Early Valentine’s date with ATVs, horses, and magnificent views!

Published February 5, 2021, 1:15 AM

by Johannes Chua

It is always a challenge to find the “perfect” venue for a Valentine’s date, more so this year, when it is Valentine’s–the pandemic edition.

So where to go to impress your better half?

It is still not advisable to go to the malls or hotels. There are no movies or concerts to watch unlike Valentine’s of years past when you can easily choose among the dozens of shows, events, and parties in the city.
If you are ready for the outdoors (well, it is safer to walk in open spaces) and you yearn for a dose of adventure (after months of sedentary lifestyle at home), then head to San Mateo in Rizal province.

Located at Brgy. Silangan, UCM Adventure Park offers outdoors, adventures, and views, and more views! The park is located at an elevated area, providing a magnificent panorama of the metro below. The vantage view also rewards you with a refreshing sunrise.

What’s nice with UCM is that it is rustic to the core. It is as if you are stepping in a secluded area of a province, with the lush greens as your IG background. The nipa huts add to the rustic flair, plus the simple Filipino fare served at the park’s restaurant harks back to comfort and easy living.

Enjoy a sumptuous Filipino lunch surrounded by nature.

The stillness of the atmosphere is only “disturbed” by the sounds of ATVs roaming the dusty roads. And if you and your partner want to experience something different, this ATV adventure would surely boost both of your adrenaline drive. The “Fun Trail” ATV package is at P1,500 per person and is almost an hour to 90 minutes of driving off-road through a mountain. You are guaranteed of breathtaking views of nature, so better clear some memory from your phone. You will be rewarded with a city view from the mountain tops! In fact, UCM even claims that its ATV adventure package is the “most affordable and best value near Metro Manila.”

ATV with a view of the city (All photos from UCM Facebook page)

Up for more ATV adventure? Then there is an “Experience Trail” at P2,500 per person. This is a longer drive (more than two hours) and will bring you to the Corterra Eco Reserve.

If ATV seems so “mechanical” and you feel the horseback riding is more “romantic,” then choose between four packages. There’s the “Hilltop Ride” for 30 minutes (P1,000/ person) which gives you a city view, the “Mountain Ride” for an hour (P2,500/ person) which gives you a mountain view, the “Farm Ride” (P3,500/ person) which is two hours and brings you to the Corterra Eco Reserve, and the ultimate, the “Pine Tree” package (P4,500/ person), which is around two to three hours, and gives you, according to UCM, the “Baguio/ Sagada feels.” It’s like you’re in Baguio, without undergoing the Covid-related tests.

Horseback riding adds a rustic flavor to your adventure

There is also a camping ground and if you want an authentic countryside experience, then rent a nipa hut. A small one, perfect for two, is at P600 for four hours. While the bigger one, fit for four, is at P1,000 for four hours.

Nipa huts can be rented at the park. Below: There is also a camping ground for those who want to stay overnight.

Before you head to UCM this weekend, you have to reserve your slots first. You can’t just walk in the park as entrance is limited to a few guests. Health protocols are also observed, such as physical distancing, and wearing of face mask and face shield. All safety gears for the activities are provided. It is also advisable to bring extra clothes to change after an activity.

If you and your partner just want to take it easy and slow, the mesmerizing view is there to keep both of you company. It would definitely be a different Valentine’s for the both of you, but will be something memorable.

It is easy to go to UCM. Just put on your Waze “UCM ATV Park.” If you want to commute, take the Silangan jeep at the Marikina Bayan.