Where to eat in Amadeo – The coffee capital of the Philippines

where to eat in Amadeo

Amadeo, Cavite is a municipality right next to Tagaytay. Thus, it shares similar cold weather. It is also widely known as the coffee capital of the Philippines. In this post, let me share where to eat and chill in the quiet town of Amadeo, Cavite.

HOW WE DISCOVERED AMADEO?

We once visited a friend in Imus, Cavite, and we decided to drive all the way to Tagaytay using our Yamaha scooter. We were in casual attire with just a T-shirt on, and no jacket to protect us from the cold weather. It was 4 PM already when we got to Amadeo, but the coldness of the weather stopped us from getting to Tagaytay. And that’s when we decided to make a stopover and get a cup of coffee. And since then, we have been coming back.

WHERE TO EAT IN AMADEO?

There’s one place that we have been coming back to in Amadeo. It’s Ricardo’s Coffee + Classic Cuisine. Ricardo’s offers alfresco dining. Imagine having a cup of brewed coffee surrounded by plants and beautiful art pieces in a cold-weather less the traffic and the crowd. For me, it’s too perfect not to share. Yes, we love Tagaytay, who doesn’t, right? The weather is perfect, and the restaurants are great. But most of the time, it’s too hard to drive around the city because of its traffic. The restaurants are sometimes fully booked too. That’s why Amadeo is certainly the best alternative place to Tagaytay.

WHAT TO EAT IN RICARDO’S? 

Ricardo’s saucy Chicken Saltimbocca is a must-try! Gosh, the sauce is too tempting. I’m not really a foodie, so I don’t know how else to describe it. Lol! And since this is a coffee capital, don’t miss getting a cup of coffee. My own personal bias for coffee which is Caramel Macchiato is also highly recommended.

WHY RICARDO’S BECAME A FAVORITE?

Ricardo’s offers that quiet place to unwind and think. The food is really good, the coffee is fresh and aromatic, and the place is full of plants and art pieces. They also sell those plants and paintings by the way! Sometimes they hire classic musicians too. And last but not the least, they love bikers! So if you want to bike to Tagaytay, why not make a stopover in Amadeo, and grab a cup of coffee at Ricardo’s?

WHAT’S IN AMADEO BESIDES COFFEE? 

Amadeo is also home to a beautiful waterfall, the Balite Falls. This waterfall is just a few minutes drive from Tagaytay. It is under the management of MSSL Resort, a private resort in the municipality. You can contact them through Facebook at MSSL Resort Balite Falls.

where to eat in amadeo

HOW TO GO TO AMADEO?

Like other cities and municipalities in Cavite, Amadeo can be reached through either SLEX or CAVITEX freeways. Google says you can get there from Manila in just 1.5 to 2 hours of driving via the expressways. But you can actually get there in the same time frame without going through the freeway. You just need to avoid the rush hours. Here’s a detailed guide for driving to Amadeo without going through Express Way:

PRIVATE CAR/MOTORCYCLE: I highly recommend going through Moonwalk Access Road. You can get there from EDSA-Magallanes, BGC-Lawton Ave, or West Service Rd-Bicutan. You will be passing through SM City Sucat and Villar Sipag Complex. Drive all the way to Dasmariñas, and then turn right to Trece Martirez. Simply follow the sign that leads to Tagaytay, and you’ll be in Amadeo in 20 minutes.

COMMUTE: You may also opt to commute to Amadeo. You can take a bus going to either Tagaytay or Trece Martirez and drop off at Robinson’s Pala-Pala. There is a jeepney terminal to Amadeo right across the street.

WHERE TO EAT IN AMADEO GALLERY

Links to previous blogs: 

Las Casas Filipinas
Bunsuran Falls
Rizal Province

Visit our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

Le Village Lifestyle Park

alfresco dining quezon city

This pandemic has been a challenge for all of us. And the weight of the problem is twice for restaurant owners. After a few setbacks, restaurant dining is back! But to stay safe, outdoor dining is mostly preferred while Covid is still around. Recently, we discovered a good place for alfresco dining in Quezon City.

alfresco dining quezon city

Mercato Quezon City

We were just strolling around on a scooter to find a good place to dine. Then we found the lifestyle park and it looks like Mercato so we decided to check it out. We were so amazed at how the place and the food concessionaires were so organized.

alfresco dining quezon city

Organized Food Concessionaires

Le Village has everything your food cravings could ever ask for. From milk tea to burgers, chicken wings, grilled food, and more. Each of the food concessionaires does not have direct competition as each one offers a different type of food. Here are some of the food stalls in Le Village:

Puto Voom Voom & Bibingka

alfresco dining quezon city

What a witty business name! And yes, that’s puto bumbong and bibingka, a Filipino steamed rice cake that is traditionally popular during the Christmas season.

Fruitas Creamery

Fruitas Creamery

We didn’t know that Fruitas offers premium ice creams and other frozen treats besides fruit-flavored beverages. This sounds like a really good product innovation on their part.

Tea Rex and Soy & Bean Desserts

alfresco dining quezon city

These are actually two different stalls, I just didn’t notice. Lol! Tea Rex offers milk tea and Soy & Bean offers beans-based desserts.

7,107 Islands Halo-halo

alfresco dining quezon city

Halo-halo used to be popular only during the summer season. But for the past few years, this Filipino dessert is already being served all year round. The halo-halo and fresh Buko seem a perfect match. It’s a must-try in 7,107 Islands Halo-halo!

Shou La Mien Hand Pulled Noodles

alfresco dining quezon city

Are you craving for Chinese-style hand-pulled noodles? Yes, that is also available here in Le Village.

The Bomburgers

alfresco dining quezon city

The Bomburgers offers an explosive menu of hamburgers and cheeseburgers. It’s a must-try!

Wing Commander

alfresco dining quezon city

We love Wing Commander. They offer a variety of flavors of unlimited chicken wings! They have fun restaurant staff as well. But a reminder to all the guys out there, they love taking pictures! Bring ONLY your wife or girlfriend to any Wing Commander restaurant.

