Antipolo City let one experienced a Pilgrimage that could change the look at life itself. Then, it invites everyone to their Sumakah Festival featuring their best-known products.

antipolo city in sierra madre mountain range

Antipolo City is located in the east of Manila, here in the Philippines – Country in Asia.  It is the capital city of Rizal province, located on the slopes of Sierra Madre mountain range.

Antipolo is the nearest place from Metro Manila that has a cooler temperature compared to its neighboring cities.  It is ___ km from Manila.

Being elevated with 156m, the cool temperature gets cooler as night fell.  At daylight in summer, it has almost the same heat index as on lowlands but with reduced humidity that lessened the greasy feeling.

Aside from the festivities, local tourists flock the place because of its cooler weather on summer time.

Considering Antipolo City is located higher from Metro Manila, it has an exhilarating view of the said area.

view of metro manila from antipolo city

There are certain spots in Antipolo overlooking the view of the Metro vividly. It is such awe to witness the modern city of Manila and its neighborhood.

Antipolo Cathedral

Anitpolo Cathedral is situated at the center of Antipolo, named Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage or Nuestra Senora de la Paz Y Buenviaje.  The shrine of Mama Mary is known for giving guidance for voyagers. 

Many vehicle owners prefer theirs be blessed by the priest of this Church.  They believed protection from accidents be grant to them by the Patron of Peace and Good Voyage. 

Overseas Filipino workers and travelers to distant places also wish for a blessing for their safe journey.

patron of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage

Car blessing usually held each end of the Holy Mass. Just approached the Church office or anyone around in authority. An allotted area for you to park your vehicle is prepared where the blessing will be officiated.

Antipolo City graced several spiritual festivities like pilgrimage and processions.   The month of May set to be the feast month of their Patron, yet, several dates still commemorate special occasions.

Pilgrimage

The Antipolo Cathedral is known to be visited by thousands of pilgrims from nearby cities and provinces.  Thus, Antipolo referred to as the “Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines”.

The image of Mama Mary as Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage was given to our country from Mexico in year 1626.  Others refer the Marian image as the Virgin of Antipolo.

The festive month of May in Antipolo starts by walking of pilgrims from the night of the last day of April, the 30th, to the eve of the first day of the next month. The pilgrimage will go through until midnight or until the dawn of May 1.  Many refer to it as Alay Lakad.

antipolo city cathedral

Pilgrimage Meaning

Pilgrimage is a journey decided by a person to travel to a religious and sacred place. That person, being referred to as a pilgrim, fulfill his devotion, and pray for his own intention.

Antipolo Pilgrimage

Visiting the Church through Alay Lakad would be quite tiring.  But, the intention and your love are truly worth the walk. 

Pilgrims usually start walking from Quiapo Church, Home of the Black Nazarene, in Manila.  Others prefer their own parish. 

You can also prefer to wait for the pilgrimage on Edsa and start joining them.  You already save a half distance of the walk.  Each religious group has its own itinerary. 

Pilgrimage Road

Joining the pilgrimage could be a bit tricky.  Just when you felt very tired from the more than ___-km walk from Quiapo to Edsa, and some many more kilometers to Tikling, the ascending hike starts.  So make sure you have enough rest and endurance if you want to join the pilgrimage. 

Pilgrims reached the Cathedral through trekking to its hills. Expect gradual hiking to the Cathedral since Antipolo locates on a mountain range.

But, do not belittle this gradual hiking.  The continuous hiking for 10 kms more would surely make your muscles sores. 

Luckily, there are concerned citizens offering free water along the way.  This act would energize you to strive a little more, expecting that your destination continually got nearer.

As the pilgrimage nearly ends, it seems you view the Cathedral from where you are, but you became much distracted with people who began closing your space. 

The number of people doubled in size and everyone wants to finish the sacrifice of walking after hours of hiking of Antipolo hilly land.

Remember how sweaty you are, banging your body to the endless lines of sweaty bodies that had the same intentions as yours. 

antipolo city cathedral

That is, to go inside the Cathedral and thankfully pray that you survived the uphill walk. 

Each one made their phase quicker, though not possible because all pilgrims want the same.  So it became more of a procession inching your way toward the Cathedral. 

And when at last, you got a full view of the church, everyone is on the high spirits, singing and laughing.  The moment of victory is almost on hand, amidst all the sweat and odor, you find yourself singing with the harmony of the others.  And, still, with a little urgency to finish the long walk.

