I don't travel that much. I prefer to just stay at home and read a good book with a cup of coffee. But once in a while, it's nice to go out the house and see the beauty of nature.
To relieve stress, my family and I have one go-to vacation spot just 2-3 hours away from Manila (depending on the traffic): Ocean Villas, Puerto Azul.
If you don't own a unit, you cannot enter the subdivision easily. Unlike resorts, the units cannot be rented or booked, unless you know the owner. Luckily for us, we have a family friend who generously lends us his house for a minimal fee (for maintenance). For a small price, we can enjoy all accommodations and facilities. But, since it is situated at the mountain slope, one must bring her own supply of food and water. Stores are quite far, and the nearest market is at least 30 minutes away. If you get lucky to find a willing homeowner, be prepared to bring and cook your own food (and sometimes beds and sheets as well).
Aside from the great balcony view from the house, there is also a nearby playground for small children. Although the sign says only children 12 and below are allowed, my friends and I (all above 20 years of age) had a great time playing on the swings, slides and monkey bars. Of course, we make sure that no guards catch us. Sometimes, I bring the children I babysit just so I can also play. :P
The beach is by far the greatest attraction of Puerto Azul for me. It's not that near to the house that you'll fear a tsunami wave, but not quite so far that you'll need a car. It just take a leisurely walk on the paved road, and down a man-made 10-step stairs and you're at the beach.
The sand is not white, but made out of crushed corals. There are also cottages for hanging out and lots of space for bonfires. Last 2013, I brought my boss and officemates there for our Christmas Party/team building. We had games and stuff on the beach and I think they really enjoyed it. There are also a lot of great photo opportunities esp. at sunset/sunrise.
If you don't really like swimming at the beach, there is also a country club 5 minutes away. You can either ride a car to go outside the villa and into the club, or just swim parallel to the beach - if your lungs can take it. Hehehehe. I advise using the car, much easier and safer. The country club has 3 pools: 1 standard pool (4-6 ft) and 2 kiddie pools (2ft and 3ft). Entrance fee is around 180 pesos, and you can swim and lounge for the whole day. There are also available food and drinks for reasonable prices.
*directions: (manila to clubhouse only)