If you’ve got some extra time on your hands, these scenic locales make for a quick getaway from the clamor of the metropolis.
Less than 60 kilometers to the south of Manila—and roughly a two-hour drive away—this laid-back city of about 70,000 occupies a ridge overlooking serene Taal Lake and its island volcano. Art lovers should make a beeline for the Museo Orlina, which showcases the creativity of its owner, the eminent glass sculptor Ramon G. Orlina, alongside his personal trove of paintings and modernist chairs.
The “Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines” is reachable in a little over an hour with favorable traffic. At its cathedral, crowds of devotees seek safety for their trips overseas by paying homage to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, an image of the Virgin Mary brought over from Mexico by Spanish colonizers in 1626. A more modern point of interest is the Pinto Art Museum, where contemporary and indigenous collections are shown in a picturesque cluster of Mission-style buildings.
Guarding the entrance to Manila Bay, tadpole-shaped Corregidor is just 75 minutes by ferry from town. With an intricate network of tunnels, ammunition magazines, a hospital, and no less than 23 defensive mortar batteries, the island served as a crucial base for Filipino and American forces during World War II. It’s also the site where Allied troops made their last stand against Japanese invaders in 1942. A historical walking tour brings visitors on a circuit that includes the ruins of Cine Corregidor and Mile-Long Barracks, the Pacific War Memorial, the Eternal Flame of Freedom, and the Spanish Lighthouse.
This article originally appeared in the August/September 2017 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Fringe Benefits”).