Rizal, with its refreshingly cool atmosphere and perfect mix of rural and metro-ish ambiance, is part of the list of my favorite provinces in the Philippines. Being able to visit it again, this time to climb Mt. Daraitan, validated my fondness to this province. I was planning for my first climb for 2015, and it was my want to visit the picturesque Tinipak River that made Mt. Daraitan my buena mano mountain for this year (as both attractions can be found in the same area). That time I dragged with me my fellow weekend warriors: Jommel, Corz, Nobs and his friends Jeck and Pio. Armed with information from other blogs, we went. Aside from that, we were honestly clueless of what we need to go through for us to get there.
We traveled for 1 hour and 45 minutes to Tanay, and another two hours to Brgy. Daraitan. The six of us were squeezed inside one tricycle, and it was very uncomfortable. It wasn’t a smooth ride as well as the road going to Brgy. Daraitan was not yet paved. It was bumpy and butt-numbing, and there were times wherein we need to go down of the tricycle and walk just for us to get through steep parts of the road. We haven’t reach the jump-off yet and we already felt the challenge.
The weather Gods? They were not on our side as it started to drizzle halfway through our journey. I should have known better as we were already approaching parts of the Sierra Madre region where the weather is a bit unpredictable, but poor us, we were not prepared. The moment we reached our destination for the river crossing, I hurriedly went outside and it was like I was freed from being caged. We took a banca for us to get to the other side, and it was just a fast 2-3 minute ride. After paying, we rode another tricycle to bring us to the Barangay Hall.
Mt. Daraitan, mother of assault
First of all, kudos to the officials of Brgy. Daraitan for being organized. There was a system and everyone was well-informed of the do’s and dont’s.
After paying all necessary fees and securing a guide, off we went. As we were walking towards the foot of the mountain, we came across a group of ladies who abandoned their plan of reaching the summit. They told us that the trail was very muddy, and that they will just go directly to Tinipak River.
We were curious with what made those girls retreat that we decided to push through with ours. During the first few minutes, I already found myself panting. I thought that was already it, but no. I was sweating bullets and man, the assault was not a joke. To add to the challenge, we have had to reach the summit, traverse to Tinipak and get back to the jump-off point before six in the evening as one of our colleague still needs to report to work.
During our ascent, I was silently cursing inside as the trail was steep and straightforward. There were times where I slid and felt out of balance since I couldn’t use my right hand to hold on to vines and trees as it was operated just months ago before our hike (Yes, I’m that hard-headed).
After about two hours and endless assault, we reached the summit. A river forming a heart shape welcomed us, and before we jump to the photo taking session, we had our lunch. The view at the top was nothing short of spectacular. Being surrounded by the whole Sierra Madre region gave us a natural high. Truly, this mountain won’t be classified as 4/9 for nothing and so far, I must say that it is the second to the hardest mountain I’ve climbed next to the traverse that we did at Mt. Arayat. Thanks to the bad weather, a super muddy trail and the never-ending assault thus giving birth to me naming it as the mother of assault.
Big thank you goes to Kuya Allan, our guide for bringing us to the summit, to the river and way back to the Barangay hall as safe as possible. It was hard, but we couldn’t imagine how much harder it was for him to climb without any shoes on. I was able to talk to him during the traverse, and I was able to have the chance to ask him my million dollar question which was, “Hindi ba mahirap pag naka-paa lang?” To his words, “Masakit pero mas okay na din kasi madulas pag naka tsinelas.”
Tinipak River, a pot of gold in the end of a rainbow
The perfect example of working your ass off to get to somewhere beautiful or delaying gratification. It never dawned on us what we need to go through in order to reach this river. If we only opted to visit the Tinipak River alone, and not do the traverse then I guess it will all be easy cheese. But in the name of adventure and pride, we took the challenge of conquering Mt. Daraitan traverse to Tinipak River and man, the experience did not disappoint. When we got there, it was like a pot of gold in the end of a rainbow.
It took us three hours from the summit and a couple of slides and fall. But all was eased when we got to see the beauty of the river. I was lost for words. There is something about Tinipak River that is magical. It was truly enchanting that I could not resist having to try swimming in its waters.
It was dark when we decided to leave back to the jump-off point, and we didn’t have any light with us. I honestly find it somewhat scary, given the rural ambiance. Having to pass by the side of the river, I thought that there could be someone or something lurking in the dark. It took us around 45 minutes to an hour to reach the barangay hall. From there, we freshened up and bade our goodbye. We went as fast as possible to get back to the Metro. It was another experience added to my treasure chest of memories and this one was made for the books.
P.S. As a sign of gratitude, I gave my trekking shoes to Kuya Allan. I want him to take care of his safety as well before he do it for others.
For those who have plans of going to Mt. Daraitan or Tinipak River, you may follow our sample itinerary below:
0600 ETD from EDSA-Shaw (Parklea) to Tanay, Rizal
0745 ETA Tanay, Rizal
0800 Take tricycle to Brgy. Daraitan
1000 Arrival at Daraitan River (river-crossing and trike to barangay hall)
1010 ETA Barangay Hall
1030 Start trek up Mt. Daraitan
1330 ETA summit / Lunch
1430 Start descent to Tinipak River
1700 Arrival at Tinipak River
1830 Back to Brgy. Daritan via riverside trail
1900 ETD to Tanay, Rizal via tricycle
2030 ETA Tanay, Rizal
For the budget:
Jeep from Shaw to Tanay: 58 php
Trike to Tanay to Daraitan: 120 php / head (should be 600/group)
River crossing: 5 php x 2
Trike to barangay hall: 10 php x 2
Registration / Environmental fee: 20 php
Guide: 500php / group of 10
Trike back to Tanay: 100 php / head
FX to Starmall Shaw: 78 php
For questions or concerns, you can contact the numbers above. Also, as I tend to get this query a lot, we were not required to show a medical certificate when we climbed Mt. Daraitan.
Now pack your bags for an adventure is waiting for you.