I have been trying to visit Antipolo for the longest time. It has seemed that whenever I have tried to organise it something has put my plans on hold. Well not anymore! Last week I grabbed my friend, her baby and my children and off we went. It was totally awesome!
Wednesday was a local holiday in our area where the children’s school was, so it was a perfect day to head out. We did want an early start to have as much time in the Province as we could however as with everything, stuff happens. We didn’t get on the road until around eleven thirty that morning. Despite this, we had reached this small town within about twenty minutes. This is possibly a record as you can usually expect about an hour to get to this destination.
City Scape of Manila, from Antipolo
The drive to Antipolo starts the same as every drive. Navigating your way through thick traffic. Our driver carefully negotiating road space as we looked out the window watching daily life go by. Before you know it the space is less crowded and the road becomes winding. You find yourself heading into the mountains. Rainforest flora hanging onto tall mountainous cliffs which rise along the roadside. The view from the other side of us opens out to a great expanse. It becomes a little bit lovelier than it was before.
We stopped at a café perched on the side of a cliff to take in the view. Despite the smoggy and cloudy day, the panorama of Manila in the distance was quite breathtaking. Standing there I reflected on how I still feel like Alice in Wonderland when I think about this new place I inhabit. Despite being relatively ingrained in life now, it is all still new and enticing. Despite the setbacks we have been having, I crave more of this life. I just need a little space for now.
Refreshing gardens enclose you as you make the steep decline down to the falls
Our first stop on this trip was to the waterfalls called Hinulugang Taktak. Arriving at the location of the falls we felt a little cautious as there was no clear parking with just a small gate to enter through. Once we walked through the gates however, it felt as we had discovered a secret garden. A steep incline led us through lush green gardens and tall trees, down into a valley within the mountainous terrain. BB thought the walk down was awesome fun as it was so steep. At the base a large viewing platform opened out where we could stand and take in the gorgeous surrounds. The waterfall stands tall, falling off the rock face with a veracity that is so refreshing. The spray of water was cooling and the beautiful rushing sound of the waterfall was soothing to my soul. There is something so magical about the sound of water.
A wooden bridge connects the other side of the small river bed that runs off the falls and takes you to a strip of colourful gazebos, just perfect for having a picnic. My friend and I were so impressed with this site. It was clean and it was so serene. We imagined that weekends would see the place crowded but we were lucky to be here with only a few other visitors. We sat at a gazebo chatting while my friend fed her baby and the children explored the gardens. BB became very excited as he found the ground was littered with broken tiles and porcelain. I’m not sure where it was from but BB loved collecting pieces varying in shape, colour and design. I told him we could make a mosaic with it all when we got home (as I write this he is still carrying it around like precious treasure so no mosaic making yet).
Arriving here, the relief I felt was instant . At last, I was out of that city I was in conflict with. Away to get some much needed space. I felt renewed and excited that this place was such a short distance
Taking in the View
We climbed our way back to the top of the mountain to the car and went off to our next destination. Pinto Art Museum. We wound our way around the mountains on tight winding roads. Down steep inclines and around sharp corners we started to wonder if we were lost. Before long we found ourselves parked outside the front entrance. A gorgeous Spanish style gate with heavy wooden doors greeted us and I immediately felt excited. Walking through the entrance we found ourselves once again in a secret garden. This time it felt like you had stepped through to another world.
Set on 1.2 hectares this place is a delight to the senses as you wander through gardens, along pathways, in and around the variety of buildings housing an impressive array of art. The children delighted in exploring all of the water features finding fish and frogs lazily resting in the cool waters. Couches and old beds lay scattered around under trees for visitors to lay, rest on, and take in the beautiful serenity of this place.
Pinto Art Museum
By the time we arrived at Pinto it was late and we headed straight to the café for lunch. We enjoyed sitting outside under trees on old beds as we waited for our food. The children collected frangipanis as we looked around the garden taking in as much as we could by sitting and observing. Suddenly the skies opened and the rains came. We were quickly moved indoors which was still lovely as we listened to the trickle of a water feature and looked around at the art covered walls. We had a lovely lunch and by the end it was so late we did not get to explore every nook and cranny in the place. We were excited however, to have finally found our way here and were eager to bring our partners back another day to fully explore this landscape.
Driving home I felt at peace. I had at last had a lovely experience getting out of the city. I had finally found my way to Antipolo which is such a special little place. I could not wait to share my adventure with SB and suggest we come back for a family road trip and really get to know this area a whole lot better.
Antipolo is the capitol city in the Province of Rizel located east of Manila. It is considered one of the most religious places in and around Manila due to its history. Sitting on the mountain ridges ‘capturing the sunlight’; Tipolo trees grow freely here, which have large leaves that it is said fan the breeze. It is these trees that the name of the town is based on.
This waterfall is found in the Province of Rizel. It sits within a National Park and has been proclaimed as a National Historical Shrine back in 1990.
The legend behind the falls is interesting. Supposedly back in the 16th century the townspeople were bothered by the noise of a church bell rung during Angelus. They implored the local priest to get rid of it so he dropped it in a river which is where the falls are. The name actually means ‘where the bell was dropped’.
Located at Taktak Road, Antipolo, Rizel
This museum is a gorgeous Spanish inspired garden filled with small white washed buildings housing local art. The gardens are as much a part of the art as that which sits on the walls, with water features and small sculptures sitting snug amongst the trees and leafy greenery that fills the space.
Located at 1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights Subdivision, Antipolo, Rizel.