It seems the finished line is just a step away and you would fight to step in the church with the flow of other people.

Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage

When you made it to the Cathedral you would definitely feel relieved.  Upon entering, try focusing first to be thankful that you made it. 

Then you would see the exhausted participants who were all slumped mostly on the floors resting, drifting afar, or deeply sleeping.  They made it also with so much fatigue, slept with the place they got.

You surely wanted to seat. But no available seat or floor space visible for every inch filled with a pilgrim tired just like you. 

They may be seating fanning themselves or fast asleep snoring.   Each one too tired to hear the Mass and too hot to feel the coolness of Antipolo.

Houses for Pilgrims

About five decades ago, pilgrims and families visiting Antipolo rented houses around the vicinity.  Before, there were no places for them to stay. 

A family needed to bring their own food and other necessities.  They looked for an available house, paid the rent, and stayed there to eat.

This was the common practice if one was from a far-away place.  Especially if you came to attend the 9-day novena for the feast of the Patron.

Houses also offered a 9-day stay or longer.  That was how the place sustained the flock of pilgrims and throughout those times, it continually grew until this period.

Now, other alternative places and more private places are much available.  And, because, Antipolo is more accessible now through cars and buses, pilgrims decide to come back and forth easily from their homes without worrying where to stay.

Upon reaching the Cathedral and attending the Holy Mass, people would start finding their places to eat.  Nearby eateries and food stalls are just steps away.

Many would prefer slurping soups like the orange-colored sotanghon noodles or choices in rice meals.  But, there are more products that Antipolo is so much proud of.

Sumakah Festival

antipolo park

Antipolo City, known for its Sumakah Festival wherein it stands for Suman, Mangga, Kasoy, and Hamakah.  Scheduled every 1st day of the month of May, devotees, and pilgrims of the Patron of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage gather in the town city.

Suman of Antipolo City

Suman, a kind of rice cake specially cooked by Antipolenos, the locals residing in Antipolo. 

The process includes steaming of glutinous rice inside strips of leaves formed like a small elongated pillow, then closed with a small stick and tied.  Their suman has a distinct taste that is authentic only in Antipolo.

Not one would dare to forget to buy Antipolo’s suman.  Missing this rice cake very much, one would solely taste one suman, one after another.

But would surely bring the left-over suman back home. There, one can munch it slowly, satisfying the craving that only Antipolo suman can give.

Suman Production

I had a chance to visit one of the places of suman production.

The process starts with these long strips of leaves used to be the outer covering of the rice cake, formed into a small elongated shape by coiling it to an exact size. 

Making of suman

Then the glutinous rice poured inside and enclosed by a small stick and tied. 

how to make suman glutinous rice

Putting in a big casserole where it would eventually boiled and cooked.

how to cook suman

At the mini-market near the Church, buyers find it in bundles of 5 or 10 pieces.  Costing 10 pesos each piece of suman, about $0.20, and then multiplied on how many pieces each bundle has. 

But this suman factory sells it for only 5 pesos each, about $0.10.  Vendors bought these stuff here, then they would double the price and sell on their food stalls.  Nice profit. 

Their location is just one of the alleys near the Church.  You can drop by to grab some products at half the price.

What makes this suman so special that when a city folk talks about suman, it is Antipolo’s suman that would first come on his mind. 

First, Antipolo City’s suman is light to eat yet one piece would fill you enough.  Light for the taste is simple, there is a touch of sweetness that you can decide whether to dip it in sugar or not.  Consuming one piece would definitely satisfy you.

Mango

Mango and suman make great partners.  As you bite on the mango flesh and chew it neatly, you can then next take a bite of their suman. 

Nice eat, refreshing mango with a satisfying suman.  Though suman usually dipped on sugar first, here, you can omit the sugar and indulge on the sweetness of their mango. 

Kasoy

Antipolo City boasts of their cashews.  Of course, who can’t resist their roasted cashew?

Imagine, smelling the air of Antipolo, a cashew roasted breeze hangs in the air.  Another famous product – Kasoy –what everybody’s dreaming to taste when one set foot in Antipolo. 

Aside from suman, mango, and cashew, a mini-market near the Church sell other food souvenirs such as sweetened peanuts, more varieties of rice cakes, and many other sweets.

cashew of antipolo city

Price of Cashew

Cashews are a little bit pricey.  Vendors said that it was not anymore produced by Antipolo, but imported from Vietnam, while others would say that most cashew products are from Palawan province. 

