When we think of scenic, Instagram explore-worthy shots, it’s easy to assume that you need an idyllic vista far away from Metro Manila.
However, city dwellers need only to find their way to the right spots in and around the concrete jungle to score idyllic panoramas—ones that highlight the pros of both urban living and scenic, weekend escapes just outside Metro Manila.
Wherever your road trip takes you—to the busy streets of Ortigas or to the cool heights of Tagaytay—you can look forward to a pretty perspective at the end of the ride.
This bustling central business district has an advantage when it comes to city views. Its sky-high buildings don’t just form one of the country’s most recognizable skylines, they also offer breathtaking lookouts that show the city in the best possible light.
1. Discovery Primea
As if chilling by the pool or taking a dip wasn’t relaxing enough, Discovery Primea’s third floor swimming pool offers beautiful views of Makati’s buildings that take on an exceptional glow once the sun begins to set. Open until 10:00 PM, an evening by this five-star hotel’s pool allows you to see the sky turn and the lights of the CBD go up right from the comfort of your own lounge chair.
6749 Ayala Avenue, Makati City
(02) 955 8888
2. Dusit Thani Manila
A landmark building along EDSA and Pasay Road, Dusit has been providing travelers five-star service for decades. And if you think views of Makati are only relegated to the flashing building lights and skyline, copping a table at the rooftop Club Lounge or a room facing EDSA will afford you views of the other side of the city. Showcasing the lush trees proliferating Forbes Park, Dasmariñas Village, as well as the grounds of Polo Club and Manila Golf, this surprising spot presents a calming alternative to your typical city scene.
Dusit Thani Manila
1223 Epifanio de los Santos Avenue
(02) 238 8888
Traveling north from Makati lands you in another bustling CBD—the Ortigas district. Smack dab between Quezon City, Pasig, and Mandaluyong, this high-density locale proliferated by buildings and malls has its fair share of city views as well.
1. Marco Polo Ortigas
The Marco Polo brand is world-renowned for five-star accommodations and exemplary hotel service. Its Ortigas outpost, situated right at the perimeter of the central business district, offers views to the city’s tall buildings, as well as to the trees of the residential areas below all the way east to the ridges of Antipolo. Score a table at Lung Hin, located at the 44th floor, for authentic Cantonese cuisine and great views while you dine.
Marco Polo Ortigas
1600 Meralco Avenue
San Antonio, Pasig
(02) 720 7777
2. The Medical City
Getting a great city view is probably the last thing on your mind when heading to a doctor’s appointment or checking in for a procedure. That said, The Medical City along Ortigas does offer some exceptional views of Pasig’s exclusive subdivisions and Antipolo’s range. It may not be top of mind for any patient to look out the window, but sometimes a calming, picturesque view from atop one of the hospital’s towers can offer some much-needed serenity in the middle of your day.
The Medical City
Ortigas Avenue, Pasig
(02) 988 1000
If you’ve ever sent out a postcard showcasing the city’s sunsets, chances are it was shot somewhere downtown. If you’re chasing the sun, this is where you need to go.
1. Manila Baywalk
Who says you have to pay to score a beautiful shot of the sunset? Walk along the paved path right by the water and you have access to nature’s wonders for free.
2. Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Before heading to dinner at Sofitel’s famed Spiral buffet, traipse through the poolside first to catch the sunset. If a cocktail or two is your jam, you can score a drink at the aptly named Sunset Bar before moving on to your all you can eat feast as well.
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard
Barangay 76, Pasay
(02) 573 5555
Sunrise at the mountain’s ridge is one of the things that make life eastside extra appealing. While smog levels and weather may affect your chances of scoring the perfect sunrise photo, going through a bike ride in Lower Antipolo or Cainta can still give you the view you’re looking for. Take a shot at exploring the streets of Valley View Subdivision to capture the sun peeking out of the ridges on a good-weather day. If you're staying at Mount Purro Nature Reserve, you can avail of the sunrise trek to Malvar's Peak.
Want to spend a full day in Antipolo? Check out our 24-hour itinerary here.
Tagaytay is situated along a ridge, so the long stretch of the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway is already a scenic drive in and of itself. If you have time to take pause, set up your tripod, and snap a few photos, these spots that dot the ridge will offer you some of the best views.
Tagaytay’s first design hotel, this inspired space doesn’t just offer an unparalleled view of the lake and volcano, it’s also a showcase of some of the country’s best known designers. Budji Layug, Milo Naval, Tes Pasola, and other design aficionados have come together in Domicillo’s artfully modern structure.
KM 58, Emilio Aguinaldo Highway
Maharlika East, Tagaytay – Nasugbu Highway
(046) 413 3552
Many balikbayans have flocked to SMDC’s Tagaytay development to invest in units for their retirement. If you have a relative or friend who’s managed to score a place at Wind, you may want to secure an invite. Wind’s Sky Lounge is a great spot to relax and enjoy the view. Got a unit with a balcony facing the lake? Even better.
SM Wind Residences’ Sky Lounge
Barangay Maharlika West
Tagaytay City, Cavite
Who hasn’t driven to Tagaytay and taken a pit stop at this Starbucks branch? This popular spot proves that you don’t need to stay overnight at a hotel to score a great view. A favorite among folks who are going up to the ridge for a quick getaway, you can expect a big crowd during the weekend. With enough patience, however, it’s possible to score a coveted seat with an unadulterated view of the lake—the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of coffee.
Starbucks Magallanes Tagaytay
3, 4, Lot 2 Emilio Aguinaldo Highway
Tagaytay City, Cavite
(046) 413 0725
Want to fill up your tummy after you’ve had your fill of gorgeous views? Check out our affordable Tagaytay food trip recos here.
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