Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Where To Go, Where To Eat & Where To Stay In Antipolo, Rizal | #TayoNaSaAntipolo

In the words of Ramon Mariñas, the Managing Director of Bienvenido Travel and Tours, “you’ll be surprised to know that one does not need to go far for a quick rest and recreation, as Antipolo’s proximity to the Philippine capital offer its visitors unique guest experiences.” Known for being the “City in the Sky”, given its highly elevated location and its scenic views of the metropolitan area, Antipolo is also recognized for its centuries-old churches (the Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines), farms, gardens, resorts, spas, restaurants, delicacies (i.e. suman, roasted cashews) and many more. 


It’s enriching to know that the province of Rizal has so much to offer, and the City of Antipolo is just one of its charms. It’s such a huge city that you won’t be able to explore it in just one day. But should you have a whole weekend to spare, drive up to the city and check out some of the places that our Antipolo Media Tour covered recently.

Boso-Boso Church

The first on our itinerary was Boso-Boso Church. Located in an old barrio named Boso-Boso, the century-old basilica was first built in the late 16th century as a mission church by the Franciscan missionaries. The holy edifice had experienced challenging times through the years -- from being recontructed using stone and brick during the Jesuits missions, to being burned down during the Japanese occupation (only the lower portion of the original church’s façade remained intact). It wasn’t until 1986 when the cathedral was slowly restored and eventually completed in 1995, rebuilding it as close as possible to its first structural design. 

Contact Person: Fr. Evan Paul Villanueva (Parish Priest)
Landline: (02) 9257844

Boso-Boso Highlands Resort & Convention Center

The Boso-Boso Highlands Resort & Hotel is a 10-hectare property -- an expansive establishment that offers a restaurant, convention center, private rooms, dormitories, swimming pools and sports facilities. 

The largest resort in Antipolo, which is a short drive from Boso-Boso Church, welcomed us with a breathtaking view of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. The picturesque landscape certainly offered a calming and refreshing experience, making it a nice destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Manila. 


The view and the ambiance are reasons enough for you to book a stay at Boso-Boso Highlands Resort & Hotel. They have nice accommodations, fun facilities for both kids and adults, and picture-worthy areas (i.e. Statue of Liberty, giant stone Alligator). It’s a definite must-visit when exploring this part of Rizal.

Address: Sitio Cabading, Brgy. San Jose, Antipolo City 
Facebook: Boso Boso Highlands Resort & Hotel
Website: www.bosobosohighlands.wixsite.com
Email: paradisehotel.bbhrcc@gmail.com
Landline: (02) 7035048, (02) 4017535
Mobile: 09988619435, 09989573740

Secret Garden of Doris

Having had the pleasure of meeting Mr. & Mrs. Lee, especially Mrs. Doris (a hands-on agriculture advisor and founder of the 1.7 hectare farm), was the highlight of my day. With her cheery persona, Mrs. Doris happily imparted her knowledge about promoting nature conservation through planting more trees and plants. It is also through SGD that they are able to promote exotic fruit trees, container gardening, vegetable terraces, landscaping materials and organic products.


A true disciple of the Lord, Mrs. Doris always spoke highly of God, especially on how he has enriched her life with things that money can't buy. She’s also very passionate in her life's work that she makes it a point to plant a tree every year on her birthday. 


Spending time with her, over sips of homemade Blue Ternate Tea, and bites of Suman with Coco Jam and Cashew Nuts, definitely quenched our cravings. I sincerely loved her generosity, her energy, and her outlook in life. Being with her was simply a refreshing experience for both the mind and soul. She is a gem, and a very genuine person. And I will never forget the wise words that she imparted to us, "A passion without vision is a life without direction." 

Contact Person: Ms. Doris Lee
Address: 8B Sitio Malanim, Brgy. Dela Paz (along Sumulong Highway, Antipolo City)
Facebook: Secret Garden of Doris
Instagram: @dorisysnthesis
Email: secretgardenofdoris@yahoo.com, secretgardenofdoris@gmail.com 
Landline: (02) 2167126
Mobile: 09178201335, 09054462607

Callospa Resort

I loved the vibe at Callospa Resort, especially the relaxing peppermint scent that came from the spa. I also liked how the garden-inspired health resort designed all of their classy accommodations, particularly the Peach Suite. This specific room had me speechless the moment I entered its Bali-inspired interior. It had beautiful tropical touches (using stones and bamboos), fresh rose petals on the bed, and a nice view of the outdoor pool. 


But our view got even better, as we were ushered into the spa area. Its beautifully-arranged space, which was divided into sections (i.e. jacuzzi, sauna, scrub room), displayed a cohesive design given its tropical elements. Even the second floor, where the signature massages were done, looked undeniably relaxing, especially with its toned down lighting and cozy therapy beds. 

