A 2019 study suggests that people who spend more time in green spaces are more likely to show good health than those who don’t.

Now that travel is slowly starting to ease, nature lovers might want to start planning trips to places greener than your backyards. The nearby province of Rizal—particularly its towns Antipolo and Pililla—has many spots that can satisfy those with green thumbs. Here are a few of them:

Luljetta Hanging Gardens Resort
Sitio Loreland, Barangay San Roque, Antipolo

Luljetta Hanging Gardens Resort offers massage and spa with natural treatments. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

This resort prides itself on having the first and only hanging gardens spa in the country. The secluded sanctuary offers natural treatments and amenities like panoramic infinity pools, solar-heated jacuzzis, and Fish Spa.

You can choose among packages to pamper yourself from head to toe. They have scrubs packages that use coffee, sweet calamansi, chocolate, and red wine which claims to help remove dead skin cells to make you feel refreshed. Price starts at Php 1,200. They also offer Luljetta’s Signature massage for Php 750 per hour.

They recommend getting the Rejuvenate package that includes access to facilities, set meals, signature massage, and chocolate scrub. It costs Php 2,890 for a session.

Luljetta Hanging Gardens Resort has infinity pools that give customers an uninterrupted view of the Manila skyline. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Before heading out, have dinner and try their meals like Shrimp Sautéed in Salted Egg (Php 380), Peruvian Chicken in Green Sauce (Php 250), or Baked Salmon Fillet (Php 410). They also offer Antipolo’s Best Suman (sweetened rice cake) topped with cashew nuts and fresh mangoes (Php 100).

To schedule, visit their official website and set an appointment.

Hinulugang Taktak
Daang Bakal Rd, Antipolo

Hinulugang Taktak provides a serene sound with its 12-meter-high falls. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

A natural attraction that is 30 minutes away from Luljetta’s, this park is filled with trees and cottages, which congregate around 12-meter-high falls.

“Hinulugang Taktak” roughly translates to “dropped bell.” During the Spanish era, a priest from a nearby church supposedly dropped a taktak (or large bell), which at that time, was causing an eerie and uncomfortable sound.

This nature lovers’ paradise is home to 11 families of tree species, with 234 individual shrubs. There are also kingfishers, owls, and swifts in the area. Hunyango (chameleon), Philippine Phyton, and flying lizards are also present in the park.

Apart from its serene falls, Hinulugang Taktak offers hanging bridge strolling, wall climbing, and rappelling activities. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Huts and picnic tables are also around where you can stay and rest. A pool is available alongside newly-launched activities such as hanging bridge strolling, wall climbing, and rappelling.

The general admission fee is Php 30. Students can avail themselves of the discounted rate of Php 15. There is also a designated parking area for visitors.

Arboretum, Pinto Art Museum

1 Sierra Madre St, Grand Heights Subdivision, Antipolo

Pinto Arboretum is one of the newest attractions in Pinto Art Museum that houses Philippine botanic diversity. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Inside Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo sits a 2,000-sqm garden. Pinto Arboretum was built because museum owner Dr. Joven Cunanang wished to educate Filipinos about the rich diversity of Philippine plants, and rescue species of shrubs that are endangered. It houses endemic flora, including aroids, ferns, palms, and figs.

Curator and avid ecologist Ronald Achacoso, who takes care of around 500 plants there, will give a tour when you come over to visit.

“It’s my landscape obra (masterpiece). The terrain is my canvas, and the native species are my palette,” he says of the Arboretum, adding that he maintains it with a misting system and an automatic timer.

Among the interesting shrubs in the area is Puno ng Lipa (Lipa Tree), which has short irritant hairs on its twigs that can make your skin sore and itchy when you touch it, Achacoso says. Mountain Agoho, a slender evergreen plant, is also found in the area.

You can take a look at the pale-barked Tangisang Bayauak, which translates to “crying monitor lizard” in Filipino. According to the curator, these reptiles can’t climb the tall spreading shrub, making them cry, hence the name.

The place also has Begonia or ornamental houseplants that grow in cooler climates, Selaginella that is distinguishable with its scalelike leaves, and Alocasia Portei, a tropical plant with heavily scalloped fronds.

The general admission is Php 500 for adults. Students and senior citizens can avail themselves of discounted rates of Php 250 and Php 400, respectively. Book your tour three days before your intended date of visit.

Pililla Wind Farm
Bugarin 1910, Pililla

Pililla Windfarm has 27 wind turbines that power 66,000 households. Photo by SinoPinas courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

This sprawling outdoor facility, owned and operated by Alternergy Philippines Holding Corporation, is considered the first-ever wind farm outside Ilocos Norte. A total of 27 turbines there produce 54 megawatts of power, providing electricity to about 66,000 households in nearby provinces and cities including Metro Manila.

People visit there mainly to take in the view and fresh air and shoot a lot of photos. (Note: drones are not allowed in the area for they may put the turbines at risk.) There are no entrance fees at Pililla Windmills, but scheduling a visit is a must. Just send a message to their official Facebook page to inquire.

Before leaving Pililla, stop by nearby roadside vendors, who sell different indoor and outdoor plants. Prices here range from as low as Php 35 to as high as Php 1,000.

Have a Safe Trip!

Tourism establishments in Rizal are now ready to accept local travelers! Customers are required to wear a face mask and shield, and practice social distancing at all times. The places set sanitary and contact tracing procedures such as registration at the reception and using alcohol to sanitize hands before entering the premises. To know more about Rizal, visit www.rizalprovince.ph/

To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel or the Google Playstore.