Overlooking some of the cities in Metro Manila, Antipolo is the largest city in the CALABARZON Region. Located in the Northern half of Rizal Province, the city is on the slopes of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. Its pilgrimage sites, natural wonders, and scenic locations make Antipolo a great destination for road trips or weekend getaways, especially for Metro Manila residents.
Perhaps the most popular place in Antipolo for local and international tourists is the Antipolo Cathedral. Enshrined in the church is the image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, a 17th century wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was brought to the Philippines on July 18, 1626 by Don Juan Niño de Tabora, Governor General of the Spanish East Indies. When Tabora died, the image was left to the Jesuits, who later enshrined it in Antipolo. Every year, millions of devotees visit Antipolo Cathedral just to see it.
Popularized by a traditional song in the province, the Hinulugang Taktak waterfall is another famous destination in Antipolo. It is found inside the compound of the Hinulugang Taktak Protected Landscape, formerly known as the Hinulugang Taktak National Park. The waterfall was proclaimed as a National Historical Shrine in 1990 by the government.
Meanwhile, art-lovers are sure to enjoy Pinto Art Museum, where Mediterranean-inspired villas serve as galleries for the beautiful artworks of local artists. Owned by neurologist and art collector Dr. Joven Cuanang, the museum has a collection of more than 300 paintings, sculptures, and various pieces of art. It also has an in-house restaurant overlooking the city.
Whether you are commuting or using your own transportation, getting to Antipolo is fairly easy. It's actually one of the favored weekend getaways of urban dwellers because of its proximity to the metro on top of its resorts and unique spots and activities. It is approximately an hour away via car, UV Express shuttle, or jeepney. You can also take a taxi to get here.
Riding a jeep to get there is the most economical choice and would be more ideal for backpackers following a strict budget. You can find Antipolo-bound jeepneys passing by LRT Line 2's Santolan, Katipunan, Anonas, and Araneta Center-Cubao stations. If you want a more comfortable ride, then taking a UV Express van is a better choice. You can usually find the terminals for vans going to Antipolo at shopping centers like Farmers Market in Cubao as well as SM Megamall and Robinsons Galleria in Ortigas Center.
How to Get Around
The jeepney stands as a national symbol for mass transportation in the country. So it's no wonder that jeepneys are also one of the main modes of transportation in this city in Rizal. Jeepneys usually pass by main roads and streets so if your destination is just by the road, you can just ride a jeep to get there. You can ask the driver for the best way to get to your destination.
There are also taxis in Antipolo City if you wish to have a more comfortable transportation when getting around. This is more ideal if you have a flexible budget for transportation. Flag down rate starts at 30.00 PHP.
By Other Means
Getting a ride via TNCs like Uber or Grab is also possible. In addition, there are also tricycles available in Antipolo City. They stand as a cheaper alternative to taxis but more expensive compared with jeepneys.
What to See
Aside from being a popular weekend destination, Antipolo is also a famous pilgrimage site. Here you'll find the Antipolo Cathedral, or the National Shrine of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Pilgrims flock to this cathedral to see the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask for Her intercession to grant their prayers and wishes.
Another place of worship here in Antipolo is the Boso Boso Church. This Spanish colonial era church has experienced natural and man-made disasters but in the recent years, it has been successfully restored.
Perhaps Antipolo's most famous natural wonder is the Hinulugang Taktak Falls. This alluring waterfall is declared as a National Historical Shrine in 1990 and is the perfect site for a family picnic. The calm nature surroundings present a refreshing change of scenery for those who are tired from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, you should know that bathing in Hinulugang Taktak Falls is not allowed. There is, however, a public swimming pool within this National Park should you wish to go for a refreshing swim.
For fans of exploring and adventure, the Mystical Cave is an attraction that would surely appeal to you. This mysterious cave holds natural rock formations that seem to resemble scenes from the Bible. The cave was said to be discovered in 1970 by Inday Nelly Deles, who claimed to have dreamed about it when she was a child. She said she searched far and wide until she found the cave in her dreams in Antipolo.
Pinto Art Museum is one attraction in Antipolo that has been getting much buzz, not only from art enthusiasts, but also from metro dwellers. An Instagram-worthy museum, this property owned by Dr. Joven Cuanang features several galleries filled with hundreds of works of art like paintings and sculptures.
If you are an outdoorsy person, then you should try Camp Explore. This nature camp is located in Mount Purro Nature Reserve and lets you experience the best of both worlds: a combination of modern comforts amongst nature surroundings. Aside from trekking and nature walks, you'll experience fun activities here including zip-lining and campfires. Camp Explore also has accommodations and facilities like a mess hall, function halls, game rooms, and a swimming pool. It is the perfect choice for company team building activities and family outings.
