My friends and I went on a daytour photography of Rizal Province, opting to pick just a few towns. We started from different points, with me taking the Laguna route, therefore starting in Pililla.
The travel from my Tagaytay home to Pililla took more than two hours and so breakfast was the first order of the day. My brother and I stopped at a roadside restaurant called Kawayan Farm and ordered breakfast. Their home-made corned beef made me happy, but the lumpiang ubod (from bamboo shoots) was hefty and glorious.
BAHAY NA BATO
Next stop was the Bahay na Bato in Pililla. The gate was closed and so I knocked and the caretaker gladly showed us the property which is actually available as a private function venue.
ST. MARY MAGDALENE CHURCH, PILILLA
Right beside the Bahay na Bato is the church of St. Mary Magdalene.
SAN ILDEFONSO CHURCH, TANAY
Next stop was the church in Tanay. From Pinoy Churches: “The 14 Stations of the Cross inside our church has an anomaly that can hardly be missed, The first twelve bear marks and features revealing the Malayan or native characteristics incorporated such as the somewhat squat appearance of the figures, including Jesus, the use of “Tambuli” made from carabao horn and of the “tabak” or native bolo instead of the usual Roman sword, while the last two bears features that are unmistakably Caucasian. Although the construction of the Stations of the Cross were not recorded in the books of the church, it is widely believed that the first twelve were done by a native artist of Tanay. Another anomaly is usually noticed in the 7 th station by visitors where Caiaphas, the High Priest wears a sunglass. All told, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful Stations of the Cross in all of Asia.
The Church was declared a National Cultural Heritage on July 31, 2001 by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts along with 25 other churches all over the Philippines.”
From Tanay, I went to the town hall to seek help on how to get to Masungi Rock. To my dismay, the town hall was closed. I didn’t realize that government offices were closed on weekends. Finally found someone who was gracious enough to guide me and my brother to the rocks. Readers will be dismayed to know that the access is thru private property (my new-found friend knew the owners) but will be happy to know that access to portions of the rocks will be made available starting May 16 2014.
I had to climb 600 steps (that is what we were told) but realized that there are 4 bonus steps on top for a better view of this magnificent formation. We negotiated our way thru cave-like crevices in what seemed to be a forested hill. It was an exhilarating experience, and I was thankful I brought with me two bottles of water to get me thru the climb.
The view at the top is a fitting reward for the effort. Friends who have been to Tanay tell me they have never been to the Masungi Rocks, and so viewing it from the top was a wonderful feeling.
Next stop was the PAROLA, probably the most photographed Tanay landmark. The boats around the lighthouse are so picture pretty we couldn’t stop clicking away.
Next subject was the church in Baras, known as St Joseph, Husband of Mary Church.
What is particularly interesting is that the trusses at the ceiling which seem to be temporary are actually decades old, adding character and interesting trivia.
BALAW BALAW IN ANGONO
We capped our daytour with an early dinner at Balaw Balaw, a most interesting restaurant in Angono. I made the group interested by telling them that this restaurant, which I have visited more than 30x has been visited by presidents and princesses, diplomats, and ordinary folks like us. The menu is interesting as it includes rather exotic dishes even as regular pancit, adobo, and halo halo can be had.
The restaurant was started by an artist who has since passed away, and so his artistic bent is still manifest in how the restaurant looks like.
Our group ordered the house specialty SINIGANG NA KANDULI SA MISO plus BALAW BALAW. And a huge serving of MINALUTO, actually many different dishes on what looks like a paella pan.
We were all in our homes at around 8pm, ready to retire for the night after a beautiful day and a sumptuous dinner.
You, too, can do this daytour. Take the East Road via Antipolo and hit Pililla and Tanay early in the morning, and work your way back to Manila via Ortigas, hitting first the towns of Morong, Baras, Cardona, until you get to Angono. Address and contact details of Balaw Balaw is on the photo right above this.
(DISCLAIMER: I am a blogger and have no relationship with the places and restaurants I review, making sure I always pay for all my food and transpo, as well as accommodations when staying overnight/s to be able to give an objective review of places).