Outdoors near Metro Manila

by Matthew Escosia
Department of Tourism - Sounds More Fun in the Philippines
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By: Camille Joyce Lisay


The Department of Tourism plans to invest heavily on our tourism industry for our economic recovery.

Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life has never been so daunting for us all. We think that nature is some far-fetched idea that needs proper planning including road trip itineraries, travel expenditures as well as lodging. When we think of a break, we think of outings immediately. We think, we need to literally go “out” there, somewhere, far away, and the idea just seems so intimidating that we’d rather stay as a couch potato and not do anything anymore on a weekend.

Fret not, because we present to you a list of Outdoors Near Metro Manila. No more stressing out because in one ride away from the metro, you can experience nature right away.

Let’s begin from the North. The true North: Bulacan.

If you’re from northern Manila – Camanava particularly, then head to Biak Na Bato National Park. It is a protected forested area in San Miguel Bulacan that features all kinds of nature experiences.

Looking for rivers? Madlum River and Tilandong Falls will be found here. Itching for an easy hike? Mountains such as Mt. Gola, Mt. Manalmon, and Mt. Susong Dalaga are also here. Or perhaps, you’re looking for a cave adventure, called spelunking? Try out Aguinaldo Cave, Bahay Paniki, Yungib Cave, Tanggapan Cave, Ambush Cave, Pahingahan Cave, and Bayukbok Caves I & II here.

Activities are abound in this 2,000-hectare National Park such as spelunking, hiking, swimming, picnic, overnight camping, ziplines, and other obstacle course activities. To go to Biak Na Bato, take a bus from SM North going to San Miguel Bulacan and drop off right at the entrance.

SEA Wave - Biak na Bato National Park

Photo from Misshapen Identity

Then, if you don’t want to travel that far, from those in the North, fret not. We have La Mesa Ecopark and La Mesa Nature Reserve. Oops, take note, these two places are different – albeit they’re both found within the premises of La Mesa Dam.

La Mesa Ecopark is a public park located at Fairview, Quezon City. Its attractions include a wide open green garden that can serve as a free space for tourists to play, do picnics, and have fun. Meanwhile, La Mesa Nature Reserve is a trail forest located at Quirino Highway, Novaliches Quezon City that allows for runners and bikers to enjoy the reforested watershed area for themselves to hike, walk, bike and tour.

SEA Wave - La Mesa Ecopark

Photo from Primer

To visit La Mesa Ecopark, ride any bus going to Commonwealth northbound and look for any SM Fairview sign. Drop off at Pearl Drive or East Fairview Homes and ride a tricycle going to La Mesa Eco Park. To go to La Mesa Nature Reserve, ride any bus or jeep going to SM Tungko and drop off at their entrance across Dela Costa Homes, three kilometers away from SM Fairview.

For inquiries, contact 0909 100 3897 and to visit La Mesa Nature Reserve, contact 0928 2598 944.

Then, just an hour away from La Mesa Ecopark, for our folks in the East, you have Wawa Dam.

Wawa Dam is part of Montalban, Rizal’s Pamitinan Protected Landscape. The protected area is a complete package – you have mountains, camping ground, rivers, waterfalls, and even KTVs offered by the residents!

Wawa features boat rides along the Wawa River, Wawa Dam waterfalls, nipa huts for tourists seeking to have picnic and enjoy the view, and a resting place for runners and bikers touring around the Sierra Madre Mountain range in Montalban. Wawa Dam is a popular place for adventure lovers with a meagre because you just have to pay for an ecological and environmental fee (that costs a total of 20 to 40 pesos) and then you’re free to enjoy the place to yourself.

To go to Wawa Dam, ride a jeep or an FX from Cubao going to Montalban. Drop off at the tricycle terminal bound to Wawa Dam.

SEA Wave - Tanay Adventure Camp

Photo from Adventurous Lens

Meanwhile, for those located at Pasig and Makati, head straight to Tanay Adventure Camp!

Tanay Adventure Camp is a camping ground and adventure park located at Sampaloc, Tanay Rizal. This place suited for adventure seekers who would like to try a variety of physical activities such as obstacle courses, team building activities, wall climbing, rappelling, paragliding, paintball, high ropes, zip line, among others. The camp also accommodates exclusive activities for companies and groups of people.

To go to Tanay Adventure Camp, ride a jeepney to Antipolo Shopwise. From there, ride any jeepney going to Tanay. The jeepney will pass along the camp.

Finally, of course, let’s not forget those from the South na laging nag-aadjust. If you want to experience outdoors, go to the popular Camp N Trail System in Nuvali, Calamba Laguna.

SEA Wave - Camp N Trail System in Nuvali, Calamba Laguna

Photo from Nuvali

Camp N Trail System is a popular adventure park that features a 3 km Incubator Trail for bikers and runners as well as an 8km open trail with forested areas, bamboo plantation and obstacle courses. The place formerly featured team building activities but the place was damaged due to Taal eruption in 2020. It rehabilitated successfully and now offers new activities such as: lakeside activities, stations of the cross, and Ayala Malls Solenad with restaurants and retail stores.

To go to Camp N Trail in Nuvali, a P2P bus is available from Market! Market! In BGC, Taguig; Ayala Ave; and Glorietta 2 in Makati.

In the time of pandemic, outdoor and adventure places have grown more popular. We need not go afar if we want to experience nature because right here at Metro Manila and its peripheries, we can visit the places that offer a one-of-a-kind experience we’ll forever hold into our hearts.

Which place are you planning on vising soon? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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