No car? No problem!
We at FreebieMNL know that you’ve all been couch potatoes for so long. Admit it—you’ve spent most of the last two years attending Zoom meetings, binge-watching stuff on Netflix, shopping online, or swiping on dating apps. But now that things are slowly going back to normal, you can venture out into the world again if you want.
In the interest of helping you plan a quick getaway, we contacted different bus lines and tourism boards to find out where you can go if you don’t have a car. Check out this list of scenic spots that are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Metro Manila!
Famous for its beaches and natural reserves, Zambales is one of the most accessible gems on this list. There are two ways to get there. First, you can ride a Victory Liner Bus from Cubao that’ll take you directly to Olongapo via SCTEx. Second, you can take the SM San Fernando route and take a Victory Liner Saulog bus to Olongapo.
After getting off the bus, you can hop on a jeep to a place called Barretto, a busy resort area at the border of Olongapo City and Zambales province. It is popular among water sports enthusiasts and has plenty of eateries and an active nightlife. Another bus ride to Iba will take you to a surf spot at Liwa in San Felipe or that island and cove gateway in San Antonio.
Next on our list is Baler. Although it’s best known for its surf spot Sabang Beach, it also has a variety of nature reserves in case you’re not into surfing. Freshwater lovers can enjoy its waterfalls such as Caunayan, Diguisit, and Ditumabo. Also, don’t forget to visit the biggest balete (strangler figs) tree in Asia for your next Instagram post.
To bask in Baler’s beauty, head to the Genesis/Joybus Station in EDSA, Cubao. The trip to Aurora is long, so you can while away the time by taking a nap. After that, tourist destinations are just a tricycle ride away.
You’ll never go hungry on a trip to Ilocos. People with high blood pressure need to take their maintenance medicines to prepare for one, thanks to fried favorites such as empanada and the OG bagnet.
That said, sandboarding in the Paoay Sand Dunes and a walking tour through the historical streets of Vigan can help you burn those calories for sure. Speaking of Vigan, don’t forget to buy their garlic-y Vigan Longanisa. To get there, buy a ticket at the PARTAS Bus station on Aurora Ave., Cubao.
For people who are into quick trips, it is impossible to dismiss the mountains of Rizal Province as something generic. An hour or two away from Manila, Rizal Province has CafÃ© Agusta and the Pinto Art Gallery. The former is famous for its cashew nuts, coffee, and suman.
Of course, first up is Antipolo. There are many ways of going there. One is by bus; get on at Galleria and get off at the Ynares Complex in Antipolo, which is a tricycle ride away from the Pinto. You can also take a jeep or train from Cubao to Masinag.
We all have that friend who drags the entire barkada to Batangas whenever they’re drunk. Can we blame them? No. Batangas will always be a timeless destination. It offers a variety of adventures, from exploring the mountains of Nasugbu to swimming in Lobo or taking in all Tagaytay has to offer (which includes bulalo and crispy tawilis).
Down Buendia LRT lies a lot of possibilities going to Batangas. Check them out here.
Finally, the FreebieMNL team wants to remind you to stay safe while traveling. Although alert levels are down, the pandemic is far from over. So get vaccinated (oh, BTW, make sure to bring your vax cards when you travel) and observe health and safety protocols.
Have fun and stay safe, you guys!
Art Macky Arquilla