The next time you hear the famous line of a folk song that goes “Tayo na sa Antipolo”, do yourself a favor- go.
A stone throw away from the urban jungle that is Manila is Antipolo, which still has real jungles. It is a component city of Rizal Province. From Quezon City, it is around 15 kilometers away; roughly a thirty-minute traffic jam-less drive.
Antipolo is known for its Cathedral, the home of Nuestra Senora de la, Paz y Buenviaje. Aside from this church, this city boasts a colorful art scene, dozens of restaurants with stunning view of Metro Manila and the delectable cashew nuts and sticky rice (suman). The province produced a slew of illustrious painters, Palanca award winning writer, and National Artist for Music awardee.
The province of Rizal lies on Sierra Madre Mountain Range; it is on a higher altitude than Manila. This puts Antipolo on a good vantage point for a premium view of the metropolis of the nation’s capital.
1. Pinto Art Museum – Antipolo, or better yet the whole province of Rizal, has a long-standing love affair with the Arts. It is apparently the Art Capital of the Philippines. It has been the breeding ground of renowned painters and sculptors like Nemi Miranda, and Pitok Blanco. The more famous National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco also hails from this province. Pinto Art Museum, living up to its name, opened doors for art enthusiasts from all over the country to get a glimpse of art works of thriving Rizalenos. This charming museum with manicured lawns and well-maintained gardens is home to a good number of paintings and sculptures. It sits on a 1.2-hectare property. It has a café that serves coffee and sumptious pastries.
2. Hinulugang Taktak – has surely seen its glory days. It was once among the more celebrated waterfalls in the country. In the recent years, the place has been poorly kept. The local government is currently on the uptake of bringing its heydays back.
Photo Credits (Wikimedia Commons): Hinulugang Taktak by RamonFVelasquez
3. Sumulong Highway Restaurants – This is the road that leads to Antipolo and is dotted with different restaurants that serve different cuisines. The stunning view of Manila skyline is the common thread in all of their menus.
4. Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buenviaje/Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage – more popularly known as Virgin of Antipolo is enshrined at the Antipolo Cathedral. This celebrated statue of Virgin Mary was shipped all the way from Mexico early 1600s. It is believed to be miraculous and has millions of devotees from all over the country and abroad. They flock to the cathedral on months of May – July.
5. Luljettas Spa – If there is picture of relaxation, I am sure it would look something taken at Luljetta Hanging Gardens & Spa. It is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. Situated inside Loreland Resort, this spa facility is perched on a cliff that overlooks lush greens and mountains. It has fish spa, hydro and infinity pool that was built to wash away stress and worries.
6. Boso Boso Church – a century old church that is so picturesque. The interior is newly painted and restored but still has that air of olden days.
7. Crescent Moon Café – This café is a treat to your senses. Good food. Well-kept garden. Cute potteries.
8. Mystical Cave – Located in Puting Bato in Barangay San Luis is a cave filled with holy images like Mother-and-Child and The-Holy-Trinity. One has to climb more than 200 steps to get there.
9. Suman And Cashew – This nut and sticky rice delicacy is the perfect take away when you visit this city. Sticky rice comes in different varieties- sweet & savory.
Photo Credits (Wikimedia Commons): Suman by Kguirnela
10. Via Dolorosa – or White Cross is surely on every pilgrim’s list when they visit Antipolo during Holy Week. It stands on top of a hill where Stations-of-the-Cross is celebrated during Good Friday.
Have you been to Antipolo? Feel free to share your tips and recommendations.