For those who are looking for a more laidback and relaxing escape, Luljetta's Hanging Garden & Spa is the perfect place to visit in Antipolo. This place oozes a zen ambiance that is perfect for rest and relaxation. It offers different spa treatments and massages and features Jacuzzis and an infinity pool that overlooks a stunning view of the nature surroundings. It even has a restaurant and offers accommodations if you wish to stay the night. Luljetta's is part of the Loreland Farm Resort where you can find more accommodations and facilities.
Events and Festivals
If you want to see the city of Antipolo in full swing, plan your visit in May so you can witness its celebration of the "Sumakah Festival". "Sumakah" stands for "Suman, mangga, kasoy, at hamaka", which are some of the local products of Antipolo. However, it is not only a festival to promote these products but also serves to celebrate the culture of Antipolo and to honor the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. This month-long event showcases lively parades and colorful street dances to delight locals as well as tourists.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains, Carinderias, and Street Food
Antipolo has affordable dining choices that will suit the budget of backpackers. You have here fast food chains like the Jollibee and McDonalds in malls and town centers. Convenience stores like 7-11 also offer ready-to-eat meals at pocket-friendly prices. For those who would like to try the local cuisine, you can also try eateries for full meals or "ihaw-ihaw" stalls and "fishball" carts for snacks.
Aside from being a pilgrimage site and a resort and team building destination, Antipolo City is also a haven for foodies. You can find several restaurants here that offer varied cuisine so if you're in the mood for a food trip, Antipolo is just the place.
If you're a big eater, then Mom's Pot Restaurant will give you a bang for your buck. A buffet-style restaurant, it offers a variety of meals that will surely keep you filled for your adventure ahead. If barbecue, steaks, and pasta are your cravings for the day, then head to Tiolo to get your fill. Meanwhile, Tamagoya Noodle House serves sumptuous Japanese cuisine. Lastly, Crescent Moon Cafe offers you a unique dining experience. Not only does it have an unpredictable menu, it also has a pottery shop that offers ceramics.
Bars and clubs
Just along Sumulong Highway, you will find several pubs as well as restaurants and resorts with bars where you can get your nightcap. Have a couple of drinks with your buddies as you admire the view of the whole city from your seat at Padi's Point.
Where to Shop
Since Antipolo is a highly urbanized destination, you can expect that it has several malls that offer a variety of shopping stores and finds if you wish to buy some necessities and pasalubong. Popular shopping centers here include SM City Masinag, Robinsons Place Antipolo, and Victory Park & Shop.
Antipolo Public Market not only offers fresh produce but also different kinds of affordable merchandise like clothing. You can swing by here and grab some fresh ingredients if you will cook your own meals. If you find the price to be too steep, you can always haggle.
The Pasalubong Center, located just beside the Antipolo Cathedral, has several stalls that offer native delicacies like kasoy (cashew nuts) and suman (sticky rice cakes) so be sure to make a trip here before you leave so you can bring home some tasty treats for your family.
What to buy
Aside from suman and kasoy, don't forget to bring home kalamay especially if you have a sweet tooth. You can also buy some religious items like rosaries and statues of saints from community cooperatives and have them blessed at Antipolo Cathedral.
ATMs and Money Changers
There are several banks and ATM as well as money changers in the city center and in most of the shopping malls so you need not worry about not bringing enough cash or exchanging your foreign currency to Philippine peso.
Fare: PHP 30.00 to PHP 50.00
If you are coming from Cubao, jeepney fare costs about PHP 25.00, while shuttle van fares are about PHP 40.00 or more.
Food: PHP 100.00 to PHP 500.00
Eating at carinderias or fast food chains will set you back about a hundred pesos, but if you prefer comfort dining at restaurants, set aside PHP 300.00 to PHP 500.00 for a single meal.
Shopping: PHP 100.00 to PHP 500.00
Suman in Antipolo sells at about PHP 20.00++ for three pieces. You can haggle for good deals if you will buy in bulk.
Accommodation: PHP 1,000.00++
For a single night stay for two people, you can book a room at a resort for as low as about PHP 1000.00 pesos. But if you want to rent a whole house or villa for your family or friends, you can choose from accommodations priced from PHP 5,000.00 to about PHP 20,000.00.
Activities: PHP 200++
Pinto Art Museum charges an entrance fee of 200.00 PHP per head but students, senior citizens, and persons with disability (PWD) enjoy discounted rates.