Rizal has always been an underdog when it comes to tourism. Despite its proximity (it’s roughly a one to two-hour ride away) from Manila, many people overlook the province in search of a better view. Perhaps it’s because of our notion that a paradise should be located somewhere far and isolated.
Another major reason why Rizal remains unnoticed is the stereotype that it’s all about mountains.
While it is true that Rizal is home to a large portion of the Sierra Madre, there are actually a lot of places to visit in the province. In fact, Rizal is a complete paradise on its own. From falls to rivers to caves and mountains and even to windmills and dams, it has everything you could possibly ask for in a province.
Rizal also continues to surprise us with new discoveries such as new mountains like Mt. Paliparan or the 8 Wonder Falls of Tanay. This alone gives us multiple reasons why Rizal is definitely the next big thing. So sit back and relax as we list down the reasons why Rizal should be on your next travel list.
1. You can climb a LOT of mountains.
If you’re a newbie to hiking, Rizal will always be your top choice. It’s the perfect place to train and fall in love with mountain climbing. Because of it being a part of the Sierra Madre mountain range, you’ll have a lot of mountains to choose from.
Whether it’s a chill and relaxing hike to Mt. Balagbag in Rodriguez or a rocky climb to Mt. Daraitan with a dip at Tinipak River or even the challenging pentahike to the five mountains of Rodriguez (Mt. Pamitinan, Mt. Binacayan, Mt. Hapunang Banoi, Mt. Sipit Ulang, and Mt. Ayaas), the options are endless.
2. Fall for the falls.
Located in Tanay, Daranak Falls is a natural park where you can enjoy nature without going far from the metro. Just above it is Batlag Falls, perfect for those who want to stay away from the crowd as Daranak Falls can be very crowded especially during weekends.
Recently, another series of falls were discovered along Mt. Cayabu and Mt. Maynoba, the newly opened mountains near Mt. Batolusong. Tagged as the 8 Wonder Falls, this just proves how rich Rizal’s natural environment is.
3. Strengthen your faith.
Rizal is also home to the heritage church of San Ildefonso of Toledo commonly known as Tanay Church. Tanay also houses a popular pilgrimage site, the Regina Rica, where a 71-foot monument of the Blessed Virgin Mary stands.
4. Discover art and history.
The culture and history of Rizal is rich. Explore and discover the art scene at Angono or amuse yourself at the paintings at Pinto Art Museum.
Rizal is also home to the Angono Petroglyphs Site Museum in Binangonan, the oldest known work of art in the country. It is home to 127 human and animal figure carvings that are said to have been carved during the late Neolithic period.
5. Explore the layers of the earth.
If you’re a fan of caves, Tanay’s Calinawan Cave won’t disappoint you. It has five layers with some parts requiring you to crawl. It’s really challenging. It has a huge cave system, most of which remains unexplored.
On the other side of Rizal also lies another cave: the Pamitinan Cave of Rodriguez. According to some, the Calinawan and Pamitinan Caves are both connected to one another and it will take around nine days to reach the other end.
6. Get trapped in a giant web.
At the Masungi Georeserve in Tanay, you can experience ecotourism at its best. Opened just last year, reservations are almost fully booked until the third quarter of the year. Masungi Georeserve boasts a large natural park with the popular giant web giving you a wide view of the beauty that is Rizal.
7. See a windmill.
Is the windmill at Bangui, Ilocos Norte too far for you? Now, you don’t have to travel far because Rizal has its own version of it. The Pililla Wind Farm consists of 27 wind turbine generators that can produce as much as 67 megawatts of power.
8. Catch the sea of clouds.
Who says you can only catch the sea of clouds at Mt. Pulag? Because of its mountainous terrain and high altitude, You can catch the sea of clouds at almost every mountain of Rizal. Popular spots include the summit of Mt. Balagbag, Mt. Binacayan, Mt. Daraitan and Mt. Batolusong.
With the growing list of places to visit in Rizal as well as new discoveries, the humble and silent province remains to amuse us with its offerings. It’s amazing how a province so close to the metro can have all of these.
Going to Rizal is also easy although it is advisable to use a car. There are 3 main entry points to Rizal: via Fairview, Marikina, and Marcos Hi Way.
Mt. Balagbag is located at the west tip of Rizal with Fairview as the main entry point. Wawa Dam and its nearby mountains are located near the central point via Cubao and Marikina while Tanay is on the east side having Marcos Hiway as its entry point. Jeep is the main mode of transportation in the province however, majority of these places and tourist destinations can only be accessed by renting a tricycle which costs around ₱10 – ₱100 per destination or ₱500 – ₱1,200 for a whole day tour.
Rizal is truly a paradise. Visit now and you’ll know what I mean.