Everyone’s raving for vacations this summer, especially in the country’s hotspots–but clearly not everyone can afford to pay for it. Despite financial limitations, there’s more to the Philippines than just Boracay. Remind yourself that we’ve got 7,101 beautiful islands yet to discover.
So are you itching for a summer vacation with your loved ones–yet on a tight budget? If you’re within Metro Manila, you might want to take a look some the local spots, below, for a summer day trip or budget vacation even with a budget of P1,500 for a family of four.
Bulacan – The Gateway to the Northern Philippines
Though it’s close to Metro Manila, Bulacan is sometimes overlooked–and its beauty, underestimated. It has what its local government calls ‘tourist temptations,’ counting the likes of Baliuag Clock Tower, Barasoain Church, Calumpit River, Pulilan Butterfly Haven, and Verdivia Falls, among its other surprisingly interesting tourist attractions. While most of these spots may require entrance fees, some religious, ecological, and historical sites are free to explore, such as the Barasoain Church and Baliuag Clock Tower.
You’ll save a lot of money if you take the bus. If you’re coming from the North Luzon Expressway, the major towns of Bulacan are within easy reach. Some primary buses that travel from Metro Manila to the North and slip through Bulacan are Baliwag Bus Transit, Victory Liner, and Aladdin Transport; these buses have main terminals in Pasay, Quezon City, and Manila. For more tourist information about Bulacan, visit http://www.bulacan.gov.ph/index.php.
Tagaytay – The Summer Capital of the Southern Philippines
Who doesn’t know and love Tagaytay? Besides its proximity to Metro Manila, it’s definitely a world-class yet affordable summer destination for Manileños. Tagaytay has affordable tourist spots like the Picnic Grove. The entrance fee to this picnic area is around P50 per person, but rent for a cottage is around P150-P250. If you prefer to eat your packed meals at the Picnic Grove, you save around P350-P450, out of your P1,500 budget, for entrance fees of four persons and the rental fee of the smallest cottage.
Bus companies have their terminals in Baclaran, Lawton, Edsa, and Pasay City. Buses are up on a daily basis, from Manila to Tagaytay, starting at 6:00am to 9:00pm. You can check out additional information about Tagaytay at http://www.tagaytay.gov.ph.
Batangas – Where Beach Dreams Come True
When you think of Batangas, think about those stunningly clean blue beaches. Some of the most visited spots in Batangas are the Taal Lake and Volcano Island, the Fantasy World in Lemery, or the Anilao and Western Batangas Dive Spots, along with numerous lines of beach resorts scattered all over the province.
Again, packing up meals is the most cost-effective method for cheap Batangas vacations. There’s an array of beach resorts, and it’s impossible not to find beaches where you can still freely set up your banig for a family picnic at the beach front. But famous beach strips like Nasugbu and Anilao will surely be beyond your budget, so forgo picnics in famous resorts where you will be charged rental fees for tables or huts, aside from the entrance fee of course.
View of Taal Volcano
You can find some buses in Edsa or Buendia terminals, such as JAM and BLTB, which travel to Batangas. For complete information, you may want to check out http://www.batangas.gov.ph/.
Travel Time to Any of These Destinations: Approximately 1 to 2 hours, or a little bit more if counting traffic conditions, from Metro Manila areas.
One-Way Bus Fare Per Person: Since the proximity of each destination to Metro Manila is, so far, almost similar, bus fare is approximately P100 (or sometimes even less) to P180 per person to most municipalities or towns in the abovementioned provinces. If there are occasions when you may be charged more, three things will affect the differences in rates: (a) specific point of origin in Metro Manila, (b) specific point of destination to any of the three abovementioned provinces, (c) and bus types (air con or non-air con). So for transportation expenses, the estimated roundtrip fare for a family of four is around P800-P1,400.
Budget Traveler’s Tested Tip: Aside from beachfronts or free picnic grounds, some canteens, cafeterias, or restaurants allow packed meals inside their premises, as long as you order your beverages from them. This way, you can get rid of even the smallest fees for picnic tables or huts, and after meals, you can just freely explore the natural scenery of these excellent destinations even on a controlled budget.
A budget vacation can still be lots fun and very memorable for your family and friends. It’s just a matter of resourcefulness. If you’re not up for a trip out of Manila, our swimming pool guides (North/Central Luzon, South Luzon and Visayas/Mindanao) within the city will help you with a summer getaway worth spending with your family. Besides, it’s not how far you’ve gone, but how well you have spent time with your family that truly counts after all.
- In Tagaytay Philippines Blog