Is Stress Bumming You Out? Go On A Recreational Tour In Antipolo!

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Did you know that when you’re in Manila, you need not travel far for some R&R? Just head to Antipolo (a one-hour drive from Manila), and you’ll find an array of activities that will guarantee nothing but the most relaxing experiences. The “City in the Sky” will not disappoint you because not only is it a go-to destination for spas, resorts, gardens, farms, and centuries-old churches (Antipolo is the Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines), it’s also a place where you can appreciate the scenic, panoramic views of the nearby metropolitan area. It’s certainly a one-stop-shop for all things amazing.

Boso-Boso Church

Boso-Boso Church

What fascinates me about this church is its history and construction, as it was first built as a mission church by the Franciscan missionaries in the late 16th century. It has endured a lot of physical challenges throughout the years but through countless restorations, the place of worship still looks mighty and resilient.

The basilica, which can be found in Barangay Boso-Boso, was reconstructed using brick and stone during the Jesuit mission. But it was later on burned down during the Japanese period. It may no longer be in its initial form, but they kept the new structural design as close as possible to the original one (it was finally restored in 1995).

Landmark: Look for Boso-Boso Highlands Resort and Convention Center on the left side of the road. Stay on the left until you see a welcome arc. Drive a few more kilometers until you find the church on the left.

Boso-Boso Highlands Resort and Convention Center

Boso-Boso Highlands Resort and Convention Center

One of the reasons I love Antipolo is its highly elevated location and scenic views. If you fancy such things, then head over to Boso-Boso Highlands Resort and Convention Center. Not only is the 10-hectare property the largest resort in Antipolo, but it’s also one of the best areas for viewing the breathtaking Sierra Madre Mountain Range.

You can enjoy your stay at the resort by checking into one of their rooms, lounging by the pools, dining at the restaurant, or taking photos of their Instagram-worthy sculptures (they have a Statue of Liberty and a giant alligator!)

Note: They have a convention center, dormitories, private rooms, swimming pools, sports facilities and a restaurant.

Secret Garden of Doris

Doris Lee of Secret Garden of Doris

A trip to Antipolo City would feel incomplete if you missed out on the Secret Garden of Doris. You’ll definitely love this place, especially if you’re into organic gardening and farming. Named after Mrs. Doris Lee, SGD was born after the matriarch’s love for nature conservation. Her passion for planting more foliage and trees sparked her interest to grow and develop her own garden and farm. Mrs. Lee’s 1.7-hectare farm promotes a lot of exotic fruit trees, container gardening, vegetable terraces, landscaping materials and other organic products.

You will love Mrs. Doris, as she exudes not just a positive outlook on life, but also shows a deep adoration for the Lord. She even plants a new tree every year on her birthday, which shows real love for the environment.

Callospa Resort

If you’re looking for a relaxing stay, consider Callospa Resort in Antipolo. You’ll love the vibe here, especially if you enjoy calming massages amidst a tranquil setting. One of the things that I liked about Callospa is their interior design aesthetic, which features tropical touches complete with stone and bamboo. It also offers a nice view of the outdoor pool.

The garden-inspired health resort isn’t just perfect for different types of groups (solo, couples, families). Team building events and even birthday/wedding receptions can also be hosted in this venue.

Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa

Luljetta’s Hanging Garden Spa Infinity Pool

Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa is my ultimate favorite spa resort in Antipolo. I’ve never been to Bali yet but the resort (with its tropical elements) has been compared to its hanging gardens, making Luljetta’s equally picturesque and serene.

There’s actually plenty to do in Luljetta’s. You can swim in the Infinity Pool, relax at the Hydro-massage pool, chill by the Fish Spa, or unwind by the meditation lounges (check out Buddha’s Lounge). You can also stay in one of Luljetta’s cozy accommodations, or avail of one of their affordable spa packages.

One of the things that you should try in the resort is their famous snack called Sumaka (suman, manga at kasoy–an Antipolo delicacy), which is best paired with their delicious Winsor Coffee.

