Laguna is about an hour drive from Manila. Here are some places you can visit. I hope I would have time to write additional details for each.
Enchanted Kingdom (EK) – Sta. Rosa City, Laguna
This is a very popular theme park where a variety of rides and attractions are available for children and even the adults/ parents. Entrance is around P600 per head. You can check EK’s website here for additional information and promos: http://www.enchantedkingdom.ph/
Nuvali Park – Sta. Rosa City
Here you could enjoy fish feeding, boat riding and sightseeing. And there are also good restaurants around.
Rizal Shrine (ancestral house of our national hero) – Calamba City, Laguna
This is a historical site featuring the ancestral house of Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine National Hero. This is near the old Calamba City Hall and there is no entrance fee.
Rizal Park (The Plaza) – Calamba City
The tallest monument of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal is located here.
Pansol Hot Spring Resorts – Calamba City
Pansol is an area where lots of hot spring resorts are located. You could already go swimming for an entrance fee of around P50. That’s the lowest I know for those public resorts. And of course if you want some privacy, you can rent private resorts (around P5,000) for the whole group.
Makiling Botanic Gardens – Los Banos, Laguna
Mount Makiling/ National Arts Center – Los Banos, Laguna
From this elevated location, you will have a nice panoramic view of Laguna de Bay and the so-called “Alligator” Lake.
University of the Philippines – Los Banos (UPLB)
Kamayan sa Palaisdaan (Floating Restaurant) – Bay, Laguna
Royal Palm Resort – Bay, Laguna
Pagsanjan Falls – Pagsanjan/ Cavinti, Laguna
Villa Escudero – San Pablo City, Laguna
Isdaan Restaurant and Theme Park – Calauan, Laguna
Pandin Lake – San Pablo City
Pandin Lake is one of the popular seven lakes in San Pablo City. When you go to Pandin, you will also be able to see the other nearby lake – Yambo Lake. You just have to take the bamboo raft to get you to the other side.
Villa Sylvia Resort (VSR) – Brgy. Banago, Nagcarlan, Laguna
Now if you’re looking for a mountain resort where you can relax and avoid the very hot summer, then I would recommend Villa Sylvia Resort. It’s a cold spring resort with water flowing freely from Mt. Banahaw.
Sometime in 2007 while waiting for my flight going home from a supplier visit in Japan, there was one thing that I could not forget. I met a Japanese man in Narita International Airport who was also waiting for his flight going to the Philippines. When he knew I was also on my way to the Philippines, he was somewhat glad to talk with me though we had a hard time communicating because he only spoke a little English and also a little Tagalog.
As what I could recall, he was not someone working in a corporate world. So he didn’t have a business card. I was not able to get his name but I somehow understood he was a skilled worker in Japan.
But what really amazed me was his kindness. I remember he was trying to ask if I had something (pasalubong) for my kid. Then he bought a Japanese kimono at one of the stores inside the airport and said it was for my kid. That really made a lasting impression.
Until now, the name of that Japanese is still unknown to me. But his kindness speaks a lot about his character. I didn’t hear any news from him since then but I did give him my contact details.
That experience reminded me of an important thing we need to practice. And that is to always find an opportunity to be kind even to strangers. As Hebrews 13:2 says: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”
Going to the United States can be very fun and exciting. It may be a tourist visit, business trip, family tour, or work-related assignment. There are lots of wonderful places in the US that you shouldn’t miss.
Golden Gate Bridge, a popular landmark in San Francisco, has been acclaimed as one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. Other worth-seeing spots in California are Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 that give you a great dining experience and a relaxing view of San Francisco Bay. The Palace of Fine Arts is another attraction to visit. Not quite far from San Francisco is the well-known Stanford University which has an exquisite and unique architecture.
Another famous place in California is the Yosemite National Park. It is where you can see El Capitan, a large granite monolith that is about 3,600 ft high and loved by rock climbers. The scenic Half Dome and Yosemite Falls are also part of that national park. Then there’s Lake Tahoe near the border between California and Nevada.
Las Vegas, also called “the city that never sleeps”, is very popular in Nevada. A short drive from Las Vegas brings you to the striking rock formations of Red Rock Canyon. From Las Vegas, another attraction is the Hoover Dam on the border of Nevada and Arizona. It is a massive dam named after a former US president and used to generate electricity for Nevada, Arizona and southern California.
