8 Best Things To Do In Rizal: A Beautiful Mix Of Art & History

best day trips from rizal

Rizal is a 116-year old province in the Calabarzon region of the Philippines. Along with many picturesque provinces in Luzon, Rizal is naturally gifted with a treasure chest of historical stories and works of art. It has become a favorite destination of artists, history buffs, and curious travelers from all parts of the world. It’s never too late to add yourself to this growing list of Rizal sightseers. Do you want to witness an incredible infusion of origin and artistry?

Read on to find out about the top 8 things to do in Rizal:

1. Angono Mural Street

EDSA Shrine
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jun Acullador used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

There’s nothing like having your first stop in the heart of art in Rizal. Named as the “Art Capital of the Philippines,” Angono, Rizal is where you will find eye-catching murals that are artistically crafted in the walls of a street. All these murals were based from the famous works of Filipino national artist, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, who is known for his dedication in preserving Filipino heritage through varied works of art. Some of his well-loved masterpieces are “Blood Compact,” “First Mass at Limasawa,” and “The Martyrdom of Rizal.”

With large-sized depictions of Filipino rural life, culture, and history, you would feel nostalgic and honored to be walking down this lane. Literally, you travel to a meaningful past as you take your steps forward, one mural at a time. It’s a free outdoor museum experience you cannot miss! Along the street, you can also visit “Second Gallery” where you can see more artistic pieces from Carlos Francisco’s grandson, also an artist.

Marvel at the beauty of each well-preserved mural when the sun is down. To get there, you can take a jeepney or shuttle bound for Angono from terminals including one in EDSA-Shaw. Ask the driver to drop you off at Dona Aurora Street or “Art Gallery on the Streets” as it is known today.

Art Gallery on the Streets

Address: Doña Aurora Street, Barangay Poblacion Itaas, Angono, Rizal

2. Rafael Pacheco Art Gallery

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Other must-see works of art in Rizal are the paintings made by the bare hands of Rafael Pacheco or “Mang Paeng.” By bare hands I mean he uses his knuckles, fingers, and palms in creating his masterpieces, and he completes an obra in less than 20 minutes. This makes the Rafael Pacheco Art Gallery more than just a house of paintings. Each painting is done with overflowing creativity and unique artistry. Because of this, Mang Paeng was later known as the “Father of Bare-Hand Painting in the Philippines.” His favorite subjects include the underwater life, flora, and fauna. Looking at his paintings, you will discover that art, like traveling, is indeed borderless.

Mang Paeng died in 2016, but his memories will forever be embedded in his works. The Rafael Pacheco Finger Painting Art Gallery is located in Morong, Rizal. Coming from Manila, you can take a bus from EDSA-Central Complex and ride a bus bound to Morong. Once you reach the Morong City Proper, you may take a tricycle going to Tomas Claudio Street.

Rafael Pacheco Finger Painting Art Gallery

Address: #332 Tomas Claudio Street, Morong, Rizal

3. Blanco Family Art Museum

405Blanco Family Museum 05
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Judgefloro used under CC0

Another interesting thought about art is that, it knows no age. In fact, another famous place in Angono, Rizal features not only one artist but his seven children and wife too, in a gallery of family artistry. Filipino artist Jose “Pitok” U. Rizal is a resident of Morong and a proud father of seven more artists and husband to a fellow painter. Their works of art are displayed in what is now called the Blanco Family Art Museum. Here, paintings are showcased in a timeline, starting from the earliest works done by the family members at their young age up to the present. You will be amazed that some of them were actual paintings of a 9-year old and a 2-year old budding artist. Like a story plot, you will see how art itself evolves with the passing of time and generation.

The experience also brings you closer to home as most paintings show real-life scenes inside the Blanco family’s life. You can visit the museum in the morning until 11.00am or in the afternoon from 1.00pm to 4.00pm.

Blanco Family Art Museum

Address: 312, Ibañez Street, Angono, Rizal

4. Bahay na Bato

Bahay na Bato, Pililla Rizal
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ramon FVelasquez used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A favorite spot for day tour photography is a house called “Bahay na Bato” (with a literal translation, “House of Stone”) located in Pililla, Rizal. It is one of the many old structures in Rizal which were built during the Spanish era. Tracing its roots, Rizal came from a time when the Spaniards, mostly missionaries, constructed churches to spread Christianity and the Spanish culture in the Philippines. Bahay na Bato is evidently a picture of this historical era. Though rustic and old from the outside, you would notice how it still stands strong and preserved despite the passing of many decades. It is also a personal pick of filmmakers when shooting movies inspired by Filipino folklore.

Make sure to bring your camera with you and have a wide shot of its facade. To have a closer look and feel of Spanish architecture, you can knock on the old, wooden door and ask the caretaker to walk you inside the house. The whole property is also available for private functions.

