Tag Archive: Antipolo



Thought I’d line up my blogs on “walks and drives” around Manila for those who are interested. In many of these walks and drives, a good 4 hours may be enough. Likely less if you just want to concentrate on a certain area. You can walk around, hop on and off your car or some public transport, combine 2 trips and plan a good lunch in-between, or simply visit a Museum to linger for the next couple of hours. If you’re with children, I’d most certainly advise planning a good meal after 2 hours or so. Attention span and all, you know. A good meal never fails, and I’d usually have the first leg as the “more serious walk through history” and make sure the 2nd post-meal leg involves some window shopping (a.k.a. “Street desserts” and other sweet munchies) or less serious history stuff or simply more open spaces.

 

 

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HERITAGE SITES/HISTORICAL LANDMARKS

Quiapo!

Say Hello to “Mi Ultimo Adios”

San Agustin Church in Intramuros

Four Hours To Waste in Manila

Some Photographs From Manila

Universidad de Santo Tomas (UST)

Baluarte De San Diego in Intramuros

Paco Park

 

MUSEUMS

Dummy Goes To The National Museum

National Art Gallery: Searching For More Lunas

Up Close: Luna and Hidalgo

Hidalgo and Luna: Genius Has No Country

 

CEMETERY TOURS

A Preview of the Cemetery Tour: Wait Till The Shoe Lady Dies

The Old (and Dead) Rich of La Loma

A Nearly-Forgotten Panchong in North Cemetery

 

SUBURBIAN MANILA

Angono: Art Capital of thePhilippines

Silangan Gardens and Pinto Art Gallery

Antipolo’s Suman, Kasuy and Pan Lechon?

 

 

CHINATOWN & Other sites

A Walking Tour of Binondo

Binondo Walk With Kids

The Street Vendors Of Manila

Harbour Square in CCP Complex

 

 

Urban Escapades

Weekend At The Pen

HOTEL CELESTE: A Pleasant Staycation

 

 

PINOY DINING 101

Just How Do You Eat Alagao?

What To Feed Your Guests (Part 1)

What To Feed Your Guests (Part 2)

Vieux Chalet in Antipolo

Pinoy Ice Cream? Check This Out!

 


I have not heard of a Sumaka Festival celebrated every 1st of May.  But now I know it stands for SUman, MAngga, KAsuy.  SU.MA.KA.   Others refer to it as the SUMAKAH Festival, the extra H for Hamaka or “hammock”  or slings tied to a bamboo pole where ladies are carried in the olden days. Hmmm, I wouldn’t mind a hamaka ride like that!

 

Long before I started going to school,  my family would make this annual pilgrimage to the Virgin of Antipolo.  Little did I know that she was the Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.  It was enough that I prayed to her as the Virgin of Antipolo and that soon after hearing mass in the Church,  I would be treated to a lunch of lechon.  Take-outs would include kasuy,  bunches of suman and baskets of mangoes.  Yes, during those days the mangoes were sold by the baskets rather than by the kilo.  

A trip to Antipolo in my early years also meant a day at Hinulugang Taktak.  But the falls have long gone and dried up,  I hear.  These days,  a trip to Antipolo simply meant a visit to the Cathedral,  perhaps lunch at either Crescent Moon Cafe or in Vieux Chalet — 2 of Antipolo’s “hidden secrets”—- or a visit to the Silangan Gardens and Pinto Art Museum  or more simply a visit to stock up on suman, mangga, kasuy AND MORE! What more?

This time around,  we found ourselves making this quick dash to this hole-in-wall bakery before heading home.  Here, you can buy the pan de lechon.  Pan de what? Perhaps , a photo would better explain what we came here to buy. Photo below is the best seller of Dumalaon Bakery  in Antipolo City.

The "animal breads" of Dumalaon Bakery

Aside from the Pan de Lechon,  there were also breads shaped like a crab, a fish, a prawn, a crocodile and a bunch of bananas!  I lined up to buy and was pleasantly surprised to learn they sell for only P10 a piece.   I gave a P100 bill and the lady said she has no change.  So I ended up buying 10 pieces of different forms and shapes.  🙂

Would You Still Eat Them? P10 a piece. P20 for the bigger ones.