La Petite Parisienne

alfresco dining quezon city

Red wine, or white wine? Which one do you prefer? La Petite Parisienne is the main restaurant in Le Village. They offer French-inspired food and winery. You can choose to dine indoors, or alfresco.

Mexi-Kalye

mexi kalye

I know nothing about Mexican food. Nothing but taco.

Munifico Pizzeria

munifico pizzeria

This stall is further inside the park. We thought that out of all types of food, Pizza would be missing. Guess we’re wrong.

Boy A-Boodle

alfresco dining quezon city

Feast on grilled seafood, chicken, and pork. Don’t be afraid of what’s written on the menu. Because as they always say, it’s okay to have a cheat day.

Filipino Kuxina Fusion

alfresco dining quezon city

If there’s American, French, Italian, and Mexican food in the food gallery, there is also Filipino cuisine available.

The Pub

the pub

The Pub offers alcoholic drinks and other beverages. All the other food concessionaires are really friendly, except the ones on this stall. Well, maybe they were already tired after a long day at work. Grab a bottle of beer, just don’t talk to them. They’re no fun at all.

Free Parking

Le Village offers Free Parking. The parking area is spacious enough for cars and motorcycles.

free parking

Highly Recommended Alfresco Dining in Quezon City

This pandemic is far from over, and we may not be able to dine inside the restaurants with confidence. Alfresco dining is a good alternative to get our cravings satisfied. And with that, if you are around Metro Manila, we can highly recommend Le Village Lifestyle Park!

alfresco dining quezon city

Pet-friendly

There are community cats around the park and it’s really good to know that many establishments and business owners are already accepting them.

pet friendly

Safe Alfresco Dining in Quezon City

Safety seems to be one of the business owner’s top priorities. The place has two entrances and each has a security guard. There is also a police mobile stationed right outside the park. Therefore, I conclude that alfresco dining in Quezon City is indeed safer than anywhere else.

Links to previous blogs: 
Las Cas Filipinas de Acuzar 
Rizal Province 
Cebu Travel Guide 

Our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

Fortune Island, Batangas

Fortune Island Overnight

Batangas is probably the most popular beach destination near Manila. The municipality of Nasugbu in the province of Batangas is just 2-4 hours away from Metro Manila. Nasugbu has several white beaches to offer. But my most favorite is to stay overnight on an abandoned luxury resort, Fortune Island.

Fortune Island Overnight

ABOUT FORTUNE ISLAND

This island was formerly known as Fortune Island Resort Club (FIRC). It was established in 1995. The beach resort has a 20-meter stretch of pristine white sand. It used to have a saltwater swimming pool, clubhouse, cabana, helipad, and a small reptile zoo.

Today, you will find the cabanas, clubhouse, and swimming pool in ruins. And the island’s acropolis with Grecian pillars is still standing on the cliff of the island overlooking the West Philippine Sea.

Fortune Island Overnight

HOW TO GO TO FORTUNE ISLAND

Fortune Island is two hours away from the main island of Luzon by boat. You can reach the island from the municipality of Nasugbu, Batangas.

PRIVATE CAR via SLEX: From SLEX, take Exit 36 Greenfield City/UNILAB (Mamplasan Exit). Drive to Nasugbu via Tagaytay. Continue to drive through the main road of Nasugbu proper (J.P. Laurel St.) until you see Jollibee-Nasugbu. Turn left at Jollibee (C. Alvarez) and then turn right at Tanigue St until you reach the resort where boats are available to take you to the island.

COMMUTE: Take a bus to Nasugbu from Pasay. Look for Jollibee-Nasugbu, and ride a tricycle to Fortune Island resort where the boats to take you to the island are available.

WHAT TO DO IN FORTUNE ISLAND?

From a luxurious resort, FIRC became a beach camping ground. You can find the Cabanas and a Gazebo in ruins, and some campers would prefer to pitch their tents near them. There are small trees there that can be used as a shelter against the rain or heat of the sun.

Camping

fortune island overnight

Most island visitors prefer to visit on a day trip, while some outdoor enthusiasts take it as an opportunity to camp overnight in Fortune Island. If you are one of the few who prefers to stay overnight, please note that there’s no source of fresh water on the island.

Cliffdiving

fortune island cliff diving

If you are looking for some adrenaline rush, Fortune Island will not bore you at all. The back portion of the island is a cliff diving site. You can choose to jump from 5 ft all the way to 50 ft!

Snorkeling

snorkeling

Batangas is blessed with wonderful marine life and corals. Don’t forget to bring your snorkels and goggles. You cannot miss seeing what’s underneath the sea surrounding the island!

Picture Taking

fortune island

Fortune Island is also one of the most popular destinations for prewedding pictorials. This means that the island is indeed Instagram-worthy. From the Grecian pillars to its white sand beach, every corner of the island is so picturesque.

Chill by the beach

beach day

What’s better than being with your friends doing nothing and just laying on the fine sand beach all day? Well, yes, nothing. It’s everyone’s dream to stay on the beach on a weekend after a hard work week.

WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT FORTUNE ISLAND?

They always say that a beach day is perfect for the summer. And that is so true for Fortune Island. This island is a few hours away from the main island of Luzon. Thus, it will be harder to get there during the rainy season in the Philippines. Expect bigger waves if you decide to visit during Ber-months, and you may not be able to jump at the cliff-diving site.

How much does the boat ride to Fortune Island costs?