Bahay na Bato

Address: (Landmark) Just outside the archway leading to the Saint Mary Magdalene Parish in Pililla, Rizal

5. Calinawan Cave

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

There are a lot of caves in this world, but only a few have a rich historical story behind them, and one of them is in Tanay, Rizal. The name of the cave, “Calinawan,” (or Kalinawan in Visayan dialect) is a word synonymous to “peace.” It is said to be the venue where ancient Filipino soldiers called “Katipuneros” gathered and agreed to fight against the Spaniards. As you walk further into the cave, you can’t help but imagine how brave Filipinos of long ago made their steps towards this dark, rocky nest to illuminate freedom. It is such a beautiful irony, making this cave adventure something you would surely remember.

You will see numerous rock and mineral formations showing what seems to be a giant’s face, a bat’s face, altars, and many more. Spring water flows freely from some spots adorned with shining crystals. Guides are available in the area to generously walk you through this natural wonder. To make the most of your Calinawan adventure, you can also ask your guide to lead you into pathways that are less visited. The cave is best explored with a group for a tour fee of around 5 USD including entrance fee. It will take you around 30 minutes to complete all five levels inside this historic cave.

Calinawan Cave

Address: Barangay Tandang Kutyo of Tanay, Rizal

6. Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs

Angono Petroglyphs centered
Source: Photo by user Raffy-ish used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Rizal is proud to have a Natural Cultural Treasure right in the border of Binangonan and Angono. Here, you will find a cave showing petroglyphs or ancient rock engravings considered as pre-historic art. There are 127 figures depicting different symbolic representations of the country’s early ancestors. A boy scout back then who eventually turned out as a Filipino national artist named Carlos Francisco, discovered the cave. From then on, several archeologists explored the site and found stone tools, among others, used in as early as the Neolithic period.

Whether you live in the modern times or not, it doesn’t matter. The young and the old will appreciate such a site as it gives you a glimpse of what the world looked like from the very eyes of people who lived thousands of years before of you. From the viewing deck, you can find carvings that resemble humans, frogs, lizards, and many more for you to discover. One of the most trusted tour guides, Roden Santiago from The National Museum, can make your trip even more meaningful with his vast knowledge about the site’s origin.

You can reach the Angong-Binangonan Petroglyphs by taking the Antipolo-Mahabang Parang Route or the Angono-Binangonan Highway.

Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs

Address: Just a 45-minute drive from the Rizal Province Capitol

Website: Angono-Petroglyphs, National Museum

7. Pamitinan Cave

Mounts Pamitinan and Binacayan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Arius1998 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you’re up for another cave adventure, you must visit the famous Pamitinan Cave in Rodriguez, Rizal. Andres Bonifacio, the father of Katipuneros, and seven of his men made their their first declaration of independence in this cave in 1895. To mark their historical triumph, he even engraved the words, “Viva La Independencia Filipinas” (translated as Long Live Philippine Independence) in the walls of this centuries-old rock formation. Up to this day, these words are still visible, bearing witness to the burning vigor of the Filipinos.

The cave can be easily accessed through jeeps, tricycles, cars, and buses. It rests at approximately 4 km (2.4 mi) east of Rodriguez town proper. Go with friends and enjoy some sightseeing, mountain climbing, and photography sessions, especially during summer. You don’t need to be an expert mountaineer to enjoy the adventure!

Pamitinan Cave

Address: Sitio Wawa, Barangay San Rafael, Rodriguez, Rizal

8. Kuta ni Tata Raul Art Center

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you search further in Binangonan, you will find a name famous for his fascinating sculptures. He is Tata Raul Funilas, a poet and a sculpture residing in Talim Island, Binangonan, Rizal. He showcases some of his works in the Kuta ni Tata Raul Art Center where you will find other unique art collections made of bronze, metal, plaster of Paris, mixed media, and some concrete and wooden busts, retablo, religious images, wooden frames and antiques.

“Kuta” is a Filipino word which means “camp” or “hideout.” Needless to say, Tata Raul Funilas, though living far away in a hilly island of Rizal, is known worldwide because of his undeniable passion for the arts. Take a look at what this man has to offer and let his words and his sculptures inspire you to create.

Kuta ni Tata Raul Art Center

Address: Bgy. Tabon Mainit, Isla Ng Talim, Binangonan, Rizal

The stories live on

One of the best things about traveling is that it brings you back to a beautiful past, somehow connecting your life to those who came before you. Exploring Rizal’s artistic and historical gifts through these destinations will give you this connection. Be prepared for an overdose of stories behind the art and the artists, of the caves and the heroes they welcomed. Travel with a journal, take amazing photos, but most of all, connect to the story and savor the memories you’ve gained from each trip. The next generation awaits what you have to share.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Carmela Ann Santos is a freelance writer and a licensed teacher from the Philippines. Her top destinations would include any place with a clear view of cloud formations and peaceful waters. She...Read more

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