My usual route when cycling on a good Sunday morning from home is mostly southbound. I may ride several laps in Lakefront, head to Alabang and hit the Filinvest trails, or go farther to ride along Daang Hari road and then enjoy the tracks of Vermosa Bike Skills Park.
Growing up in Paranaque, I always had an impression that the southern locations were easier to access compared to other places such as Rizal, which is a haven for long distance rides and mountainous regions ideal for bike touring, and if you live far away, you might want to haul your bike to your car’s trunk rack to further enjoy some of its exciting trails.
Since I wasn’t able to join with my friends in our supposed Burias Island trip due to other commitments, I decided to go solo on two wheels and visit the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs instead.
I left home at 7am and took the C6 road bound to Taytay. I was surprised to see several joggers and cyclists strolling by the sidewalk. I got off my bike and walked off a little bit just to appreciate the lakeside view.
It fascinates me every time I take the C6 route. It was an easy access to the shoreline of laguna lake and how it connects Paranaque, Taguig, and Rizal. You had to take the C5 road and brave the Metro Manila traffic back then but this road made access to Rizal much easier.
I headed straight to the dusty and gravelly part of C6 until I reached the bridge bound to Taytay, I continued further until I reached Club Manila East.
Upon reaching the road bound to Angono, I noticed that the place got busier. Jeepneys were lined up waiting for passengers, buses bound to Ortigas just popped out of nowhere, and waves of cars and tricycles made me go defensive mode.
The road then lead me to a fork bound to Angono town proper straight ahead, and Binangonan to the left. I took the latter which was more familiar to me. This was the same route we took when my friend and I did the 200km Laguna Loop.
The road going to the Petroglyphs was quite easy to miss when you’re on a bike. I almost got lost and went straight then turned left to a street going to Antenna Hill but with a few directions from the locals, I have managed to go back and find it. Landmark would be 711 right after Dona Justa Street where Balaw Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery is located.
It was a surprise when the almost cramped neighborhood of Col. Guido Road became a winding uphill mountain pass which somehow reminded me of Sungay road in Tagaytay and The Wall in San Mateo, Rizal.
The steepness woke up my senses and wore me out really fast that I had to take a quick rest. I made it to one of the viewpoints. The vastness of Laguna lake, the city landscape, and the cool Rizal breeze made me recuperate quite fast.
I moved along after a few minutes until I reached the gates of Eastridge.
It was a comfortable ride from here to the Petroglyphs. The wide roads and fresh air of Binangonan was a pleasure as I pass by Thunderbird Resorts and the Eastridge Golf Course to finally head to my destination.
I was able to reach the site at 9am. I rode through the short, dark tunnel after registering.
There aren’t any visitors when I reached the 5,000 year old site. It was my second time to visit the place and it still fascinated me to think that a prehistoric artwork was found in this place.
Known as the oldest artwork in the country, the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs was discovered by renowned national artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco in 1965 when he lead a group of boy scouts on a camping trip. The carvings of Animal and human figures on a rock shelter turned out to be made by prehistoric people from the Neolithic Age.
I was about to ride my way home but I still found it a bit early. I then decided to explore the towns of Angono and Binangonan until lunch time. It was around 930am and I still had a lot of time to see places.
My curiosity took me to the newly built Eastridge Athletic Park. The winding loose tracks, technical climbs, and a short bridgeway made the ride more interesting.
I just rode a few portions of the trails just to have a feel of it and not get too tired. It was still a long way home and the weather was getting hotter. I couldn’t wait to be back next time to complete the whole course.
I got back to Angono after the sick downhill ride from Eastridge and took a short detour to Dona Justa Street. The place was filled with restaurants and art galleries! Too bad I wasn’t able to enter even one of these attractions since I was pressed for time.
Some notable places are Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant and Art Gallery with its interesting array of exotic foods, and the popular Nemiranda Art House.
I tried Balaw Balaw’s fried ants and Uok (bettle Larvae) cooked in coconut milk earlier this year and it was a terrifying and exciting experience at the same time!
My last stop in the Art Capital of the Philippines was the street murals of Carlos “Botong” Francisco which were lined up along Dona Aurora street along Poblacion Itaas.
The street gallery shows the replica of the National Artist’s works. It’s amazing to think that this usual, busy, neighborhood was transformed in to an art gallery! (Just be careful because the street is too cramped for two vehicles to pass so always stay on the side, and several tricycles were passing by every minute.)
Several notable works of art made by other artists can also be seen along the street. Busts of other Filipino artists such as Lucio D. San Pedro were placed there, and his “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” piece was also carved at the end of the gallery.
It was getting hotter so I left the Art Capital of the Philippines until I got back to C6 at around noon time. It was the first time I rode along the bridge where Pasig river and Laguna lake meet during this time of the day, making me stop and appreciate the beautiful, almost cloudless, and saturated view of the whole place as I saw the mountainous regions of Rizal on one side and the towering skyscrapers of Metro Manila on the other end.
I continued further and then wandered off somewhere around Taguig and Paranaque until I reached home.
The Angono-Binangonan ride was a one of a kind experience. The challenging uphill climb to Eastridge will make your heart pumping and the athletic park will make you want to just shred the trails and feed your adrenaline rush.
On top of the aggressive routes of Binangonan, the artistic sites of Angono will make you pedal more gently and stop from time to time. Your thrill-seeking hormones will subside to be replaced by the aesthetic, right-brained impulses for creativity and appreciation.
The fusion between the two was a treat for your senses. The athletic and artistic concoction was a quick fix for every cyclists who are up for the active uphill challenge and the laid back cruise around these amazing towns.