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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Philippines features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The stunning Philippines in pictures

The stunning Philippines in pictures

Rough Guides writer Kiki Deere shares some of her best photographs of the Philippines from her latest trip to Southeast Asia.  Comprising 7107 islands, the …

18 Dec 2015 • Kiki Deere insert_drive_file Article
Gorgeous video explores the Philippines from above

Gorgeous video explores the Philippines from above

The Philippines is beautiful from the ground, but from above it's even better. This video soars hundreds of metres into the air to give you a bird's-eye view …

29 Jul 2015 • Lottie Gross videocam Video
Batanes: off the radar on The Philippines' remotest islands

Batanes: off the radar on The Philippines' remotest islands

Kiki Deere, co-author of the Rough Guide to the Philippines, heads off the tourist trail to Batanes. This cluster of islands, located almost 150km off the north…

25 May 2015 • Kiki Deere insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month