I don't usually share pricing details on my blogs as it tends to change every now and then, but here's the latest info I received from Fortune Island Resort:

FORTUNE ISLAND RATES 

DAYTOUR Boat Rate 

1-4PAX  = 4,000 PHP 
5-8PAX  = 4,500 PHP 
9-12PAX= 5,000 PHP 
13-15PAX = 5,500 PHP 
16-20PAX= 7,000 PHP 

OVERNIGHT 

1-4 PAX  = 4,500 PHP 
5-8 PAX  = 5,000 PHP 
9-12PAX = 5,500 PHP 
13-15PAX = 6,000 PHP 
16-20PAX = 8,000 PHP 

ENTRANCE FEE DAYTOUR = 350 PHP  
OVERNIGHT= 500 PHP 

TENT Rental 
Good for 3pax = 500 PHP 

TENT PITCHING FEE 
DAYTOUR = 100 PHP 
OVERNIGHT = 200 PHP 

Fortune Island Gallery

Links to previous blogs: 
Las Cas Filipinas de Acuzar 
Rizal Province 
Cebu Travel Guide 

Watch our Fortune Island video in YouTube: Backpacking Stories PH

Our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

A Romantic Hideaway in Anilao

stay in anilao

Anilao is one of the best diving spots in the Philippines. It features a great diversity of awe-inspiring marine life and beautiful corals. Though it doesn’t have a fine sand beach, it is certainly a diver’s paradise! But where is the best place to stay in Anilao?

where to stay in anilao

WHERE TO STAY IN ANILAO

We know nothing about diving, but we found a place that made us really interested in Anilao. A bed and breakfast accommodation that offers a perfect view of the calm blue sea.

J1 resort is perhaps the most convenient place to stay in Anilao. It’s just 5 minutes away from the port and public market. You can also bring your own food and drinks without paying corkage fees. It’s certainly perfect for family gatherings, friends getting together, and couples who just want to chill and watch the sea through their glass windows.

WHERE IS ANILAO LOCATED?

Anilao Proper and Anilao East are two barangays in the municipality of Mabini, Batangas. Mabini is just 2-4 hours away from Metro, Manila. It’s mostly known for diving, but its port is also known as a jump-off point going to other Batangas municipalities and islands such as Tingloy, Batangas.

A romantic hideaway stay in Anilao

We stayed in a room of the house situated in the middle. They call it ‘A romantic hideaway’. At first, I thought it was just a catchy caption for the advertisement. But when we got there, we were asked what room did we booked. And I was like, we were not given a room number, so I don’t know. Then the caretaker told us that the caption of the ads is the room name itself.

stay in anilao

The accommodation

Our accommodation room has complete kitchen appliances so you can cook your own food at your own convenience. It has a 2-door refrigerator, a microwave, and complete kitchen utensils. Husbands, this will make your trip very economical! A relaxing romantic trip without breaking the bank. Not bad, right?

The bedroom is spacious and it offers a perfect view of the sea through its window glass. It has a queen-sized bed, a split-type aircon, and a television with local channels only. There is no WiFi connection, but there is a cellphone signal for Globe and Smart subscribers.

Its bathroom and comfort room are uniquely designed. The bathroom is on the left, while the comfort room is on the right, and there is a space in between for handwashing and perhaps for brushing teeth as well. Looks like we found a brilliant idea for our future house!

The beach

Anilao has a pebbly beach instead of fine white sand. But its water is clear compared to the beaches in Ternate, Cavite. If you are looking for a white-sand beach, Masasa beach is just a two-hour boat ride.

How to go to Mabini, Batangas?

Mabini, Batangas can be reached through SLEX, or through Tagaytay. It’s just two hours via SLEX, but four hours of fun joyride via Tagaytay is not a bad idea at all. In our case, we chose the Tagaytay route.

Via SLEX: Take SLEX and continue to Star Tollway – Balagtas/Batangas Exit. Drive to Diversion road going to Bauan. At Bauan proper, simply follow the road to Mabini through Bauan-Mabini Road. Once you reached Mabini Tourism Triangle, follow the road to the right and the J1 Resort is just a few minutes away.

Via Tagaytay: You can also drive to Mabini and make a side-trip to Tagaytay for a quick breakfast. Mabini is just less than two hours away from Tagaytay through Lemery, Batangas (Diokno Highway). From Lemery, drive to Bauan, and turn right to Bauan-Mabini Road, and follow the same instructions above.

PUBLIC Transpo: There are buses in Buendia Bus Terminal going to Batangas port. Tell the driver that you are going to Mabini, and they will drop you off near a Jeepney terminal going to Mabini Port. There are tricycles that can take you to the resort near the port. J1 resort is just 5 minutes away.

How to book your stay at J1 Resort in Anilao

We booked our stay using Airbnb. Our host was Rochelle. You can contact her at 0917-804-7774.

Links to previous blogs:

Las Cas Filipinas de Acuzar
Rizal Province
Cebu Travel Guide

Our Facebook page: Backpacking Stories Philippines

PLACES WORTH VISITING IN TANAYRIZAL

Mt. Maynoba, Tanay

One of the municipalities that you can find in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range is the laid-back town of Tanay. This means that this municipality is full of adventures and ecotourism. Tanay boasts of many awe-inspiring waterfalls, majestic rivers, and hike-worthy mountains. In this blog, let me share some places worth visiting in the municipality of Tanay.

PLACES TO VISIT IN TANAY RIZAL

With its proximity to Metro Manila, a day hike in the mountains of Tanay is what mostly draws tourists to this municipality. Here are a few mountains worth hiking in Tanay:

MT. CAYABU and MAYNOBA TWIN-HIKE

The Maynoba Circuit boasts eight mini-waterfalls that can be reached after descending from its summit. They say that Maynoba offers the highest chance of witnessing the sea-of-clouds of all the Rizal mountains. It’s a twin hike because it requires you to trek Cayabu’s summit first for an easier trail to Mount Maynoba.

MT. DARAITAN

Mt. Daraitan Summit. Photo Credit: Daryl Ocampo

Daraitan is the most popular hiking destination in Tanay Rizal. Its summit has limestone formations, a view of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, and a glimpse of Laguna de Bay.

MT. NGUSONG KABAYO

Mt. Ngusong Kabayo. Photo Credit: RB Platon Barit

Mt. Ngusong Kabayo in Brgy. Laiban is one of my favorite mountains to hike. Its summit has a limestone formation that looks like a horse’s muzzle. Hence came its name ‘Ngusong Kabayo’. A trek to the summit during the rainy season rewards you with sea-of-clouds and four beautiful waterfalls.

MT. BATOLUSONG

Mt. Batolusong is probably one of the easiest hikes amongst all Rizal mountains. Most of its ascending part is just at the start of the hike for one hour. And once you reached Duhatan Ridge, the trail gets easier all through Mapatag Plateau.

NAGPATONG ROCK FORMATION

Photo Credit: Leori Enriquez

Nagpatong Rock is really not a mountain per se, but nonetheless, an easy and very enjoyable day hike destination. It’s a must-hike during the pandemic as it tends to get crowded especially on a weekend.

THE WATER ADVENTURES

There are several waterfalls and rivers in the municipality of Tanay. Some are easily accessible, while some require hiking to get to the place. Here are some places worth visiting in Tanay for those who love water:

DARANAK and BATLAG FALLS

Daranak falls is the flagship tourist destination in the municipality of Tanay. It’s the most accessible one and no hiking is required to get to the waterfall. Daranak is managed and protected by the local government of Tanay. The upper part of the waterfall is a privately owned land. It has another waterfall which is called Batlag Falls.

LAIBAN FALLS

PLACES WORTH VISITING IN TANAY
Kalaparan Falls

Brgy. Laiban prides itself of four beautiful waterfalls. The falls can be reached through hiking Tangwa Peak, descending to the four waterfalls, or simply trekking through the river ascending to the falls.

SANGAB CAVE

PLACES WORTH VISITING IN TANAY

This cave is sitting next to a quiet campsite in Brgy. San Andres, Tanay, Rizal. It can be a perfect place to relax after hiking Mt. Batolusong.

TINIPAK RIVER

PLACES WORTH VISITING IN TANAY
Photo Credit: Crystalaine Rabino

What’s a perfect way to relax after a day hike in Mt. Daraitan than seeing the rapids of Tinipak River. You can take a dip on some of its swimmable basins, or you can simply relax and listen to the river.

KAY-IBON FALLS

PLACES WORTH VISITING IN TANAY
Kay-ibon Falls

This waterfall is easily accessible through Marilaque Highway. It can also be a side-trip when hiking Mt. Batolusong.

HOW TO GO TO TANAY RIZAL

Tanay is just a couple of hours away from Metro Manila. There are several ways to go to the hiking capital of the east.

PUBLIC Transportation: Jeepneys and UV Express (Public SUV’s and Vans) are the most common mode of transportation going to Tanay, Rizal. There are terminals in Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, and Cubao, Quezon City area.

PRIVATE CAR: Driving to Tanay has always been the best option for me. There are three ways you can get to Tanay. First is through Antipolo, via Ortigas Extension (Pasig). Second way is through Binangonan, via Angono Baytown (C6-Taguig). And lastly, which is probably the most widely known option, via Lower Antipolo, or Marilaque Highway.

WHERE TO STAY IN TANAY

An overnight stay in Tanay is so satisfying. Rizal province has very good weather all year round. Thus, it is best for outdoor enthusiasts like me. You have a number of options with your accommodations. You can stay in a fancy hotel, a relaxing camping ground, or a budget-friendly resort hotel.

Ten Cents to Heaven Leisure Camp
http://tencentstoheaven.com/
Address: Sitio Mayagay II, Brgy. Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal
Contact Numbers: (+632)8542-2087, (0999) 888-6227
Momarco Forest Cove Resort & Hotel
https://www.momarcoforestcoveresortandhotel.com/
Address: Sitio Bathala, Brgy. Plaza Aldea, TANAY
Contact Numbers: (+63)917-851-3623, (+63)928-559-5306
Lambingan Hills
https://www.facebook.com/Lambingan-Hills-Official
Address: Narra Street, Brgy. Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal
Contact Numbers: (+63)921-571-2014
Treasure Mountain
https://www.facebook.com/TreasureMountainTanay/
Address: Sitio Maysawa, Brgy. Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal
Contact Numbers: Not available at this time
Balai Tanay
https://www.facebook.com/BalaiTanay/
Address: Daraitan Rd, Tanay, Rizal
Contact Numbers: (+63)917-529-1578

Visit Tanay all-year-round

Tanay is known for a few things. Its mountains, waterfalls, highway, camping sites, and even its diction, ‘hane?’. But more than those things that we already know, Tanay always surprises us with new places worth visiting in this municipality that’s full of adventures. For me, Tanay is indeed the Philippines’ adventure capital of the east. If you are coming to Metro Manila for a few days, and want to escape the city for a day or two, Tanay is the place to go!

P.S.

Read more about the Province of Rizal on my previous blog.

Panguil River Eco Park, trek to Ambon-ambon Falls

Pangil is one of the municipalities in the province of Laguna that is accessible in the east of Metro Manila. Most of its barangays are conveniently situated at the southern tip of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Thus, Pangil is blessed with all sorts of natural attributes. And the best place for ecotourism in Pangil is none other than Panguil River Eco Park.

What is Panguil River Eco Park?

Panguil River Eco Park is an ecotourism resort by the river. They offer several water activities, riverside cottages, a camping ground, and a gazebo for events. The place has a nice receiving area right across a wooden hanging bridge. The staffs are friendly and every transaction comes with a receipt.

What to do in Panguil River Eco Park?

There are several things to do in Panguil River, but the best and most enjoyable activity is the trek to Ambon-ambon falls. And this is mainly what this blog is all about.

The trek to the waterfall is mostly by the river. You will walk, swim, and/or ride a bamboo balsa to reach the falls. The first part of the trek is just a clear and well-maintained pathway of concrete and stairways made of pebbles and stones.

Panguil River Eco Park

We reached the first river crossing after a few minutes of walking and we were too excited to take a dip thinking it’s the only river crossing. We were reminded to leave our cellphones behind, but I guess we never paid attention. Lol!

Panguil River Eco Park

The second river crossing was relatively easy too. It was only knee-deep with a rope across the river as a guide.

Panguil River Eco Park

It was just a walk in the park up until the 3rd river crossing when there’s no pathway anymore. You already need to swim or ride a bamboo balsa to continue with the trek.

