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Travel Ideas Near Manila

Updated on July 16, 2015

Travel Locally

Many tourists come to enjoy the warm season in the Philippines. More than 2.355 million tourists from Asian countries alone visited the Philippines in 2014. This report was issued by the department of tourism, showing a great number of people enjoying the attractions that the Philippines offer.

Nevertheless, most of these tourists go to beaches and famous tourist attractions far from the central city, Manila. If they are given some time to explore more and appreciate short stops and simple surprises, they would probably have a great time in the nearby landscapes of the neighboring cities in the Northern and Southern parts of Manila.

Here are some ideas to take into account.

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Get closer to art and nature
Get closer to art and nature
Get closer to art and nature

Museum Get-away

Musuems are one of the places tourists do not like to frequent because of the outdated feel and unexciting offers of these attractions. However, in a nearby southern city just along the border of Pasig City and Rizal, one can find a hidden treasure.

The "Pinto Art Museum" in Antipolo City can give you of two dream-like travel. From Antipolo City, you can experience a Santorini-inspired environment. The whole museum is almost one and a half hectares big. The artworks and masterpieces are housed in clean, cozy, and intricately designed buildings and galleries across the area.

Visitors will also be comfortable checking through the galleries even for a whole day, because they can relax on the beds, chairs, and benches set around the landscape. Yes, there are real beds with complete white mattresses across the museum. This is surely a good way to make visitors coming.

A Santorini-inspired escapade
A Santorini-inspired escapade
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Like having a museum in a simple palace
Like having a museum in a simple palace
Like having a museum in a simple palace

Historical Churches

Quiapo Church
Quiapo Church | Source
Binondo Church
Binondo Church | Source
San Agustin Church
San Agustin Church | Source

Church Visits

The Philippines is a very religious country, with Catholicism at the top. In this Christian nation, there are a lot of old churches which were made over 400 years ago or more. There are even some known churches that are already part of the UNESCO Heritage list. However, you don't need to travel far away from Manila to see these churches.

In the heart of Manila, you can visit:

  • Binondo Church, 1596

A church mainly built to serve the Chinese community converts that Dominican priests had in the earlier times. This church is also known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish

  • Quiapo Church, 1586

This church is now well-known for keeping the Black Nazarene which is a dark statue of Jesus Christ that many devotees consider as miraculous. With this the church is also known as Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. There is also a yearly event which celebrates the Black Nazarene. The statue was brought to the Philippines in the 17th century by the Spaniards.

  • San Agustin Church, 1571

This is the first church that Spaniards constructed in Luzon. However, after three years, in 1574, the church was destroyed by a fire due to the attempted invasion of the troops of Limahong. Limahong was a Chinese pirate who came to the Philippines and attempted to overthrow the Spanish regime but failed twice.

The church is now one of the four churches built in the Spanish colonial time which is included in UNESCO's World Heritage sites.

Miners Act

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Northern Beauty

In a six-hour drive from Manila, there is a hidden beauty up north. This place has now become a bustling city with stores, restaurants, and thrift shops. However, if one would be patient enough to visit some of its other attractions then there's a different experience to tell.

One may opt to experience being a miner under a dark, eerie, but thrilling mine. Then try Balatoc Mines Tour. Here you can learn more about the way miners do their daily job. With a complete gear of hardhat and boots.

You may even experience first hand how it feels like when they light up an explosive and drill some hard stones just to get to the gold lines. This part of the experience is terrifying and exciting at the same time.

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Weaving Beautifully

Aside from the mining industry in Baguio area, it is also popular for its hand woven crafts. In this area, tourists and locals can both see the traditional and modern ways of weaving. It is a culture that has been a part of the natives' source of pride.

It is difficult to go straight to the Sagada area where the natives live and use the more traditional weaving techniques. A traveler may need additional two to three hours of drive aside from the six-hour trip to Baguio City. Some locals try to make their products more accessible to consumers, so like the one featured here, the shop is located in Benguet Province just a few minutes from Baguio City.

Young and old would surely enjoy the colorful and wide variety of woven products. Quality is also an important factor in their works, so before the products are sold, they go through different checks to assure high quality.

Benefits of Traveling

I am mostly a homebody, however when given an opportunity to travel locally I grab it. Traveling can give a great view of different lives and different perspectives to the things happening around us. Even with very minimal things packed, the experience would still remain lingering days, weeks, or even years after.

These two unusual travel spots are just some of the surprising places in the Philippines. It may not be as popular as the advertised travel destinations, but it sure is worth a try. Especially to people who are not so fond of crowded or noisy places, finding a quiet get-away for vacation could be tough. It needs more research and patience to achieve.

In traveling locally or abroad, I learn that the best experiences are not exactly the most popular one to take, but the one that fits you. Traveling in groups or solo is really on you. No matter where you go always remember to keep memories and to try new things to bring home. You learn about another culture and meet different types of people.

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