Quarantine fatigue is real and this is why most of us are seeking for the outdoors and a breath of fresh air. But a lot has changed over the past year and there’s now more to consider when planning a trip — local restrictions and safe navigation. And for most of us, social distancing will continue to be important when going out.
If you’re planning to get that much-needed change of scenery, or maybe you’re planning for a post-pandemic bucket list, I’ve put together 7 things to do near manila for that perfect socially-distanced trip.
An easy way to have an instant change of atmosphere is to dine out as a lot of cafes and restaurants have emerged almost everywhere. And many of us are aware that al fresco or outdoor dining is proven to be safer than indoor dining.
But it’s also important to note that while outdoor dining is safer, it still poses risks. That’s why we still need to consider the capacity, arrangement, and location of a restaurant. Is the outdoor seating spacious enough or just a tiny part of the cafe? Is it airy and well-ventilated? Are each tables separated by a safe distance? Is it located in a very busy spot or in a more private setting?
It’s also better if we could pick a restaurant with a unique theme or a nice garden to really experience a relaxing change of scenery. As much as possible we should stay away from airconditioned restaurants such as in malls and some cafes. Remember, we don’t wear masks while eating and it’s hard to refrain from chatting with your companion, same case with other people at the restaurant!
Go for an Off-the-grid Staycation Trip
Staycation in hotels and resorts within bustling and populous cities are still not advisable. But fret not as there are still other safer staycation options. There are villas, cabins, or vacation homes in remote places or even farm stays that are not too far from the city.
It’s now easier to look for such places because of today’s technology. We can search online through applications such as Airbnb, Agoda, Klook, and many more.
Choose a place surrounded by nature and with a wide outdoor space. It’s better to go for a space with ensuite bathroom, kitchen, and dining area so that interaction with others will be minimized. Avoid staycation places with rooms or cabins that are too close to each other. If possible, pick a place with one-booking-at-a-time policy so that you’ll have the entire place exclusively.
Visit an Open-air Museum
Clearly, artworks and educational pieces are not limited to the four corners of a building as there are ones that cannot be contained indoors. A visit to an open-air museum is a great option for a socially-distanced outdoor trip!
An example is a famed museum of heritage houses in Bataan called Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. As we know, architecture is another art that cannot be confined. Ancestral houses from all around the country were restored and showcased in this 400-hectare outdoor museum. You’ll never run out of remarkable things to see inside!
Side note: However as of writing, Bataan still requires a negative swab test result or a vaccination card for guests outside Bataan.
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An outdoor aerospace museum in Pasay City
Another one is an aerospace museum known as the Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum in Pasay City. Historical aircrafts are on display including the presidential plane of Ferdinand Marcos, helicopters, and fighter jets. Artifacts used by the Philippine Air Force during WWII are also showcased. There are a lot more to see and learn. Besides, nobody’s too old for a field trip, right?
Experience Tandem Paragliding
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Tandem Paragliding in Binangonan, Rizal
Social distancing? There’s nothing more effective than being up and away in the air while enjoying the beautiful view of surrounding mountains and cities. Such a great option for the adventure seekers!
Don’t worry, no experience or training needed as the pilot is the one who will do all the hard work. You just need to run on take-off and enjoy the bird’s eye view. The average flight time is about 15 minutes but still depends on the weather condition.
Some of the popular paragliding sites can be found in Rizal and Cavite, both just a few hour’s drive from the Metro. So you can enjoy Tandem Paragliding without having to go too far. Take note also that paragliding season is usually from October to June.
Have an ATV Adventure
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An ATV experience in Albay
Feeling adventurous? You can never go wrong with an ATV adventure! Especially when considering physical distancing as the trail, obviously, is not in crowded cities but rather in remote places. So if you want to have a break from the Metro Manila traffic and just be thrilled and amazed by stunning views of nature and rural areas, this one would work best for you!
Just a quick drive away from Manila you can experience a thrilling ATV ride along scenic routes in Rizal. There are different trails being offered such as jungle trail, river adventure trail, forest trail, and many more!
Experience and training are not necessary. ATV familiarization and briefing will be conducted upon arrival. The ATV is safe and relatively easy to operate. Even I, as a non-driver, was able to maneuver muddy trails and terrains with ease!
Visit a Private Beach
Going on a beach trip is one of the healthiest ways to unwind and loosen up. Although it won’t be a safe option especially when beaches tend to become too crowded since many beach destinations available are still in adjustment period in regulating their guests.
It is highly advisable to choose a private beach resort that requires an advanced online booking and doesn’t allow walk-ins. That way it would be easier for them to regulate the number of guests per day, and easier for you to maintain a safe physical distance with other guests. Lesser chance of overcrowding since spontaneous vacationers won’t be allowed to get in.
A good example is Pico de Loro Beach in Nasugbu, Batangas. The guards at the main gate will need to verify your stay before allowing you to enter. And once you’re in, you’re not really in just yet! You still need to pay an entrance fee and your host’s presence is required when paying.
Enjoy Camping/Glamping by the Lakeside
Why lakeside? Because it is doable even without having to join a tour group. Needless to say, we need to avoid tour groups as much as possible and minimize our interaction with people coming from different places. This is why most hiking and island tours are still restricted.
Camping or glamping (glamorous camping) by the lakeside is not only DIY-able but also more peaceful and relaxing. The sight and sound of the calmly flowing water is soothing and therapeutic. Moreover, you can do other activities like fishing, kayaking, or just lazing on a hammock by the lakeside while listening to nature’s music.
If you will camp, make sure to set your tent away from other campers or at least keep a safe distance. If glamping, choose a glamping site with spacious area and with each unit separated by a safe distance.
Cavinti, Laguna is one of the go-to places for glamping near Manila. There are numerous lakeside camping and glamping sites specifically around Caliraya and Lumot Lake.
Now that travel restrictions are slowly easing and we’re allowed to travel to some parts of the country, it still doesn’t mean that the pandemic’s over. We still need to take precautions and be responsible travelers and citizens.
The experiences listed above are not to be done as frequently as in normal situations. These are not mainly for indulgence but rather for mental well-being. While it is important to help our tourism industry, we still need to limit our travel as a way of helping our medical workforce.
There are still ways to clear our mind at home like exercising, reading a book, watching movie, etc. And the best of all — spending quality time with our Lord. ❤️️
Did you find this list helpful? If you have other recommendations feel free to comment below!
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