By Sara Grace C. Fojas
Images by Noel Pabalate
It’s been four years since I graduated — four years since I decided to leave the province and live in this city called Metro Manila. It’s been a thrilling ride—being in a city that almost never sleeps with its vibrant night life, unlimited dining options, and fun events—but there’s always a part of me that longs for home every time I’m stuck in traffic, or craves for the cheap but very delicious pancit at my favorite local fast food chain in our province. Sometimes I wish I could just look at mountains instead of high buildings. For me, Metro Manila is never really home.
Home is where the fresh air is, it’s where I would wake up to the cock-a-doodle-doo of a rooster, where I could hear the singing of birds in the late afternoon, and it is where I could see the moon and the stars on a clear summer night. Right now, it’s a 12-hour bus ride away from home, and I can’t go back to our province every day, but I found all that I’ve been looking for in my version of “home” in Antipolo—a place just one and hour half ride away from Manila.
I’ve only been there a couple of times and the experience is always a one-day vacation, detached from all the worries and stress of the city. It doesn’t lack spots to go to, restaurants to try, museums to visit, and mountains to climb if you are an adventurous soul.
On my first visit, we went to the Pinto Art Museum, a beautiful contemporary art space where you could find several art galleries with breathtaking art pieces, surrounded by Mediterranean-inspired villas and a landscaped garden. Then we had dinner at the Sulok Café, a coffee shop near the Rizal Province Capitol of Antipolo along the Circumferential Road that offers pasta and strong coffee. Afterward, we decided to try rides in the small carnival nearby and watch the breathtaking cityscape before heading back to Manila.
The second visit was only a few days ago, during the long weekend, where I trekked Mt. Lagyo, a mountain 390-meter above sea level high in Sitio Wawa in Brgy. San Rafael, Rodriguez, Rizal. On that day, for the first time, I was able to walk a steep trail, climb rocks, and reach the summit of a mountain. Lush with trees and limestone, it is an adventure I’ve never experienced before. You will never run out of things to do in Antipolo, or in the province of Rizal. I’m sure there are more places I have yet to visit, more food to try, museums and zoos to explore, and mountains to climb. Someday, when I am able to build my dream home, it would be in Eastland Heights, Antipolo, where after work or on a weekend I would enjoy the provincial and homey feel because of its cool weather and fresh air. Every morning I will experience the best of the morning sun and witness the beauty of natural landscapes.
Eastland Heights is a soon-to-rise integrated lifestyle community in Antipolo by Megaworld’s Global-Estate Resorts Inc that offers residential places, commercial areas, and the best of nature, all in one place.
It gives a refreshing and healthy setting for families with its astonishing views of the Sierra Madre on the east and calming views of the cityscape on a clear night on the west. On an ordinary day, nature comes alive in it with its still-thriving flora and fauna.
The newest upcoming development will comprise of residential lots, a 36-hole golf course, village amenities, and a commercial area. There will be pools for adults and kids, replete with landscaped pool decks with cabanas and beach chairs, spa concessionaires, a basketball court, a tennis court, a gym, and an event pavilion. It is Megaworld’s first integrated and nature-inspired lifestyle community that focuses on residential homes and amenities, as well as the commercial developments and institutions relevant to the community. The center of the development is nature with wide open spaces, very rare in Metro Manila these days. On top of this, the location is still highly accessible from major key cities and establishments—perfect for married couples with growing children or grandchildren who want an upgrade of home for their family, or retirees who want a place to enjoy their retirement.
With many routes to choose from, like EDSA-Ortigas Avenue Interchange, C5-Ortigas Avenue Interchange, Marcos Highway to Cainta and Antipolo, Batasan-San Mateo Road to San Mateo and Montalban, and plenty of vehicles you may take to get to Rizal such as jeepneys, FX, taxis, and city buses, plus the upcoming LRT Line 2 Extension from Santolan Station to Masinag Junction, Antipolo, Rizal won’t be so out of reach anymore.
Now I’m thinking, living in Rizal would probably give me the best of both worlds enjoying the city and living the country life. That, I would very much like.