Top destinations for driving vacations for NCR residents who can’t wait to break out of quarantine

Published October 16, 2021, 5:40 AM

by Aaron Cabeza

Road trip, anyone?

The Philippines is known for its beaches and hospitable people. But in the middle of the ongoing health crisis, we hold the record for the longest lockdown in any country. Filipinos are eager to break away from quarantine. And on the rare occasions we are allowed to go out, road trips have become a solution to our long-denied travel urges.

Driving is a pleasure, especially when the road is open and spacious. Apart from inuman (drinking) sessions, it’s fun to hang out with friends on a road trip. The automobile has become a great venue for conversations, whether small talk or heart-to-heart.

Manileños are eager to get away from the metropolis. City folks opt to go on driving vacations to places that have reopened just for a quick change of scenery. In fact, according to booking data by Agoda, there has been an alteration in preference for road trip-friendly sites near the National Capital Region (NCR) over the past year.

The digital travel platform observed how Filipino travel preferences shifted over the past two years. According to the study, destinations that can be reached via land travel from major cities have become a popular choice for Pinoys itching to travel, especially in periods when flight restrictions were extreme.

While Manila and Cebu remain to be the top booked locations since 2019, road trip staple, Tagaytay, surprisingly came third, jumping from ninth place in a previous ranking. Among the closest escapes from the Greater Manila Area, the ridge in Tagaytay is known as an ideal spot to unwind for many metro-dwellers, where they can get the best of cozy weather, good food, and relaxing landscapes rolled into one.

RIDGE ROAD An aerial view of the mountain road leading up to Tagaytay

Beaches, on the other hand, have gone down in popularity. This includes Boracay, which was pushed to the sixth spot from its previous third ranking, as well as Palawan now at 14th from its erstwhile fourth position. Surfing spots such as La Union and Siargao are also out of the top 20 while less known destinations like Bataan, Dagupan, and Tarlac have increased in popularity as people took friends and family for a drive to fulfill their wanderlust.

Driving is a pleasure, especially when the road is open and spacious. Apart from inuman (drinking) sessions, it’s fun to hang out with friends on a road trip.

Bi​​ñan, Bulacan, Antipolo, Cavite, and Pampanga have the largest jump in rankings.

Only a short drive of three hours tops from NCR, these destinations can easily provide a break from home life through their wide offering of attractions. In the past year, whether it’s the breathtaking Hinulugang Taktak Falls in Antipolo or Tibagan Falls in Binan, the top hiking spot Mt. Pico de Loro in Cavite, or the pristine Puning Hot Springs in Pampanga to the historical Biak na Bato National Park in Bulacan, getting out to nature was the name of the game.

Interestingly, some destinations in certain regions have also taken a spot in the top 10 list for 2021 namely, Subic in the Luzon Islands and Cagayan De Oro in the Mindanao region. Bohol, home of the famous Chocolate Hills, has fallen out of the top 10 but remains to be part of the top 15 this year.