Back when we were students, one of the best pieces of news was the suspension of classes. After graduation and life in the workforce, however, that just means we have to go overtime to make up for the missed day. Vacations are a luxury, so take it every chance you get. With this list by EYP, you’ll never miss an opportunity to kick back and relax during that extra day in your weekend. Set your mind on these no-fuss last minute travel destinations in and out of the Philippines!
Note: While you can squeeze these activities in a normal two-day weekend, there’s nothing like an extra day to really get the downtime that you deserve. No hassles here, just a real vacation, so pack up for a good time!
What to do there: The biggest city in Mindanao has a small-town vibe to it, merging the charms of a slow, provincial pace with the vibrancy and bustle of a developing metropolis. Stay in the city but still be only twenty minutes away from the island beaches of Samal, thirty minutes away from DECA Wakeboard Park, and an hour’s drive away from Eden Nature Park, Crocodile Farm, or the Philippine Eagle Sanctuary.
Pros: The nightlife and shopping is affordable. Traffic is kept to a minimum. The restaurants are awesome.
Cons: When it rains, it pours. Plans can get derailed by even the slightest drizzle.
Mark your calendar: January 2012 – Davao also has one of the biggest Chinatowns in the Philippines. The city is big enough not to get crowded in by the Chinese New Year festivities during the long weekend of January 23 but small enough to let you experience it at night after maybe a day at the beach. (Kadayawan, Davao’s biggest festival, happens in August 2012.)
What to do there: This rich island offers natural diversity of sights and activities from scuba diving to trekking, and is also home to one of the World Heritage Sites: the underground river.
Pros: It’s not Boracay – which could either be a good thing or a bad thing depending on you. The sand is white, though, and the waters are crystal clear. What more are you looking for?
Cons: The roads aren’t very travel friendly so pack a pillow for your bum as well! Read up on what you want to do because Palawan is pretty big, and every corner seems to be beautiful, you might end up doing too many things or regretting not doing enough.
Mark your calendar: February 2012 – It may be a good time to take the kids to a beach other than that place that’s really just Manila with a different dress code, Boracay. February 27, People Power Day, is a school holiday and extends that weekend to three days! It isn’t peak season, but it isn’t rainy either.
What to do there: The small progressive city is where our dreams of Manila have gone. If only our own metropolis was this unpolluted and as organized then getting on that G-Sling (think a giant sling shot with you being flung into the air) by the River Quay would be just as leisurely as going on the Singapore Flyer. Universal Studios gives you a different take of the attractions that are in Los Angeles, the Battlestar Galactica roller coaster ride being one of them. Museums are everywhere and there are music and art festivals almost every month.
Pros: The metro rail system is affordable and efficient. Because their buses aren’t like our buses, walking down the sidewalks of busy streets isn’t at all a bad idea.
Cons: You may think the idea of the Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo is cool, but unless you have night vision, re-think this option.
Mark your calendar: June 2012 – Save up for Independence Day weekend and spend it at the Lion City!
Destination: Hong Kong
What to do there: Hong Kong Disneyland, ‘nuff said.
Pros: Okay, of course there are more things to do in Hong Kong. It’s only a couple of hours away by plane but it’s like traveling to a city as busy and developed as New York! There’s the local cuisine to look forward to, as well as its close proximity to Macau. You can hit two birds with one stone by working your itinerary around making a day trip to the neighboring travel destination, reachable by ferry.
Cons: Get ready to do a lot of walking as cabs might be a bit pricey for your weekend’s pocket budget.
Mark your calendar: August - September 2012 – It’s summer time in Hong Kong, and the Philippines might have a long weekend in August for Ninoy Aquino Day (August 20) or National Heroes’ Day (August 27). Be on standby for these weekends, or save up your leaves to celebrate the Mid-Autumn/Moon Cake Festival in HK come September 30.
What to do there: This could be a great photo trip as the Ho Chi Minh’s unique traffic lines are made up of bicycles and motorcycles. Don’t forget to point your camera in the direction of the well-preserved architecture as well. (Not much was destroyed; they did win the war…) Put in a couple of day trips into the itinerary for some local culture: Cao Dai temples, Cu Chi Tunnels, and boat trips to the Mekong Delta or Can Gio.
Pros: Food, shopping, and sights. Vietnam has it all! And the costs aren’t bad.
Cons: If you travel with kids, unless they have a hunger for history and culture, you may be better off going somewhere else in Asia with amusement parks. (This might be a good couple or barkada destination, though!)
Mark your calendar: August 2012 – There are two possible long weekends: Ninoy Aquino Day (August 20) or National Heroes’ Day (August 27).
Here’s the deal: EYP tried its best to make such no-VISA-needed destinations as Costa Rica, Seychelles, and Brazil accessible to you. However, one way or another, entry to these destinations required a stop-over at a country that did require a VISA in those locations. Not only that, the airport transfers took at least 13 hours of travel time, eating up your short long weekend. At the disposal of your own creativity, though, here’s a list of those countries that don’t require VISAs in case you get hold of a private jet to take you there.
Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
South America: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Suriname.
Africa: Morocco, St. Helena, Seychelles, and Tuvalu.
Central and North America: Costa Rica, Haiti, and St. Vincent Grenadines.
Pacific Ocean Islands: Fiji, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Pitcairn Islands, and Samoa.