Two things that Filipinos often look for in their travel plans are ways to relax and a good deal. And, with more borders opening and more of us getting vaccinated, many are just itching to get away from the stresses of the last year.

Metro Manila folks don’t have to look too far for a stress-free trip that won’t break the bank. Quezon is less than four hours by car from our capital, and has a string of budget-friendly accommodations. Here are just a few of them:

Appleton Little Paradise Beach Resort
Sitio Talisay, Barangay Capalong, Real, Quezon

Apart from the beach and the river, guests can also relax or take a dip in the pool surrounded by towering palms. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Situated in the middle of neighboring coastal towns, this palm-shrouded resort run by David and Anabel Appleton is ideal for exploring Infanta and Real. From there, you can easily visit the BIPCO Mangrove Eco-park and its fascinating fruit bats, cool down at Balagbag Waterfalls or buy fresh and affordable seafood at the nearby fish market.

If you opt to stay within the property, their staff can organize an activity, such as rafting or canoeing. This is best done in the morning when the waves are calmer, and the scenery is bathe in soft lighting.

An early dinner by the beach just in time to catch the sunset can also be arranged for you. Chef Wacky of the resort’s lone restaurant is known for his stellar seafood paella, seafood kare-kare, and dynamite shrimps.

All villas, rooms, and beach huts are steps away from the ocean and a river, which is one of the highlights for guests spending a restful weekend in this little paradise.

Blue Pavilion Beach Resort
6 Blue Pavilion Road, Dinahican Road, Brgy. Binulasan Infanta, Quezon

Blue Pavillion is a 7,500-square-meter property with a stunning tree landscape that welcomes guests upon arrival. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

This low-key beachfront resort in Infanta has 35 rooms, some of which have private balconies that look out onto the ocean. They also have 12 open-air cabanas right on the shore, ideal for catching sunrise or sunset.

Various water activities are also on hand, including speedboat and banana boat tours, kayaking or paddle-boarding. The resort’s coastline comes alive in the afternoon with locals playing, upgrading their boats, or selling freshly-caught seafood.

At night, the staff can help put together a bonfire, where you and your family and friends can enjoy roasting marshmallows, drinking, or having a sing-a-long.

Pansacola Beach Resort
Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon

Pansacola Beach Resort also provides beachside camping, where you may sleep beneath the stars and wake up to breathtaking views of the ocean. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Owned by one of the direct descendants of the island’s original owners, this sprawling beachfront property has 27 thatched-roof bungalows, cottages, and treehouses with furnishings made from reclaimed driftwood.

At the resort’s beachfront, you can have al fresco meals, and play beach volleyball and ping pong. Out in the water, you can go kayaking, swimming, and paddle-boarding while your little ones enjoy the shallow waters near the shore.

Like all the other resorts on the island, you won’t find any restaurants here, but they can provide cooking utensils and equipment so you can prepare your own food. You can also avail of their all-inclusive meal package and let their in-house cooks surprise you with the day’s catch for lunch.

On weekends, that same stretch of sand is bustling with music, fire dancers, and fireworks.

Paradiso Amadeo
Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon

Paradiso Amadeo is located on the southern tip of the island, offering unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism

When asked what she loves most about Cagbalete, Paradiso Amadeo owner Riza Pansacola Regis points to the many colors of the island. And if you visit her resort, you might just agree.

Perched on a stretch of cream-colored sand, the resort has a stunning view of the ocean, mountain, and sky that looks like layered hues of blue on a canvas.

The 15 bamboo cottages inside her calachuchi-fenced retreat feature banig walls, hand-painted shutters, all-white drapes, linens, and translucent curtains. While the resort makes do without many of the amenities you would see in other lodgings, it has its own appeal.

For example, you have the option for a fan or an air-conditioned hut. But the island’s cool night breeze and the sound of gentle waves would be enough to make you feel relaxed and sleepy.

If you crave Filipino comfort food, a binalot-style meal package for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks is available. Their excellent cook is said to make one of the best adobo and pancit bihon on the island.

At the beachfront, you can choose to get a deep, soothing massage, or sleep lying on a hammock. The resort can also arrange for island hopping and kayaking activities.

Doña Choleng Camping Resort
Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon

Kayaking is one of the resort’s top activities due to its mostly calm waters all year. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

This 42-room resort in Cagbalete Island has spacious beach grounds dotted with Agoho pine trees and quirky stone sculptures. Each of its whitewashed glasshouses and classic island bungalows features a large window that overlooks the sea or its lush tree garden.

Ask any of their friendly staff to arrange a walking trip to the nearby Bonsai Island and admire the century-old bonsai plants while bird watching. You may also hire a boat to visit the historic Balicasar lighthouse and enjoy snorkeling on the way back.

During evenings, you can enjoy seafood dinners as well as an energizing shiatsu by the beach.

Patio Rizal Hotel
77 Quezon Avenue, Lucban, Quezon

Patio Rizal is conveniently located in the town square with restaurants and stores nearby. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

If you prefer a charming small-town hotel, this Spanish style hotel is just a four-hour drive away. Located at the center of Lucban, it boasts 20 well-maintained and spacious rooms with off-white walls and modest wood furnishings.

The hotel might not offer many activities, but there are quite a few walkable sights and attractions in Lucban itself, aside from the colorful Pahiyas Festival.

You can walk to the steps to Kamay ni Hesus for healing and prayer, eat lunch at the original Buddy’s restaurant for authentic Lucbanin cuisine, take a stroll across town plaza and poke inside craft shops. Don’t forget to bring home some longganisa from Abcede or yema cake from Rodilla’s.

For dinner, the hotel restaurant serves up renditions of the town’s staple food. Try their hardinera (or Quezon-style meatloaf), pancit habhab, and kinulob (carabeef adobo in turmeric sauce).

Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort
Tiaong, Quezon

The artificial cascade in this restaurant is a spillway from the Labasin Dam, the country’s first hydroelectric plant. Photos by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Set within a vast coconut plantation, the resort has become an institution in Tiaong.

On arrival, a carabao-drawn karitela will take you through the grounds of the family-owned hacienda. Massive nipa cottages, cheerful staff in traditional attires, folk dances and music, and a vibrant fiesta atmosphere surround you here.

Inside the property, a tour of the Escudero Private Museum is available for you to appreciate your surroundings further.

At the nearby river, guests can have a tranquil bamboo raft ride, which can take you to a nearby waterfall. There, you can partake of an all-you-can-eat buffet in the shallow pool at the bottom of the man-made falls. The meal includes Filipino classics such as caldereta, tilapia, banana cue and tropical fruits.

This full-day cultural excursion will only cost you Php 1,450 per person on a weekday. You may also book a stay at any of its 27 nipa cottages for extended leisure at this tropical retreat.

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.