Quezon is the largest province in the Southern Tagalog Mainland, a region that also includes Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas. While there are many towns within Quezon that have become tourist destinations—Lucban, Tayabas, Lucena, and Atimonan—there are others that don’t get the same amount of attention but deserve the foot traffic.
Wanting to change that, locals who are passionate about Real, Infanta, and General Nakar created the Metro Reina Group. This cooperative, according to BIPCO Ecopark’s Lito Coronacion, aims to highlight what these towns have to offer, hopefully attracting more tourists in the process.
Coronacion, along with the rest of the members of Metro Reina, wishes that more and more people will include Real, Infanta, and General Nakar in their itineraries as more borders begin to open up.
Why do these towns deserve more visitors? What can be seen and enjoyed in these towns? Quite a lot according to Metro Reina. Each of these municipalities have attractions for different persuasions. Here are a few of them:
About two hours away from Rizal,Real’s main draw is in the water. It makes for a quick beach trip, or a weekend water sports adventure.
TANAUAN WHITE RIVER RAFTING
Brgy. Tanauan, Real
Apart from going on a wild ride, the river and its surrounding areas make a fantastic picnic site. This is especially true in the summer when the water is a lot calmer. Then, you’d be able to appreciate the river’s surroundings more: coconut trees, grassland spots filled with flowers and rock formations for quick stop overs, a lake where you can take a dip in, among other things.
More adventurous spirits, though, should think of heading there from November until February. This is the peak of the Amihan, or trade winds season, when the water is a lot more aggressive.
For Php 500 per ride, you will be able to explore around the spot for more than an hour. This fee will also go to helping the boatmen of Tanauan River to recuperate their lost income due to the pandemic.
- Opening Hours: You can walk-in at Tanauan White River Rafting as early as 5:00am. Last call for raft rides is 4:00pm
- Contact Number: +639633086272
Brgy. Tingnoan, Real
Developed around 2010, this destination was opened to boost tourism in Tingnoan. A two-tier waterfall surrounded by vast trees and large rocks, Balagbag Falls is popular among motorcycle riders and campers around Real. Having a deep pool, visitors usually cliff dive here. But to ensure everyone’s safety, this is not allowed anymore.
For Php40.00, you can head over to the Falls, which is just a five-minute walk from the National Highway. A nice way to cool off on a hot day, the spot also has cottages around it where families and friends can gather for meals. Just make sure to tidy up as you go, and leave alcohol at home as they are not allowed at the premises.
- Opening Hours: 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
- Contact Number: +639633086272
REAL COAST & SURF
Brgy. Malapad, Real
Just 10 minutes away from Balagbag Falls is a charming resort that offers surfing lessons. Real Coast and Surf has certified instructors on hand to teach people who are interested in the sport. Accommodations here range from Php 3,700 for visitors who plan to stay overnight.
The waves of their beach can accommodate beginner and intermediate surf students. For those who are a little more advanced, they can visit the Barracuda, a more challenging spot just a few meters away from the resort.
If you want quieter pursuits, you can practice yoga or meditation within the resort’s peaceful compound. There is also a quaint restaurant called The Food Shack that sells Chicken and Waffles– which is their best-seller, Calamari, and Fish N’ Chips.
Aside from The Food Shack, you can also request for a grill set up in the resort if you want to cook some barbecue. They allow bringing outside food in the Surf Camp without a corkage fee.
- Bookings and Reservations:http://www.realcoastandsurf.com/
- Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/RealCoastandSurf/
- Contact: email@example.com
General Nakar, on the other hand, is filled with adrenaline-pumping adventures. From off-road ATV and trekking to spelunking and island hopping, there are many items you can add to your itinerary.
Brgy. San Marcelino
An hour away from the Watch Tower of General Nakar, Tulaog Cave is situated on a secluded island where Catholics around Quezon would do their Holy Week pilgrimage.
Locals claim that you can hear a howl around the island that can warn those living there that the weather was about to turn bad. Actually, the name of island is taken from how the cave there is “nagtutulaog,” or “howling” in English.
Divine power exists on this island, many say, so much so that amulets and charms can be “charged” here during full moons. The cave is also a sacred place of worship for the seafaring Dumagat tribe living in the more secluded part of the island.
Before the pandemic, they perform a ritual dance when August rolls around to celebrate the discovery of Tulaog Cave. People around Quezon who know about the festivity usually visit and watch the Dumagat honor the place.
- Contact: +639175907898
Known as Quezon’s largest manufacturer of Lambanog (a Filipino alcoholic drink),Infanta has had a tragic past, having survived a landslide in 2004. The town has since risen from that calamity with greater appreciation of the environment and meaningful reflection.
BIPCO MANGROVE ECO-PARK
Brgy. Binonoan, Infanta
With the help of an Infanta cooperative, the river in this eco-park was rehabilitated. The mangrove-surrounded course now acts as a catch basin during the rainy season when water coming from Sierra Madre Mountain Range comes down.
We suggest checking out the fruit bat sanctuary. Just make sure to view these nocturnal animals from a distance, and not disturb them as they sleep.
A cooked lunch can also be arranged for visitors there as long as you have this arranged beforehand.
- Opening hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm from Monday to Saturday (closed on Sundays)
- Contact Number: +639998844309
PAGIBIG PRAYER GARDEN
Brgy. Tudtoran, Infanta
A sanctuary surrounded by lush greenery, beautiful flowers, and different species of birds, Pagibig Prayer Garden is owned and maintained by the Abcede Family. Religious devotees usually visit this place during the Holy Week to do their Station of Cross among the statues built in the property.
The chapel will welcome you upon entering the premises and numerous picnic tables and outdoor lounge chairs are also available in case you want to have a meal with your family in the garden.
A small fee of Php 20.00 is collected in the entrance as an environmental fee for the place.
- Facebook Page:https://bit.ly/3h87lLC
- Contact Number: +639178019405/+639178549441
HOW TO GET THERE
Quezon is only a few hours away from Metro Manila. For those coming from Rizal, going through the Marikina-Rizal-Laguna-Quezon (Marilaque) highway is the best route to take. For those who are from the south (Alabang, San Pedro, and Sta. Rosa), you might want to take SLEX-Batangas. As for those who are coming from within Laguna, the Laguna-Lucban road will easily bring you to Quezon.
The Metro Reina Group advises tourists to check with the guidelines of local government units before traveling. Health declaration forms and a negative RT-PCR must be presented upon entry to ensure safety during this pandemic. Aside from the forms to be submitted, safety protocols such as wearing of masks, face shields, and implementation of social distancing should be strictly followed.