The provinces to the south of Manila – Cavite, Laguna and Batangas – are prime day-trip territory, easy to get to and rich in attractions. The star is Lake Taal, a mesmerizing volcanic lake with its own mini volcanic island in the centre, but there are plenty of less visited natural wonders that provide a break from the city; you can ride down the river to the Pagsanjan Falls, soak in the Laguna hot springs or clamber up forested Mount Makiling for scintillating views. Divers should check out Anilao for the best reef action near the capital.

The region also serves up a healthy dose of history. The romantic houses where national heroes Emilio Aguinaldo and José Rizal were born have been preserved as museums, Paete has retained its woodworking heritage and Taal itself is one of the most beautiful colonial towns in the Philippines. Lastly, many Manileños come here just to eat; buko pie is an especially prized treat made in Laguna.

Getting around the area is straightforward by bus, though you’ll save a lot of time with a car. The easiest places to reach by public transport are the attractions to the south of Laguna de Bay, though Batangas City and Tagaytay are also well served by buses.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Philippines features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

A Rough Guide to: the best islands in the Philippines

A Rough Guide to: the best islands in the Philippines

Isolated bone-white beaches, reefs teeming with marine life, cascading rice terraces – it’s no wonder that the Philippines is often associated with tropica…

11 Jan 2018 • Esme Fox insert_drive_file Article
Off the tourist trail in Southeast Asia: 5 underrated cities

Off the tourist trail in Southeast Asia: 5 underrated cities

Modern Bangkok, historical Hanoi and tourism-boom town Siem Reap — home to the world-famous Angkor Wat temples — are some of Southeast Asia's best drawcards…

21 Nov 2017 • Marco Ferrarese insert_drive_file Article
A postcard from the Philippines: saving the tarsiers in Bohol

A postcard from the Philippines: saving the tarsiers in Bohol

Tarsiers are the world's smallest primate – and 20 years ago they were dangerously close to extinction. But numbers are rising in Bohol, in the Philippines…

03 Nov 2017 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right