Just when you think you have seen all Antipolo has to offer, think again. Last year I fell in love with Antipolo. So much so, I convinced my husband we should move out there and he was all on board. At the final moment I was the one who couldn’t pull the trigger. It is a huge regret and the Tayo Na Sa Antipolo 2016 tour did not help those fresh wounds. Oh Antipolo, your green sprawling spaces, delicious local delicacies and hidden gems have me crushing on you even harder than before. For those of you who love Antipolo or haven’t discovered her just yet, follow along and by the end I think you’ll be a convert.
We started our journey the same way voyagers did during the Mexican trade era, with a visit to the Antipolo Cathedral and Our Lady of Peace and Safe voyage. How very appropriate as we began our travels. I had yet to be inside a cathedral for a service here and enjoyed the few minutes we spent. While I am not Catholic I can appreciate the deep cultural roots tied with Catholicism here in The Philippines. If you also haven’t attended or spent much time in cathedrals this is a great starting place. It has a rich cultural history and ornate beauty.
Pasalubong, come one come all! Just to the left of the cathedral you will find pasalubong central with sukis offering free samples, you will become full by the end of the street. You must try the local kasoy (cashew nut) and suman (glutinous sticky rice). I am a suman addict and am now a kasoy addict. I brought home a kilo and have been adding the creamy nut to everything. To be honest, I would drive to Antipolo just to buy the nuts as they are raw local and affordable.
Not more than a ten minute drive you will find the newly renovated Hinulugang Taktak Falls. I was happy to see them cleaning and up keeping the falls. Read about my day trip to Hinulugang Taktak Falls.
Oh Vieux Chalet you really are a peach. Nestled on the side of the mountain, along with every other beautiful view in Antipolo, you will find a quaint family operated Swiss restaurant. You mustn’t skip it. In fact, it is worth a day trip to just come and enjoy a meal. Read more about our fantastic meal at Vieux Chalet next week.
Pinto Art Museum is what my dreams are made of. Not kidding, my husband and I went home after our first visit and talked about our dreams for a home inspired by our visit to Pinto. The grounds are dreamy enough to visit each month. They have added a learning center, library, amphitheater and many other exhibits since my last visit.
I didn’t expect to have a phenomenal chicken pesto linguini dish from a bakery/cafe. Cake Draft makes a dozen different cakes but I couldn’t get over their home made pesto!
From one restaurant to another who knew Antipolo would be such a foodie capital? I think it’s because of the great pride citizens of Antipolo take in their community and creations. Marison’s is unsuspecting but paks some serious ganern. (If you don’t know the tagalog phrase ‘pak ganern‘ let me help you. I learned this slang on the trip and love it!) The sweet mother and son duo spoke with us about how Marison’s came to be. The family wanted to bring a social dining experience to Antipolo instead of driving to Quezon City or Makati for graduations, birthdays and other celebrations. Marision’s offers just that, a delectable social dining experience. Using local kasoy in their kare kare and a twist on suman you have to put this on your list. The crowd pleaser is the fried kesong puti. I am telling you right now, you want at least two orders of these bad boys. I could not get enough!
Behold, Luljetta’s. She has sat on my “to visit” list for over a year. You better believe I jumped on the chance to explore one of my favorite places and finally relish in the beauty of Luljetta’s. Pools scaling a mountain side over looking the city? Sign me up. *Reservation required. More lust worthy photos and details are found here next week.
I am all about family centered activities, as you can tell Antipolo has no shortage. Loreland Farm Resort is new to me and has me wanting to bring the kids back for an epic water park day. Pools upon pools upon pools mixed with vegetation and views of Manila, I think it would make for quite the family outing.
Another old favorite is Crescent Moon Cafe and Pottery but with a new twist, the craft shack known as The Glass Barn. We were able to be at the opening ceremony for The Glass Barn and I am always humbled and uplifted by the entrepreneurial spirit of the Filipino. The family decided to open the Glass Barn so workshops would be available locally instead of driving into Quezon City or Makati. I will be teaching a basic sewing workshop there in November. I would love to see you there.
We definitely went out with a bang for a sun downer at Cloud 9. The views were remarkable. It was such an obscure feeling to be seeing our city from this view for the first time. As I stared out at Manila I couldn’t believe somewhere in that skyline was my family. We actually live in that big massive concrete jungle! Before the sun sets make sure you walk across the hanging bridge and check out the 360 view from the deck up there.
Antipolo you really are a lovely place that offers so much diversity. Perhaps someday when I get enough courage and braver goals I will make you home. Until then, I will visit as often as possible.
If you do not have a vehicle and live in Manila, no problem. Bienvenido Tours offers transportation in a new air conditioned van and a tailored tour to your preference. I highly recommend them as an option. Ramon has a deep love and pride for Antipolo and exudes from him in his knowledge of history or delicious dining experiences. He is a fantastic tour guide.