Being able to commune with nature is something we all sorely missed in the past year and it is understandable that many of us are yearning to get a taste of the great outdoors.

Just over three hours away from Metro Manila, Quezon might be the best option for you. The eighth biggest province in the country is blessed with beautiful mountains, breathtaking clear seas, luscious forests, and majestic falls.

Here are some places you can go to:

Brgy. Tanauan, Real, Quezon

Tanauan White River Rafting in action. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

While Cagayan de Oro is top of mind when it comes to white water rafting in the country, this river in Quezon doesn’t disappoint in giving its visitors an exhilarating experience. About a three-hour drive from Metro Manila, the ride starts after an easy 15-minute trek down to Tignoan river.

The Tanauan White River Rafting started with the initiative of the locals in the area. The boatmen used to be illegal loggers who used the natural resources of Real to earn an income. Since they wanted to change their ways and be more aware of how they take care of the environment, these boatmen bought old 10-wheeler truck wheels to use as raft and started this business that not only gave an income to them but also increased the town’s tourism.

Going on a river rafting, the boatmen along with the tour guides will be riding with you to ensure your safety. The boats used for the rafting are also secured and well-maintained as part of the Php 500 fee will be used for the raft’s maintenance.

You can visit Tanauan White River Rafting all year long. If you want to enjoy the scenic ride and see beautiful views of trees surrounding the river, you can visit during summer when waves are calmer and you can relax while enjoying your trip.

If you are more of an adrenaline junkie, ber-months is always the best time to experience exhilarating waves in the river.

  • Opening Hours: 5:00 am to 4:00 pm (last call for rafting)
  • Contact Number: +639633086272
  • Price per ride: Php 500

Brgy. Malapad, Real. Quezon

Riding the waves at Real Coast and Surf. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Over the years, Real has become a hub for surfing enthusiasts to catch some serious waves. Facing the Pacific Ocean, Real’s shoreline is lined with resorts that offer lessons to would-be surfers.

One such place is Real Coast and Surf, which offers one hour lessons for their guests who want to learn the sport. There are also spots for advanced surfers who want either a quick refresher or a quick ride.

Aside from surfing, this beachfront establishment also offers accommodations to tourists who want to experience beach life just a few hours away from the city. They can try out the sumptuous food offered in Real Coast and Surf restaurant. You can also use their stand up paddle board, and go kayaking if surfing is not your cup of tea.

For those who don’t want to surf, you can also take a dip in their swimming pool or simply lounge under the sun with your beach mat or in one of their cabanas.

If the weather permits, you can also request to have a bonfire night with your friends through their friendly staff.

How to travel to REAL:

Via private transportation, pin Real, Quezon or your destination through Google Maps or Waze for the direction

For those commuting, you can catch a three-to-four-hour trip at Raymond Transportation Bus Terminal. The bus will go to Infanta, and you will drop off at Poblacion 1 in Real. There is also a van terminal beside the buses going to your destination.

Brgy. Binonoan, Infanta, Quezon

Boating at BIPCO Mangrove Eco-Park with Sierra Madre in the background. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

This park was developed through the efforts of an Infanta cooperative. Located at the foot of the Sierra Madre, it was created to be a catch basin for water coming down from the mountain, preventing natural disasters.

Don’t miss out on watching the fruit bats in the area. The staff of BIPCO said that the best time to visit these bats is when they are about to wake up and fly for the night, which is at around 4 to 5 pm.

How to get to Infanta:

If you’re bringing your own car, the routes are exactly the same as when going to Real.

If you’re commuting, you can head for the Philtranco Bus Terminal in Pasay, and catch a bus going to Tayabas. Once you get there, you’ll have to hop on another bus going to Infanta. Once you reach Infanta, you can take a trike going to BIPCO Mangrove.

Mauban, Quezon

Beautiful shoreline of Cagbalete Island. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

In Mauban lies two islands that feature crystal clear water and fine white sand beaches. Cagbalete used to be one of the go-to summer destinations for Manileños as you can go snorkeling and diving there, among other water activities.

One quiet spot here where you can lounge is Paradiso Amadeo, which bills itself as an island retreat and a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here, you can have what the resort describes as “roughing it on the island” experience, with open air baths and old style water pumps.

Binalot meals are available here as long as these are requested in advance. If you want to have a fun picnic by the beach, Yang-In Sandbar offers a breathtaking view during low tides.

Hanging out at Paradiso Amadeo’s open cabana. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

How to get to Mauban:

If you’re driving, you can through SLEX. Take Sto. Tomas exit toward San Pablo, Laguna. Pass by Tiaong, then Candelaria, Sariaya, Tayabas to Mauban. You can also take Calamba exit going to Los Baños, passing by Sta. Cruz, Pagsanjan, Cavinti, Luisiana, Lucban to Sampaloc, then Mauban.

Brgy. Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Quezon

The Hobbit themed room at Bangkong Kahoy. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Dolores is home to both Mt. Banahaw and Mt. Cristobal, which are believed to harbor secrets waiting to be discovered. While Mt. Banahaw has been closed for many years now, there is a secret spot located in a valley just below it.

That spot is called Bangkong Kahoy Valley Nature Retreat and Field Study Center. You can pitch your tent in their spacious property, or rent one of their open kubo or LOTR-inspired hobbit rooms.

Bangkong Kahoy is also used as a field research center by students studying forestry and biology. This is the closest to Mt. Banahaw they can go.

Dion Pullan, the owner of this sanctuary, is an environmentalist. He can also tour you around the premises, but you have to book your accommodations at least three days before your visit.

Dolores is open to visitors from Metro Manila any time of the year. They closed their borders briefly, but have since reopened because of their effective pandemic response.

How to get here:

Driving via SLEX, you can take Sto. Tomas exit toward San Pablo, Laguna. From there, head for the direction of Dolores Church going to 10 Utos, Brgy. Kinabuhayan. Then, drive to Bangkong Kahoy Valley Farm. SUVs and off-road vehicles are recommended when going to Bangkong Kahoy as the road is steep and rocky.

Via bus, you can catch a ride from Buendia going to Lucena, then go down at San Pablo 7-11. From there, walk or ride to San Pablo wet market and ride a jeepney going to Dolores Church. From the church, ride a tricycle going to Kinabuhayan. Alight in Bangkong Kahoy. You can trek or rent a tricycle going up the premises.

Bird’s eye view of the majestic Balagbag Falls. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

There are other activities that you can try out while exploring Quezon like swimming at Balagbag Falls in Real, dropping by Healer’s Choice in General Nakar to try out their Calamansi Juice for pasalubong, and checking out Kamay Ni Hesus in Lucban.

Don’t forget to wear masks, and follow safety protocols too to protect yourself and the locals in the places that you will visit.

Visit to review the up-to-date protocols of Philippine provinces when you plan your next vacation.