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RIZAL, Philippines – Love is truly in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches.
With most restaurants and usual out-of-town destinations expected to be booked by couples, families, and friends who want to mark this special day, you might want to consider other underrated date spots that are all just an hour away from Metro Manila.
It’s a good thing there are a lot of spots to go to and activities you could do with your loved ones in the province of Rizal to make your Valentine’s date this year extra special.
Tandem paragliding in Binangonan
You don’t need to go to South Korea to try the activity that crash-landed Yoon Se-ri on Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok’s heart.
Come fly over the hills of Binangonan with this one-of-a-kind experience courtesy of Paragliding in Rizal, located in Barangay Mahabang Parang. The flight offers a panoramic view of Sierra Madre and the majestic scenery of the Laguna de Bay on the other side, which is best seen during sunset!
Rates for this activity start at P3,000, complete with orientation, equipment, and behind-the-scene photos of your paragliding experience under the guidance of well-trained pilots. This experience lasts for a total of 15 minutes, depending on wind and weather conditions.
You can book your sessions through their Facebook page, or you can also join tours offered by travel groups on Facebook.
Coffee and City Lights in Angono’s Kape-Hingahan
The lights from Metro Manila’s skyline will guide you home to this cafe within the hills of Angono. Despite the spread of overlooking places like this in the province, Kape-Hingahan insists on being direct and simple through having the cafe by the top, while placing their pallets and benches by the mountainside to let you fully enjoy the view of the Metro and Laguna de Bay from above without any distractions.
This place is best for those who want to get a quick break from the noise of the Metro without having to go to Tagaytay for the scenery and the cool breeze at night. With affordable prices for food and drinks, Kape-Hingahan gives you the most sulit experience for your Valentine’s date.
The cafe is open from 5:00 am to 1:00 am daily and is located at Villa Angelina Subdivision in Barangay San Isidro. Expect a steep road ahead and entrance fees inside for drivers, while tricycles are available within Manila East Road to those who will commute.
You can check their Facebook page here for their menu and other details.
Wildlife date at Lyger Animal Sanctuary
Located in Barangay Bagumbayan, the Lyger Animal Sanctuary is the perfect spot for animal lovers who want to spend their day in the company of fascinating creatures.
From ligers – a hybrid cross between male lions and female tigers – to different species of tigers, white lions, and albino carabaos, this destination offers a unique opportunity for couples and families to connect with nature.
The zoo is open daily, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, with an entrance fee of P250 and no reservations needed before entering. Bringing outside food is allowed, making it a perfect place for picnics and bonding activities. You can visit their Facebook page for more details.
Journey to the Mystical Cave
How about exploring a cave for the first time? Mystical Cave – said to be Rizal’s biggest cave – showcases mesmerizing rock formations and sparkling crystals inside. The beauty of these stalactites and stalagmites can be seen after climbing through almost 200 stair steps.
The cave also has a mystical history behind it. It is said that a woman from Iloilo went all the way to Antipolo to discover the cave she found in her dreams, with its entrance the size of a coin suddenly exploding following its discovery. Locals also consider the cave as a religious site since some formations are said to resemble the figures of Jesus, Mary, and other religious icons.
The Mystical Cave is located at Sitio Bubukal in Barangay San Luis, Antipolo City, and is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm. The entrance fee costs P50 per person, which already includes the company of a tour guide. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own flashlights.
Escape to Daraitan‘s Camp Irog
Camping sites along Agos River in Barangay Daraitan present a sweet escape from the Metro on Valentine’s Day or even up to the weekend for a more fulfilling retreat into the wilderness.
Camp Irog is among different camps that offer cozy accommodations from tents and huts to nooks and lodges that are perfect for your peaceful getaway. Located within the riverside, enjoy the view of the clouds meeting the mountains by the day and relax by a warm bonfire and stargaze at night.
The rate for huts, nooks, lodges at Camp Irog starts at P3,000 per night, while tents are priced at P500 per person for one night and a day tour costs P350 per head. Common kitchen, bathrooms, and dining areas are available for guests, with outside food and drinks and pets allowed for visitors. You can book your stay and inquire for more details through their Facebook page. – Rappler.com
Lance Arevada is a campus journalist at the Ateneo de Manila University. The Managing Editor of Matanglawin Ateneo, he is also an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow of Rappler for 2023-2024.