In San Diego, there are lovely beaches like the Mission Beach. The well-known SeaWorld is also in the area. If you want to visit museums, Balboa Park in San Diego is one good place to explore.
Japan’s capital, Tokyo, is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in the world. It is where the Imperial Palace, the residence of Japan’s emperor, is located. But you can only see the moats and walls separating the palace from the rest of the city.
Within Tokyo, the Ginza area is a very popular commercial and business district where you can find specialty shops, department stores, art galleries and restaurants. This is where you can see displays of the latest high tech electronic gadgets out in the market.
The most common mode of transportation is the railway system or train. The “bullet train”, which is called as such maybe because of its shape and speed, is actually known as “shinkansen” in Japan. But I don’t think it was travelling at a bullet’s speed.
In other parts of Japan away from the busy urban districts, there are still large areas of agricultural lands. And the beauty of nature with lush vegetation is there to enjoy.
When considering plans for a short vacation, Singapore would be a good destination to include on your list. There is no visa required if you visit this beautiful city-state and there are many low-cost airlines to take you there.
Singapore’s Changi International Airport is one of the best airports in the world. Even if you’re just having a stopover and waiting for your connecting flight, you will not get bored. You can even avail of the free city tour if you have about 5 hours before your next flight. But it’s only a quick tour to introduce you to the city of Singapore.
Spending at least two days would enable you to visit Singapore’s best tourist attractions. You need about a day to tour Sentosa Island and another day to tour around the city.
Going to Sentosa Island, you can take the cable car from Mount Faber. After the breath-taking cable car ride, the next destination is the Merlion. Going up the huge Merlion statue would give you a nice panoramic view of Sentosa Island.
One of the best attractions on Singapore’s Sentosa island that you should not miss is the Underwater World, an oceanarium featuring several species of marine animals – sharks, stingrays, tropical fish and other colourful marine creatures. Leaving Underwater World, you can proceed to the Dolphin Show to witness those dolphins showing amazing tricks. Then after that, you can spend some time strolling along the nice beach areas while waiting for your last Sentosa stop – the Songs of the Sea which replaced the Musical Fountain show and would start around 7pm.
After enjoying Sentosa Island, you should prepare for the next day’s itinerary to explore the city. You can include on your list a visit to the Merlion Park and the Esplanade which are near to each other. From the City Hall train station, you can just walk to those attractions. The other places that you can visit are China Town, Little India, Orchard, Bugis, Jurong Bird Park and Night Safari. Those places are very accessible by train which is the cheaper way of going around the city.
So I believe it would be worth a try if you haven’t yet visited Singapore – the progressive, multicultural Lion City and sometimes called the “Fine City.”
Travel arrangements would not be complete without a hotel. Though I must admit that if you travel for leisure purposes or as a tourist, you would want to maximize your time and you would just probably be spending few hours in the hotel to take some rest. But despite that, you still need to choose a hotel which is in a strategic location so you can easily buy anything you want and conveniently go to the places you plan to visit.
In Singapore, Swissotel The Stamford is a very convenient choice. It is the tallest hotel in the heart of the city. The Merlion Park and the Esplanade are just a walking distance from it. When you go out of the hotel, the City Hall train station is only a few meters away. And there’s even a shopping mall which is just connected to the hotel. Another hotel which is strategically located in the Orchard area is the Goodwood Park Hotel. It’s a uniquely designed heritage hotel near shopping malls and restaurants and is very accessible since Orchard train station is just nearby.
If you’re traveling to Malaysia’s Penang Island, G-Hotel would be a nice place to stay. It’s located along Gurney Drive and is adjacent to a popular shopping mall where you can buy groceries or eat. Traders Hotel which is beside Komtar, the tallest building in Penang, would be another good choice as well.
In case you have an opportunity to visit Japan, then you could try staying at Palace Hotel Tokyo. It’s near the Imperial Palace where Japan’s emperor lives. Then, Le Meridien Pacific Tokyo is another good hotel near Shinagawa train station.
In the US, suites are great especially if you are having extended stay. You can buy groceries and cook your own food. If you happen to have San Diego, California as your travel destination, Staybridge Suites in the Rancho Bernardo area is one recommended place of stay. Shopping and food establishments are just nearby – only a walking distance. In Chandler, Arizona, I would say Hawthorn Suites is also nice.
Inside Staybridge Suites
If you have some other hotels you’ve tried, you’re so much welcome to share about it here.