This quaint municipality is brimming with scenic spots worth discovering.
Text and photos by Ruby Asoy-Lebajo
It is always fascinating how photographs ‘preserve’ the beauty of someone or something. The captured moment is immortalized, and every time we see these pictures we relive the moment.
I have been very impressed lately with Tanay and fortunate to have captured the beauty and hidden gems of this first-class municipality in the province of Rizal with the lenses of my camera.
A typical commute between Manila and Tanay will take between one and three hours depending on the traffic situations. What makes this place interesting is that it showcases portions of the Siera Madre Mountains and is bordered by Antipolo City in the north-west; Baras, Morong and Teresa in the west; General Nakar (Quezon Province) in the east; and Pilillia, Santa Maria (Laguna province) as well as lake Laguna de Bay in the south. With its strategic location, there are many vantage points where you can enjoy nature, mountain views, cool climate and lots of verdant surroundings.
Remarkably, it is becoming an extension of Manila’s urbanization along with the city of Antipolo, towns of Cainta, Angono, Taytay and Binangonan. More tourists, both local and international, are visiting this quaint municipality brimming with scenic spots worth discovering of.
We have traveled around Tanay courtesy of the Tanay Tourism Office and Municipality of Tanay. It wasn’t difficult to see why we were so truly enamored with Tanay. Here are some places of interest:
Daranak Falls and Resort - A natural resort and popular local tourist attraction. It is one of the flagship destinations of Tanay. You can swim, picnic and have a great time with your family. It has enchanting waterfalls, ponds, and rivers cascading through elaborate tropical trees and plants. This 14-meter high water falls is truly a refreshing location.
Ten Cents to Heaven Leisure Camp - This sprawling destination is perfect for family getaways, team building, and camping activities. For the adventurous individuals, they can try and enjoy the zipline ride, hanging bridge, rock wall climbing, rappelling, and free-fall. The leisure camp offers corporate events and meetings to intimate weddings and family occasions. It is nestled atop the rolling mountains of Tanay, Rizal and provides a magnificent 360-degree view of the magnificent Sierra Madre mountains and Laguna de Bay.
Qalmara Lifestyle Resort - It is located at the heart of the forest of Tanay, Rizal, which showcases the majestic view of the province with its serene, calming and relaxing ambiance. It is situated amid verdant mountains, fresh air, spacious facilities, and a family-friendly environment.
Regina Rica - A religious complex nestled in the foothills of Sitio Aguho in Barangay Sampaloc. Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia (RICA) is a 14-hectare sanctuary for Dominican Sisters. It’s where you can commune not only with the Almighty but also with nature, and has three waterfalls, a creek, and over 10,000 trees. But, the primary reason why devotees flock to this area is to visit the 71-foot tall statue of the Queen of the Holy Rosary.
Parola – The historic lighthouse of Tanay provides a picturesque view of the lake and mountains and several nearby restaurants. Most of the Tanay folks visit the area in early mornings for the cool breeze and warm morning sun. At night Parola is the guardian angel of the fisher-folks.
Tanay Church – Located in the heart of the town proper, San Ildefonso Church, also known as Tanay Church, is the second oldest church in the province. Commonly known for its “Station of the Cross,” which hailed as one of the most artistic in Asia with its controversial "Bolo Knife" used by a Roman soldier. It was declared as one of the five Jubilee Churches in the Diocese of Antipolo and National Cultural Heritage by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) on July 31, 2001, along with 25 other churches all over the Philippines due to its age and the centuries-old religious artifacts that it houses.
Kainan Sa Tabing Lawa – It has been one of Tanay’s famous restaurants since the ’60s. It offers fresh, delicious, and affordable Filipino food. But their specialty is freshwater fish. It is located at #6 Lakeshore Drive corner Cong. Ding Tanjuatco Streets, Tanay, Rizal. Our team had enjoyed the sumptuous breakfast composed of a variety of grilled fish, bulalo, ensalada, and the best-tasting bagoong (fermented shrimp paste), which was a dish on its own.
