While many are perfectly content with a staycation, more and more people are looking for itineraries that go beyond ordering in, and Netflix and chill. Thankfully, as domestic borders begin to open up, many of us from Metro Manila can start exploring neighboring places that can give us more than the usual.

One such destination is Quezon. More than its pristine beaches and adrenaline-filled activities, it has a wealth of experiences to have that can fulfill you more. Be it a side trip or a whole day visit, here are five enriching and relaxing things to do in this beautiful province to make the most of your visit:

Learn basic pottery at Ugu Bigyan Potter’s Garden
490 Alvarez Village. Barangay Lusacan, Tiaong, Quezon

Ugu’s shop houses his artful collection of pots, earthenware, kitchenware, and other ceramic souvenirs. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism

Tiaong-based potter Augusto “Ugu” Bigyan opened his home to share his craft with others, holding one-off group sessions or one-on-one courses during the summer months. Tools are included in the two-hour classes, which covers basic pottery making, from handcrafting to designing your final work. Once your work is glazed and fired, you can then opt for the advanced courses where, as Bigyan puts it, you can “just experience the joy of crafting and discovering your artistic side.”

Tiaong-based potter Augusto “Ugu” Bigyan. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Inspired by the artists’ villages in Indonesia, Bigyan’s laid-back home is a terracotta masterpiece with elegant brickwork, Balinese huts, and an assortment of plants and trees. Guests are invited to stop by for coffee and shop for ceramic wares, many of which are adorned with twigs.

Another highlight is his reservation-only and menu-free restaurant. Bigyan wakes up at 5 A.M., goes to the local market, and decides the menu based on the freshest ingredients he can source for the day. His surprise prix fixe menu is a selection of Quezonian dishes, but chances are you’ll have his crowd-favorite kulawo and ensaladang pako.

Explore the Tulaog Cave
General Nakar, Quezon

The Tulaog Cave is a sacred place of worship and located on the ancestral land of the Dumagat tribe. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

People of different faiths and beliefs visit the Tulaog Cave to pray, meditate, and recharge. This sacred cave owes its lore to the Dumagat tribe, who perform rituals and offer prayers to their anito there. Faith healers, mystics, and even Catholic pilgrims flock to the cave to either connect to this ancient energy, or pray to an image of the Virgin Mary inside the cave.

Located on a remote island in General Nakar, this elusive cave is also open to day-trip tourists, but reservations must be made a week before at the local tourism office. The cave is not always accessible due to high tide. When the water subsides, visitors will have to dig through sand and crawl their way in through a tiny opening that leads to a small chamber.

Inside are intricate rock formations, towering ceilings, and a make-shift altar made for the Virgin Mary. Apart from Dumagat rituals, a Catholic mass is also held inside the cave. Picnics on the shore and boat trips around the island are also recommended during day tours.

During auspicious days for the tribe, visitors may watch a ceremonial dance prayer characterized by hunting movements and performed by a Dumagat elder.

Entrance Fee: Php 30 per person (admission and environmental fees), contact tourism office for boat ride fees

Relive history through the Pamana Walking Tour
Mauban, Quezon

Mauban has around 30 beautiful ancestral houses, some of which are accessible to tourists. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Mauban’s storied seawall, well-preserved ancestral houses, and grid-pattern streets make the quaint town ideal for exploring on foot. Organized by the local tourism office, the Pamana Walking Tour will take you through the municipality’s most interesting historical sites. You can also try some of its delectable local cuisine and delicacies along the way.

This three-hour walk focuses on local culture, history, and lore. The tour brings to life the victories of their local hero Gat Pagil, explores the Spanish-colonial houses of the town’s affluent community, and features artifacts that characterize the old town’s lifestyle. You will be able to visit a 1725 public bath that used to connect to a natural spring, which remained operational until 2000. The National Museum of the Philippines has designated this historic structure as an important cultural item.

Take this guided tour early in the morning or late in the afternoon for a more comfortable and convenient stroll.

  • Contact Number: (042) 788 1292 (Mauban Tourism Office)
  • Email: maubanact@gmail.com
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mauban.tourism/
  • Operating Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Tour Fee: Php 4,200 per group of 10 persons (inclusive of entrance fees and snacks)

Stroll along Yang-In Sandbar and Old Mangrove Forest
Mauban, Quezon

This lone mangrove tree is a tourist attraction in itself and is one of Cagbalete’s most photographed spots. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Apart from its clear turquoise waters, Cagbalete Island is known for its vast stretches of fine, cream-colored sand that appear when the tide drops. One of the best places to witness this natural wonder is at the Yang-In sandbar. Schedule an early morning boat ride from Mauban port and arrive at a massive stretch of sand with satisfying ripples that make an excellent backdrop for taking photographs.

The sandbar is surrounded by a lush mangrove forest, which is home to a plethora of bird species. Take advantage of the low tide and stay for bird watching. You can expect to see parrots, egrets, wild ducks, and bright blue kingfishers.

Look forward to lunch at the nearby Villa Pilarosa Resort. They offer paluto lunch from fresh seafood dishes to Filipino favorites, including liempo, tinola, and their must-try adobo sa gata.

The water rises to a comfortable depth for leisure swimming if you stay until the afternoon.

  • Contact Number: (042) 788 1292 (Mauban Tourism Office)
  • Email: maubanact@gmail.com
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mauban.tourism/
  • Operating Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Entrance Fee: Free (contact the tourism office for boat ride fees)

Reflect and meditate at the Pag-ibig Prayer Garden
Barangay Tudtoran, Infanta, Quezon

The Pag-ibig Prayer Garden is recognized by the Territorial Prelature of Infanta as a place for prayer, meditation, and other religious activities. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Stop by the Pagibig Prayer Garden after a long day of exploring the coastal town of Infanta. Meant to provide tourists a place to relax, meditate, and pray, it is home to cascading foliage, flowers, and fruit-bearing trees. Across the wooden bridge, you’ll also find several bonsai plants, pink lotuses in full bloom, and a majestic Narra tree.

The garden’s concrete walkways and mini ponds feature life-size statues of saints, angels, and the Virgin Mary as well as different Biblical scenes and stations of the cross. Benches and large wooden swings are provided for guests to either lounge or pray.

Travel safely! 

All tourist destinations in Quezon have health and safety regulations in place to protect locals and visitors. Everyone is encouraged to wear face masks and shields, wash their hands often, and maintain proper physical distance.

Visit www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app on app.philippines.travel or on Google Playstore for the most up-to-date information about re-opened local destinations as well as the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location.