As we get closer to the waterfall, it was like the challenge is getting upgraded. And yes, that was the best part of this unique trip.

The last part of the trek is a wooden ladder sitting on top of a huge slippery rock. And you’re there already. You will see a glimpse of Ambon-ambon falls after climbing that ladder.

Ambon-ambon trek
Ambon-Ambon Falls
Ambon-ambon Falls

WHAT ELSE TO DO IN PANGUIL RIVER?

Panguil River is an Ecotourism Park. They have several cottages by the riverside, pavilions for those who want to stay overnight, a dorm-type accommodation, a kiddie pool, a dam/spillway, a camping ground, and a gazebo for events. They also offer a water-tubing activity down the river from the lower portion of Ambon-ambon falls.

How to go to Panguil River Eco Park?

DRIVE: Pangil is just 2-3 hours away from Metro Manila. Drive to Famy, Laguna via Tanay-Pililla Road. Once you reached Famy, Panguil River is just 5-10 minutes away.

COMMUTE: Ride a Raymond bus to Infanta and drop off at Famy 7-eleven. The bus terminal is in Sampaloc, Manila. There are jeepneys passing through Pangil from Sinilioan going to other Laguna Municipalities right across the road.

You may also contact them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/panguilriver.

Links to previous blogs:

Bunsuran Falls
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Rizal Province

Province of Rizal

I spent most of my childhood days in the province of Rizal. Located in the eastern part of the Philippines’ capital, just approximately 16 km (9.9 miles) from Manila, Rizal is one of the most easily accessible provinces from the metro. It is probably one of the most popular hiking destinations in the country with its several mountains and waterfalls.

Some of its towns lie on the western slopes of the southern portion of the Siera Madre mountain range. Thus, making it perfect for mountain biking, day hikes, road trips, and camping. 

Sierra Madre Mountain Range

WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT RIZAL

You can hike the mountains of Rizal all-year-round. But the best time to visit is during the rainy season, June to December. It is when the current of its several waterfalls are strong.

Laiban Falls at the foot of Mt. Ngusong Kabayo

PLACES TO VISIT IN RIZAL

During summertime, you can visit Rizal’s museums and galleries. Rizal is not only known for its mountains. It also has a taste of history and art. In fact, one of its municipalities, Angono, is known as the ‘Art Capital of the Philippines’. Here’s a list of places worth visiting in the Province of Rizal:

MUSEUMS AND URBAN AREAS

Pinto Arts Museum (Antipolo City) – Have you seen a museum with a gallery, a cafe, and a park all in one place? It’s a museum in the middle of a forest!

Pinto Arts

Art Sector Gallery and Chimney Cafe (Binangonan, Rizal) – Art Sector is an art gallery with a cafe and a 360-degree view of the Metro, Laguna Lake, and the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.

Blanco Family Museum (Angono, Rizal) – Blanco Museum is a gallery of the Blanco Family’s artworks. The Blanco Family is one of the noblest families of artists in the Philippines. The museum has a cafe inside.

Taytay Mega Tiangge (Taytay, Rizal) – Taytay is dubbed as the ‘Garments capital of the Philippines’. And then, a few years ago, they decided to take it to another level by creating a bazaar marketIt’s definitely a safer alternative to Divisoria.

Angono Petroglyphs (Angono/Binangonan) – The oldest known work of art in the Philippines, the petroglyphs are said to be more than 2000 years old.

ADVENTURES AND HIKES

The province of Rizal does not lack adventures. It has awe-inspiring waterfalls, challenging biking terrains, and a list of mountains worth-hiking. Here are few places that should be on your bucket list:

Masungi Georeserve (Baras, Rizal) – The Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area located in Baras, Rizal. It features geological rock formations, suspended nets attractions, hanging bridges, rope courses, and eco-trails.

Spider web at Masungi Georeserve. Photo Credit: Czarina Garrido

Daranak Falls and Batlag Falls (Tanay, Rizal) – Daranak Falls is probably the most popular falls in the municipality of Tanay. Batlag falls on the hand is not that known to many, but it’s actually right at the top of Daranak. Thus, the water from Batlag flows down through Daranak.

Pililla Windmill Farm (Pililla, Rizal) – This windmill farm consists of 27 wind turbines located on top of the mountainous town of Pililla, Rizal. Its purpose is to supply alternate energy, but it has also become the main attraction of the municipality.

Pililla Windmill Farm

HIKING IN RIZAL PROVINCE

Since most of the municipalities of Rizal Province are situated along the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, hiking is the best thing to do here all-year-round.

Mt. Tagapo(Cardona-Binangonan) – Located in Talim Island, Mt. Tagapo provides a scenic view of Laguna de Bay and the skylines of Metro Manila. 

Mt. Tagapo

Mt. Balagbag (Rodriguez, Rizal) – Mount Balagbag is accessible by trekking or mountain biking. But the best thing to do here is camping. It’s nice to have a cup of coffee in your tent while seeing the metro night lights.

Mt. Balagbag

The mountains of Wawa and Mascap (Rodriguez, Rizal) – Rodriguez Rizal is one of the most popular mountain hiking destinations in the Philippines. Barangays Wawa and Mascap gather hundreds or thousands of hikers combined every weekend before the pandemic happened.

The mountains of Tanay (Tanay, Rizal) – Tanay is home to the most majestic waterfalls, rivers, and hike-worthy mountains. Most of these mountains can give you a higher chance of seeing a sea-of-clouds from its summits.

WHERE TO STAY IN RIZAL

With its proximity to Metro Manila, a day trip to Rizal is enough to visit a few tourist destinations. However, staying for a night or two is highly recommended to explore more of this province. You have so many options with your accommodations. You can stay in a fancy hotel, a cozy Filipino hut, a budget-friendly motel, or in a quiet campsite.

Mount Purro Nature Reserve
https://www.mountpurronaturereserve.com
Address: Purok 5, Barangay Calawis, Antipolo City 
Contact Numbers: (+632) 8542-3005, 0908-881-2701
LuLuljetta's Hanging Garden and Spa 
https://luljettas.com
Address: Sitio Loreland, Barangay San Roque
         Antipolo, Rizal 1870
Contact Numbers: (+632) 534 2517,(+632) 633 3494
                 (0925) 766 7544,(0917) 867 6205
Thunderbird Resorts and Casino
https://www.thunderbird-asia.com
Address: Eastridge Arts Recreations & Tourism Zone
         Binangonan, 1940 Rizal
Contact Numbers: (+632) 8651 6888,(+632) 8651-3893
Bakasyunan Resorts and Conference Center 
https://www.bakasyunanresorttanay.com/
Address: 3 Marilaque Hwy, Tanay, Rizal
Contact Numbers: (+632) 8706 4509 
                 (0917) 575 5116, (0998) 994 2513
Ten Cents to Heaven Leisure Camp
http://tencentstoheaven.com/
Address: Sitio Mayagay II Cuyambay, Marilaque Hwy
                Tanay, Rizal 1980 
Contact Numbers: (+632) 8542 2087
Treasure Mountain Camp Site
https://www.facebook.com/TreasureMountainTanay
Address: Cuyambay, Marilaque Hwy, Tanay, Rizal 1980 
Contact:  They are active and responsive in Facebook

WHERE TO EAT IN RIZAL

Although Rizal is a mountainous province, it is bordered by Quezon, a coastal province, and Metro Manila, the country’s capital. This means that you several choices on the menu, from seafood to meat and even pasta.

Tipulo
Type: A garden-restaurant with calming ambiance.
      Serves Filipino dishes.
Address: 27 Sumulong Hwy, Antipolo, Rizal 1870 
Contact Number: (+632) 696-3051
Yumboss Putok Batok Restaurank
Type: Seafood. Has unlimited seafood offer.
Address: 146 Sumulong Hwy, Antipolo, Rizal 1870 
Contact Number: (+632) 696-3051
Lutong Pugon - Tiongco's Garden
Type: A garden-restaurant that mainly serves
      Pizza and Pasta cooked with firewood
Address: Manila East Rd, Tanay-Pililla boundary
Contact Number: (0945) 306-6376
Che's Cafe
Type: A cafe that also offers a flavorful bulalo.
Address: Manila East Rd, Tanay-Pililla boundary 
Contact Number: (0945) 306-6376
Lugaw n' Toppers
https://www.facebook.com/lugawntoppers
Type: Lugaw with a twist AND more!
Address: Ciudad Grande, Taytay, Rizal 
Contact Number: (0920) 787-7522

Rizal is just sitting right next to Metro Manila, but sometimes we tend to look somewhere else for our leisure travels. This province has a lot to offer, from adventures, food, arts, and a taste of history. And you may find the tranquility you were looking for here, without traveling on a plane or making a long drive.

I want to see you here in our humble province of Rizal. À bientôt!

Work-from-the-beach at Birdland Beach Club

Some of us are already working from home when the pandemic started. This gives us the flexibility of taking our jobs anywhere where there is an internet connection. And that is how Birdland Beach Club came up with the idea of making their beautiful resort into a tech-resort to allow online workers to work from the beach!

ABOUT BIRDLAND BEACH CLUB

Birdland Beach Club is an eco-oriented resort in the heart of Bolinao, Pangasinan. This resort was built around existing corals and trees without destroying them. It’s a pet-friendly resort that also offers high-speed internet for working from home individuals who are in dire need of a trip to the beach.

The resort offers several accommodation options like modern-airconditioned cabanas, Ifugao-inspired wooden homes, and outdoor Kubo huts.

HOW TO GO TO BBC Bolinao?

Bolinao, Pangasinan is a 6-hour drive from Metro Manila. Here are a few tips on how to get to BBC Bolinao:

PRIVATE CAR: If you’re up for the challenge, you can drive north to Tarlac via NLEX. Bolinao is just a couple of hours away from Tarlac.

*You may also opt to rent a van for your family’s trip through Van Rental services. I highly recommend Taong Kalye Van Rental Services. Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/noahoberez

COMMUTE: Five Star bus offers a direct trip from Cubao, Quezon City to Bolinao. You may also take a bus to Tarlac, and then take a regular bus from Tarlac to Bolinao. From the bus station, you can ride a tricycle to the resort which is just 6 minutes away.

WHAT TO DO IN BIRDLAND BEACH CLUB?

Birdland Beach Club is a birds’ paradise. Imagine waking up in the morning to the sound of singing birds. It’s certainly one of the best ways to relax your soul. There are also several things to do here since Bolinao is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Pangasinan. Here are things that you can do while in Bolinao:

  1. Take a dip at the resort’s swimming pools

Birdland Beach Club has two swimming pools that you can enjoy. Each pool has its own identity and both are artistically designed to match the resort’s rustic jazzy style.

2. Visit Patar Beach and Cape Bolinao Lighthouse

Although Birdland Beach Club is right at the beachfront, you should not miss taking a side-trip to Patar. Patar Beach is a public beach area in Bolinao, but it’s the best beach in this municipality! The Cape Bolinao Lighthouse is just a few minutes from Patar beach.

3. Waterfalls chasing in Samang Norte

Samang Norte boasts of three waterfalls in its barangay. The waterfalls are only 30 minutes away from the resort, and it’s certainly worth driving to.

4. Discover the underwater caves along Patar Road

There are three underwater caves along Patar Road. Each cave has a natural spring water pool inside. It’s a must-visit in Bolinao! These caves are just a few minutes away from the beach.

5. Work-from-the-beach!

I was so amazed that I was able to work and speak with my US-based clients on my mid-range laptop without any technical issues. There are three working stations in Birdland Beach Club with decent Wi-Fi connections sufficient for online tasks. I also tried using my cellphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot and Smart Postpaid’s connection in Bolinao didn’t disappoint.

WHY VISIT BIRDLAND BEACH CLUB?

