Top 12 Places To Visit In Rizal Province 2019 [Updated]
Written and updated by Dezza, 12 January 2019.
I mentioned in my last blog that I will be featuring the best places to visit in the five provinces that make up the Calabarzon region in Luzon, situated just to the south and southeast of Manila. One of the main reasons for doing the feature on Calabarzon was to give you some ideas on places you can travel to during the wet season. This means places you can reach by road without the hassle of having flights cancelled etc in the event of rain. You can decide at very short notice if you wish to visit these places and most of them can be enjoyed in a day without the need for an overnight stay.
The first of the five provinces of Calabarzon that I will cover is Rizal. Rizal province which is named after José Rizal, one of the national heroes of the Philippines. Rizal province has a very diverse landscape that features many amazing rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and caves all set among beautiful tropical forest.
The provincial capital, Antipolo, has some spectacular mountain scenery, art galleries, and old churches. It is also the most populous city in the Calabarzon region and the seventh most populous city in the Philippines. It is famous as a pilgrimage site and has a lot of historical significance dating back to the Spanish colonial era.
Rizal province offers a lot to see and do and is easily accessible from Manila. It is one of the most popular Philippines destinations not just because of the natural beauty, but also the history. There are dozens of places to visit in Rizal, but the following are the places that I have been to and can personally recommend for 2019.
1). Hinulugang Taktak National Park
Hinulugang Taktak National Park is located in Antipolo City, the provincial capital of Rizal. This is a great little getaway with a spectacular waterfall surrounded by some nice picnic huts where you can relax with some lunch. Unfortunately, this river system is subject to a lot of littering and pollution, making the water quite murky and unpleasant, definitely, not suitable for swimming. However, there is a swimming pool at Hinulugang Taktak but on weekends and holidays, it is crowded with locals so it’s best to avoid going there during these times.
Google Maps: Hinulugang Taktak
Due to its rich religious history dating back to the 1500’s with the arrival of Franciscan monks, Antipolo has also become a very popular pilgrimage site and is often referred to as the “Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines.” There are a number of popular churches here as a result. Even if you aren’t religious, some of these buildings are spectacular and worth a look if you are in the area. Antipolo Cathedral (formally known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage). The church itself has suffered numerous incidents of damage, namely earthquakes and fires. If you are a fan of history, then the churches in Antipolo are a good place to visit and learn.
3). Pinto Art Museum
One of the more unique places of interest in Antipolo is the Pinto Art Museum, which is a set of Mediterranean inspired buildings that feature various artwork from canvas paintings through to sculptures. There is also a couple of very nice restaurants with a nice relaxing ambience and good food, making it well worthwhile to head out there for lunch whilst taking in the wonderfully landscaped gardens and unique building structures. Even if you’re not into art, it is well worth a visit.
Google Maps: Pinto Art Museum
4). Tinipak River
Tinipak River is located at Mt. Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal, around 2-3 hours drive from Manila. To get to Tinipak River is quite an adventure but there is ample signage on the main highway and the locals are quite helpful in helping you find the Barangay Hall. After a brief orientation at the Barangay Hall and registration area, you take a tricycle to Tinipak River which takes about 20 minutes. From there this is where the hike begins. The rock formations along the river are absolutely unbelievable and unlike anything, I have seen before. The colour of the water in the river is also very unique. It has an emerald/ turquoise appearance to it and looks like artificial colours have been added to it. Check out the vlog from my Tinipak River experience. In my opinion, this is one of the best places in the Philippines.
Google Maps: Tinipak River
5). Nagpatong Rock
Nagpatong Rock is located in Tanay, Rizal, around two hours from Manila. The hike starts off fairly easy but after about an hour it gets quite difficult. After about 1 km you reach the first stop which was a little hut selling various drinks and snacks. From then on the track becomes very rocky. There are some parts where you almost needed to crawl on your hands and knees up the rocks to get to the next level. This hike isn’t recommended for young children and should really only be attempted by fairly fit individuals. Check out my vlog on Nagpatong Rock which contains some epic drone footage.
Google Maps: Nagpatong Rock
6). Palo Alto Falls
Palo Alto Falls are actually located in the Palo Alto Leisure and Residential Estates. This is a 200 hectare prime residential and commercial estate set in the Sierra Madre mountain range. To reach the waterfall, there are 249 concrete steps which are relatively easy to negotiate and to get to the falls only takes about 10-15 minutes. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and have been well thought out, making it a safe and easy place to visit and enjoy. The waterfall itself is a natural waterfall. As part of the landscaping effort, the rock pool into which the water cascades has been paved so that it’s easy to walk around in. There are also a number of cabanas around the rock pool which make for a great way to chill out for the afternoon with a picnic and a few drinks with family and friends.
Google Maps: Palo Alto Falls
7). Daranak Falls
Daranak Falls is one of the most popular destinations in Tanay, Rizal province. With its refreshing water coming from the Sierra Madre mountain range, it’s a very popular summer getaway for locals and can get very busy during this time. This 20-meter high waterfall and the surrounds are well maintained making it a truly a beautiful and relaxing sight. The facility has cottages, souvenir shops and restaurants serving local food so is a great place for a day trip.
Google Maps: Daranak Falls
8). Batlag Falls
Batlag Falls is only about a ten-minute walk from Daranak Falls, and can only be accessed via Daranak Falls. The walking track from Daranak Falls is reasonably well maintained and safe for walking. Batlag Falls is like a series of waterfalls falling from the top of a set of rocks, that is about 30-40 metres wide. The waterfalls cascade into two basins which are suitable for swimming. There are also tables and chairs so that you can enjoy a picnic with family and friends.
Google Maps: Batlag Falls
9). Calinawan Cave
This is a privately owned cave and is a sensational looking multi-level cave system. There are various chambers, stalactites, stalagmites, and creepy rock formations in which ghoulish faces appear. The walking paths through the cave are not very difficult, so you don’t really need to have any caving experience to enjoy this. The guides have flashlights and make the tour fairly easy. Depending on how often you stop, the tour of the caves takes anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. Check out more here about Calinawan Cave.
Google Maps: Calinawan Cave
10). Angono Petroglyphs
The Angono petroglyphs are located approximately 25 kilometres from Manila. The site is actually a museum located on the border of the municipalities of Angono and Binangonan. The Angono petroglyphs are considered to be the oldest known work of rock art in the Philippines at over 4,000 years old. There are 127 different human and animal figures engraved on to the rock wall. To get to the site, you walk through a man-made tunnel which in itself is also spectacular. If you are interested in ancient history, it’s worth going to check out. Check out my vlog on the Angono Petroglyphs to learn more.
Google Maps: Angono Petroglyphs
11). Cloud 9 Antipolo
Located along the Sumulong Highway in Antipolo is Cloud 9, which is a popular sports and leisure club with a decent local restaurant. There isn’t anything necessarily special about Cloud 9 however, you get some absolutely amazing views of the entire Metro Manila. If you get there at around about 4 p.m. you can relax with a couple of drinks and catch the sunset, and then watch as Metro Manila comes alive with all the lights coming on across this sprawling metropolis. It really is a spectacular sight. Padi’s Point is also another popular restaurant that is located nearby with equally as spectacular views.
Google Maps: Cloud 9 Sports and Leisure Club
12). Mystical Cave
If you are after a little bit of adventure you can also check out Mystical Cave which is on the outskirts of Antipolo City. This is a little bit of a pilgrimage site with the water and rocks inside the cave allegedly containing magical healing powers. This is a very popular destination during holy week (Easter). The location isn’t too difficult to find and the hike to get there isn’t overly vigorous. The path leading to the cave has paved steps and is about a 15-minute walk. The cave itself has a relatively narrow entrance but once inside it opens up revealing some spectacular rock formations. There is some lighting inside which helps you to be able to take in the full beauty and mystery of this cave. It’s well worth a look if you are in the area.
Google Maps: Mystical Cave
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