It’s not always essential to visit far-flung destinations for a taste of adventure. Just an hour or two away from Metro Manila, the sweeping natural landscape of Rizal offers an amazing plethora of untapped adventures. And with limited travel options available in the wake of the pandemic, why not take the opportunity to explore this nearby province that we so often take for granted?
The Wilderness Of Tanay
Perfect for: Nature lovers, hikers, and adventurers
Highlights: Nagpatong Rocks, Mt. Daraitan and Tinipak River, Daranak Falls
Magnificent mountains. Craggy cliffs. Towering waterfalls. Picture-perfect rivers. Flanked by the imposing mountain ranges of the Sierra Madre, Tanay has been a favorite destination of hikers for many years. But despite its popularity, much of the landscape remains rugged, remote, and relatively unspoiled. Friendly locals are expert guides—and usually fun, conversational hiking companions!
Each member of your nature-loving family will find a personal favorite in Tanay. Perhaps the most picturesque is the twin limestone cliffs known as Nagpatong Rock, while the blinding white rock formations in the Tinapak River are great for family pictures. Other highlights include hiking the Mt. Maynoba and Mt.Cayabu loop, swimming at Daranak Falls or Batlag Falls, and exploring the historic Calinawan Cave.
And before leaving the mountains, make sure to try the delicious wood-fired pizza at the beautiful Lutong Pugon next to the studio of local artist Jun Tiongco. Trust us, nothing’s better than a perfect slice (or more) after a grueling trek!
Perfect for: Barkada bonding and anyone ready for a new adventure
Highlights: Discovery Trail, rope courses such as the giant hammock
Deep in Baras, Rizal is a stunning landscape of ancient limestone bluffs, caves, and dense rainforest. Here you’ll find Masungi Georeserve, a conservation project that seeks to preserve this natural wonder and to foster an appreciation for this unique rainforest sanctuary among travelers. It has transformed into one of the most popular spots in Rizal, a wonderful destination to kick off a new love affair with nature.
Gather a minimum of seven travelers ages 13 years and above—and make sure each one is ready for a fun outdoor excursion. Most visitors opt for the three- to four-hour Discovery Trail, a trek-slash-obstacle course through the limestone and karst landscape with rope courses, caves, and even the occasional wildlife peeking from behind the trees! If you’re traveling with the family, the Family Trail is a similar trail that’s faster, easier, and appropriate for all ages.
Perfect for: Adrenaline junkies
Highlights: Driving an ATV, of course!
For an off-road adventure that will speed you through the spectacular vistas of Rizal, consider an ATV ride. Tours to Wawa Dam, Rizal through the Manila ATV Experience are available, taking travelers on a thrilling drive through grassy fields, muddy trails, and everything in between. ATV Adventures Rizal also offers a wide range of off-road tours, including forest trails and an eight-hour jungle adventure. Few activities in Rizal are as exciting as a bumpy 4×4 journey through the wild.
Perfect for: Anyone who wants to learn a new sport
Highlights: Achieving a bulls-eye (or even a close call)
Unleash arrows like Katniss Everdeen and Robin Hood by trying out an archery class in Rizal. Getting the hang of a bow and arrow is more of a challenge than it appears onscreen—but it’s seriously fun and addicting, too! If you’re looking for a unique adventure with the fam, there are a few archery ranges available in Rizal, including an outdoor range at ATV Adventures Rizal’s Antipolo facility and an indoor range in Thunderbird Resort and Casinos in Binangonan.
Perfect for: Tactical gamers and travelers with a competitive spirit
Highlights: Beating the enemy (your pals)
Who doesn’t enjoy shooting their friends with harmless bullets for fun? Now and then, it’s a good idea to let loose in a no-holds-barred combat game, whether you’re shooting paint-filled pellets, padded arrows, or BBs. At Gotcha’s Antipolo compound, teams can battle in a fun-filled yet extremely competitive paintball match or archery tag. Just make sure to shake hands and make peace at the end of the day!
Artist Village in Angono
Perfect for: Culture travelers and aspiring artists
Highlights: Angono Street Gallery and lunch at Balaw-Balaw
Did you know that Angono is often called the Art Capital of the Philippines? After all, the Angono Petroglyphs is the oldest known work of art in the Philippines. Plus, two National Artists hail from this little Rizal town, Carlos “Botong” Francisco (Painting) and Lucio San Pedro (Music). To this day, 500 painters are based in Angono along with a good number of musicians, writers, filmmakers and editors, theater artists, and a variety of other artists.
If you’re up for a different kind of adventure, head to Angono for art appreciation day! Marvel at masterpieces at the Blanco Family Museum, Nemiranda Arthouse, and Botong Francisco Studio/ Second Gallery. Then, sample local cuisine (some more exotic than others) at Balaw-Balaw Specialty Restaurant and Art Gallery. The eco-friendly AngNewNo Arts Design Café is a great place to check out the works of aspiring artists, while the outdoor Angono Street Gallery is a magnificent display of the history, vision, and skill of the town’s most prominent artists through the years.
From rugged slopes of the Sierra Madre in Tanay to shooting arrows like Hawkeye in Antipolo, so many exciting hotspots lie just outside our neighborhoods. There’s more to Rizal than tourist favorites Pinto Art Museum and Hinulugang Taktak—although these hotspots are always worth a visit or day tour, of course!
Visit KKday for more travel ideas and great deals!
*Featured photo via Vanessa Garcia on Pexels