trip to a romantic destination just a couple of hours from the metro?
Here are just a few destinations near Manila known for their good dining establishments and scenic views.
Couples looking for secluded getaways can also opt stay in a romantic bed & breakfast or boutique hotel for the night for a more leisurely staycation.
1. Get pampered in a garden spa in Antipolo
Usually overlooked because of its proximity to Manila, Antipolo offers an ideal destination just an hour’s drive east of Manila. You can find secret garden cafes, restos with overlooking views and hidden B&Bs all over Antipolo. Pinto Art Gallery’s stunning new museum wing gives tourists another reason to revisit the area.
Those who want to stay overnight can opt to stay at Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens. The first and only hanging gardens and spa in the Philippines is set in a mountain resort within Loreland Farm Resort. Luljetta’s is known for their pampering spa packages ideal for day trips and cozy villas where guests can stay overnight.
Couples can enjoy stunning views of Laguna de Bay and the Metro Manila skyline from the resort’s infinity pools. The newer Greek-inspired Santorini and Mykonos Suites and Garden Suites offer more privacy for guests.
For bookings, reservations and rates, visit here.
2. Enjoy the country life in San Pablo, Laguna
For those who just want a change of scenery from the busy city life and experience simple country living, Laguna, particularly San Pablo, 2.5 to 3 hours away, is a good choice for day trips or weekend getaways.
Visitors can spend the day at a farm, visit the seven lakes, dine in artistic and heritage restaurants, visit artist’s studios or stay overnight in cozy bed and breakfasts.
Casa San Pablo is a homey bed & breakfast lodging and country inn surrounded by pine trees, sprawling lawns, and flowering plants. It serves breakfast all day and Southern Tagalog delicacies. It also0 offers various room types including a few boutique, PWD-friendly and pet-friendly rooms.
Another quaint B&B in San Pablo is Sulyap (a Filipino term for a glimpse) Gallery Cafe & Restaurant, a boutique hotel, restaurant, art gallery, and heritage museum. Visitors can stay in four of its five restored casas. Casa Obando, Casa Alitagtag, Casa Del Remedio, and a portion of Casa San Juan give visitors a glimpse of the past with its classical design of capiz shell windows, hardwood flooring and wooden furniture.
Patis Tito Garden Cafe and B&B offers another unique dining and lodging experience in San Pablo. Located within the creative retreat of Filipiniana textile artist and heritage advocate Patis Pamintuan Tesoro, the restaurant (formerly known as Kusina Salud) is known for offering slow-cooked Filipino favorites using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Take note that dining and overnight stays are strictly by reservation only.
3. Get cozy in a treehouse in San Rafael, Bulacan
While Bulacan is known more for its churches, historic sites and fireworks industry, the province, roughly 1-1.5 hours drive north of Metro Manila hides a few romantic hidden gems.
San Rafael River Adventure is a nature-inspired team-building resort that offers unique accommodations including glass villas, glass cabins, glass bamboo huts, stilt glass cabins and other accommodations by the river ideal for overnight stays.
The charming “Tree House of Love” built above three mango trees offers a romantic and cozy spot. The room comes with an indoor heated pool and a circular bed draped with curtains to complete the romantic feel.
Another unique option in the resort is their “glamping with a twist” experience with tents built on a floating raft.
4. Dine in secret garden restos near Tagaytay
Tagaytay in Cavite has always been a popular choice for a quick weekend or day trips since it’s less than 2 hours from the metro (depending on the traffic). Visitors can enjoy the cooler climate while dining on fresh farm-to-table cuisine in many of the restaurants located along the ridge overlooking Taal Lake in Batangas.
While the alert level for the Taal’s volcanic activity has been lowered, some establishments in Tagaytay and surrounding towns are slowly getting back on their feet and resuming normal operations.
Sonya’s Garden, one of the most well-known dining destinations in Alfonso, Cavite, is known for serving organically grown, pesticide-free veggies and edible flowers daily picked from their 5 greenhouses.
Aside from the restaurant, Sonya’s Garden also has Bed and Breakfast cottages inspired by the simple country lifestyle.
Chateau Hestia is another hidden garden restaurant and bed and breakfast in Silang. Named after the Goddess of the Hearth, the restaurant is situated within elegant country-style surroundings where guests can enjoy authentic European cuisine and wine.
5. Step back in time in Bataan
Bataan’s historic attractions offer a dose of nostalgia and romance. One of the most popular day trip destinations is Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac. This open-air museum and heritage park features restored Spanish-Filipino houses designed with colonial-period fixtures highlighting the old-world charm complemented by modern-day amenities.
The whole complex transports guests to Old Manila’s glory days.
While most visitors come here for day tours, prenup shoots and weddings, those who have cash to burn can opt to stay overnight in one of the hotel’s 217 rooms or in one of the luxurious private casas. Guests who want even more exclusivity and privacy can choose from three villas overlooking the mountain and the lake situated in an area cut off from the rest of the property.
Bataan is roughly 3 to 3.5 hours drive by land from Manila. For those based nearer Pasay, the travel time can be cut by taking the ferry operating from Pasay, Mall of Asia Complex to Orion, Bataan.
The cruise just adds another element of romance and adventure to the journey.