If you’ve been in Antipolo enough that you’ve blitzed through all of its most popular attractions, then it may be time to venture off the beaten path and explore the more underrated spots in the city. From the great outdoors to little-known cafés, there are a lot of lesser-known things to do in Antipolo that are just hiding in plain sight. Here, we round up six of Antipolo’s best-kept secrets for urban explorers who are on the hunt for something new.
Casa Santa Museum
Christmas is still a couple of months away but in Casa Santa Museum, the holidays last all year round. The charming Santa-themed museum showcases an impressive collection of more than 3,000 Santa Claus figures of all sizes and types, from majestic life-sized ones to tiny delicate figurines. If you’re feeling nostalgic for the merriment of the holidays, Casa Santa Museum is a magical place to visit with the family.
Skip Starbucks the next time you’re in town and join local coffee enthusiasts at Kaulayaw Café. Serving delicious locally sourced brew, the open-air coffee shop is a great way to sample Filipino-made products with a menu proud to be “ethically sourced, locally grown.” Hungry folks can order sandwiches, pasta dishes, or rice meals, while hot and iced coffee drinks will jolt you awake even early in the morning. Plus, Kaulayaw Café overlooks amazing views!
There are a lot of fantastic restaurants in Antipolo nowadays, but if you’re craving really, really good Pinoy food, Marison’s is an excellent choice for family lunch. The homegrown Antipolo restaurant serves elevated Filipino favorites, such as Beef Tendon Bulalo, Crispy Tripe Kare-Kare, and Lamb and Chicken Adobo. The extensive menu also includes yummy desserts, like the Antipolo specialty SuMaKa (suman, mango, kasuy).
Address: Upper Ground Floor, Robinsons Place Antipolo, Sumulong Highway cor. Circumferential Road, Brgy. Dela Paz, Antipolo
Operating Hours: Daily, 10 AM to 9 PM
Website: https://marisons.ph, Facebook, Instagram
Singalong Nature Campsite
Journey deep into the heart of Antipolo for a tranquil camping getaway. Tucked in a secluded spot in the mountains about 30 minutes away on foot from the designated parking lot, Singalong Nature Campsite is an excellent destination for nature lovers who want to spend some time in the great outdoors. It’s a quiet place to reflect and unwind with beautiful views of nature from the summit. Huts and tents are available, as well as a small swimming pool and a kawa bath.
Mount Purro Nature Reserve
If you’re looking for a nature-inspired escape but you’re not too keen on roughing it in tents, Mount Purro Nature Reserve is another awesome Antipolo destination for the whole family. The sprawling eco-park is set in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, giving guests free rein to the area’s natural splendor. Hiking trails, river treks, rope courses, playgrounds, and a swimming pool will keep active travelers busy during their stay, while the lush and expansive surroundings also offer plenty of space for quiet contemplation. Comfortable kubo-style accommodations and home-style dishes are available. Reservations are a must.
Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa
Even years after the first and only hanging gardens spa in the Philippines made its debut, not everyone knows about the bliss of Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa. The well-established Antipolo resort boasts sweeping views of the mountains and Laguna Lake, creating a serene atmosphere for guests. Spa facilities include a steam bath, a Jacuzzi, a sauna, a hydromassage pool, and more. Whether you prefer a soak in one of three infinity pools or a relaxing massage in one of the airy mountainside huts, Luljetta’s will give you an out-of-town spa experience to remember.
*Featured photo via Celia Nachura, Mount Purro Nature Reserve, and Marison’s