Even though I haven’t explored Antipolo well yet, I’m already fond of this city in Rizal because it’s near Manila (an hour at the very least), it seems to have interesting native food specialties and it’s very close to nature. In fact, there are a number of resorts and nature reserves in Antipolo for a relaxing weekend getaway. This is what we experienced on our day trip and staycation in Antipolo, where we visited Pinto Art Museum and booked for a Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa day tour.
For the first time, we had a date along with Hali’s mom. 🙂
Pinto Art Museum
Pinto Art Museum is part of the Silangan Gardens. It has an open plan with white-washed wall structures and high-ceiling exhibition spaces.
Pinto Art Museum is a nice surprise. I’ve often read and heard about it, but only on the context of being “instagram-worthy.” The architecture of the museum is Babylonian style, which makes it a great subject of photography and selfies. What I didn’t know is that aside from the photographic structures, Pinto Art Museum also has good paintings and installations from local artists… Better than we expected, admittedly.
Galleries 1 and 2 holds paintings with religious and fantasy themes. I’m not a fan of either, especially because religious art tends to be dark and depressing, reflecting how the church glorifies suffering. There is also some art pieces I find grotesque, like that one of a decorated dead bird. From what I understand, art reflects a person, so I wonder what fear or trauma or dark personality someone has to be able to create depressing art. Hey… no judgement, just wondering.
The art gets better with gallery 3 onwards.
There are semi-sculptures made of wires. They’re beautiful, and you can see the amount of work that’s been done on each. There’s also one remarkable art piece made of thread.
Here I’ll show some other pieces that we like.
Pinto Art Museum also has some of the best cultural items from Philippine local tribes that I’ve seen. There are paintings of tribal women including Apo Whang-Od, some awe-inspiring necklaces, clothes with beautiful patterns and musical instruments.
There are also pieces of art outside the exhibition halls. You need to be attentive to see them. Or not… it’s very easy to get lost in the scenic environment of Pinto Art Museum.
For an entrance fee of P200 each only, it’s a very sulit visit for art lovers and enthusiasts.
Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa
Oh Luljetta’s… It’s a visit that has been delayed for quite a while. Three years ago, I asked my then-boyfriend to go here for a long weekend. He got annoyed for no reason. My female instinct went ding ding ding, and I discovered that he has plans to see someone else on that date, so I broke up with him.
I find it funny that I should’ve been here years ago.
So anyway. To give you an overview: Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa (pronounced as lul-he-ta’s) is currently the first and only hanging gardens and spas in the Philippines. It takes inspiration from the old Babylonian hanging gardens, which you can see from its exquisite decorations.
Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa in Antipolo has fish spas, a hydro-massage pool, warm jacuzzi and sauna and an infinity pool. It also has a few lounges for relaxing, playing sungka or native music instruments or watching a movie.
It also offers various services including massages and body scrubs.
Related Read: Vista Tala Resort in Orani, Bataan
Similar to Pinto Art Museum, we found Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa to exceed expectations. It’s surrounded by trees and shrubs, there are zen-like gardens and statues everywhere, a constant relaxing sound and soft bell rings in the background. The facilities, although are well thought of, the mountain view is amazing.
There’s so much details in its decors, and there are so many spots where you can take great photos. There are also signs with affirmations on the pathways, like “You are loved,” “Good vibes,” “Happily ever after starts here,” etc.
You can tell that this is a place made with love.
I also liked the fact that the staff already provides you everything you need: comfortable (and very cute) traditional bathrobes and towels. There are several rest rooms and shower rooms, so people won’t have to queue (in case of huge crowds). These rooms are replete with body wash, shampoo and conditioner so there’s no need to bring any of these things when you visit.
Hali’s mom tried a full-body scrub, where she got massaged, scrubbed with lemon oil and sugar and then coated with banana leaves. She loved it. I would like to try that next time; I was cautious of how much to spend because everything here is a bit on the pricey end, with massages starting at P700+ and body scrubs at P1200+.
