With love in the air at the same time with the Omicron variant, romantic Pinoys won’t be stopped in going out and celebrating the Day of the Hearts in whatever way possible.
Now on our second pandemic-era Valentine’s Day, we have somewhat mastered safety measures when observing holidays—open spaces and physical distancing. It is for this reason that upland getaways lure the love-struck with their crisp mountain air, gourmet dishes, and myriad attractions.
Adding adventure to the romance is a unique mode of transportation which will enable you weave through the vehicle surge like a motorcycle.
Here are a few date sites which are cozy, protocol-compliant, and ideal for intimate mid-distance rides on two-wheels.
Pit Stop 1: Tagaytay
The city on the ridge is a top-of-mind favorite because of its chill climate which becomes cuddly in mid-February. Its most enviable spot is the rotunda because of its accessibility and the unobstructed view of Taal Lake and Volcano. At this prized spot stands the three-star, 10-story Quest Hotel tucked within the Fora lifestyle complex, and offers a soothing vista of green spaces and the placid lake.
The 164-room lodging boasts of a resto which offers one of the tastiest crispy pata and bulalo, signature dishes in these parts. For V-Day, it is throwing in the Live, Love, Explore package where they take their guests to collaborating establishments—Gourmet Farms which is known for its fresh produce and organic coffee, and Rowena’s Pasalubong for the obligatory take home sweet goodies.
Pit Stop 2: Alfonso
This town at the far end of ridge is a satellite of Tagaytay City with its garden-themed establishments which evoke a romantic retreat. The town takes physical distancing to heart with its sparse population and manageable influx of visitors. An unassuming rest house-turned-boutique hotel is The Oriental Luxury Suites, a seven-room semi-private hideaway which evokes an Asian ambiance, most particularly Thailand with is Thai furnishings which transport you to the highland resort of Chiang Mai.
Laze at the veranda, infinity pool, and gaze at the manicured gardens and panoramic lake, and you may just find the mansion unto yourself if there are no other guests. A bed and breakfast lodging, it has nearby farm-themed, specialty and fine dining restaurants which are a short ride away. As it is technically part of Batangas, The Oriental’s guests can easily swing to the neighboring lakeshore or beach towns and bask in the country roads.
Pit Stop 3: Antipolo
Metro’s eastern next-door neighbor, this city has recaptured its glory days as a mountain resort with its blend of cuisine, culture, religious devotion and adventure. In recent years, the scenic four-lane Marilaque highway has become a haven for enthusiasts of bicycles and motorbikes, a good number of them an assortment of Vespa models.
The famed road is dotted with small enterprises, mobile food outlets and accessory shops, and a melting pot for making new friends among fellow bikers and riders. And for magic moments after the ride, head off to Luljetta’s Place Garden Suites which touts itself as a wellness resort and farm tourism site. Aside from being a day trip getaway with its numerous pools, this sprawling property also boasts of an art gallery, succulent food, rejuvenating spa service, hydrotherapy pools, and Greek-styled rooms, and a Bali-inspired swing over a cliff. Its piece de resistance is the Cordillera-inspired hanging gardens carved out from the hillside where you can view the stunning sunset, Laguna Lake, the metropolitan skyline, and Manila Bay. At its bottom-most portion is a team-building camp, an Igorot hut, and a small patch of ricefield.
Pit Stop 4: Cebu TransCentral Highway (TCH)
If you’re in the Visayas, this upland road is a hotspot among bikers, riders and road trippers because of its Instagrammable farms, gardens, quaint dining spots, undulating mountains and viewdecks. If it’s your lucky day, you might just spot Jet Lee, a charming Cebuana social media sensation and motor tourism advocate. At any given time, you will also surely meet fellow Vespa riders enjoying the TCH and literally stopping to smell the flowers by the wayside.