Cute-sy, don’t you agree? If you can’t afford to buy a lechon, whole or by the kilo,  buy the bread! It’s healthier 😉

Driving Directions:  From Sumulong Highway, you’d reach a fork : turning right will take you to taktak road  (Vieux Chalet!) while  going straight takes you to the Antipolo Church. TURN LEFT here.  The road is part of the circumferential road commonly called  “siete medya” (don’t ask me why) by the locals. After turning left at the intersection, just drive past some 3 blocks and look out for  the bakery on your right side.  It looks more like a sari-sari store. Naaah, it is a sari-sari store along a very busy road. Exact address is  257 Circumferential Road, Barangay San Isidro, Antipolo City. It is also near Crescent Moon Cafe (where you find the Alagao rolls or lumpia — check out my other blog)

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Going to Antipolo?  Filipinos have this tradition of visiting the Antipolo Church especially right before a major trip.  Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage is a national shrine.  A pilgrimage site for every O.F.W. just before leaving the homeland.  

So, how about a nice detour?  A Swiss Chalet in Antipolo? What do you know………..

Antipolo Church

Inside the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Church in Antipolo

This dining place is owned by the family of Susan Hassig, a Filipina married to Tony Hassig, a Swiss national. In operation for more than 2 decades now, I remember many breakfasts and early dinners here.  Solo.  At the time,  I was still working and branch visits are my daily fare.  On way to or from Tanay and other parts of Rizal,  I would drive out early to enjoy a peaceful breakfast here.  Or drop by before driving home for a panoramic and illuminated view of the city.  Each visit,  the waiter would ask me if I want the table for two in some corner with a view of the mountains.  Perfect view while sipping a good cup of brew. Invariably, my answer is “I want the table, but I’m eating alone”.   This exchange between the waiter and myself must have caught the attention of the owner such that when the same fellow asked me for the nth time,  the owner loudly said “The lady enjoys dining  ALONE”.  A wink there, and that ends the discussion. 🙂

Inside Vieux Chalet

Since I quit my job,  I have not been to Vieux Chalet.  But I certainly have fond memories of my breakfasts and early dinners there and the tranquility offered by the mountain vistas. You may think this  petty or trivial,  but this place fries my eggs exactly the way I want it…….NOT so in many breakfast places I have tried.  Nor can I forget the raclette or pate de foie. The only problem with eating alone in this place is that I never got to order the Cheese Fondue as I have no one to share it with.  So with the pizza.  😦  

But I digress. This time around,  I found myself back in this lovely Swiss Chalet mid-afternoon of a weekday.  It wasn’t a busy hour.  I found the place almost exactly the way I remembered it.  Even the shade of brown of its tables and chairs is the same familiar shade.  De ja vu.

It Was Sooo Good I Forgot What It Was Called!

I was surprised to learn that they now run Wellness Sessions.  Well, not actually surprised.  The place and the vista is perfect for just this kind of activity.  It has to be arranged though, as with any parties, retreats or family reunions you may plan to hold in this place. As for me, I’d be quite content to spend a quiet afternoon here, sipping my coffee and enjoying my mid-afternoon delights:  D.E.S.S.E.R.T.S !  

Susan and her daughters run the place now.   If you want to dine here, or to ask for directions on how to get here, call Vieux Chalet, 697-0396 or 344-5056  or Susan Hassig’s cellphone, 0917-856-5175. Do make those reservations as the place has quite a limited space.  I’d say just a dozen tables and of course, the ones with a view of the city lights are premium tables.  Don’t do it the way I did,  go with company. Many dishes are best shared, like the salads, pizzas and sausage and cheese platters. Getting there is quite challenging, but Susan offers these driving directions:

If you’re coming from Ortigas Center, you can take Ortigas Avenue going up to Antipolo. Ortigas Ave. Extension (from Robinson’s Galleria) ends at the fork marked by an island across from Ynares Center, with statues of the Filipinos of olden days. 

