From the wide windows of the main restaurant, the grove of pine trees and the rolling hills in the distance looked almost Baguio-like. In one corner of the rustic building made of wood and bricks, was a rocking chair in front of a fireplace. The sound of crickets chirping mingled with the tinkling of wooden chimes swaying with the mountain breeze.
It’s hard to believe that Paseo Rizal Mayagay in Tanay, Rizal is just an hour and half’s drive from Manila. Before we left, I was sweltering in the heat of Quezon City. That same afternoon and evening, I regretted not bringing a jacket.
I first stumbled upon Paseo Rizal during a solo ride one weekend to Marilaque. As I was enjoying a leisurely breakfast, I ended up having a nice chat with owner Bing, who showed me around the place. This is the second branch of Paseo Rizal, as they have another branch in Morong, Rizal.
While the Morong branch is mainly a coffee shop/ restaurant, I learned that this one had rooms available as well. I vowed to go back with a better camera. So a few weeks after my first visit, Art (who had signed up for the Final Leg of the Nature’s Trail Discovery Run in Tanay) and I decided to check in there for one night to avoid having to travel in the early morning.
Located right before Pranjetto Hills on the Marikina-Infanta Road, a popular spot for mountain bikers and motorcyclists, Paseo Rizal is a step up from the usual stops along the highway. Amid lush greenery, it also promises a taste of “Art, Cuisine & Music.” Guests can relax in any of the different gazebos scattered around the place, which take inspiration from Filipino culture, with names like Kanlungan, Tribu, Balanghai and Salakot. The huts are separated by beautifully landscaped grounds and walkways. The Tribu hut in particular, looks very Baguio-like, with a statue of a Bulul, the Ifugao rice guardian. There’s also a nice view deck where you can get a great view of the verdant mountains and refreshing landscape.
The coffee shop and restaurant doubles as an arts venue and music bar for special gatherings. Live music and acoustic shows are offered during weekends and concerts have been held here, with performances by indie musicians like Noel Cabangon. While we were having lunch, a folk musician was strumming beautiful renditions of classics by Cat Stevens, Bread, and the Beatles.
In terms of cuisine, Paseo Rizal doesn’t disappoint either. While most riders would probably be satisfied with eating at fast-food joints before heading out to Marilaque or the no-nonsense carinderias along the highways, Paseo Rizal is a great food pit stop. They serve very affordable silog meals and a wide range of Pinoy favorites like adobo, crispy pata and bulalo, suitable for large groups of road-trippers and hungry bikers. Meals are affordable with tapsilog meals costing less than P100 and their T-bone steak just P120. Their latest offerings even include Western surf and turf platters and Grilled fish with lemon butter sauce and capers. [Paseo Rizal Mayagay Menu]
The rooms are cozy and tastefully decorated. I found the small details like a bowl of flowers on the sidetable and the welcome basket of fresh fruits to be very nice touches. The rooms come with a private balcony where you can enjoy the crisp breeze and write without any distractions. Writers who want a serene retreat where they can scribble and type in peace definitely need to check it out. Rooms also come equipped with a TV and hot water in the bathrooms and are inclusive of breakfast for two. Room rates range from P1,800 – P2,200 for 24 hour use.
If you’re based in Manila and just looking for a pleasant pit stop for a weekend ride or a place to get away for the weekend, Paseo Rizal is a great option. The refreshing climate, good cuisine and great view along the way is a promising alternative to Tagaytay.
As a testament to how Baguio-like the place is, we encountered the cast and crew of Star Cinema’s film shooting “One More Try” starring Angel Locsin during our visit. According to one of the crew members, they had to film some extra scenes originally shot in Baguio and the pine trees there were just the perfect backdrop. I am including this piece of information to lure people googling “Angel Locsin” to view my site :p The movie (which has scenes shot in Baguio and Benguet) is coming out this December in time for the Metro Manila Film Festival.
UPDATE: January 2015
Paseo Rizal is now one of my favorite stopovers for solo weekend rides. During recent visits, I noticed that they have a small art gallery and gift shop called “Kalingang Pilipino” on the ground floor of the restaurant. Very nice collection of folkloric artwork, paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces by local artists for sale here. I also like the addition of notes pinned up on a clothesline from previous visitors.
ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO:
Paseo Rizal Mayagay is located along the Marikina-Infanta Road, Mayagay, Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal. Travel time from Quezon City to Paseo Rizal is roughly 1.5 hours through Marilaque. Paseo Rizal is open as a venue for retreats, parties and special events. They also have a branch in Morong. For inquiries and reservations, visit the following: