Named after the “tipolo,” or breadfruit tree that grew in bountiful amounts on the cool, breezy central highlands of Rizal Province, Antipolo City is about 26 kilometers east of the City of Manila. It is bordered on the west by Marikina City and the Municipality of Cainta; on the east by Quezon Province; on the south by the municipalities of Taytay, Teresa and Angono; on the southeast by the Municipality of Tanay; and, on the north by the municipalities of San Mateo and Rodriguez. This 30,610-hectare 1st class city became the capital of the Province of Rizal when Pasig City, the former provincial capital, became a part of Metro Manila in 1975.
Antipolo had its beginnings in 1578 when the Franciscan missionaries built a church in Boso-Boso. Soon, a community grew and flourished and in 1626, Governor-General Juan Nino de Tabora bequeathed to the Antipolo church the image of the Virgin Mary that he brought from Acapulco, Mexico. The image survived numerous conflicts and pillages through centuries of wars and rebellion and this highland city played a prominent role in the country’s epic struggles for freedom in its journey towards nationhood. In 1898, it was a part of the Philippine Revolutionary Government and was the center of the guerilla resistance movement nearest to Manila during the Japanese occupation in World War II.
Throughout these turbulent times, the image was brought to safe havens in Cavite and Acapulco. Aptly named, “Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage,” the Virgin of Antipolo has thousands of devotees from Manila, the surrounding towns and provinces who trek the mountain trails, foothills and springs during the Holy Week to attend the Holy Mass at the Antipolo Cathedral. This annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage at the Cathedral of Antipolo earned for the city the monicker, “Pilgrimage City.”
What to see in Antipolo
While this highland city does not offer white sand beaches and pounding surf, it is endowed with a breathtaking view of Metro Manila and its surrounding towns and captivating natural attractions and scenic spots. A visit to this Pilgrimage City will also give the intrepid traveler the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the devotion of people to our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. These spots are many and varied, and are not limited to the following:
The Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage: Located in the Cathedral of Antipolo sitting right in the center of the city, the Shrine of the Virgin of Antipolo attracts many travelers who are wishing for a safe journey. Every year starting in the evening of April 30 until dawn of the following day, devotees travel on foot from Quiapo Church in Manila all the way up to our Lady’s Shrine in a journey called “Alay Lakad” to commemorate the transfer of the holy image from its sanctuary in Quiapo Church to the Pilgrimage City after the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese invaders.
Hinulugang Taktak: When one thinks of Antipolo, Hinulagang Taktak waterfalls always invariably comes to mind. The well-arranged area around the waterfalls which had been declared a National Park contains picnic cottages, a swimming pool, pathways and walks that afford a nice view of the falls. During the merry month of May, live cultural plays and concerts that are held in this resort add to the fun and entertainment. Entrance fee to the park is P8.00, and if the hot weather entices you to take a dip in the pool, just add an extra P15.00.
The Mystical Cave: This natural underground rock formation also attracts many religious devotees especially during the Lenten Season because the stalactite and stalagmite limestone formations eerily resemble religious icons and images. This place is owned by Inday Deles of Iloilo who traveled around the Philippines in search of this mystical cave whose vision had been coming to her in her dreams since she was seven years old. The entrance fee to the cave is P30.00 inclusive of a guided tour.
Where to Eat In Antipolo
A great view that complements great food is what defines the places to eat in this Pilgrimage City overlooking crowded Metro Manila. Some of the places where you can have great chow and great sights are the following:
Padi’s Point: Located on a cliff overlooking Metro Manila along the winding Sumulong Road on the outskirts of Antipolo City. Eating and drinking while enjoying the sunset view of the metropolis is an experience you will never forget. The food is eclectic and reasonably priced.
Antipolo City, Rizal
Crescent Moon Café: This place features Southeast Asian food without the artificial flavorings and seasonings that are in curry dishes found in many Pan Asian and Pacific Rim cooking. The cooks here do not scrimp on expensive spices and are more generous with genuine coconut milk which is often sorely wanting in many Thai restaurants. Try their Alagao appetizer or yummy suman for desert while gazing at the exotic koi fishes that populate the two ponds in the restaurant compound. This place is quite difficult to find, and only the most persistent of gourmets are rewarded with the pleasure of having their taste buds tickled with its famous culinary delights. The menu is a bit pricey at USD11.00 – 20.00, or P440.00 – P800.00 converted at current forex rates.
Baragay Dalig, Antipolo City
Tel. No. 630-5854
Vieux Chalet: If you want a good hearty meal of authentic French, German or Italian style of cooking, try this Swiss restaurant that is set near the Hinulugang Taktak falls. While this place is a bit pricey at USD11.00 – 20.00, or P440.00 – P800.00 converted at current forex rates, the experience is well worth it.
Antipolo City, Rizal Province
Tel. No. 697-0396
Where to Stay in Antipolo
Overlook Resort: Located along a newly laid road called Overlook Drive, after which it was named, this resort has 30 rooms that can accommodate 4 people in each room. Starting at USD20.00 or P800.00 converted at current forex rates, Guests can be accommodated in an airconditioned room with TV, private shower and toilet and an overlooking view of Metro Manila in some parts of the resort. Additional resort amenities are two pools, two seminar rooms and a restaurant.
Antipolo City, Rizal Province
Tel. Nos. +632-696-0240 or 696-0054
Seven Suites Hotel Observatory: This place is so named because it has a huge telescope and a resident astronomer that helps guests use the telescope and explain awesome celestial bodies. A room can be snagged for a hefty USD80.00 -120.00, or P3,200.00 – P4,800.00 at current forex rates, but it comes with free use of wi-fi, DVD player and movies from the hotel selection, good food and fast and professional service, A/C rooms, minibar and cable TV.
Antipolo City, Rizal
Tel. Nos. 490-6407; 682-0330;and, 682-2076
How to Get to Antipolo
Manila to Antipolo and Back: The nearest province to Manila is Rizal, so getting to Antipolo City is no problem. The easiest and fastest way to get there from Manila is to take the Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT2) train at any station which will take you all the way up to Santolan Station. From there, hop into a jeepney or FX cab bound for the Antipolo Cathedral. The fare from here is about P35.00 and the train ride from Manila will cost about P30.00.
Cebu to Antipolo and Back: To reach Antipolo from Cebu, you can either fly or sail from Cebu to Manila. Approximate cost of a round trip plane ticket is P4,000.00 – P5,000.00 while a round trip boat fare is approximately P3,000.00 – P4,000.00. If your point of disembarkation is the Manila Domestic Airport, you can take a cab or a bus from there to the LRT2 Station in Cubao and board the train to Santolan. The taxi fare from the airport is about P200.00 to P300.00 (one way), while the bus fare is less than P30.00 (one way). If your point of disembarkation is the Pier Area, you can take a jeepney or cab to the LRT2 Station in C.M. Recto Avenue in Manila and board the train for Santolan. The taxi fare from the Pier Area to the LRT2 Station is about P100.00-P150.00, while the jeepney fare is cheaper at P7.50 (one way).
Dumaguete to Antipolo and Back: To reach Antipolo from Dumaguete, you can fly from Dumaguete to Manila. Approximate cost of a round trip plane ticket is P4,000.00 – P5,000.00. From the Manila Domestic Airport, you can take a cab or a bus from to the LRT2 Station in Cubao and board the train to Santolan. The taxi fare from the airport is about P200.00 to P300.00 (one way), while the bus fare is less than P30.00 (one way).