Gathering Café – Located in Tanay Hills Coffee Beanery, the resto’s main charm lies in its kubo huts and food specialties. It is one of the go-to-restaurants in Tanay. This cozy place's bestsellers include sinampalukang manok, crispy fried chicken, duck caldereta, ensalada, rare dishes such as tapang baboy ramo and tapang usa. Food choices are reasonably-priced, uniquely delicious and have generous servings. The tapang usa was very flavorful and tender. The tapang baboy damo had a stronger taste, but both were great with chili vinegar. The strong coffee was perfect to end our sumptuous meal. This restaurant is also a hub for motorbike riders during the weekend and some staying guests.
Momarco Forest Cove and Resort - This place invites you to take a breather away from the hustle and bustle of the city, while offering you the basic amenities you need. Whether you’re looking for a new adventure, in a new town or a quiet respite from your busy schedule, this relaxing getaway has you covered. It is surrounded by a lush environment, good accommodation options, and not to be missed their sumptuous group meals.
Pico de Pino – Located in Brgy. Cuyambay, Marikina-Infanta Hwy, Tanay, Rizal, and this popular restaurant is frequently visited (even by celebrities and groups of riders) because of its delectable meals, with big servings and affordably priced! You can have a satisfying gastronomic experience while enjoying the fresh air and the astonishing views of the surrounding mountains and Laguna de Bay. Bestsellers include bulalo, adobong kambing, chopsuey, litson kawali, caldereta, kare-kare, fresh lumpia, and crispy whole chicken and the yummy-licious pure hot chocolate drink. Special thanks to the hospitable lady owner, Ms. Gloria Valdez, whom we had the chance to meet personally during our recent visit.
Pranjetto Hills - This 10-hectare property offers almost all kinds of activities - weekend family getaway, team building, seminars, nature trekking, wedding, anniversary and birthday celebrations. It offers accommodation according to your needs and number of people. It is surrounded by abundant trees and a tranquil environment.
Sierra Madre Mountain Resort – is a hotel and conference center located at Km 58 Marcos Hi-way Mayagay Tanay, Rizal. It is easy on the budget and with a fantastic view of the mountains and green surroundings. This tranquil and relaxing ambiance makes your rest and recreation truly worthwhile. Besides, it offers diverse outdoor activities for families, companies, and organizations such as team building, swimming, camping, and barbecue grilling session, a zipline ride, firing range facility, and crossing the Sierra Madre hanging bridge. The place is also perfect for prenuptial shoots.
Bakasyunan Resort and Conference Center - As the name infers, Bakasyunan is a reliable “vacation place.” Situated in a 15-hectare forest property, the resort is a perfect sanctuary for everyone! Its back-to-nature ambiance and captivating panoramic vista have a calming effect on the soul. The resort has cool and windy climate. You can do a lot of activities here such as swimming, camping, a zipline ride, rappelling, pool floating, mud sliding, ATV ride, wall climbing, teambuilding, horseback riding, carabao riding, golf, and a lot more.
Epic Parc Rainforest Camp – Located in Sampaloc Road, Tanay is 200 hectares of rainforest with pine trees, mountainous slopes, greeneries with breath-taking views and diverse landscapes. It stands for ecological playground integrated commune for prayer, adventure, recreation, and culture. It provides for a suitable venue for programs and activities like retreat, recollection, wedding, team building, honing skills and talents while nurturing arts and culture. The venue offers varied accommodations from camping grounds, camping cabins to standard rooms (aircon and non-aircon), dormitories and cottages for more than 500 campers at one
Kata Café – Located in KM. 54 Manila East Road, Tanay, it is a chill-out place, which serves Filipino and Asian cuisines. The place is homey and cozy. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is a good stopover before exploring other Tanay tourist spots. Although, there is a limitation when it comes to parking space.
With all these places we have visited, and each has its own appeal, we are definitely sure that you will make Tanay, Rizal part of your next getaway with your families and loved ones this year. Undeniably, traveling excites a greater sense of childlike wonder in us.
(Note: This trip was done last quarter of 2019 before COVID-19 pandemic)