R is for Rizal

Named after our national hero, this province was the 31st I visited. I had a few memories of the Cainta and Pasig which I visited back in the mid-1990s. So very few that I felt the need to revisit the province to get to know more about its past and to understand how it has evolved into its present state.

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The 1901 Rizal Marker

I first visited Rizal when I was in college. Having spent some years in Quezon City, I made a few weekend trips to Cainta and Pasig (which at that time, was still part of Rizal). When I got the job in Cavite, my friends and I made spontaneous quick drive up to Padi’s Point in Antipolo to watch the Metro Manila skyline and the vast display of lights after sundown. I also joined a school group tour and visited museums in Angono.

Much has changed over the years. The province of Rizal has more than a handful to offer to the wandering types.

My re-visit to Rizal included the following:
a) The Church of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
b) Hinulugang Taktak
c) The Provincial Capitol and the Ynares Gymnasium
d) Pinto Art Museum

Antipolo is said to be the 7th most populous city in the country. It became a city in 1998, replacing the city of Pasig which has long been included in Metro Manila. In 2011, Antipolo was declared as a “highly urbanized city” awaiting plebiscite for ratification.

From Makati, I walked to Valero Street and took an FX/Van for Antipolo. It’s a 2-hr travel to the provincial capital of Rizal, taking on C-5 then Ortigas Avenue and Ortigas Extension and finally P. Oliveros Street.

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Antipolo Cathedral

The Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage is found at the terminal end of P. Oliveros. Antipolo is known for being a pilgrimage site. The Shrine is dedicated to the Virgin of Antipolo, a 17th century wooden image from Mexico which was brought to the Philippines in 1626 via the galleon El Almirante.

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Of why the statue was given the title of Nuestra Señora de la Paz y del Buen Viaje or Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, the voyage of Governor-General Juan Niño de Tabora along with six other voyages of galleons under the Manila-Acapulco route with the image aboard, were all successful.

The image is now enshrined at the Antipolo Cathedral also known as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Antipolo. The latest version of the church was completed in 1954 designed by José L. de Ocampo.

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I got the chance to hear an early friday mass and noticed that pilgrims hurriedly queue at the side of the church to wait for their turn to kiss the veil of the Lady. I had the chance to lit vigil candles and said my prayers for safe travels and wonderful journeys.

Next on my to-do list was to visit Hinulugang Taktak. How to get there? Just hail a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to the falls. I got one at the corner of ML Quezon and Dela Paz St . If you travel alone, the tricycle ride would cost you Php 40.

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Antipolo’s two most popular places are the Antipolo Church and the Hinulugang Taktak. DENR has designated the latter as a National Park. There’s no entrance fee to the park. The security group would remind you not to bring any cigarette inside.

It is a quick descent to the viewing deck. Hinulugang Taktak, was made popular by a Tagalog song. Through the years, the popularity of this spot waned probably because of pollution and the lack of preservation and protection of the water that feeds into the falls. Swimming at the falls is definitely not recommended.

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Hinulugang Taktak

But Hinulugang Taktak is slowly getting back on its feet, now that DENR has placed it under its jurisdiction, several infrastructure has been made along with other facilities such as a swimming pool, cottages and meditation area.

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From Hinulugang Taktak, I decided to walk the length of Daang Bakal Road up to the corner of L Sumulong Memorial Circle and hopped into a tricycle for the provincial capitol.

The Pamahalaang Panlalawigan ng Rizal or the Capitol is the seat of the provincial government of Rizal. The capitol building is located in the Ynares Center Complex.

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Rizal Provincial Capitol

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Antipolo City Hall located beside the Cathedral

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Rizal is said to be the cache of artistic heritage from the petroglyphs of pre-historic times, to the present number of museums across cities and towns. Angono is best known as the “Art Capital of the Philippines” because the petroglyphs and being the hometown of a couple of national artists. Antipolo on the other hand has the Pinto Art Museum.

Pinto Art Museum is a private museum, a brainchild of the Silangan Foundation for Arts, Culture, and Ecology. It is located within the Grand Heights Village. If you are coming from the provincial capitol grounds, take the L.Sumulong Memorial Circle and head down south. The first corner after the Little House of Cheesecakes is the Grand Heights Road. You can opt to ride a motorcycle or just walk your way to the museum.

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Signage along L. Sumulong Mem. Circle

The Pinto Art Museum is at #1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights, Antipolo City.

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The museum sits on a sprawling one-hectare lot. Currently there are 6 galleries showcasing contemporary art and a number of artworks from the personal collection of Dr. Joven Cuanang who leads the foundation. There are also outdoor art installation and garden sculptures.

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The buildings and houses within the museum complex showcase a blend of Greek Mediterranean and Mexican influence. Looking at the structures, it gave a bit of a Santorini vibe probably because of the white-washed color and simple window and repetitive arches all throughout.

Here’s a sample of what’s inside the Pinto Art Museum.

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Power and Unity. Terracotta by Joe Geraldo

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Gallery 1

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Gallery 2

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Hollow Man at Gallery 3

I spent an entire day in Antipolo as a way of revisiting the province of Rizal. If I could describe this province in a few words, Rizal is a marriage of deeply-rooted faith, of great historical importance, of natural beauty and surviving art culture.

A day in the city of Antipolo is a day well-spent.

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