I give salute to the very crispy and flavourful cashews of Palawan.  Glad to know that Antipolo purchased them on that said province, Palawan.

Cashews usually warm to the touch because of roasting new batch each day.  So, customers got the full crisp taste of it.

cashew

Now, as a product of being a little expensive, few cannot afford to buy cashew.  A kilo costs 800 pesos, about $16. 

Yet, one has a chance to purchase it for a small amount, but, it became lesser in quantity compared when you buy it in kilos.  But, at least, you had that chance to taste one of the products of Antipolo City. 

That roasted piece of cashew, crushing between your teeth, linger on your tongue, staying more in your mouth before deciding to swallow it.  The magic of cashew. 

Most probably, even if you slowly pick a piece and tossing it to your mouth, you find it hard to win to yourself on taking some pieces home.  Better to consume all and enjoy it all at once.

As to reach more customers, merchants measured it through small glass cups like a shot glass.  Overfilling the shot glass seemed many pieces of cashew. 

Sold from P80 up, about $1.60, and the cashew’s price gets higher as soon the glass gets bigger in size. 

Flavors of Cashew

Plain roasted cashew is not the only flavor available.  Lots of varieties offered on stalls – adobo, sweet and unpeeled  – to name a few. 

These flavourful cashews are one of the reasons why people kept coming back. 

One wouldn’t get upset for the product is available all year round.  Though, the price may vary depending on the time of the year.

flavors of cashew in antipolo city

As a recommendation, these roasted cashews with exact perfection would be best to buy by the kilo.  If you have a budget, then buy a half or even a kilo, to enjoy each piece.

One probably almost wished that cashew stalls offer free tastes.  So, you would be a bit satisfied just to taste a piece. 

But it seems rarely the case, for cashews are too expensive for a free for all free-taste. 

Though, vendors may offer a free taste for almost-sure buyers.  They do this so customers would not transfer to another cashew stall.

Benefits of Cashew Nuts

Cashew nuts give so much benefits for the body to be healthy. It contains lot of fibers for good digestion.

Reminding yourself of not exceeding the recommended consumption, it follows a result of having good heart conditions as well as maintaining shinier hair.

So, truly, cashew gives lots of advantages to our bodies. Just be sure not to exceed eating even though it is very tempting to finish a half kilo in one sitting.

Can you eat a cashew apple?

cashew apple and seed

The whole fruit of the cashew is also available, the cashew apple with cashew seed attached to it.  Both are edible.

Hamakah

Hamakah is a hammock wherein a person can lie and be lifted by persons who carry them in exchange for payment.  It is a mode of transportation used by our ancestors when traversing to Antipolo way back 1864. 

Carrying individuals through hammocks were practiced usually after travelers arrived from boats in the river of lowland nearby areas.  Carriers walked the hilly way to Antipolo because roads were still non-existent on those days.

Just like the hammocks in Inaladelan island in Palawan, though these ones differ because they were tied in buko trees.

Places to Visit in Antipolo

Once in Antipolo, lots of entertaining places can be visited.  Aside from eateries and restaurants, there are exciting places that offer adventure and sightseeing.

Hinulugang Taktak Falls

hinulugang taktak

Hinulugang Taktak Falls is a tourist attraction greatly associated with Antipolo.  Their ethnic song of “Tayo Na sa Antipolo” (Let’s Go to Antipolo) even mentioned the words Hinulugang Taktak.

It is recognized by the government as a National Park since 1952.

The waterfalls attract locals to swim to refresh summer heat.  In the year 1980s, visitors stopped by the falls after dropping by the Cathedral to hear Mass. 

It was closed for a long time.  But now, it is being restored to open to the public again. 

Cloud9 Antipolo

A known hotel, Cloud 9 is known for its 360-view of Antipolo. But, you need first to cross a hanging bridge. A great and remarkable experience that you can share with your family and treasure the memory it would give.

hanging bridge of cloud9

Seven Suites Hotel Observatory

Want a unique experience? Visit the place to take a peek on their telescope to see the stars a little closer. Very rewarding in such a way to have a chance to explore the sky. The wonderful experience completes the night after a family dinner.

telescope

Antipolo Experience

We may not celebrate any festival this year because of the world’s health situation, nor join a pilgrimage. But as our faith is as solid as the road uphill to Antipolo, all would be well soon. And together, we will all walk again and survive the obstacles that come in the way.

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