Birdland Beach Club is one of the few eco-tourism resorts in the country. They also support sustainable tourism by growing their own fruits and vegetables and serving them directly in the resort.

This rustic-style resort has been featured several times on TV. It was also nominated as the best resort in Pangasinan in 2017. We have been to Bolinao several times already, and I can say that this is indeed the best place to stay in the province of Pangasinan.

During this pandemic, tourism is one of the most affected industries globally. Though it is unsafe to go out on a leisure trip at this time, supporting resorts such as BBC Bolinao is one of many ways on how we can help in these trying times.

Please visit Birdland Beach Club soon and take your office works on the beach!

You can book your stay by contacting them using the following information:

Birland Beach Club, Bolinao
Website: https://www.birdlandbeachclub.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/birdlandbeachclub 
Phone number: +63 977-807-4794

Links to previous blogs: Antipolo, Bolinao, Cebu.

Antipolo City, Pilgrimage City of the Philippines

Antipolo city is the new capital of Rizal Province. Antipolo has been the most populous component city in the Philippines for years, but it did not become the province’s capital until July 2020.

This highly-urbanized city prides itself as the Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines. Religious Catholic people will never miss visiting Antipolo during the Lenten season. Antipolo is also one of the best choices for a quick vacation with its proximity to Metro Manila.

WHAT TO DO IN ANTIPOLO CITY

To some religious Catholic people, Antipolo is the pilgrimage capital of the Philippines. During the Lenten Season, my Catholic friends will never miss visiting Antipolo Cathedral, the Mystical Cave, and the White Cross of Antipolo.

But Antipolo is actually a mix of urban and rural life. You’ll get both the taste of crowded city life and the tranquility of a quiet camping area not too far from the city proper. The city, with its high elevation, also boasts of a panoramic view of Metro Manila. Thus some resorts and restaurants are too perfect for relaxation.

PLACES TO VISIT IN ANTIPOLO

Here are few places worth visiting in Antipolo:

Mystical Cave – A cave full of beautiful stalactite formations and shiny minerals. This cave is just 30 minutes away from the city proper. It is popular as one of the pilgrimage destinations in Antipolo.

LULJETTA’S HANGING GARDEN SPA – Luljettas is a resort and spa that offers a spectacular view of Metro Manila. It’s a beautifully designed resort sitting on the cliffs of Antipolo ridges.

CLOUD 9 ANTIPOLO – Cloud 9 is a hotel and restaurant that offers a 360-degree view of Metro Manila and Antipolo. They accept walk-in tourists, so you don’t necessarily need to book accommodation or a pricey dinner to get access to the viewing deck. A hanging bridge connects the restaurant and the viewing deck.

Cloud 9

MOUNT PURRO NATURE RESERVES – Mount Purro is a 36-hectare forest sanctuary in the Sierra Madre mountain range. It offers Filipino hut accommodations and camping options for its guests. For more information, please read my Mount Purro blog.

BUNSURAN FALLS – Bunsuran is the most accessible waterfall in Brgy. Calawis, Antipolo City. It has few swimmable basins, and its water flows on a huge wide rock. Read more about Bunsuran by following this link: Bunsuran Falls.

Bunsuran Falls

HINULUGANG TAKTAK PARK– Hinulugang Taktak was the flagship of Antipolo long before it became a city. It used to be a beautiful waterfall. Today, the waterfall is no longer swimmable but still offers a magnificent view.

PINTO ARTS MUSEUM – A museum with a gallery, a cafe, and a park all in one place. It’s a museum in the middle of a forest!

 WHERE TO STAY IN ANTIPOLO

Due to its proximity to Metro Manila, a day trip to Antipolo is more than enough to visit a place or two. But staying for more than just a day is not a bad idea at all. Here are the recommended places in every corner of the city.

LULJETTA'S HANGING GARDEN SPA
https://luljettas.com/
Address:  Sitio Loreland, Barangay San Roque Antipolo City, Rizal 1870
Contact Numbers: (+632) 534 2517, (+63) 925-766-7544
MOUNT PURRO NATURE RESERVES
https://www.mountpurronaturereserve.com/
Address:  Purok 5, Brgy. Calawis, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870
Contact Numbers: (+632) 534 2517, (+63) 925-766-7544
LEBLANC HOTEL AND RESORT
https://www.facebook.com/LeblancPhilippines
Address:  3 Taktak Rd, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870
Contact Numbers: (+632) 518-9303
CAFE LUPE ANTIPOLO
https://cafelupeantipolo.com/
Address: Sumulong Highway, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870
Contact Numbers: (+632) 470-3201, (+63) 945-432-1056
CITY SUITES
http://www.thecitywalksuitesapartment.com/
Address: M.L. Quezon Extn. Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City, Rizal
Contact Numbers: (+632) 954-8607, (+63) 917-793-0973

HOW TO GO TO ANTIPOLO

Antipolo is really just a 30-minute drive from Makati City. This travel time may take up to two hours during rush hours. Ortigas Ave Extn and Marcos Highway are the most common way to Antipolo, but you may also travel via C6-Floodway to Angono Baytown to avoid heavy traffic.

UV express is the most convenient public transportation to Antipolo. UV stands for Utility Vehicle. They are mostly SUVs, and 18-seater Vans turned into non-metered taxis. There are several UV terminals in Metro Manila located in each Business Centers in Makati, Pasig, Taguig, etc.

Jeepneys and buses are also available as cheaper alternative transportation. Terminals are located in Cubao, Quezon City, and Edsa-Shaw Mandaluyong.

NEW TAGAYTAY?

They say Antipolo is an alternative to Tagaytay. Its high elevation provides cold weather and beautiful views of Metro Manila. Personally, I believe that Antipolo City has a totally different identity. Some tourists visit Antipolo for religious reasons, that’s why they call it the “Pilgrimage Capital.” But there is more to this city than just religious practices and sacrifices.

Antipolo City still has a long way to go with its tourism. At this time, it is not yet comparable to Tagaytay at all. But like what Tagaytay used to be (when it wasn’t yet too crowded), Antipolo is a perfect definition of tranquility.

