Rizal is an up-and-coming province to the east of Metro Manila that is convenient for day trips or weekend getaways. Visitors can go the historic and religious route, visiting its many colonial churches and even a couple of miraculous landmarks, or they can enjoy the great outdoors with the nature parks, mountain treks and trails, and three sets of waterfalls. Those interested in arts and culture will be inspired by the many artists' galleries, workshops, and museums--some of these with restaurants attached to ensure that the foodies have fun as well.
When to Go
The drier months of March to May are the ideal time to visit Rizal province, though the rainy season, which starts in June and lasts until around September, is the best time to check out the waterfalls.
Things to Do
Art Galleries and Museums
The region is home to many local artists, many of whom have been awarded the distinction of National Artists. A number of the local galleries saw their beginnings as artists' studios and workshops in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but continue to showcase artwork to this day. Talent and creativity might just be hereditary, as evidenced by the collection of artworks displayed in the Blanco Family Museum, at 312 Ibanez Street, Barangay Sto. Niņo, Angono. Located at 203 Doņa Nieves Street, Barangay Sto. Niņo, Angono, the Tiamson Art Gallerie features the work of artist and musician Orville DR Tiamson. The Nemiranda Arthouse and Gallery in Doņa Justa Subdivision, Angono, not only showcases a collection of the artist's work, but it also houses the Angono School of Arts. Not all great paintings must take a life time or a thousand brushstrokes, as we learn from viewing the work of artist Rafael Pacheco at his gallery in Barangay Bombongan, Morong, Rizal. This house at 73 Gloria Street, San Carlos Heights, Binangonan, displays some of the original paintings and other memorabilia of national artist Vicente Manansala. The site was declared a historical landmark by the National Historical Institute back in 1978.
There are several notable churches in Rizal province. The Our Lady of Antipolo Shrine houses the miraculous icon Nuestra Seņora dela Paz y Buenviaje, or Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Believers flock to this site to pay homage to the icon every May, when Antipolo plays host to a month-long fiesta. The Tanay Catholic Church has stood on the same site since 1606, despite undergoing two reconstructions over the years. The building itself is built in Renaissance style, and religious tourists should definitely take the time out to view the 200-year-old carvings of the Stations of the Cross displayed at the church.
Nature lovers will find themselves well-satisfied with the stunning mountain views and the array of parks found all around the province, as well as the two sets of waterfalls in Tanay, Rizal. Nature resorts with hiking and bicycle trails abound in Rizal, giving you an accessible eco-weekend site away from Metro Manila's concrete jungle. Hikers will love the trek to the 200-meter-high peak of Susong Dalaga, so named because it's shaped like a virgin's breast. While the journey up may be challenging, the view from the top more than makes up for it, with Laguna Lake spread out at your feet and the panorama stretching far and wide. The Hinulugang Taktak Falls are another of nature's splendors easily accessible through Rizal. The national park, located along Taktak Road, offers a great place to play and picnic and, of course, view the falls. Concerts and plays are performed in the area fronting the falls in May every year.
Located along the Angono-Binangonan boundary, this is a World Heritage Site featuring 127 drawings of animal and human figures engraved in the rock. The petroglyphs were discovered by National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco in 1965, and the engravings are estimated to date back to 3000 BC.
Although not a natural attraction, the Avilon Montalban Zoological Park is a great place to introduce kids to (and reacquaint yourself with) the wonders of the animal kingdom. The park, which can be found in San Isidro, Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), showcases scenic pocket gardens, man-made lagoons, and over 500 different species of animals.
What to Buy
Since Rizal's provincial share of Laguna Lake's total area is over 50 percent, you can be sure that it's a great place to get fresh fish. The bestsellers include bangus (milkfish), tilapia, and big head carp, but other fish found in the lake and sold in Rizal's markets include kanduli and hito (both varieties of catfish), biyang tabang (fresh white goby), and more. Also available are freshwater clams and shrimp. The province's mountainous terrain allows for farming high value crops normally grown in cooler provinces like Baguio. These include: cucumber, cabbage, lettuce, ampalaya, beans, and okra. Again, since it neighbors the NCR, visitors can be assured fresher fare than can be found among items trucked down from provinces several hours to the north. Healthy foodies will also get to enjoy the array of fresh fruits from Rizal's farms. Native delicacies include coco jam and suman, but Rizal is one of the best places to get hot cashew nuts in the summer, as well as local blackberries, called duhat.
Antipolo City – The capital city of Rizal is most known for the breathtaking view of Metro Manila that can be seen from there, because of its topographical makeup. It is also known as the home of the Our Lady of Antipolo Shrine, which devotees flock to during the fiesta in May.
Angono – This municipality in Rizal is now the site of several art galleries, as Angono is the hometown of several notable Filipino artists, including national artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco.
Rizal is accessible over land from Metro Manila. Major thoroughfares include:
- Ortigas Avenue: The westbound lanes take you to Cainta, Rizal; this is accessible through interchanges on C.P. Garcia Avenue (C5) and EDSA.
- Aurora Boulevard-Marcos Highway: The Sumulong Highway is accessible from these major roads and passes through Cainta and Antipolo City.
- Commonwealth Avenue-Batasan-San Mateo Road: This route takes you to the municipalities of San Mateo and Rodriguez.
- Laguna-Rizal Provincial Road: This route takes you from the southern provinces into Rizal.
Commuters may also take the Megatren line (also known as MRT-2 or LRT-2) through to its terminal station in Santolan, and flag down PUVs from there. City bus lines with routes from Manila going into Rizal include RRCG, G-Liner, and EMBC.
Public utility vehicles like jeepneys, FX taxis, or shuttles can take you to various locations in Rizal, following routes that originate from the following terminals:
- Crossings Underpass, Mandaluyong City
- SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City
- Cubao, Quezon City