Known as the “Art Capital of the Philippines,” the town of Angono in Rizal province is ideal for those looking for a unique art and food tour near Manila. Home to the famed Angono-Binangonan Petrogylphs (the oldest known work of art in the country), quirky folk art museums and restaurants serving native and exotic cuisine, Angono offers an alternative destination for weekend food trips.
I’ve been going back and forth to the Eastern towns of Rizal a lot during weekend rides. During that time, I think I’ve tried all the main road trip restaurants in Rizal along Marilaque and Manila East Road Road. I can’t believe it took me this long to try Lutong Pugon, a garden restaurant owned by a local artist that serves delicious wood-fired pizza. You really wouldn’t expect to find a quality pizzeria like this up in the mountains.
The beauty of the Philippines really shines in other provinces and islands. Destinations like Palawan, Cebu, Bohol and Boracay are top draws for foreign tourists. However, many international travelers have to travel through Metro Manila, the capital and main gateway to many of the other destinations before they can get there.
Masungi Georeserve, a conservation area and karst rock garden hidden in the rainforests of Rizal, aims to protect the natural landscape through sustainable and responsible tourism. Since they opened to the public about a year ago, they’ve become a much sought-after weekend destination for those based in the metro. The Discovery Trail has visitors passing through caves, rope courses, hanging bridges, relaxing on a giant hammock and getting stunning views from a spiderweb-like viewdeck.
Growing up in the province, my childhood friends and I used to enjoy camping sleepovers. On hot summer nights, we’d haul out banigs, folding beds and foam mattresses on the grass and “camp out” in our garden under a makeshift tent sewn together from my old protest streamers. We’d spend the night playing card games and board games like Monopoly, Cluedo and Pictionary and roast marshmallows and hotdogs in a mini-bonfire. Back then, we really felt like we were roughing it out. But there was always the security of parents just inside the house (providing us with real food), a decent bathroom and the option to move indoors if it rained.
Unwatermarked photos courtesy of Haranah Eco Park Continue reading
Rizal is an adventurer’s playground often frequented by mountain bikers and motorcycle riders. The Sierra Madre mountain range east of Manila offers numerous off-road trails where you can ride through forests, beside river trails, or visit scenic spots with overlooking views. I’ve written a lot about places to visit in Rizal since it’s my favorite weekend destination near the metro. It’s hard to believe that some of these places exist so near Manila.
Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area and karst rock garden hidden in the rainforests of Baras, Rizal. Its name comes from the local term “masungki” which translates to “spiked” – describing the jagged limestone landscape found here. The discovery trail offers a unique outdoor experience where visitors get to hike through karst landscape, with limestone formations, sinkholes, caves and natural trails and forests. The geological park has eco-friendly conservation areas, rest stations and obstacles including hanging bridges, rope ladder descents, view decks, and a giant hammock where you can enjoy views of the amazing natural landscape.
Summer is here and many families and barkadas are looking for resorts for their out-of-town swimming trips and excursions. One of the places I can recommend relatively near the metro is Momarco Resort in Tanay, Rizal. Only 1.5 hours away from Quezon City, Momarco Resort has a large, clean and well-maintained swimming pool and an artificial lagoon with a waterfall.
The town of Tanay in Rizal province is one of my favorite destinations near the metro for motorcycling road trips. Its proximity to Manila, refreshing mountain scenery, cooler climate and generally uncrowded destinations makes it a good alternative to Tagaytay on any given weekend. Parts of Tanay pass through portions of the Sierra Madre mountain range, making it a great motorcycling and biking destination.
For weekend warriors and families, Tanay has lots to offer in terms of natural attractions. The resorts and leisure camps in the area also make it a popular destination for team-building activities as well.
Since I blogged about my previous rides to the Wind Farm in Pililla, Rizal, I’ve been getting inquiries from riders and bikers on the best route to take. Over the past few months, I’ve visited the Rizal Wind Farm a total of five times, usually on solo weekend rides. On previous rides, I was always stopped at either the Pillilla or Sampaloc entrance and told that that I couldn’t go in because of ongoing construction, so I usually ended up taking photos just near the entrance.