Planning a summer getaway with your friends and/or family can invite a lot of necessary (and unnecessary) stress. That is why more and more getaways among friends become quick and spontaneous, with little to no planning required.
Just last year, my three friends and I decided that we need to have a quick break from daily hustle and bustle of life and enjoy the summer, even for just a day. We wanted to go to lots of places and accomplish many summer activities, but our schedules hindered us to do so. Thus we made a special itinerary of things we wanted to do and places we want to visit and look for the best alternatives that is within driving distance from Metro Manila. Luckily for us, there are places just outside the bounds of the metro that offer the quick getaway activities we wanted.
Now, the key to an important quick summer getaway is getting a good night's sleep the day before. I cannot stress this enough. Sufficient sleep is the key to a successful and fun-filled getaway. Well-rested bodies are essential to thoroughly enjoy a whole-day trip. This is most especially true to the driver and the navigator, who have to be alert and awake the whole day. For long road trips, it's advisable to have another driver available in case your primary driver gets tired.
The day of the trip
Our meetup location was in our office Manila, a place very accessible to the group. Since our call time was 5:00 am (strict!), we had to complete our own preparations and everything is supposed to be ready beforehand. We left the meetup place 15 minutes after 5am, with nothing but ourselves, a bit of pocket money, snacks, and good music in tow. Our first stop for this quick getaway was a little town in Laguna called Pansol.
Take a dip in Pansol, Laguna
Pansol is known for its numerous hot spring public and private resorts. Basically, you can go to Pansol at any time of the day, any day of the year, and a resort will be available. For this trip, we went to a famous hot spring resort that offers fresh warm waters from Makiling and basic spa services. We arrived before 7 am, and the resort was still empty save for a couple of families. Our first objective was to schedule an appointment for a quick massage, and luckily, we were the first ones in line. Our group of four took turns having two get a quick back rub while the remaining two dipped and relaxed in the hot springs. By the time our group of four was done, it was just a little past 8 am. Our next stop was the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).
Go for a food trip in Los Baños, Laguna
You may be wondering why does a summer getaway include a trip to a school. My quick answer: Food! UPLB and the immediate community surrounding it are home to a lot of satisfying and delicious food that is unbelievably pocket-friendly. Barbecues, chocolate cakes, sisig, vegan-friendly: name it, and they have it. The University also prides itself for its animal husbandry, which produces the best carabao's milk and yoghurt you'll ever taste (and these are healthy options too!). If not only for our schedule, we would have explored the university grounds and sampled on more food, but we were following a strict itinerary. Having fulfilled our cravings and making sure our tummies our perfectly happy, it's now time to drive to Santa Rosa, Laguna.
Load up on activities in Santa Rosa, Laguna
Santa Rosa is the prefect quick getaway for those seeking family and group activities. It is home to one of the biggest theme parks in the Philippines, a place where everyone can enjoy. For those who are not into amusement parks, one can visit the Nuvali recreational park for more family-friendly activities. Little kids can enjoy fish feeding or boat riding, bigger kids can ride rental bicycles up and down the park, and parents can go shopping in the nearby mall complexes. Our group though was in for a different activity: wakeboarding!
Wakeboarding is a sport akin to surfing, but instead of being pushed by surf waves, you hold on to a cable while being towed by a closed-course cable system. It's fun, it's exciting, and it's a great physical activity! Though it has a learning curve and though most of us ended up splashing instead of surfing, the activity is a great summer experience that we'll surely remember. Now on to our last stop: Tagaytay City, Cavite.
Cool down and unwind in Tagaytay City, Cavite
Like Santa Rosa, Tagaytay City offers a myriad of fun and family-friendly activities, from theme parks, zip lines, food trips (read: bulalo), and night life among others. Tagaytay also overlooks the world-famous Taal Volcano. However, many families and groups of friends venture to Tagaytay for one specific reason: its cold and breezy climate thus earning its moniker "The Second Summer Capital." Situated closely to Manila, Tagaytay offers a quick escape from the heat in the metro. I think it goes without saying that a jacket or a windbreaker is a requirement when traveling to the city. Our objectives in Tagaytay were plain and simple: enjoy the weather, find a place to get a hearty dinner, and unwind. Tagaytay was the welcome end of our very busy trip, a great place to cool down after a long, all day road trip.
It's imperative that I point out that the four places we travelled to on that fateful summer day offer more than what we've experienced. Each location can substantially fill a day's worth of activities and undertakings. But if you are into quick and spontaneous getaways, I'm pretty sure you'd enjoy what we've done as well.