If you’re from Manila or nearby cities, a break from the norm calls for a little out of town trip. This calls for fresh unpolluted air, scenic views, a good amount of food, a little dash of culture - and perhaps a bit of wisdom so you could go back recharged, ready to face the world and work for a living.
Most of you won’t be able to go to provinces and spend a fortune on travel. The funds, the distance (and your friends’ additional excuses) would definitely be a deal breaker when you take a breather. This is why you ought to consider your next destination to be Antipolo. Its proximity to Metro Manila, the accessibility of commute to and from the city, the scrumptious food, and tons of activities you could do would surprise you.
For those who have visited the so called “City in the Sky,” let yourself rediscover this first-class city. Try taking it a step further and get to know that it’s more than just a place for pilgrims.
Take yourself off the beaten path and see things you haven’t been to because Antipolo has so much to offer. Thinking of a place to stay is not much of a problem because Antipolo has several hotels and resorts that are very affordable.
Luljetta’s Garden Suites
Located at Sitio Loreland, Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City, Luljetta’s Garden Suites provides refuge for your family. Several floors of views overlooking the Antipolo mountain ranges, this place has a jacuzzi, several pools, a fish spa, wet and dry saunas, a massage area, several IG-worthy spots and cozy rooms that can accommodate big groups and families. Make sure you visit Luljetta’s Cafe for their Suman with caramel and cashew nuts (all sourced in Antipolo).
Mount Purro Nature Reserve
Mount Purro Nature Reserve is part of the Upper Marikina Watershed. It sits at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain range located at Purok 5, Barangay Calawis, Antipolo City. It’s a bit of a drive from the city center but very accessible and is available for day trips or stays. It’s an oasis full of fruit-bearing trees and hardwood, a place where you can say Antipolo’s flora is just amazing!
They also have been working with the local tribe called Dumagats who will teach you how to start a fire with sticks and dried leaves. They also have cooking demos utilizing the day’s harvest and teach you how to survive in the forest. They also have a pool that is not so deep that can be used by the whole family. They also have several cottages designed for large groups, perfect for a short family getaway or company team-building activities. The family who owns the place (Toto and Baby) are descendants of General Miguel Malvar so you also get a bit of history with his memorabilia. They are very warm and hospitable and might sit with you while having lunch at Loli’s Kitchen, which serves a buffet of organic Filipino food. They also have a nature trail, where an hour-and-a-half trek could get you to the summit. It’s a nice place to get your kids started to experience nature and the beauty of the outdoors.
FASHION AND ART
There are also tons of creative people in Antipolo. You’ll love how diverse and imaginative they are when it comes to fashion and the arts. Who would have known that celebrated brands actually came from this city? We took time to find out.
Obra Ni Juan
Homegrown and proud, Obra Ni Juan supplies finely crafted formal and casual wear for huge malls here and outside the country. Their formal barongs and dresses have all been modernized and made not just with hand embroidery, but played with permanent prints that are hand painted so you get fine works of art in every garment you get from them.
Arrangements can also be made if you want to visit their warehouse, but their showroom is open to the public only during office hours. They employ locals, skilled moms and former employees that could work at home. The quality gives them an edge even with the proliferation of cheap products from other countries, and you’ll see why on the clothes they come out with. The company is also all in the family, even the models, with genuine Filipino design, so how can they go wrong? Their office is located at Sitio Ligtasan Street, Antipolo City.
This place sits at the end of Gen. Luna Street, Antipolo. It bleeds that feeling that “an artist lives here,” filled wall to wall with works of art connected to existing Inday Cadapan Home Gallery where the works of Madame Magel Cadapan and her beloved mother is displayed. Aside from that, Chef Liz Montealegre prepares hardcore Antipolo native dishes including really good Lumpiang Pabasa (often served during Holy Week),
They also serve food without additives. You must order the Suman sa Lihiya (Rice Cake in Lye Water) and have it together with tea or Chocolate de Batirol (Thick Hot Cocoa). They, of course, have their own spin on things so it’s another food adventure. This cafe and tour of the home is only available by appointment. You may arrange it via the Cafe Inday Facebook page or through Bienvenido Tours. If you’re a fan of art, fond of sculptures and good hearty food, this is the perfect place for you.
Boso Boso Highlands Resort
This was previously known as the great motor-stop for bikers passing through Antipolo. It’s a full-fledged resort now complete with huge function halls, rooms and a coffee shop armed with a majestic view of the Antipolo mountains. You can spend your quiet mornings here plus a few bucks on their Cafe Cristina TapSiLogs (paired meals) and coffee.
First Pacific Leadership Academy
This is a center founded by Manny V. Pangilinan initially to train and equip their executives with skills and knowledge before and during their stint in MVP’s corporations. They have now opened this to the public including their restaurants, conference facilities and accommodations and have already hosted tons of events as a venue for team-building activities, birthdays and weddings. Their quest is to produce champions and they’ve done remarkable work with their learning programs,, which they can design and create according to your needs. This would be good for manpower development, make them armed and knowledgeable about the latest trends if they want to invest more on their people. Their Executive Residences were designed for CEOs and business people in mind. Their function rooms and mess halls are also named after MVP companies so you’ll feel right at home.
Their published rates for the rooms liken 5 stars hotels (and feel they are) but they usually have this packaged with the learning programs, which can be acquired for a much better rate, pretty good for corporate occasions.
Tipulo Modern Filipino Cuisine
Inside the First Pacific Leadership Academy grounds is Tipulo Modern Filipino Cuisine. They have pretty good versions of Filipino favorites and by the looks of it, they’ve spent valuable time curating each dish they serve. Suggested options are Lumpiang Ubod, Sinigang na Hipon, Ox Tail Kare Kare and their hit dish Crispy Pata Tim.
Eugenio Lopez Center
This place served as a previous mansion and vacation house of the Lopez family and then converted into a training center for the Lopez Group of Companies. Opened to the public for a couple of years now, they host various events, conferences and weddings. It sits atop one of Antipolo’s highest peaks and has one of the most amazing views of the metro. They also have affordable rooms for those who would like to have a quick getaway, a pool, and a restaurant that could rival the best of Manila, a place called Oscar’s!
Try also their Fried Samosas, Chori Burger and the Sinigang na Bangus in Roasted Watermelon. This would be an ideal place for a romantic and intimate dinner, not much of a crowd but good hearty food just gets you in the mood. Open to the public and can be booked via elcenter.com.ph or other hotel booking apps. It is located at Sumulong Highway in Antipolo City.
Santiago Brewery and Malthouse
The craft beer industry has been bullish and Antipolo has earmarked a good representation with Santiago Brewery and Malthouse. Their Santiago Beer named after often used Antipolo weather terms just felt apt for those who want to find something special, not your everyday lager.
With malt, hops and yeast, owner and Master Brewer James Gatlabayan initially did it in pots as a hobby. Seeing promise with his malt supply, he has gotten help from the Department of Science and Technology. Now they provide over 20 types of malt, and his beer line is already being supplied in events, weddings, and special occasions here and in nearby provinces. You may get in touch with them via santiagobrewery.com or their social media channels. They’ve got pretty good stuff!
Evidently, Antipolo has so much to offer. Whether you've been here or not, there are still so much places to go to, so many food to savor and very interesting people to meet. You should start rediscovering Antipolo, we just did!