See you around! À bientôt!

Wow, Bolinao! (Bolinao, Pangasinan)

Bolinao is one of the coastal towns in the province of Pangasinan. It is popularly known for its giant clams that are locally known as ‘Taclobo‘. This municipality is also widely known for its waterfalls and beautiful fine-sand beach.

Bolinao Falls 2

HOW TO GO TO BOLINAO PANGASINAN?

Bolinao is a  6-hour drive from Metro Manila. Here are a few tips on how to get to Bolinao:

PRIVATE CAR: You can drive north to Tarlac via NLEX. Bolinao is just a couple of hours away from Tarlac.

*You may also opt to rent a van for your family’s trip through Van Rental services. I highly recommend Taong Kalye Van Rental Services. Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/noahoberez.

COMMUTE: Five Star Bus offers a direct trip from Cubao, Quezon City to Bolinao. Or you may also take a bus to Tarlac, and then take a regular bus from Tarlac to Bolinao.

WHERE TO STAY IN BOLINAO?

Birdland Beach Club

We have been to Bolinao four times already. And during our most recent 3-day stay in Bolinao, we stayed in Birdland Beach Club in Long Beach, Bolinao. It’s the best place to stay in Bolinao! It’s just 5 minutes away from the market and bus terminal. It has a reliable internet connection, several room accommodation options, and an overall quiet, relaxing environment.

You can book your stay directly by contacting them using the following information, or you can book using Airbnb, just like we did.

Birland Beach Club, Bolinao
Website: https://www.birdlandbeachclub.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/birdlandbeachclub
Phone number: +63 977-807-4794

Here are other accommodation options in Bolinao:

Treasures of Bolinao
https://treasuresofbolinao.com/
Address: Treasures Rd, Patar, Bolinao
Contact Numbers: +63 906-475-9366
Rockview Beach Resort
https://www.facebook.com/rockviewbeachresort14.net
Address: 2406 Patar Rd, Bolinao
Contact Numbers: +63 905-261-6686
Puerto Del Sol Beach Resort
www.puertodelsol.com.ph
Address: Patar Rd, Bolinao
Contact Numbers: +63 2 8710-7371, +63 917-554-2859, +63 908-895-8491
Sundowners Vacation Villas
www.sundowners.ph
Address: Luciente 1, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Contact Numbers: +63 (977) 859 7299, +63 (998) 544 8070
El Pescador Resort Hotel
www.elpescadorbolinao.com/
Address: San Andres St, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Contact Numbers: +63 999-992-6184, +63 927-145-0110

TOURIST SPOTS TO VISIT IN BOLINAO PANGASINAN

Bolinao is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Pangasinan, and even in North Luzon. Not only that it has very good and relaxing accommodations, but it also has a few places worth visiting! Here are some of the places you should not miss visiting when in Bolinao:

Patar Beach

Patar Beach

Patar beach is a public beach area in Bolinao. It has beautiful cream-white fine sand and clear turquoise blue water. It is free for everyone’s access, and one is not required to rent a cottage. Wouldn’t it be nice if all beaches in the Philippines are like that?

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse.

Bolinao Lighthouse

This lighthouse was built in Patar, Bolinao in 1903. It stands at 351 feet above sea level on top of Punta Piedra Point. It provides a panoramic view of Patar white beach and Cape Bolinao Dendro Thermal Ipil-Ipil Plantation.

Enchanted Cave

The enchanted cave is indeed so enchanting. It’s probably the most beautiful underwater cave that I have seen so far. It has clear cold water inside and there are lights installed. There are also giant clams shells around the area which means that this cave as well as its surrounding used to be part of the ocean!

There are two other underwater caves in Bolinao, but the Enchanted Cave is the most popular.

Bolinao Falls 1

Bolinao Falls 1

Bolinao has a series of waterfalls on its streams. The first waterfall that you will see when entering Brgy. Samang Norte is simply called Bolinao Falls 1. It’s the tallest waterfall in Bolinao and has a deep basin of more than 30 feet.

Bolinao Falls 2

Bolinao Falls 2

I like the second waterfall better than the 1st one. It looks more quiet and peaceful. It has several huts beside the waterfall perfect for a family picnic or barbecue time.

There is a third waterfall downstream which we decided not to visit at this time.

WHERE TO EAT IN BOLINAO

My personal favorite in Bolinao is Tummy Teasers because they offer a variety of food options on their menu. For budget travelers, I would also highly recommend JQ’s Corner. Tummy Teasers restaurant is in Poblacion, along Saturnino Camaingan Street (the road leading to Patar Beach), while JQ’s Corner is right beside the bus terminal.

Here’s my list for you:

JQ's Corner
Type: Budget Breakfast
Location: Poblacion
Contact number: +63 915-925-7627
Giant Taklobo Resto Grill
Type: Sea food
Location: Patar Road
Contact number: +63 921-463-0623
Bolinao 2 London
Type: Grill and Cafe
Location: Poblacion
Contact number: +63 921 563 5765
Sungayan Grill
Type: Sea food
Location: Balingasay 
Contact number: +63 912 353 4433

WHY VISIT BOLINAO?

Bolinao, Pangasinan is a 6-hour drive from Metro Manila, but it’s so much worth it. It has everything that you will ever wish for in a vacation; waterfalls, underwater caves, a white-sand beach, and a totally relaxing accommodation.

It is possible to visit Bolinao on a one-day trip. Some tour agencies and operators offer day-tour packages to Bolinao which are normally really cheap. The itinerary includes leaving Manila at 12 AM, arriving in Bolinao at 6 AM, and going home after a whole day full of adventures. But I highly recommend that you stay for a few days so you can maximize your time at each tourist destination.

The secret to a perfect Bolinao trip is to spend a few days and just feel the serenity of the place. Thus, choosing the right accommodation is certainly one of the most important things in planning your travel to Bolinao.

Let me share a few photos of our very cute accommodation in Birdland Beach Club.

Links to previous blogs: Cebu, Bataan, and Antipolo.