CALABARZONThere’s something for everyone in Calabarzon; historical sites, scenic highlands, stunning beaches, theme parks, scuba-diving, art galleries, mountains and volcanoes just to name a few. Top 10 Activities
All you need to know about Calabarzon
Most visitors to Calabarzon head for Batangas province with its heritage towns and world-class dive sites: highlights are the world’s smallest volcano, Taal, the Fortune Island with its beach houses, and hiking up Mount Pico de Loro and Mount Batulao. Also popular is inland Laguna province with its hot springs and historic towns.
In Quezon, the Borawan and Cagbalete islands promise a perfect tropical getaway. A must-see in Quezon is the Villa Escudero working coconut plantation and resort. The city of Lucena attracts visitors with a mix of religious monuments and natural attractions including a botanical garden and a country farm.
The province of Cavite is one of the country’s fastest-growing, centred on the popular holiday town of Tagaytay and offering day trips to the peaceful Corregidor Island with its gorgeous beaches and hiking destinations. Its city of Dasmariñas is popular both in itself (don’t miss scenic Daño Street with its holiday bazaars, and the Promenade Des Dasmariñas urban garden park) and as a stopover en route from Metro Manila to Tagaytay and Batangas, and from western Cavite to Laguna.
Lastly, Rizal with its capital Antipolo City (a popular pilgrimage site for the Virgin of Antipolo in its cathedral) is best visited for the Masungi Georeserve conservation area with its caves and its panoramic viewing platform with suspended netting above the karst, and for Mount Daraitan and the Tinipak River with their sunset views, rapids and cave swimming.
Why it’s more fun in CALABARZON
The need to preserve the region’s incredible natural resources has transformed Calabarzon into a burgeoning ecotourism destination overflowing with fantastic outdoor activities both on the water and on land as well as offering a growing array of sustainable nature resorts. And when you get the urge to kick back and relax, there’s a lot of scope for that too, whether on fabulous white-sand beaches or in the famous hot springs of the Laguna province. Note that there are numerous itineraries that offer a combination of some or all of the following: Taal hiking, heritage towns, Pagsanjan Falls and Villa Escudero. For underwater photographers, Anilao in Batangas is world-renowned for muck and macro diving.
Batangas Faisal Waheed
Culture & Food
Historically inhabited by the Tagalogs, whose cultural heritage remains strong, this liberal region has a diverse population made up of folk from around the Philippines and includes some of the country’s most densely populated provinces. It’s in Calabarzon that Philippine Independence from Spain was first declared in 1898, and this was also the birthplace of national heroes including Jose Rizal. Despite its proximity to the country’s capital, its rich history lives on in the form of churches, shrines, monuments and cultural traditions, including wood carving and taka (papier-mâché).
Calabarzon’s staple food, the coconut, has shaped the cuisines of its various provinces in dishes including ‘buko’ pie (coconut and custard on a flaky crust). There’s even a local coconut vodka, ‘lambanog’, that features heavily in the region’s celebrations. The Tagalog recipe of ‘lechon kawali’ (deep-fried pork belly) is also popular here as elsewhere in the country.
Pahiyas Festival Caloy Llamas
Top Events & Festivals
- Coconut Festival, San Pablo City – January
A showcase of the ‘tree of life’ and its products, held during the celebration of the city’s patron saint, St Paul the First Hermit.
- Pahiyas Festival, Lucban, Quezon – May
A colourful harvest festival dating back to the 15th century, with a prize for the most creatively decorated house, other contests, cultural shows and parades.
- Higantes Festival, Angono – November
A fiesta in honour of San Clemente, patron saint of fishermen, with papier-mâché giants and a river procession.
Tropical, with a November to April dry season and most rainfall in August. Temperatures range between about 24°C in January and February and 34°C in April and May.
Check out the weather today in Calabarzon
Top 10 things to do in Calabarzon
Anilao Kris Mikael Krister
1. Scuba Diving
Go scuba diving and snorkelling in Anilao
2. Discover the resort city of Tagaytay
Enjoy the resort city of Tagaytay with its mild climate, tasty mushroom burgers, tropical fruits, world-class golf courses, and health and wellness treats, especially at the Nurture Wellness Village, a resort offering a distinctly Filipino-branded spa menu
3. Batangas’ Beach
Frolic on Batangas’ famous stretch of white sand beach and travel back in time at Taal Heritage Village and marvel at the well-preserved ancestral houses
Balesin Island Polillo Norman Grande
4. Polillo and Cagbalete
Head for the pristine islands of Polillo and Cagbalete off Quezon’s Pacific coast
5. Hinulugan Taktak waterfalls
Tour mountainous Rizal province including its protected Hinulugan Taktak waterfalls
Appreciate nature by hiking along the trails of Mount Makiling or soak in the hot springs at Los Baños or Calamba City in Laguna
Shoot the rapids of Laguna’s Pagsanjan Falls, navigating your wooden canoe past trees and local wildlife
Bulabog Beach Eric Beltran
8. Local Art and culture
Relive the age-old tradition of embroidery in Lumban, wood carving at Paete, footwear making in Liliw and visual arts of Angono
9. Nuvali eco-resort
Check out Nuvali eco-resort with its mountain-bike trails, zip-line, aerial walk and more
10. Antipolo Cathedral
Seek out cultural sights including Antipolo Cathedral in Rizal and Dr. Jose Rizal Museum in Laguna
Where to stay in Calabarzon
Batangas: Accommodation in Batangas, including the beach resorts in Nasugbu, San Juan, Calatagan and Mabini, is mostly simple, comfortable and affordable. The same goes for Tagaytay in Cavite and in Laguna province. However, there are a few more upmarket options dotted around. The Farm at San Benito is a world-class health and wellness haven in Lipa, Batangas. Sustainable hotels are on the rise in Calabarzon.
The Farm at San Benito Batangas
Getting there & away
Good road links with neighbouring provinces and is well served by buses from Metro Manila and elsewhere (there’s no major airport). From Manila to Antipolo City in Rizal, by road is 30mins (20km), to Tagaytay City in Cavite 1hr 20mins (60km) and to Lucena City in Quezon 3hrs (138km). Jeepneys and cars are the most popular means of getting around the region.
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Grand tour of the Philippines’ is a comprehensive 23-day exploration of the most important islands in the Philippine archipelago. Visit the famous rice terraces, picturesque Negos, Bohol and Cebu islands taking in both history and pristine beaches.
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Culturally and geographically removed from the rest of Southeast Asia, this green archipelago is best known for its pristine beaches. Spend time in the capital city of Manila, trek to an Ifugao village or visit the stunning rice terraces of Banaue.
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