Please take the left branch of the  fork. Soon you’ll see on your left a gas station, USA88. Turn left there and keep driving on and then keep right when the road forks once more. Drive down this road and you will see the arch with names of several resorts. Go through the arch and drive down keeping left until you reach Purok Sampaguita gate, which is always half-closed. Go in and keep moving on the road toturn right uphill at the second corner. You’ll then see Vieux Chalet directional arrows and signs along the way.


 

Just in the suburbs.  This oasis of peace and quiet is truly an art haven.  As my friend puts it, this is our very own MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). A not-to-be-missed destination. You don’t even have to be an art lover to enjoy this place.  But there is no guarantee you won’t end up as one by the time you’re done.

 

 

Despite the humidity,  the place offers a pitstop for tired bodies, restless minds and depressed spirits. Strolling around the gardens aimlessly, we soon learned why this place has become famous for pre-nuptial photo shoots.  It is most certainly a haven of creativity.  And I am just talking about the gardens here.  Wait till you go through the Museum proper, where I advise you to go slow to digest every ounce of art and culture. 

 

 

The Pinto Art Museum and Silangan Gardens is right inside Grandheights Subdivision in Antipolo City. I’m lousy with directions so if you plan to visit the place,  give them a call at (+632) 703-4453 or (+63917) 608-6754)  to ask for directions.  There is much to see here. And it is not difficult to wander aimlessly and view the collections of noted neurologist and art patron Dr. Joven Cuanang. We were lucky to find the good doctor in his residence right within the gallery compound when we visited.  He was most kind and even eagerly showed us around the many items of art inside his residence hemmed in by the lovely gardens.

 

How To Say “Ma.wa.lang.Ga.lang. Po.

It is of natural consequence that one views these collections with a sense of pride over Pinoy ingenuity and artistry. Filipino artists, both famous and promising, found a home here.  Dr. Cuanang talks about his collections like a father would lovingly and proudly talk about his children.  Like all his sentiments and emotional attachments wrap each piece of art and collection.   We were not surprised to learn that the good doctor has not parted with ANY piece of art that he has acquired through the years. Each of these acquisitions hangs proudly on the Museum walls in this architectural complex designed by no less than artist Antonio Leano.  The high ceilings , white stone walls , open porches and sprawling gardens all make for a very colonial/Mexican architecture.  As one weaves from hall to hall to view the exhibits,  there is an element of unhurriedness and pleasure as one’s aesthetic senses are stirred.  Surely, this place is a labor of love!   

 

Thanks to Dr. Cuanang and his vision and advocacy, we are able to enjoy our own MOMA within the City. 


A Painting of Dr. Joven Cuanang

PS. We visited again on April 5, 2018 and found even more improvements, including its Cafe Rizal. Met Dr. Cuanang once more and felt jealous that this man lives within the Museum grounds and only had to step out and literally stroll around the gardens, visit the galleries and then stop for a drink in the cafe. What a great life!

https://youtu.be/qfbrgcvIcho


Yes, Alagao.  I hail from the province and what I know of alagao is that it has a “hairy” leaf. Yes, H.A.I.R.Y.  But it is one hell of a versatile leaf. Just like the guava leaves,  they can be used to wash wounds or applied to open cuts.   Whenever we have indigestion or suffering from gas pains,  our elders would come up with this concoction and force us to drink the alagao tea, if you can call it that.  Gosh, I even remember our quack doctor with some cut up alagao leaf or two on his temples to cure his headache!

 

As kids, we would play-cook and readily discard the alagao leaves among our “ingredients” for whatever it was we are boiling or concocting.  That’s because we didn’t like the “felt” texture of the leaf. Hairy has no room in our kids’ menu back then. But in this part of Antipolo, alagao  takes centerstage in this lovely lunch buffet.  Was I in for a pleasant surprise!

