The province of Rizal is just two hours away from Metro Manila by car or public transport. There are a variety of transportation modes you can take if you plan on visiting this southern province. You have the option to ride a jeepney, a bus, or a UV Express van to get there. Some of the bus lines that serve select towns and cities in Rizal are G-Liner, RRCG, and EMBC. You can find terminals of Rizal-bound jeepneys and UV Express vans in Cubao and in Shaw Boulevard. In addition, you can ride the taxis servicing Manila's airports to get to your desired destination in Rizal.
How to Get Around
You can find many jeepneys plying the main roads of Rizal. Riding the jeep is the most efficient mode of getting around in the province, especially if you're a backpacker.
By Taxis and TNCs
Taxis are also available in some parts of Rizal, especially in the city of Antipolo. They're the preferred mode of transportation for those going to Metro Manila and vice versa. Alternatively, TNCs like Grab and Uber serve Antipolo City, which is quite helpful if you're having a difficult time hailing a cab.
You can also find tricycles in Rizal that will take you to any point in a certain town or city. Aside from one-way rides, tricycles can also be hired for tours, especially towards the jumping-off points for attractions like waterfalls where public transportation rarely comes by.
What to See
The Antipolo Cathedral is one of Rizal's most famous landmarks. Also known as the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, it houses the 17th century image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. It has become a favorite pilgrimage site among Catholics. Aside from the Antipolo Cathedral, some of the churches you can visit in the province include the St. Jerome Parish in Morong, St. Rose de Lima Parish Church in Teresa, and St. Joseph Church in Baras.
Another amazing landmark in Rizal is the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs in Binangonan, a series of cave artworks which is considered as the country's oldest artwork. It was discovered by National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco.
Pililla's Bahay na Bato is also another delightful attraction in Rizal that will surely be appreciated by history buffs. This Spanish-era home has been the location of many local horror films.
Rizal is a province that is rich with natural wonders. It has several mountains, rivers, caves, waterfalls, and even an island. So whatever kind of nature trip you have in mind, you'll surely find it in this province.
The mountainous province of Rizal is a favorite destination among hikers. In Tanay, you'll find Mt. Batolusong and Mt. Daraitan, while Mt. Sembrano is in Pililla. On the other hand, Talim Island, a dagger-shaped island in Binangonan located along the shores of Laguna de Bay, also has its own mountain—Mt. Tagapo. Lastly, Rodriguez (formerly known as Montalban) has two mountains within its area: Mt. Binacayan and Mt. Pamitinan.
For those who want to trek and swim in fresh waters, Rizal has plenty of waterfalls. In Tanay alone, there's Daranak Falls and Batlag Falls. You'll also find Tinipak River there. Taytay is home to Tres Escalon and Maharlika Falls, while Baras has the thousand feet-high Palo Alto Falls. Of course, Antipolo City is where you'll find the historic Hinulugang Taktak. Swimming here is not allowed but there are public swimming pools within this national park if you feel like taking a dip.
For those who are up for exploring, you can try spelunking at Calinawan Cave in Tanay or Pamitinan Cave in Rodriguez. And if you want to experience a combination of nature and adventure, make reservations for a trip to Masungi Georeserve, a nature conservation park in Tanay. This nature park is popular for trekking, exploring its caves, and trying out the several rope courses. Best of all, the area allows visitors to have a marvelous view of lush greeneries and mountain-high rock formations.
There are tons to see and do in Rizal that will appeal to tourists with varied interests.
Avilon Zoo in Rodriguez is the perfect place to visit for tourists vacationing with their families, especially with kids. Get to see and interact with numerous species of rare animals at this unique destination.
You also don’t have to head to Bangui in Ilocos Norte to see some windmills. Pililla's Wind Farm features several gigantic windmills that are not only picture-perfect, but also serve as an important source of energy in Rizal.
