The past months has been a challenge for all of us. We have been confined inside our homes because of the COVID19 pandemic. The government action abruptly stopped the usual runs that we have been doing for years and this has probably caused stress, physically and mentally, to most of us. My usual routine of work and travel, pre-pandemic times, halted in a snap. I was lucky that I was even able squeeze in a major trip before the community quarantines that was also cut short because of COVID19.
Even with the gradual opening of the country’s economy, going around and exploring local spots are a challenge with additional travel requirements. This has been daunting for weekend wanderers, like me. I had to check out destinations that is accessible and with minimal travel requirements. That is when it hit me to check out a serene spot in Antipolo that offers a relaxing vibe - the Luljhetta Hanging Gardens.
The Luljhetta Hanging Gardens is a perfect spot for a quick and relaxing escape from the city. Located along the slopes of Antipolo facing Metro Manila, it is a serene garden with swimming pools and lounging areas that was designed to give its guests a relaxing experience. It is the “it” spot in Antipolo, pre-pandemic times, that getting a day-trip access was a challenge. So when I tried my luck to book for a day trip access and got through, it was a chance that I was not to miss out.
The hanging gardens is located inside the Loreland Farm Resort, a popular resort and event place in Antipolo. It has its own themed swimming pools, team building facilities, and religious trails that can be explored and enjoyed by its guests. The resort have instagrammable spots that you can enjoy while waiting for your turn to be logged in with Luljetta’s. For those intending to enjoy a full weekend break, the farm resort has overnight facilities with access to its pools.
Once checked in for a day visit at Luljhetta’s Hanging Gardens, you will be provided towels and robes and ushered inside the premises of the garden. Lockers are provided and proper swimwear is needed if you are taking a dip in their pools. It is also important to know that all scheduled access to the garden and facilities are limited to only 5 hours.
The garden was designed in terraces style carved out of the mountain side so expect to walk up and down stairs as you explore the place. The lush greens give it that relaxing garden feel and there are swings and open cottages that you can use where you can sit down, relax, and breathe in the moment. There are bamboo cottages that they use for their spa services and its design complete the rustic ambiance. The garden is sprawling, with a lot of photogenic spots, so manage your time allotment wisely.
They have two pools that guests can access. The spa pool on the second level have hydro massage beds where you can get a quick massage and a wading/jacuzzi pool where you can relax and enjoy the relaxing garden ambiance. An infinity pool is located on the third level of Luljhetta where you can enjoy a quick cold dip while enjoying the mountain side views of Antipolo. The also have a small jacuzzi on the third level where you can enjoy a gentle massage surrounded by gentle rustling of the leaves.
The garden also has lounging areas where you can enjoy a movie or a game of billiards. You can also choose to enjoy reading a book or play sungka at their living room area or enjoy a relaxing fish foot spa at Dr. Fish. You can also opt to complete the spa experience by including a massage in your day trip package. The Luljhetta’s Hanging Gardens experience is capped off by a fried Antipolo Suman snack with lemongrass tea.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
A few hours in the serene and relaxing vibe of Luljhetta’s Hanging Gardens was enough break from the usual COVID19 humdrum. Being locked in the city for the months now, the experience was a welcome respite especially with a limited option for metro residents. Like what I have shared previously, this is a great time to explore what is in and around the city and Luljhetta’s Hanging Gardens is a great place where you can relax, unwind, and de-stress from what is happening, that is easily accessible to Metro Manila.
Traveling is not just about taking a plane or a bus ride to popular tourist hubs. This COVID19 pandemic is an eye opener in a lot of ways, even with how we see local travels. There are a lot of cool and hip destinations in and around Metro Manila. All we need is a keen eye to discover and re-discover the usual spots in our “backyards” and look at it from a different angle. Let’s re-discover #PinasMuna to get a different appreciation of the usual destinations.
Getting there: You can take a van from Robinson Galleria for Antipolo. From Antipolo, you can take a trike and tell the driver to bring you to Loreland Farm Resort.
I am always on a look out for a new spot to discover and explore. Whether it be a new beach destination or a new art space in the city, you will always find me planning my next travel adventure. Social media has always been a good source of off-beat destinations and the latest trending spot in and around the metro.
The town of Binangonan is making headlines with the opening of another hip art space near the metro. Located along its hillside of Rizal, Art Space is another project realized by the man behind the success of the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo. The gallery/cafe is a trending destination among travelers and social media users because of it panoramic view of the metro and its instagrammable spots.
Art Space is conveniently tucked on a side of hill that offers an amazing view of Laguna de Bay and the southern part of Metro Manila. The second floor of the cafe offers a commanding view of the western side while the roof deck gives guest a 360-degree view of Manila, Laguna, and Rizal. The views make a perfect backdrop for your pictures.
The art gallery/cafe offers a perfect and unadulterated view of the Manila sunset. You get to see shift in hues as the sun goes down the horizon until it hides itself behind the silhouette of Mount Makiling. It was amazing to watch one of God’s nature shows where you see the sun turn into a ball of red-orange and the skies burst into colors of orange, pink, and blue.
The different facets of the setting sun.
Word of advice, be there early so you get to reserve the best seat in the house. Art Sector gets a lot of visitors so it pays to be early. Be prepared to enjoy the afternoon sun though and it gets a bit hot on its view decks.
Art Sector is a place where creativity flows. From its structure to its interior design, it lives and breathes the arts. The building was designed and constructed to work around the natural rock formations in the area so don’t be surprised to find a solid rock formation incorporated in its building designs.
The art space also has its own collection of art works from local artists. Artworks that adorn its walls, including its nooks and crannies, are worth appreciating. Take your time to take in the creativity of the artists, then channel that creativity into your own.
As I have previously shared, the difference between Pinto Museum and Art Sector is that the former is more of an art gallery and the latter is more of a cafe. The interiors of the art space have more space designated for guests to enjoy a meal or two. It is a perfect place for an intimate office or social gathering.
They have a good selection of pizza and pasta to choose from. Again be warned though that food service may take a little longer because the queue is a challenge for its staff. You can kill time by exploring the place and letting your creativity flow with your pictures. Trust me, by the time your meals are served and you’ve finished, it will be time to enjoy the metro’s amazing sunset.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
With more than 7000 islands in the Philippines, there is always something new to explore and discover. It can be an off-beat destination or it can be a new “hot spot” in or around the metro. Art Space is one destination that gave a unique flare by giving us art from the creativity of man and nature in one venue. It is one art space where you get a good mix of food, artistry, and nature. A definite must-place to visit for art lovers and sunset chasers.
The past weeks have been stressful for most of us and we all have our own way of finding our inner balance. In my case, travel had been my escape, be it a day trip or a weekender. I take the time to explore the beauty of the Philippines and I strongly encourage you to do same. #PinasMuna tayo and help our country get back on its feet.
Getting there: You can take a van from Robinson Galleria for Angono or Binangonan. Ask the driver to drop you off at Scrapyard Café. You can take a habal-habal at the 711 store across Scrapyard Café to Art Sector.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.