 

Signature Appetizer Is Alagao Leaves With Spices & Other Fillings

 

It was past my lunchtime when we reached Crescent Moon Cafe.  I do not know how long it has been in business  in this corner in Antipolo, Rizal, but it sure is a well-kept  secret.   It was a very humid day, and we have just visited the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs at high noon!  Hungry,  I was quite ready to eat a cow by the time we reached this cafe and its lovely garden and koi ponds.

 

Choose your fillings, then wrap and roll!

 

As its signature appetizers,  one makes his own “rolls” using an alagao leaf and stuffing it with various spices.  There’s  fried garlic, minced onions, green chili for the brave ones, alamang fried to a crisp, cut up basil leaves, cubed mangoes,  ginger and some nuts.   You choose your fillings, lay them on the leaf, smear it with some sweet dark sauce, and then wrap the leaf like you would a lumpia. Voila!  The sweet, salty, sour and spicy all compete for attention and make out a sensation that is not quite the same as any other.  What do you know, I actually like it!  

 

 

Owned by  Lanelle Abueva-Fernando,  niece of National Artist Napoleon Abueva and daughter of former UP President  Jose Abueva,  the place has no pretentions.  I understand there is really no set menu here, but the signature alagao appetizer is a mainstay.  For this lunch , we had soup,  a steamed fish, some crispy noodles with vegetable curry toppings,  a chicken dish which I ignored (not because it wasn’t good,  but a chicken is a chicken is a chicken if you know what I mean),  and another vegetable dish. Me? I focused on the alagao rolls,  steamed fish and the curried vegetables with crispy noodles.  And for dessert? We had suman served with a quarter of a mango.  I could do with another quarter, actually, but for P35o for a set lunch, I should not be complaining.  I like their suman.  No need for sugar or anything else.  The suman, by itself,  is complete in its sweetness and creaminess.  You can buy them too as take-home pasalubong for P275 a bundle.  

 

No, It's Not Soup. It's The Topping for the Crispy Noodles.

 

Done with lunch, one can stroll around the garden and pond.  On a hot day,  this place offers a refreshing break.  The trees all around make it tolerable despite the humidity.  But it is not conducive for any shopping.   Lanelle Abueva-Fernando’s pottery is right within the compound  and her works  are on display and available for sale.  There were nice  teapots and matching teacups,  serving plates , cups and saucers, jars, sugar and creamer sets, etc.  By the time we were done with lunch, all I wanted to do was to get back to the airconditioned vehicle.  You see, Crescent Moon Cafe is NOT airconditioned.  You can do away with that setup in Tagaytay (like in Sonya’s Garden) but not so here in Antipolo.  Or maybe it was simply a hot humid day  when we visited. Struggling to keep my eyelids from drooping shut,   I decided to enjoy the comforts of airconditioning in the vehicle.  

 

Crescent Moon Cafe in Antipolo City

It looks cool. Temp 38C

 

By the way,  make sure you don’t come on a Sunday or Monday when Crescent Moon Cafe is closed. And do remember that it is only open for lunch.  For directions, you may call +632 630-5854 .  But allow me to try.  😉  If you are coming from Sumulong Highway, go straight past the Ynares Rotunda and Unciano Hospital. You’ll soon find  Flying V gasoline station which is on the left side of a three forked intersection. Take the rightmost road and drive past a Shell station, then Milagrosa Subdivision. A few meters past the subdivision, you’ll see the Crescent Moon signboard. Take that road, and enter the Crescent Moon compound on the left side of the road. The exact address is Sapang Buho, Ascencion road. Barangay Dalig, Antipolo City.

 

 

And don’t be fooled. There is still  a tree-lined  walkway towards the Cafe.  You’d walk this path from the street to get inside.  It’s a pleasant walk.

 

The Art of Pottery

Entrance to Crescent Moon Cafe


This May Help Get You There 😉

 

When it comes to the subject of food, I readily go overboard.  I have earlier submitted my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for the month of July 2011 with the theme “Awesome Food Experience While Traveling” hosted by Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet.  But hey,  what’s wrong with a 2nd entry?  There is always room for good food, right?