Aside from the churches of Rizal, the Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia, or Regina RICA, is another popular pilgrimage site in Tanay. It features a 71-foot image of the Our Lady on Top of the Hill as well as a chapel. It is the ideal place to visit if you seek spiritual enlightenment during your trip.
For bikers and hikers, the Wawa Dam or Montalban Dam is an ideal destination. This impressive facility is also surrounded by impressive rock formations and areas for picnics and sightseeing.
Lastly, Rizal is a haven for art enthusiasts, most especially the town of Angono, which is recognized as the "Art Capital of the Philippines". It was the hometown of Carlos "Botong" Francisco, National Artist for Visual Arts. Visit the many art galleries and museums in this town to see the magnificent creations of local artists. Some of the must-see galleries include Blanco Family Museum, Nemiranda Arthouse & Gallery, Tiamson Art Gallery, and Vicente Reyes Art Studio. Meanwhile, the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo City is another museum you can visit that showcases paintings, sculptures, and installations of local artists.
Events and Festivals
Rizal's municipalities and capital city celebrate fun events and festivals that will add more excitement and enjoyment for any tourist. Some of the most notable ones are Angono's Higantes Festival in which is held every November 23, Antipolo City's Sumakah Festival held every May, and San Mateo's Parada ng Kakanin Festival held every September 9.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains
Rizal also has branches of your favorite fast food chains. You are bound to find one or two stores of Jollibee or McDonald's along highways, in town centers, and in most shopping malls.
While all sorts of cuisine—from Asian, American, European, and Italian— are available in Rizal, restaurants offering local dishes dominate the food scene in this province.
Balaw-Balaw Restaurant is Angono's best known place to eat because of its extensive menu of Filipino dishes, including exotic ones like edible worms, crickets, balut, and the infamous Soup Number 5. Meanwhile, Paseo Rizal in Tanay not only treats you to mouthwatering fare but also lets you enjoy a view of the rolling hills amidst a rustic setting. Pililla's Bulawan Floating Restaurant also offers you a unique dining experience. Enjoy your meals in one of the floating cottages that surround a lake. Lastly, when you are in Antipolo City, swing by Marison's Restaurant and try out their modern interpretations of traditional Filipino dishes. For dessert, make sure to order sumaka, a dessert combination of suman, mangga, and kasoy.
Carinderia and Street Food
If you're visiting Rizal on a shoestring budget, there are lots of carinderias or eateries there that offer quality meals that won't burn a hole in your pocket. You can also enjoy street food for snacks. Enjoy fishballs and kikiam for merienda and enjoy a gulaman drink for refreshments.
If you're brave enough to try something exotic, make sure to have a taste of the famous fried itik dish in Angono.
Bars and Clubs
You won't miss out on a fun night of drinks and partying while you're in Rizal. There are some bars, pubs, and clubs all over the province where you can enjoy a nightcap or dance the night away. Perhaps the most visited in Antipolo is Padi’s Point along Sumulong Highway. This restaurant and bar boasts an impressive view of the surrounding cities.
Where to Shop
SM Supermalls and Robinsons have built malls in select destinations in Rizal. For SM, there's SM Angono, SM San Mateo, SM Taytay, and SM Masinag in Antipolo City. For Robinsons, there's Robinsons Cainta and Robinsons Antipolo. Both of these shopping centers offer a wide selection of dining, entertainment, and shopping options. Whether you're hunting for pasalubong or buying some toiletries for your trip, you'll surely find all you need in these establishments.
The public markets of Rizal's city and towns are the best place to get fresh picks of the province's local produce at their cheapest prices.
There are many places in Rizal where you can buy some pasalubong. In Cainta, you can head to Aling Kika's Food Products, a one-stop-shop for all pasalubong items. Bibingka, suman, and bottles of Bandong's Coco Jam are just some of the treats that you can buy there. Meanwhile, Antipolo City's Pasalubong Center offers lots of different food products. From different variations of kasoy as well as bibingka and suman, you'll definitely get your money's worth at this pasalubong center located just near Antipolo Church. And if you want to take home some yummy leche flan, head to Prime Blend Leche Flan in San Mateo.
