San Mateo, Philippines

Reading Time: 5 minutes

San Mateo, Philippines

Region: Rizal

Geographic Coordinates: 14.696900, 121.122000
Temperature Range: 20.0°C to 35.0°C (68°F to 95°F)
Climate: Tropical climate with two distinct seasons: dry season from November to April and rainy season from May to October.
Population: 273306
Language: Tagalog

San Mateo is a municipality located in Rizal province, Philippines. It is situated in the eastern part of Metro Manila and shares borders with Quezon City to the west, Marikina to the south, And Antipolo to the east. The town’s name comes from Saint Matthew, One of Jesus’ twelve apostles. San Mateo has a fascinating history dating back to pre-colonial times when it was home to Tagalog tribes. It became part of Morong province during Spanish colonization until it gained independence as a separate municipality in 1901. The area boasts several natural attractions such as Mount Batolusong and Wawa Dam.

Mount Batolusong offers scenic views and challenging hiking trails that attract adventure seekers from all over Metro Manila while Wawa Dam provides breathtaking scenery with its crystal-clear waters surrounded by lush greenery. In addition to nature spots, San Mateo also has cultural landmarks that reflect its rich history like St. Matthew Parish Church which dates back to 1606 and Casa Real de San Mateo which served as the town hall during Spanish colonial times. Recently, San Mateo has experienced rapid urbanization with new residential areas popping up alongside commercial establishments like malls and supermarkets.

This development brings economic growth while still preserving its natural beauty. The town celebrates several festivals throughout the year such as their annual fiesta honoring their patron saint St. Matthew every September 21st with colorful parades and street dances showcasing local culture. Overall, San Mateo offers a unique blend of nature-based attractions complemented by cultural landmarks reflecting its rich history making it an ideal destination for both locals and tourists alike seeking an escape from city life without having to go too far away from Metro Manila’s hustle bustle lifestyle.

Important Landmarks

  1. San Mateo Rizal Monument is a tribute to the Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal.
  2. Mount Batolusong is a famous hiking destination that provides breathtaking views of the Sierra Madre mountain range and surrounding countryside.
  3. Ten Cents to Heaven Resort is an adventure park featuring zip lines, rope courses, and other outdoor activities.
  4. Daranak Falls is a picturesque waterfall located in Tanay, Rizal, just a short drive from San Mateo.
  5. Wawa Dam is a popular spot for picnics and hiking located in Rodriguez, Rizal, which can be reached by car or public transportation from San Mateo within 30-60 minutes depending on traffic conditions.
  6. Marikina River Park offers jogging paths, playgrounds, picnic areas and bike trails along the Marikina River in an urban setting.
  7. Pintong Bukawe National High School gained popularity as one of the filming locations for the hit Filipino movie That Thing Called Tadhana and has become one of San Mateo’s most recognizable landmarks.
  8. Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens Spa located in Antipolo City just outside San Mateo offers spa treatments with scenic views of Laguna de Bay and Metro Manila skyline making it another popular attraction accessible by car or public transportation within 30-60 minutes depending on traffic conditions.

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture – San Mateo is renowned for its agricultural products like rice, vegetables, and fruits.
  2. Manufacturing – The town houses several manufacturing companies that produce consumer goods such as food products, furniture, garments, and other industrial products.
  3. Construction – With the town’s population and economy rapidly growing comes an increasing demand for housing and infrastructure development.
  4. Retail – San Mateo offers numerous retail stores that cater to a wide range of needs from groceries to clothing to electronics.
  5. Service industry – This encompasses various service-oriented businesses such as restaurants, hotels, banks, healthcare facilities among others.
  6. Tourism- San Mateo is home to many natural resources like waterfalls and mountains which attract tourists from different parts of the world.

Noteable History

  1. The town was founded in 1636 by Franciscan friars.
  2. During the Philippine Revolution against Spain, San Mateo became a battleground for Filipino revolutionaries led by General Emilio Aguinaldo.
  3. The town was also a stronghold of the Hukbalahap during the Philippine-American War.
  4. San Mateo is known for its historic church, which was built in 1800 and is considered one of the oldest churches in Rizal province.
  5. Notable people from San Mateo include former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who played a key role in drafting the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines; and actor Robin Padilla, who has starred in numerous films and TV shows both locally and internationally.
  6. In recent years, San Mateo has become known as a hub for eco-tourism due to its proximity to natural attractions such as Mount Batolusong and Tinipak River.