Loreland Farm Resort

Loreland Farm Resort is another destination in Antipolo that is family and budget-friendly. My family and I came here six years ago, and we were impressed by its many offerings. We loved the fact that they had spacious rooms that could accommodate a large family like ours (less than 20 people), and that they had different types of pools and slides that catered to all ages.

You can also do your team building activities in Loreland, as several areas in the resort offer spacious, picturesque and clean surroundings. And should you go hungry, Loreland serves a sumptuous spread of Filipino cuisine, which they prepare at their in-house restaurant.

Camp Tipolo Adventureland

Camp Tipolo Adventureland, which is a short trek from Luljetta’s, is an area built solely for team building events. Located at the foot of the mountain, CTA’s area also played an important role in history, as the valley became the refuge of the ‘Birhen ng Antipolo’ during World War II.

An ideal team building destination, Camp Tipolo Adventureland promotes activities that will allow every guest to learn specific leadership and survival skills. One of the facilities that you can look forward to trying is the Tarzan Jump. My friends and I certainly enjoyed this activity with all the failed jump attempts and non-stop laughter. It was truly an enjoyable bonding experience.

Note: You can also create your own boodle fight with your teammates while at Camp Tipolo Adventureland. Just request it as part of your package.

Hinulugang Taktak

Hinulugang Taktak

You don’t need to go far to see an actual waterfall, as one is readily located in Antipolo—Hinulugang Taktak, a national park in the province of Rizal. It was recently opened again to the public after going through rehabilitation. Swimming is prohibited, but you can admire the falls from the promenade.

Based on a 16th-century legend, Hinulugang Taktak, which means “where the bell was dropped”, was named by a priest after having the town’s bell thrown into the river. The locals had forced the cleric to do this act just to silence its intolerable and deafening sound.

Operating Hours: 6 AM to 6 PM

Entrance Fee: P30 for adults, P15 for students, P100 for foreigners and free for senior citizens, PWDs and kids below 7 years old.

WHERE TO EAT

Antipolo is known for having a lot of dining establishments, some of which can be accessed on the side of the road (where most of the views are amazing). But if you prefer to just chill and relax, especially after touring the city, just head to Robinson’s Antipolo and look for Casa Nieves and Kampai Sushi Bar.

Casa Nieves

If you enjoy beautifully-plated dishes that are just as  delicious as they are pretty, then Casa Nieves is your restaurant. The dining establishment offers palatable Filipino and Spanish cuisines at very affordable prices. Some of the food that you should try are the Kare-Kare, Paella Valenciana, and Sweet & Sour Pork.

Kampai Sushi Bar

If you fancy Japanese food like I do, try Kampai Sushi Bar. You can order some of your favorite Japanese dishes, and even have them delivered to Casa Nieves for no additional cost (both restaurants have the same owner). Their Sushi Platter, California Maki, and Gyoza are highly recommended.

WHERE TO STAY

Luljetta’s Place Gardens Suites

Loreland Farm Resort, Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City

Telephone: +63 917 544 4432, +63 928 627 8897, +632 570 2532, +632 695 1965

Loreland Farm Resort

Loreland Farm Resort, Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City

Telephone: +63 917 544 4432 / +63 928 627 8897 / +632 570 2532 / +632 695 1965

Callospa Resort

Address: Marigman Road. Colaique, Antipolo City

Telephone: +63 917 8243715 / +63 922 8007889 / +63 917 8334351 / +632 570-1376 / +632  401-4621 

Boso-Boso Highlands Resort and Convention Center

Sitio Cabading Brgy. San Jose, Antipolo City

Telephone: +63 2 401 7535

 

 

 

 

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About Author

Mai Flores

Mai writes from Manila, Philippines. She’s a Filipino, budget-conscious wanderluster, who notes expense breakdowns and writes various trip itineraries for family and friends. She shares her adventures and misadventures through her blog as a means to document her dreams of seeing the world, one step at a time.