From a provincial town to a city with a blossoming economy, Valenzuela City has become a fast-growing industrial city. Today, it is one of the Metro Manila’s top residential areas, in addition to being a promising business destination. With its fascinating heritage sites and various entertainment and commercial centers, the city is today attracting more visitors than ever.
Located at the northern tip of the National Capital Region (NCR), Valenzuela is a hub of commerce. It is bordered by Quezon City and northern Caloocan City to the east, Malabon to the south, and Bulacan to the north. Two major highways connecting many provinces—the MacArthur Highway and the North Luzon Highway—run through the city leading to the Philippine capital, Manila. As such, Valenzuela came to be known as The Northern Gateway to Metro Manila. Due to its strategic location and close distance to Manila, the city experienced a steady rise in industrialization and tourism which continues up to this day.
The most common way to get to this city from Manila is by taking buses in EDSA that ply routes to Malinta, Valenzuela. Travelers can also ride Quiapo jeepneys heading to Monumento. Once in Monumento, they can take another jeepney or van to reach Valenzuela City.
It is easy to get to one point to another in this city. Travelers have the option of riding jeepneys, tricycles, or taxis. The jeepneys have fixed routes and are the most common and cheapest mode of transportation. The speedy tricycle is best suited for when you want to go to nearby destinations. Tourists who don’t mind additional expenses and favor convenience can hail a taxi instead.
As a city with a long and colorful history, Valenzuela has many heritage sites. Visitors can first stop by the residence of Dr. Pio Valenzuela along Velila Street in Barangay Pariancillo Villa. The original house that served as the secret meeting place for the Katipunan burned down during World War II, but in honor of Dr. Valenzuela, the city’s government had the house rebuilt.
Another landmark dedicated to the physician is the Museo Valenzuela. The museum was the house where Dr. Valenzuela was born and spent many happy years of his life in. Here, travelers can learn more about the city’s heritage and culture. This museum features a collection of items that depict the history of Valenzuela and celebrates its continuing development.
Visitors should also take the chance to see the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima on Fatima Avenue. This church is the center of the Fatima apostolate in the country and is a pilgrimage shrine. It is home to the wooden statue of the Our Lady of Fatima, one of fifty images blessed by Pope Paul VI in 1967. It is also an iconic figure that became a symbol of peace against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos during the People Power Revolution.
Don’t forget to see the Arkong Bato (arch of stone), an arch built by the Americans in 1910 to mark the border between the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan. The arch is located along M.H. del Pilar Street, a strip of road that served as the main gateway to North Luzon before the construction of the MacArthur Highway and the North Luzon Expressway. After the many changes made in the administrative divisions in Metro Manik, the arch today marks the boundary between Valenzuela (once part of Bulacan) and Malabon (once part of Rizal).
Aside from shopping at the many malls and retail centers in the city, there are also other activities that travelers can enjoy. Art lovers can attend exhibits and fairs while theater aficionados can watch riveting shows at the Valenzuela City Convention Center on Poblacion Road 2. This center of culture and performing arts aims to help promote and preserve the culture of the city and of the country in general. Sports enthusiasts can also catch ball games and other athletic events at the Valenzuela Astrodome at Dalandanan.
As a city surrounded by bodies of freshwater, Valenzuela has various fishing spots where anglers and those interested in fishing can cast lines. La Casa Antigo Pavilion and Fishing Resort at Tagalag have great facilities, fishing gear rentals, and calm waters where beginners can spend a day fishing. Experienced anglers looking for something more challenging can also take part in fishing tournaments at Kap. Larry’s Pond in Coloong I.
For a change of pace, one can visit the Valenzuela City People’s Park along MacArthur Highway, Karuhatan. Here, tourists of all ages can enjoy a relaxing afternoon strolling through the park. There is a children’s playground where kids can have fun playing while the senior’s garden gives older folks a chance to unwind. This 1.5-hectare urban park also features an interactive fountain, a picnic site, an amphitheater, a giant chessboard, and a mini zoo that is home to birds, crab-eating macaques, and a small fishpond.
Hungry tourists can grab a bite at the many dining options at the Valenzuela Town Center, Barangay Marulas, as well as in other malls around the city. There are also a variety of small but good home-grown eateries that serve budget-friendly meals. Foodies will definitely enjoy experiencing the food choices in Valenzuela.
A popular restaurant with locals is Aki Oishi at Barangay Coloong 2. Aki Oishi is owned by the Sato family, with Chef Aki being the main cook. They serve authentic Japanese cuisine that will tickle your taste buds. Some of their must-tries are baked Ise Ebi (Japanese spiny lobster), miso ramen, and bento meal sets.
There are also hip and trendy cafés scattered around the city. A must-visit is the Coffee Tea and Symphony along MacArthur Highway at Marulas. A few of their best-sellers include ice-blended coffee jelly, pure passion smoothie, baked lasagna, and chicken teriyaki.
Also, don’t forget to try the small food stands found on the city streets. The hamburgers at Kalborger’s at Marulas are sure to please famished visitors on a budget. Kalborger’s is known for its huge 9-inch beef or chicken homemade burgers with mustard and mayonnaise dressings. Since it can be a bit difficult to bite into the large burger, the staff can slice the burger up for you.
There are a handful of places in this city where tourists can enjoy the nightlife. Once such place is the Farm House Bar and Restaurant on Deato Street. They offer beers such Red Horse, San Miguel Light and more. Visitors can also order some grilled squid, roasted pig’s head, and fried chicken to go along with their drinks.
For more choices, there are bars and pubs that dot MacArthur Highway such as Papa Froi Grill & Resto Bar in Karuhatan, Sueños Restobar and Grill in Marulas, and Alchemix Resto Grill in Malinta.
Valenzuela City is home to a many great lodging options for budget travelers, solo backpackers, and for those traveling with family. Travelers on a budget can book a stay in the Meaco Hotel along MacArthur Highway, one of the most well-known hotels in the city. There are three room options to choose from: Deluxe, Twin Deluxe, and Family. Each option features air-conditioned rooms, clean bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, and cable television.
Paradise Apartelle at Paso De Blas is another good lodging option. With reasonable prices and good facilities, Paradise Apartelle offers simple but comfortable accommodations. This motel’s location is also convenient, with it being close to the supermarket and to an assortment of shops selling a variety of goods.
For those who want some fun included in their accommodation choices, the Cariño Resort in Punturin is a suitable option. This resort has air-conditioned rooms and helpful staff. It also features a variety of pools, jacuzzis, pavilions, and grilling areas.