Rizal: A Travel Guide to the Art Capital of the Philippines and Other Parts of Rizal

Recently, I attended a tour guides convention and as a way of giving back to the travel community, JB, one of my friends, who is a tour guide, offered a free tour at Rizal together with his partner, Vincent. Both of them lives in Rizal. Rizal is a good tourist destination near Manila so I know I should grab JB’s free offer. Lol! Our road trip from Manila to Rizal took us around 2 hours. We left Manila at around 6 AM and arrived at Antipolo, Rizal at round 8 AM.

Van To Angono Rizal

Our first stop is the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Church in Antipolo, Rizal. The church house a 17th century image of the Blessed Image Virgin Mary named as Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. According to stories, the image was first brought in the Philippines by a Spanish general. His safe arrival was attributed to the image and this was how the image got its name. The church is also famous among local Filipinos and have devotees from Manila even specifically going to Rizal to visit the church.

Vincent and JB, the 2nd and 3rd guy from the left are our Rizal guides of the day.

Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Church

Inside Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Church

And don’t forget to buy Kasoy as pasalubong if you’re visiting Antipolo. Kasoy is one of Antipolo’s special delicacies.

Antipolo Pasalubong

After visiting the church, we went to Pililla Wind Farm at Pililla, Rizal. The ride is a bit long so I fell asleep on our way here. Lol. If you can’t go to Ilocos yet, then Pililla Wind Farm is a great alternative. Unfortunately, it was raining when we arrived there so I wasn’t able to take a very good shot of their wind farm. But it’s really windy and a bit cold up there, a nice escape from the hot weather in Manila.

Pililla Wind Farm in Rizal

Next, we visited Daranak Falls in Tanay, Rizal. The falls is a famous quick swimming getaway near Manila. However, since we lack the time to swim, we only went here to sightsee. Honestly, it looks refreshing to swim on Daranak falls, but I hope they can improve the cleanliness of their toilet and bathroom. I’m a bit picky when it comes to that.

Daranak Falls in Rizal

If you have some energy to climb a little, on top of Daranak Falls is Batlag Falls.

Batlag Falls in Rizal

After checking out Daranak Falls, we went to the Angono – Binagonan Petroglyphs. Nothing much here but we got to see some petroglyphs inside. I guess Angono really deserves the Art Capital of the Philippines title as even the ancient people living here are artistic. By the way, Angono got its title because a lot of our Filipino artists live there. Can you spot the petroglyphs on the picture?

Angono Binagonan Petroglyphs Site

On our way out the Angono – Binagonan Petroglyphs Site.

Angono Binagonan Petroglyphs Cave

And finally, lunch time! Yay! We had our sumptous lunch at Balaw Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery. Balaw Balaw has lots of interesting and exotic foods in their menu and their 2nd floor is an art gallery. If you’re looking for a one-stop restaurant to try the different exotic foods in the Philippines, then you shouldn’t miss Balaw Balaw. (Thank you, Noy, for treating us to Balaw Balaw! XD Noy is one of our friends who joined the trip. He’s a French-speaking tour guide.)

Balaw Balaw Restaurant in Angono Rizal

Aside from the normal food, we also tried some their exotic foods on the menu: the Crispy Alagaw Leaves, the Crocodile Sisig and the Ginataang Kuhol. The Crispy Alagaw Leaves is good, the Crocodile Sisig is really good and the Ginataang Kuhol is okay.

Balaw Balaw Restaurant’s Exotic Foods in Angono Rizal

After lunch, we took a short trip to the Angono Tourism Office where we saw some of their Higantes costumes. Higantes are giant costumes used by Angono locals to celebrate Higantes Festival.

Angono Tourism Office

We resumed our tour at Blanco Family Art Museum. Jose Blanco is a Filipino painter and the museum houses the paintings painted by his family including his wife, daughter and sons. Talk about genetics.

Blanco Family Museum in Angono Rizal

Before we went to our last destination, we explored the street where Carlos “Botong” Francisco, a Filipino muralist, lives. The street was laid down with a lot of murals. It’s amazing. My heart is skipping a bit as our big van travelled inside the narrow street.

Angono Rizal Murals

We ended our tour at St. Clement Parish and went back to Manila after that.

St. Clement Parish in Angono Rizal

Inside St. Clement Parish in Angono Rizal

I felt that I was able to visit and experience a lot within 1 day. Although, I’m not a very art appreciative person (lol), my favorite part of the tour are the Daranak Falls, Balaw Balaw Restaurant and the street full of murals. If you’re looking for a tour guide in Rizal, I’ll definitely recommend JB and Vincent! Aside from being professional guides, they’re both locals of Rizal so you can say they know Rizal, Philippines almost like the palm of their hand. Let me know you if you need help in contacting them. Or you may also contact JB directly at https://sunnytrip.ph/guide/jb-quemado.

Thank you JB, Vincent and the Angono Tourism Office for accommodating us!

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