Guest Author - Rachel Meneses-Ponce
East of Metro Manila is Rizal, the province named after the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. It originally has 26 towns, but 12 of its town were made part of Metropolitan Manila when it was created in the ‘70s. The remaining towns and one city are: Angono, Antipolo, Baras, Binangonan, Cainta, Cardona, Montalban (Rodriguez), Morong, Pililia, San Mateo, Tanay, Taytay, Teresa and Jala-Jala. Antipolo City is the capital of Rizal Province.
There are many things one can do when visiting Rizal. Visit churches and learn of the beautiful architectural designs that withstood time. The most visited is the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage also known as Antipolo Cathedral or Nuestra Senora de Paz y Buenviaje. See art exhibits; trek and experience Daranak and Batlag Falls; go on a food trip, swim, or simply relax and enjoy the view and rustic atmosphere of the Province of Rizal while ensconced in modern amenities offered by hotels and resorts in the area.
Rizal Province is very accessible. It has good roads and transport system. It can be reached either by private car or public transportation (jeepney, shuttle service, bus). If you do not want to go further, you can go straight to Antipolo City via Marcos Highway from Cubao, Quezon City or via Ortigas Avenue from Makati. Marcos Highway has lesser traffic than Ortigas Avenue so this is a better route to take via C5 Road from Makati. Once in Antipolo City, there are several things you can choose to engage in. If you want to keep things simple, you can drive over numerous bars/pubs and resorts that offer good food and an overlooking view of nearby Metropolitan Manila, notably Pasig and Makati and the serene view of Laguna de Bay. These resorts also have facilities for swimming, social receptions, business conferences and conventions.
If you desire to go further, Tanay is a good destination. The winding road leading to it is part of the thrill and adventure. A good site to visit at Tanay is the Daranak Falls which has maintained its pristine beauty despite it being a favourite location for movies. Another is the Batlag Falls which is farther away than Daranak Falls. Swimming or dipping in the cool waters of these falls is a good respite from the heat in the city. Word of caution though; the water at Daranak Falls is so clear one’s eyes can see clearly what’s underneath. Because of this, many were tricked into thinking that a particular spot is shallow, only to be surprised that it is deep. It is good sense to take necessary precautions if you are not a swimmer or unfamiliar with the place. Entrance fee is very minimal, less than a dollar for adults and children below four feet are free. Strict adult supervision is a must though.
Angono, another municipality in Rizal Province is another place worth visiting. Angono is regarded as the art capital of the Philippines where most well-known and highly regarded Filipino art masters hail. This is also where the historical and anthropological petroglyphs are found.
The other towns of Rizal Province are likewise worth exploring. Each has its own unique characteristics which appeal to local and foreign tourists.