San Mateo, Rizal

San Mateo is a first class municipality in Rizal, Philippines. It is bordered by Quezon City to the west, the cities of Marikina and Antipolo to the south, and to the north by the municipality of Rodriguez. San Mateo is approximately 24 kilometres (15 mi) east of Manila and 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) north of Pasig, the former provincial capital of Rizal. (Source: Wikipedia)

According to the 2015 census, San Mateo Rizal has a population of 252,527 people. As part of the conurbation of the urban agglomeration of the Greater Manila Area, San Mateo is considered as one of the fastest growing municipalities in Rizal Province. This is attested by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Provincial Government of Rizal.

There are 15 barangays in San Mateo, Rizal.

Living in San Mateo, Rizal

Geographically, the town of San Mateo is just a short distance from Metro Manila, with Barangay Banaba as its main access from Marikina (via Nangka) and Quezon City (via Batasan Road).

General Luna Highway, more commonly known as General Luna Avenue, is a 6-kilometer road and is San Mateo’s main access road. It connects San Mateo to Marikina City via J.P. Rizal road in the south end and Rodriguez, Rizal via Mabini road in the north end.  The arch in General Luna Avenue (south end) marks the entry point to the town.

Named after General Antonio Luna, who fought in the Philippine-American War, General Luna Avenue is home to various business establishments including SM San Mateo, the town’s first full-service mall.

Foods in San Mateo

Similar to Marikina City, San Mateo is also rich in local delicacies particularly home-made kakanin (rice cakes) commonly sold in the Guitnang Bayan market. An annual celebration of Kakanin Festivalalso known as Parada ng mga Kakanin, is held in Barangay Guitnang Bayan every September, where bilaos of kakanin are flaunted and celebrated for everyone’s consumption. In 2008, the town achieved the record of “longest parade of kakanin” in its history.

Aside from kakanin, one can also indulge in a savory taste of various all-time favorite snack foods like pansit and goto. Through the years, as the municipality evolved to a progressive, first-class municipality, various fast food chains have thrived.

What to Do in San Mateo

This luscious town in Rizal is composed of foothills and high plateaus of the Sierra Madre Mountains, making it an ideal spot for bike aficionados. The town has a recreational area uphill known as “The Great Wall of Timberland”, a 2-kilometer uphill climb that ends at the gates of Timberland estates.

With its 50-degree brutal climb, Timberland’s “The Great Wall” is considered as the testing ground for bikers. In fact, people in the biking community says that one cannot consider himself a biker if he has not ascended “The Great Wall.”

Sandugo is another off-trail road for bikers who are more into “technical riding”. It is composed of single tracks and artificial fire roads.