While Manila lives up to its reputation as a bustling and often chaotic capital, the city makes an excellent base for exploring the rest of the sunny Philippines. There are numerous ways to escape the hubbub and experience the great outdoors; here are a few of our favorite activities and tours.
Cyclists will find a host of options for adventure not far from Manila. Pedal the single tracks through a tropical forest at La Mesa Watershed, enjoy mountain biking on the trails of Santa Rosa, or opt for a family-friendly ride around a man-made lake in Nuvali.
The Taal Volcano ranks among the most active in the Philippines, and it’s also a popular hiking spot. Black lava flows lead up to Vulcan Point, a scenic overlook affording views of a crater lake situated in the middle of Taal Volcano Island.
Going off-road in Manila often means a day trip to Mt. Pinatubo, where an early-morning 4x4 ride and a short hike take visitors to the top of Pinatubo Crater. The reward for the early wake-up and effort is a stellar view of an emerald-colored volcanic lake, all just a few hours outside of central Manila.
Jungle Survival Courses
Subic Bay, the former site of a major US Navy base, is today a popular weekend destination from Manila. Among the many jungle adventures on offer here is the chance to learn about wilderness survival and environmental ethics from indigenous Aetas, whose skills have been passed down from generation to generation.
Thrill seekers will find quite the adrenaline rush within Pagsanjan Gorge National Park, where the best way to travel through the deep, narrow gorges is within a traditional dugout canoe. An expedition through the park often includes an upriver canoe ride to the spectacular Pagsanjan Falls, as well as an opportunity to paddle into a hidden cave.