|Hamaka Park depicts the old way of life in Antipolo|
Most Filipinos head to the City of Antipolo in the province of Rizal, Philippines for two reasons: Do the annual pilgrimage to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Virgin of Antipolo) and enjoy the scenery. There is however another reason to go to Antipolo: Do the Lakbay Rizal at 150.
The Lakbay Rizal at 150 is a do-it-yourself travel adventure to the different sites relevant to Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal who is also an artist, writer, polymath, and scientist. It's the project of different government agencies led by the Department of Tourism to encourage local and foreign travelers to visit some of the country's heritage sites in celebration of Rizal's 150th birth anniversary.
|The ornate altar and the pedestal for the Virgin of Antipolo|
Jose Rizal visited the Pilgrimage City of Antipolo in 1868 together with his father, Francisco Mercado, to see the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. This was to fulfill the vow of his mother, Teodora Alonzo, that he will be brought to the Shrine of the Virgin of Antipolo after the latter's difficult childbirth. Now called the Cathedral of Antipolo, the church looks much different from what the young Rizal visited during his time. This 1898 photo of Antipolo Church, taken 2 years after Rizal's death, shows that it did not have a dome roof then and instead of a parking area, the church had a lawn.
|The Cathedral of Antipolo|
The Cathedral of Antipolo was designated as the National Shrine of the Virgin of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in 1954. Adjacent to the Cathedral is the Plaza Antipolo, where a monument of Jose Rizal stands. The monument shows Rizal as a doctor (Hence, the bag).
|Jose Rizal's monument in Antipolo|
At the plaza are stalls selling Antipolo's popular food products as well as religious items. Those who wish to try local food after getting their Lakbay Rizal Passport stamped shouldn't miss buying some crunchy kasuy (roasted cashew nuts) and delectable suman wrapped in banana leaves (glutinous rice sticks).
|Kasuy, suman, and other goodies|
The Lakbay Jose Rizal, of course, is just one of the many interesting things that one can do in this city named after a breadfruit tree (Tipolo). One can also visit the famed Hinulugang Taktak, go nature-tripping at Camp Pestano, visit the Boso-Boso Church, or dine at the wonderful restaurants in the city that provide a breathtaking view of Manila. Check the Pilgrimage City's official website for more information.
Getting to Antipolo Simbahan: To get to the Cathedral of Antipolo by public transport, take any jeepney or FX marked "Antipolo Simbahan" either from the LRT2 Santolan Station, from Cubao, or from Ortigas Avenue Extension (Rosario).
Driving? Go to Marcos Highway until you reach Masinag. At the corner of Masinag, turn right to Sumulong Highway. Stay on Sumulong Highway then turn left to P. Oliveros St. Continue driving until you see the Cathedral.