If you’re looking for a place of history, festivities and culinary delight just outside Metro Manila then you have to look no farther than the City of Antipolo — home of the Antipolo Cathedral, great restaurants, the Tipulo festival, Hinulugang Taktak eco park, and a view of the Manila Skyline.
Located in the Province of Rizal to the east of Metro Manila, it is literally on the periphery of the metropolis and is an amazing mixture of urban and rural lifestyles and is always welcoming of visitors and tourists.
Getting to Antipolo
Short of taking a taxi for P500.00 or renting a car, the easiest way to get to the city would be get on the Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT 2). Go to any station of the LRT2, the ones with a purple trains (you’ll know it’s the LRT2 station because it looks new), and get a ticket to the Santollan station, it’s the last station away from Manila. The ticket should cost about 18.00 Pesos and the trip should take no more than 20 minutes. Once you go down at the Santollan Station, go out and you’ll immediately see a number of jeepneys waiting at the entrance.
Look for the jeepneys with signs that say Antipolo Simbahan, pay the fare which is roughly around 21-25 Pesos and after an exciting 45 minute jeep ride up the mountain, you’ll find yourself at the outskirts and once you disembark, you’ll be met by a number of tricycle drivers, they’ll charge you about 30 pesos for a one way trip to the Cathedral but you can also opt to walk. I suggest just walking to the main street and you’ll see the Cathedral in the distance.
Where to Stay in Antipolo
If you’re thinking of staying overnight in Antipolo to fully experience what the City has to offer then the city has a number of small and large hotels and resorts to accommodate you and your companions.
One of the newest and probably the best hotel in Antipolo is the Seven Suites Hotel Observatory. The first hotel observatory in the country, it has a powerful telescope and an unobstructed view of the skies to ensure that stargazers get a perfect view of the heavens while staying in luxuriously appointed rooms. Of course all this comfort comes at a price: the Deluxe Rooms are P5,040.00, the Silver Rooms are P6,160.00, and the Suites Range from P7,840.00 to P12,320.00.
If you’re looking for a resort with rooms then Overlook Resort and Conference Center is your best candidate. Priding itself as the expat’s choice and conference venue in Antipolo, Overlook has a swimming pool, game room, and function rooms for guests. The accommodations are reasonably priced, the Standard rooms are P1,500.00, Executive Rooms are 2,500.00, Group rooms good for 5-10 people are P4,500.00.
Another quaint place to stay at in Antipolo is Bougainville Suites and Resort. It’s got a swimming pool, whirlpool, Videoke Rooms, Meeting and Function Rooms as well as an in-house restaurant to cater to the needs of guests. The rooms are P2,200.00 for Standard, P3,000.00 for Deluxe and P3,500.00 for the Family Suite.
Alay Lakad: Our Lady of Antipolo
One of the primary attractions of Antipolo as a pilgrimage city is the image of the Virgin Mary called Our Lady of Antipolo. During the evening of Holy Thursday, thousands of devotees would flock to the Quiapo Church to make the 25 kilometer journey to Antipolo on foot in the hope that their prayers will be granted.
The Antipolo Cathedral
As a pilgrimage City, the very first thing you’ll see when you get to the heart of Antipolo is the Cathedral. The cathedral is surrounded by the famous Tipolo trees and although the Cathedral has been renovated a number of times, the grandeur of old Spanish architecture still remains intact.
Now don’t think that Antipolo is just about religion, the City has a number of other treats for visitors. Located on the mountains of Rizal, the City affords visitors a breathtaking view of Manila. The Vieux Chalet one of the best kept secrets for dinner and drinks in the City, being around for more almost 30 years, this Swiss Restaurant with amazing European Cuisine, you can dine with a view of Metro Manila’s Skyline.
Try checking out the Crescent Moon Café in the heart of the city for a unique dining experience, no menus just get called to the table and expect a pleasant surprise.
If you’re looking for more drinking and less dining with a view then you’ve got a choice between Padi’s Point in Antipolo, Cloud 9 and the newest addition to the group is Grilla. While these are usually some distance from the City Center, the panoramic view of the Manila Skyline and the stars from the viewing deck and the drinks and food companions will make it well worth the travel.
Other things to do in the city include visiting the eco-park and waterfalls known as “Hinulugang Taktak”. These waterfalls have been a picnic and swimming destination for families since the 1980s and the area around the eco-park has hotels and food establishments to cater to the needs of visitors.
The Tipulo Festival every May 1 is a celebration of the history of City’s humble beginnings and its traditions. During the festival, many of the old families cook up their special dishes and lay them out for everyone to taste, for a price that is. So if you happen to be there during that time be sure to taste everything that you see. But its just one of many festivities in the City. For more information and schedules check
As a city at the fringe of Metro Manila still possessing many of its natural beauty Antipolo is fast become a tourism getaway for many urbanites. I suggest that when you travel to the Philippines and you find yourself in Manila, just take a day trip to this historic city, its only about an hour and a half by car or taxi but the pictures and the memories of the hospitality of the residents will last you a lifetime.