Months into the pandemic, scientists have figured out that the coronavirus is more prone to spread indoors. The great outdoors, on the other hand, has all the space you need to keep your distance from others. Plus, there are also fewer chances of catching COVID-19 as fresh air disperses droplets. If you're looking to get away for the weekend, a sprawling nature camp near Metro Manila reopened in September after securing a Certificate to Operate: Ridges and Clouds Nature Camp in Tanay, Rizal.
Ridges and Clouds Nature Camp features an amazing view of the foothills of Sierra Madre and a sea of clouds during sunrise (thus the name). Accommodation options include a cabana for two (P2,500 to P4,000), a family cabana for four (P4,000), and the Twin Ifugao House for six (P7,000). You can also pitch your own tent for P500 a night. Rooms at the nature camp or not air-conditioned, but the fresh mountain air is cold enough to keep you comfortable. It's pet-friendly, solar-powered, and off-the-grid (no WiFi and mobile signal).
Guests can enjoy the hot kawa or have a bonfire set up for a minimal fee. You can also have a sunrise breakfast (P700 for two) arranged, which you can have as early as 6 a.m.; an afternoon coffee date for with cookies and brewed coffee by the ridge (P500 for two); or a romantic dinner for P1,000.
With the province of Rizal under modified general community quarantine, only guests between 21 and 59 years old are allowed. Tanay also requires travelers to present confirmed booking and a barangay medical certificate (secured three days before travel) upon entering the borders.
After a good night's rest at Ridges and Clouds Nature Camp, you may want to explore the rest of Rizal.
Head over to Crescent Moon Café in Antipolo, where you can learn a thing or two about making pot with your own hands. The café-slash-pottery studio owned by by artist Lanelle Abueva-Fernando offers farm-to-table dishes and three variations of Antipolo's famous suman: Suman at Mangga, Suman a la Mode, and Suman Itim.
You can also try local fare like fried itik, ginataang kuhol, and sinabawang balut at Balaw-Balaw Restaurant in Angono. Established in 1983 by artist Perdigon N. Vocalan and his wife Luzvimin, the place also houses a gallery that showcases works by local artists. Angono, after all, is known as the Art Capital of the Philippines.
Since you're already in Angono, you may also want to stroll through Doña Aurora Street. This part of the town proper is full of paintings by National Artist Botong Francisco and executed on concrete by muralist Charlie Anorico. At the end of the road, you can find Botong's home, which now serves as a museum and residence of his grandson, artist Carlos "Totong" Francisco II.
Ridges and Clouds Nature Camp is in Sitio Maysawa, Barangay Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal. Rates start at P2,500. For more information, follow Ridges and Clouds Nature Camp on Facebook.