Museums and Things To See

  1. San Mateo Municipal Museum
  2. Angono Petroglyphs
  3. Wawa Dam
  4. Our Lady of Aranzazu Parish Church
  5. Boso-Boso Church Ruins and Museum
  6. Pintong Bukawe Forest Reserve and Eco-Park
  7. Mount Batolusong
  8. Daranak Falls
  9. Masungi Georeserve
  10. Hinulugang Taktak National Park

Cultural Events

  1. San Mateo Town Fiesta is celebrated on September 29th in honor of the town’s patron saint, Saint Matthew.
  2. The Pinyahan Festival is held every January to showcase the abundance and variety of pineapples grown in San Mateo.
  3. Araw ng San Mateo is celebrated on March 10th to commemorate the town’s foundation day with parades and cultural presentations.
  4. The Feast of Our Lady of Light takes place on December 8th with a procession and novena masses at the local church.
  5. Sampaguita Festival occurs every May, highlighting the beauty and significance of sampaguita flowers to Filipino culture.
  6. Kawayan Festival is celebrated every August, showcasing bamboo as an important resource for livelihood and cultural heritage in San Mateo.
  7. Higantes Festival takes place on November 23rd-24th with giant papier-mache figures paraded around town in honor of Saint Clemente.


  • Adobo – a classic Filipino dish made with meat (usually pork or chicken) cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and other spices. Some popular restaurants that serve adobo include Adobong Manok ni Lola, Adobo Connection, and Kuya J Restaurant.
  • Lechon – a whole roasted pig that is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Some popular lechon places in San Mateo include Baliwag Lechon Manok & Liempo and Lydia’s Lechon.
  • Sinigang – a sour soup made with tamarind or other sour fruits mixed with vegetables (such as kangkong or water spinach), meat (usually pork or fish), and sometimes shrimp paste. Some popular sinigang places in San Mateo include Mang Inasal and Gerry’s Grill.
  • Pancit Malabon – a noodle dish that originated from Malabon City but is also popular in nearby areas like San Mateo. It is made with thick rice noodles topped with seafood (like shrimp or squid), eggs, chicharon (fried pork rinds), vegetables, and annatto oil for color.
  • Tapsilog – a breakfast meal consisting of beef tapa (marinated beef strips), sinangag (garlic fried rice), and itlog (egg). Some popular tapsilog places in San Mateo include Tapsi ni Vivian & Friends and Rodic’s Diner.
  • Karinderia-style eateries – these are small roadside eateries that offer affordable home-cooked meals like adobo, sinigang, bulalo (beef bone marrow soup), tinola (ginger chicken soup), among others. They are usually family-owned businesses that have been around for generations like Lutong Bahay ni Nanay Nena and Ate Vi’s Karinderya.

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. San Mateo Rizal Park is a public park that features playgrounds, picnic areas, and a jogging path.
    2. Timberland Sports and Nature Club provides various outdoor activities such as zip-lining, wall climbing, horseback riding, and ATV riding.
    3. Daranak Falls is a natural waterfall attraction that’s perfect for swimming and picnics.
    4. Masungi Georeserve is an eco-tourism destination that offers hiking trails with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
    5. Wawa Dam Ecopark is a popular destination for hiking, biking, camping, fishing and other outdoor activities.
    6. Ten Cents to Heaven Leisure Camp offers camping facilities along with various recreational activities such as zip-lining, wall climbing and rope courses.
    7. Pintong Bukawe National High School Adventure Camp offers several adventure activities like rappelling or abseiling down cliffs or rock formations.
    8. Montalban Gorge provides trekking opportunities through the scenic gorge.
    9. Pamitinan Cave is a historical cave where Andres Bonifacio once sought refuge during the Philippine Revolution.
    10. Boso-Boso Highlands Resort & Convention Center is a resort offering several recreational facilities like swimming pools, basketball courts, etc.


    Its All About The Journey.

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