ATMs and Money Changers
You can withdraw some cash in the many banks and ATMs all throughout Rizal. Aside from these, money changers and remittance shops are also found there.
Fare: PHP 30.00 to PHP 70.00
Your allotted fare budget for Rizal will depend on which town or city you'll be visiting. If you’re coming from Metro Manila, the jeepney fare is about PHP 30.00 to PHP 60.00, the bus fare is about PHP 50.00 to PHP 70.00, while a UV Express Ride is about PHP 70.00 to PHP 100.00. Meanwhile, jeepney fares around Rizal costs a minimum of PHP 7.00, while tricycle rides are about PHP 20.00.
Food: PHP 50.00 to PHP 500.00
There are lots of food choices in Rizal so make sure to stick to choices that are well-within your budget range. Carinderia meals cost from PHP 50.00 to PHP 80.00, while meals at restaurants are about PHP 200.00 to 500.00 PHP.
Shopping: PHP 100.00++
Pasalubong in Rizal is affordable. A piece of suman costs less than PHP 10.00 so a PHP 100.00 budget would already go a long way.
Accommodation: PHP 1,000.00 to PHP 5,000.00
There is a wide selection of accommodations in Rizal. However, staying at resorts seem to be the popular trend for tourists. A one-night stay for two people costs about PHP 1,000.00.
Activities: PHP 20.00++
While there are many free activities and attractions in Rizal, some of the popular ones charge entrance fees and environmental fees. For example, the entrance fee to Calinawan Cave and Angona-Binangonan Petroglyphs costs about PHP 20.00. Meanwhile, if you're visiting Daranak Falls, you have to pay PHP 50.00. Avilon Zoo's entrance fee is PHP 600.00 for adults, while Pinto Art Museum is PHP 200.00.
||Arrive in Tanay. Upon reaching Barangay Daraitan, find a hiking guide. Once you do, you can start the hike towards Mt. Daraitan.
||Reach Mt. Daraitan's Summit. Enjoy the view of the sky and the nature surroundings.
||Enjoy some light snacks you brought on your hike.
||Start descent and trek towards Tinipak River.
||Arrive at Tinipak River. Enjoy swimming and taking photos.
||Head back to Tanay's town proper.
||Check in at your chosen accommodation in Tanay.
||Enjoy a sumptuous dinner at Paseo Rizal.
||Arrive at Regina RICA. Explore its vast surroundings and attractions.
||Head to Angono.
||Arrive at Angono. Have lunch at Balaw-Balaw Restaurant.
||Go on a tour of its various museums and art galleries. Visit Blanco Family Museum, Nemiranda Arthouse & Gallery, Tiamson Art Gallery, and Vicente Reyes Art Studio.
||Visit the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs Site.
||Head to Antipolo. Visit the Antipolo Cathedral and offer a prayer to the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.
||Walk to Antipolo Pasalubong Center. Buy some kasuy, suman, and bibingka for pasalubong.
||Head back to Manila.
Rizal, just like the rest of the Philippines, has only two seasons. These are the dry season that occurs from December to May and the wet season that lasts from June until September.
When packing your luggage, do not forget to include medicine in your essentials. If you need medical attention, there are several hospitals throughout Rizal that you can go to.
While there may be no set rule when it comes to leaving tips, most people would just leave small bills like 20.00 PHP and 50.00 PHP. Consider leaving more for your tour guides.
When it comes to traveling in new places, make sure to familiarize yourself with routes to some of the points of interests, especially if you'll be taking a public mode of transportation when getting around. Don't be shy to approach locals if you want to know how to get to a certain place.
Safety and Security
Be vigilant whenever you visit a new place. Make sure to keep your valuables in a safe place and always be wary of your surroundings.