Antipolo’s Best-Kept Secrets

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The city of Antipolo is noteworthy for having popular destinations like Hinulugang Taktak Falls, Pinto Art Museum, Antipolo Cathedral, and Inday Nelly Mystical Cave. As such, these are usually the must-see places when visiting Antipolo — but they are not all this city has to offer.

Given that it is a haven of arts, culture, and food, Antipolo boasts of haunts and attractions that offer an in-depth look at the progressive city with rustic charms. However, some of these spots are borderline obscure, keeping them hidden from the eyes of innocent first-timers.

Luckily, we have uncovered some of them, thanks to Bienvenido Tours’ gracious help. Put a pin on these itineraries for the next time you travel to Antipolo.

Mount Purro Nature Reserve – Tucked away in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range is a family-run eco park known for being a distinct sustainable travel destination. Mount Purro Nature Reserve is perfect for those seeking respite away from the hustle-and-bustle of the metropolis. With close to zero mobile signal, guests will be forced to tuck away their electronic devices and bask in everything nature has to offer.

Mount Purro Nature Reserve, named in commemoration of the massive reforestation efforts in Mount Purro by General Miguel Malvar’s grandson: Toto Malvar, started out as a small bahay kubo, where families and friends can spend time together, hike in the forest, and swim in the river, while primarily becoming a social enterprise of providing alternative and non-destructive forms of livelihood to those otherwise engaged in environmentally damaging practices.

Here, guests are soothed by the fresh air and the vivid green panorama of the nature reserve, a jarring contrast to the concrete view that Metro Manila usually affords. They can also acquaint themselves with the Dumagats, the indigenous people of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range who will readily teach people how to build a fire and cook using nothing but wood and bamboo. There is no shortage of activities that one can do here — among them include getting pampered with the hilot massage, trying the rope courses, and planting trees.

Mount Purro also offers accommodations for overnight stays. Cottages here are airy and open, allowing guests an unadulterated visual and auditory experience of the surrounding environment.

Inday Cadapan Home Gallery and Cafe – This haunt is a furniture store, gallery, and cafe in one, dedicated to uplift artists as well as art lovers. Inday Cadapan Home Gallery and Cafe is home to Inday Cadapan’s artworks, a 1970s social expressionist painter who used art as a medium to voice out her opinion against poverty and unjust labor practices. Magel Cadapan, Inday’s daughter who runs the home gallery, will readily give guests a warm welcome and inspiring stories about her late mother.

In the showroom, guests are treated to various displays of woodworks, reupholstered furniture, tapestries, embroideries, installation art, and paintings. After satiating their thirst for art, guests can also satiate their hunger at the Cafe Inday, where in-house Chef Liz will prepare a special meal everyone can readily enjoy.

Note that guests need to make an appointment first before visiting the showroom located at Gen. Luna St. Villa Carmen Subd., Antipolo City. Guests may contact Magel through 0917-669-1900.

Obra ni Juan –  Obra ni Juan is a clothing brand made in Antipolo known for its unique line of apparel that marries old world Filipino charm and modern fashion. Established in 1997, this family-owned business started out with 10 employees that has now grown to over 100.

Obra ni Juan is distinctly known for clothes that are handmade and dyed to perfection, making sure no two clothes of the same design are actually identical. Obra ni Juan Collections are classed into Authentic designs, Executive designs, and Formal Wear. The fabrics used for the clothes are cotton, linen, tencel and cotton mix, which make for a comfortable feel when worn.

Obra ni Juan is available at various department stores nationwide (Robinsons Department Stores, SM Department Stores, Kultura boutiques, etc.) Their factory is located at Sitio Ligtasan, Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City. Those who would like to visit may contact them first through 697-6743.

Santiago Brewery and Malthouse – Deep within Antipolo is a place where a success story is brewing. People looking to turn their hobbies into businesses are likely to find a role model in James Gatlabayan, who started to brew his own beer after having his first taste of craft beer in 2008. Gatlabayan, after learning that most ingredients used in making alcoholic beverages were imported, took it as a challenge to produce his own malt. Presently, he is now the only brewer who brews with his own malts in the Philippines.

His products, Santiago craft beers, are known for their unique tastes and equally unique names. Amihan, with its 6 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), is sweet and refreshing. Habagat and Buhawi also have a 6 percent ABV, but the former’s flavor is more on the malty side while the latter tastes like roasted sweet chocolate and coffee. Ipu-ipo is Gatlabayan’s strongest beer with 8 percent ABV, with big herbal and citrus flavors.

Santiago Brewery is located at 217 C. Lawis Ext. Gatsville Compound, Antipolo City. Anyone who wants to visit may contact them first through 964-5525 or 0917-825-6377.

Boso Boso Highlands Resort and Hotel – Just an hour away from Manila is a hotel resort that guarantees a unique experience away from the fast-paced city life. Boso Boso Highlands Resort and Hotel welcomes guests who are looking for a weekend escape or a romantic getaway without having to go too far.

The resort is equipped with straightforward dorms and private rooms, swimming pools, sports amenities, and convention center. Boso Boso Highlands Resort and Hotel also offers authentic Filipino and International dishes at Cafe Cristina, wherein guests are not only treated to hearty meals but also to a breathtaking view of the deep Boso-Boso valley and the verdan Sierra Madre mountain range.

Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa – Among Antipolo’s secrets, Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa just might be its well-kept one. This gem of a hideaway is situated along the ridges of Antipolo, offering a commanding view of Laguna De Bay and Manila. City-dwellers will be pleased to find solace and serenity here while enjoying various facilities that will relieve their stress away.

Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens, named after one of its founders Lolita Maranas, is the first and only hanging gardens in the Philippines. It boasts of three pools which are: the Hydro-Pool, the Hydro-Massage, and the Infinity Pool. It also offers a jacuzzi for guests who want a warmer aqua experience as well as sauna stations.

This hanging gardens spa is located within the premises of Loreland Farm Resort, which was established by Lolita and Renato Marinas in 1996. It recently opened a new wing within the vicinity of the resort named Luljetta’s Garden Suites where guests of both Loreland Farm Resort and Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa can stay overnight.

Photographed by Jace Amodo and Michael Esguerra Garcia of Prime Lens

Ritchel Mendiola
Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a feature writer based in the Philippines. In addition to writing for Balikbayan Magazine, she is a news correspondent for Asian Journal News-Manila.

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