Contact Person: Ms. Gelly Garcia
Address: Marigman Road, Brgy. San Roque Antipolo City
Facebook: Callospa Resort
Website: www.callosparesort.com
Email: callospa@yahoo.com
Landline: (02) 5701376/ (02) 4014621
Mobile: 09178243715/ 09228007889

Luljetta's Hanging Gardens Spa 

There’s a lot to say about Luljetta's Hanging Gardens Spa. As a first-time guest, I was immediately enamored by its beauty and design. The place was well-thought-out starting from its cohesive design of tropical elements (Bali-inspired), all the way to its commendable staff. I also loved the picturesque facilities, especially the Hydro-Massage Pool, Meditation Lounges (you’ll love Buddhas Lounge!), Fish Spa, and Infinity Pool. The Infinity Pool was one of my favorite spots in Luljetta’s, as it provided an overlooking view of Makati and Metro Manila. 

Photo by Billy Palatino of Galaero Escape Travels

I also enjoyed our afternoon snacks at Luljetta’s Café, where we were served hot cups of Winsor Coffee and Antipolo’s Best SuMaKa (Suman, Manga at Kasoy). Of course, mealtimes were also palatable, as we were prepared nothing but flavorsome food choices.

I’m proud of the fact that Luljetta's Hanging Gardens Spa is the first of its kind in the Philippines. You’ll no longer need to travel far just to experience a relaxing getaway because it’s only an hour away from Manila. It’s a unique spa destination that is definitely worth your time, travel and money!

Being a Travel Blogger has its perks. You get to meet new people, foster new friendships, see new places, collect new memories, discover new things, and gain new learnings. . Then again, all of these are worthless if you don't have the passion and the right mindset for your chosen craft. . My love for traveling and blogging has opened a lot of doors for me, and our weekend trip in Antipolo was a great reminder of that passion. I saw my personal growth and evolvement not just as a blogger, but also as a friend to so many passionate and like-minded individuals. Nothing compares to feeling this blessed and fulfilled, knowing that I'm a part of such a loving and mindful community. . Thank you, Lord for the blessings! . . How about you? What are you passionate about and grateful for? . "And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -Paulo Coelho . . . . . . . . . . . . . #ttot #travelphotography #travels #travelers #travelpic #traveling #travelblog #traveldiary #travel #travelgrams #daretoshareigchallenge #cottage #rizal #TayoNaSaAntipolo #ByahengRizal #pool #infinitypool #resort
A post shared by Mai Flores💍Campos 📍MNL 🇵🇭 (@budgetbiyahera) on

Address: Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City
Facebook: Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa 
Instagram: @luljettas #luljettas
Website: www.bienvenidotours.com
Email: luljettas@bienvenidotours.com 
Landline: (02) 5702532, (02) 6951965
Mobile: 09175444432, 09286278897

Loreland Farm Resort

It felt nostalgic to be back in Loreland Farm Resort after 5 years. It wasn’t the same the last time my family and I visited because it looked way better! I saw a lot of improvements, especially with the walls and the paint on some of their accommodations (we stayed in Rest House 1 & 2 before). Even the foundation of the slides looked more solid. I also appreciated the fact that all of their swimming pools were clean and clear, and were safe to swim in; and that plenty of native-cottages were placed in different areas of the resort to help accommodate more guests. Even the food at Verde Restaurante tasted just as good. I’m just really glad that I got to rediscover Loreland with friends this time around. 


Address: Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City 
FB: Loreland Farm Resort
Instagram: @lorelandresort #loreland 
Website: www.loreland.com.ph
Email: inquiry@loreland.com.ph
Landline: (02) 6960101 to 03
Mobile: 09178352000, 09088734220

Camp Tipolo Adventureland

Camp Tipolo Adventureland was a destination on its own. Not only was it a short trek from Loreland Farm Resort, it was also located on the foot of the mountain. Now, it wasn’t just your typical ‘adventureland’. Camp Tipolo’s area also played a crucial role in history, as the valley became the refuge of the Birhen ng Antipolo during World War II. Since then, it became a ‘learning and team building destination where one would learn about survival and leadership skills’.


I, for one, have never been part of any team building event before. So it was a lot of fun having my friends to interact with on certain obstacle courses like the Tarzan Jump for example. Though I may not have been that physically involved in most of the adventures, I still had fun looking out for my group mates. But aside from the physical activities, I also enjoyed helping prepare our ‘boodle fight’ for lunch, which all of my team mates willingly pitched in -- some grilled the meat, cooked the rice, sliced the ingredients, and arranged the food. It was definitely a nice bonding experience. 

Address: Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City 
Facebook: Camp Tipolo Adventureland 
Instagram: @camptipolo #camptipolo 
Website: www.camptipolo.com
Email: inquiry@camptipolo.com
Landline: (02) 5342517, (02) 5864764
Mobile: 09328667282, 09178676205

Hinulugang Taktak

We were also taken to see Hinulugang Taktak on our third day in Antipolo before heading back to Manila, and it didn't disappoint. Good thing the national park was opened again to the public after going through rehabilitation. 

Based on legend (during the 16th century), a priest was said to have been forced by the locals to drop the bell in the river to finally lull its intolerable, deafening sound. Since then, the waterfall was named as "Hinulugang Taktak", which meant "where the bell was dropped."


Address: Taktak Road, Antipolo, Rizal
Operating Hours: 6 AM to 6 PM
Entrance Fee(s): Adults (P30), Students (P15), Foreigners (P100), Senior Citizens/PWDS/Kids below 7 years old (Free)

WHERE TO EAT

There are plenty of restaurants to choose from when exploring the “City in the Sky”, and some of them can be found at Robinson’s Antipolo. The mall itself offered the usual eateries. But there were still a lot of establishments that we haven’t tried yet (some of which aren’t available in Manila) like Casa Nieves and Kampai Sushi Bar -- both owned by Ms. Michelle Lucas.

Casa Nieves

There's plenty to love about Casa Nieves, a restaurant that was inspired and named after Ms. Lucas’ grandmother, Nieves Escobar Rodriguez-Lanuza -- who was known mainly for her delicious dishes. 


The presentation of their food is impressive and mouthwatering. Although I wasn't able to sample their Casa Nieves Buffalo Wings and Chicken Mechado, the portions definitely smelled and looked delicious. Fortunately, I was able to try the rest of the traditional Filipino cuisine that were served to us like the Paella Valenciana, Kare-Kare Mixed and Sweet & Sour Pork. But I loved the Paella and Kare-Kare the most, given the rich flavors and abundant ingredients that were mixed into the dishes. And with all the hearty meals that were placed on our tables, we all left the restaurant with a pleasantly full and satisfied belly. 

Contact Person: Ms. Michelle Lucas 
Address: Lower Ground A116 Al Fresco Dining Brgy. Dela Paz, Antipolo City
Email: casanieves1@gmail.com
Landline: (02) 9971894

Kampai Sushi Bar

I got pretty excited when I found out that we were having lunch at Kampai Sushi Bar. I'm a sucker for anything seafood, despite being allergic to it. So I came prepared with my Anti-Histamine meds. Good thing I brought it, as I would've missed out on a lot of tasty treats from Kampai. 


I was pretty ecstatic about being served with my usual Japanese favorites. There were platters of Ebi Tempura, California Maki, Crazy Maki, Sushi Platter, and Gyoza placed on our tables, complete with wasabi paste. I certainly loved all of the dishes, and had my fair share of each portion – except maybe for the Makis and the Gyoza, as these stood out for me the most! These creations alone are enough reason for me to come back for seconds.

Contact Person: Ms. Michelle Lucas 
Address: Lower Ground, Al Fresco Dining Brgy. Dela Paz, Antipolo City
Website: www.kampaisushibar.com
Email: kampaisushibar1@gmail.com 
Facebook: Kampai Sushi Bar
Instagram: @kampai_sushi_bar
Landline: (02) 6960561

Costa Coffee 

I enjoyed our brief but fun moment at Costa Coffee, as we were taught on how to create some of their signatures drinks, particularly the Flat White Coffee. The process of making each specialty drink was meticulous but quite doable. It just takes a lot of getting used to, given the quirks of the machinery and the coffee elements. Aside from that, I fancied the part where every cup was made into its own piece of artwork. 


The drinks and all the other food products at Costa Coffee may be a bit pricey. But the taste and the presentation, and the café’s tasteful ambiance will definitely make each sip and bite worth it.

Robinson’s Place Antipolo 
Contact Person: Mr. April Almonte (Marketing Manager)

WHERE TO STAY

Luljetta’s Place Gardens Suites

I can’t rave enough on how much I enjoyed Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Suites. It was like staying in our own hotel room, but better! The fully-furnished Senator Suite, where my friends and I stayed in was just impressive. Both of our A/C units worked well; the bathrooms were clean and supplied with complimentary toiletries; and the towels, sheets and bath robes all smelled fresh. They also provided a mini-refrigerator, a flat-screen TV and a hair dryer on the first floor; as well as free bottled water, tea and coffee sachets. Everything was just well-thought-out, that I couldn't ask for more. 


I also loved how personalized our stay was, as each one of us were given our own welcome note (with our names printed on it!). That really put a smile on my face after a long day of exploring Antipolo.

TIP: You may also want to try Mount Purro Nature Reserve in Calawis, Antipolo.

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR MAIN HOST: Bienvenido Travel and Tours

I loved the fact that Ramon Mariñas and his team at Bienvenido Travel and Tours organized a seamless trip for us (comfy shuttle pick-ups and drop-offs, hassle-free transfers, well-managed activities). I appreciated how hands-on he was with handling the #ByahengRizal Tour, and how relevant his choice of destinations and establishments were. The places that we got to see, and the inspiring people that we got to meet made a huge impact on me. Our weekend in Antipolo was definitely memorable and personal because of Bienvenido's well-oiled crew. A special shout out also goes to our friends at Filmico Production! We can't wait to see what you've created! 


Ramon and his team will be joining one of the biggest travel expos in the country: the 28th Philippine Travel Mart. PTM will be back to showcase some of their best travel deals on September 1-3, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center Manila. Do check out Bienvenido's booth to know more about their tour offerings.

Contact Person: Mr. Ramon Marinas 
Address: Loreland Farm Resort, Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City
Landline: (02) 5702532, (02) 6951965
Mobile: 09175444432, 09286278897 
Website: www.bienvenidotours.com
Email: wecare@bienvenidotours.com

Explore & Be Free!
Mai

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