You know summer’s here when pressing number three on the electric fan doesn’t change anything or you immediately sweat after leaving the bathroom. The tropical heat can make you feel a lot of things, which unfortunately includes having a hard time dragging your legs out the door.
But hey, summer is here as an escape from reality, and you’ve got to take every chance you can to make the most of it. Don’t let the heat postpone your plans. Even something as simple as grabbing a cold Mountain Dew by the beach or on a road trip can solve those woes. So, it’s time to pull your barkada to these fun places in and out of Manila. From marvelous laser tag arenas to an arcade heaven, everyone is sure to experience a different kind of thrill.
Witness the 60-million-year-old karst formation at Masungi Georeserve
Nothing’s more empowering than trying something that sends shivers down your spine to the point of actually questioning your survival in the end. With its giant rope hammocks, lots of uphill climbing, magnificent limestone formations, and updated legacy trail with lavish grasslands, Masungi Georeserve will have you craving bigger and bigger challenges—like, more frequent leg workouts. Bonus: The wildlife is wilder than ever; think Luzon hornbills, plump guiabero parrots, and jade vines within your reach.
Location: Kilometer 47 Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal
Contact: 0995 186 9911 / @masungigeoreserve
Make sure to pack: Sunblock, hiking shoes, energy bars
Play Pacman and Super Mario Bros at Derive Cafe
With your 9-to-5 adulting lives, it’s not weird to long for nights when you lost sleep over video games. Luckily there are still places that offer this escape. Aside from serving chicken and tacos, Derive Cafe also serves nostalgia. Challenge your barkada to Tetris, PacMan, and Super Mario Bros battles with a Mountain Dew in one hand to make it a little more exciting. Yes, you can play them in real arcade machines. Loser pays the bill? Game.
Location: 4/F Madison Galeries, Don Jesus Blvd Alabang Hills, West Service Road, Muntinlupa
Contact: 0917 711 4937 / @derivecafeph
Make sure to pack: A powerbank (‘cause you’ll take too many IG Stories), a small whiteboard (for score-keeping) and a band-aid (in case your friend challenges you beyond the video game. Just kidding. Maybe.)
Go hiking at Mt. Gulugod Baboy
Raise your hands (and fears), mountaineers! It’s probably not a cinematic adventure if trekking isn’t included in one of your stops. Mt. Gulugod Baboy has all the potential to be the highlight of your trip, especially when you look at its third major peak that’s home to an ancient tree called, well, Gulugod-Baboy. With forests and islands, this experience will even be better as you and your friends can meet fellow hikers, tourists, and locals whom you can talk with about their lives in the mountains. Social butterfly meter, now a level up!
Location: Mt. Gulugod Baboy Trail, Mabini, Batangas
Make sure to pack: Waterproof windbreaker, neck warmer, and maybe a climbing pole
Sharpen your shooting skills at Manila Target Shooting Range
A one-hour drive from Makati can get you powering up your inner Imperator Furiosa of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). With its rad interiors, holding a gun, especially for a first-timer, won’t be intimidating as heck inside Manila Target Shooting Range. Set aside your hesitations for its rustic vibe because all this place needs is your badass willingness to handle handguns, shotguns, and even rifles. Starting might not be that easy, but it’s always a nice memory when laughing over each other’s mistakes. You’ll learn the art of aiming in no time.
Location: HK Sun Plaza Complex, Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, Pasay
Contact: (02) 556 5145
Make sure to pack: Closed-toe shoes, comfortable shirt, and an official I.D.
Beat strangers at LazerXtreme Manila
If you’ve always wanted to be like Red Queen A.I. of Resident Evil, then you might just spend hours with your barkada at LazerXtreme Manila. As the country’s premier laser tag center, it offers a virtual feast with vivid green laser diodes and lots of magnetic triggers. Need that sci-fi dream? You don’t need to look around much.
Location: 4/F Market! Market! Mall Mall, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
Make sure to pack: Dark-colored outfit, deodorant, shoes with no heels (please.)
Once you get the barkada together and choose your own adventure, make sure to plan with every precaution in mind. (Safety first!) Keep power banks on hand, maps plotted on Waze, snacks and beverages stowed. Keep the chips savory and the drinks fizzy. A refreshing, citrus drink like Mountain Dew can amplify all these activities, so better keep one as your constant companion. This summer, why don’t you #DoTheDew and have a damn good time?
PRODUCED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MOUNTAIN DEW
Art by Renz Mart Reyes