We’re glad we planned this together with Hali’s mom because it’s a wonderful treat for anyone.
After touring the facility, we had dinner in Luljetta’s Cafe. I initially wanted to have dinner somewhere else, but Hali likes the mountain view from here so much. The food is priced at P200+, and the ones that we ordered are good for sharing for 1-2 people.
Overall, we liked the food in the cafe. We had banana bread with walnut (the famous Antipolo’s best suman wasn’t available), burger with onion rings, seafood pasta and soy-glazed tofu. We’re not a fan of the burger’s crispy patty, but the accompanying onion rings are good and large with crispy breading. The seafood pasta is also delicious, and the tofu is a must for vegetable lovers. We also liked their iced tea, which has a hint of turmeric.
Overall, we felt happy and pampered during our stay in Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa in Antipolo. We’ll recommend it as a great option for a staycation in Antipolo in a heartbeat!
Practical Information: Weekend date and staycation in Antipolo
Although it is possible to commute to these places in Antipolo, I suggest going via a private car instead for convenience… and also because the idea here is to treat yourself on a weekend.
We rode a private car from Alabang to Antipolo via C6, and it took us 1.5 hours (2 hours going back), which isn’t too bad given that it was a Friday.
For those who want to commute: ride a van or jeep to Antipolo (there are terminals in Megamall, Cubao, etc). Get off at Ynares Sports Arena or Antipolo Church and ride a tricycle to Pinto Art Museum. After visiting the museum, ride one of the tricycles outside to your next destination.
Pinto Art Museum
Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9AM to 6PM. Entrance rates are as follows:
– P200 – regular guests
– P180 – PWD or senior citizens
– P100 – students
Contact information: Facebook page / (landline) 697 1015
Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa
Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa is a very nice staycation in Antipolo. It’s open from Monday to Friday and Sunday (10AM to 9PM) and Saturday (10AM to 11PM).
Here are rates for a Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa day tour:
Hanging Gardens Retreat (P1150)
– Access to hanging gardens facilities (locker, sauna, heated jacuzzi, hydro-massage pool, infinity pools, meditation lounges)
– Traditional bathrobe and towel
– Snacks of Antipolo’s best suman
Hanging Gardens (P1750)
– Same but with addition of: Set meal (soup, salad, pasta, dessert)
Reservation is required. You will be asked to deposit the full amount to reserve a slot.
Where to eat in your day trip to Antipolo
We dined in at Mom’s Pot restaurant and at Luljetta’s Cafe.
Mom’s Pot restaurant is a beloved local brand in Antipolo. It offers eat-all-you-can buffet for P125 each. For me it’s just okay. It’s basically a carinderia in an air-conditioned dining room, with unlimited portions. I mean, the food in general is good, but it isn’t the place to go if you want the day to be extra-special. It is, however, a decent choice for budget vacationers. (Update as of January 2019: Mom’s Pot Restaurant has closed down.)
Luljetta’s Cafe is highly recommended (see above).
In addition to these, Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery sounds like a good choice. They offer native and exotic dishes and have a group set meal consisting of meat and sea foods for P1000+ only.
For couples, Vieux Chalet Swiss Restaurant has good reviews for its European meals and romantic ambiance.
Tips for your weekend date in Antipolo:
- In the morning, drop by the pasalubong center near Antipolo Cathedral to get your fix of kasoy (cashew), suman (glutinous rice roll, a specialty of Antipolo), kalamay, and many others.
- Although this is ideal weekend getaway in Antipolo, it’s actually best to plan it on a weekday to avoid the crowd. We went here on a Friday.
- Pack up a bug spray, for visiting Pinto Art Museum.
- Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa isn’t PWD- or senior citizen-friendly. It is located on a mountain side, and you have to get up or down flights of stairs to get to anywhere.
How do you find this weekend date idea in Antipolo? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!
P.S. You might also be interested in these:
Here are other resorts where you can go on a day trip/staycation from Manila: