It’s not as hard nor as expensive as you may think to go on a vacation with your special someone!
Text by Mayte Uyenco
Additional Photos Courtesy of KLARA ISKRA AÑONUEVO, JOY BASA, DAZZLE NG, WYATT ONG, KIT SINGSON, AND CAT TRIVIÑO
Now that it’s summer, there are so many opportunities to go on a trip with someone special and take a break while exploring each other’s adventurous side. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. When choosing a destination for the perfect couple’s getaway, factor in expenses like transportation, accommodation, and activities. This couple-friendly guide should answer some of your questions on how to get around without spending a fortune.
BEACH BUM GETAWAY
With so many surf spots booming in the country, surfing has become a fun way to enjoy the beach while getting in a workout, too. Dubious about trying it out? With proper instruction, almost anyone can stand up on a board the first time! Why not take advantage of this growing trend and go to a beach where you and your special someone can enjoy the sand, ride the waves, and watch the sunset on surfboards?
Taking on a new challenge together is a great way to strengthen a relationship. Help each other out! By the end of a lesson or two, you might even discover skills you may have not noticed before, and that may just be your new favorite thing to do as a couple.
There are a growing number of surf spots that aren’t too far away. Real, Quezon, which may take up to three hours by car, is a relatively new surf destination. Surf spots up north in Zambales and La Union have been gaining more attention as budget airlines have made these locations that much more accessible.
Bumming at the beach all day is just another form of bonding. Enjoy each other’s company in silence. Bring your favorite book along with you and lie in the shade as you listen to the waves or your favorite beach playlist until the sea breeze coaxes you into a nap. As the sun sets, take a walk along the shore and let the view of the horizon take your stress away.
P1500 – Bus fare for two, two-way
P3500 – Accommodations for two, for two nights
P1000 – Water or sports activities
P700 – Food (three meals) for each person
Ideally, a day trip destination shouldn’t be more than two and a half hours away. Depending on the distance, it’s sometimes better to travel by car to avoid additional expenses when you’re exploring the area.
Limit your activities during your day trip; don’t try to do everything! A food trip is a great alternative to a city tour. Try out the local delicacies of the different regions outside Metro Manila. Look for hole-in-the-wall restaurants, ask the locals where they eat, and dig in!
If you just want to relax, pick a resort and enjoy one of the many beaches that dot Luzon. To save, opt for smaller resorts with simple, rustic accommodations. The beaches should be just as beautiful, so save those wallet-busting massages and treatments for next time.
Provinces in close enough proximity for a day trip include Pampanga, Bataan, Tagaytay, Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna.
P2000 – Gas
P1200 – Food
P700 – Water activities or spa services and treatments
There’s no problem with being a tourist in your own country since there are so many locations off the beaten path to cross off your list! For those who don’t want to waste any time, fly instead. Always be on the lookout for cheap seats, and get an app like Skyscanner to help you snag those air tickets in record time.
Since the typical destinations like Baguio, Bicol, Cebu, Boracay, Bohol, and Davao are frequented by many local and international tourists, it might be better to try something new. Batanes and Sagada, in the Northern area of Luzon, Tuguegarao in North Eastern Luzon, the islands of Calaguas and Masbate in Bicol, Samar, Leyte, and Siquijor in Visayas, and Surigao, General Santos, and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao are all gems waiting to be discovered.
Since most of them are not as commercialized as others, the prices of food and accommodations aren’t exorbitant. You may find it surprising that an entire meal costs half of what you’re used to spending on dates when in Manila.
P6000 – Air fare for two, two-way
P4500 – Accommodations, two to three nights
P600 – Food, three meals per person
P500 – Activities and public transportation
INTO THE WILD
Unexpected things happen when you’re exploring the great outdoors, and that’s precisely why there’s nothing like it. It’s also a great way to enjoy each other’s company because out there, technology cannot distract you.
An overnight camping trip is best done with friends or other couples who might enjoy a nature trip. After a long hike up a mountain, you and your partner will have to pitch a tent and cook your own food. It’s tiring at first, but being surrounded by fresh air and lots of trees can help you relax.
The great thing about a camping trip is the experience of living on rationed food and water and cooking your own meals. The fun part begins at the grocery when it’s time to shop for food. You will realize that P500 can go a long way in a supermarket. That is enough to get you rice and ulam for three meals, enough for two persons. If you’re going to buy raw meat or poultry, make sure it’s stored in the freezer the night before the trip and cooked right away (Helpful tip: marinate it in herbs and spices that may help preserve it). You may even bring eggs since protein is really important for energy—just be sure to secure them in your packs!
It may seem daunting at first but it could actually be fun, especially when neither of you have much experience. Survive on instant noodles and canned goods and share whispered conversations while you stargaze late into the night.
For first timers, it is better to go with experienced hikers or campers as they will help you with the camping equipment and safety rules. Be sure to pack four liters of water (standard for an overnight trip) and bring only the essentials.
P1500 – Bus fare for two, two-way
P300 – Food per person
P250 – Fee for a guide (usually there is a guide to help hikers reach the peak/summit)