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Daraitan Adventure: Tinipak River Trekking and Maytuntong Cave Spelunking

I first saw the beauty of Tinipak River in Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal from a friend’s Facebook post. Since then, I told myself “I will go visit this place one day.” Months had passed and that picture was still in my mind so I decided to ask a mountaineer friend if he could accompany me together with my daughter. I was so glad he said yes. We went two times; the first one was with a group of four and then after posting our photos on Facebook, a fellow member/admin of our group, “We are Funtastic Philippines,” suggested that we make it into a FUNLakwatsa so we thought, “Why not? The beauty of Tinipak River and Maytuntong Cave is definitely a sight worth sharing to others.” We made preparations and invited group members who would want to join.

The day finally came and all 21 of us were raring to go. The first two hours was an easy drive, but upon nearing Brgy. Daraitan, we had to slow down. It was approximately a nine-kilometer stretch of major rough road with sharp rocks so it’s best to drive slowly. At the Barangay Hall of Daraitan, one has to pay P20/person for the registration fee and P500 tour guide fee (good for eight people). A short briefing, with special emphasis on leaving no trash behind, was given just before the hike.

A few minutes into the trail you would see beautiful river scenery with rocks and boulders, trees and clear running water.

View along the way

View along the way

It took us twice the time of the usual 20-minute walk because we would stop, most of the time, to take photos plus a rest break before we descend down the major point of Tinipak River by way of narrow wooden (seemingly rickety) bridge and ladders, and climbing down the huge, white boulders by the riverbank.

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The descent to the river – Photo by Romina Dumlao

It was around 11 a.m. by the time we reached the major point of the river. We were all amazed at how awesome this place was. Even though it was my second time, I still marveled at its beauty. There were overnight campers, mountaineers and plain lakawatseros like us, curious about this hidden gem and who were game for a day’s adventure.

View of Tinipak River - Photo by Art Soriano, Jr.

Tinipak River – Photo by Art Soriano, Jr.

We found a spot near the entrance of Maytuntong Cave (commonly called Tinipak Cave) where we settled and ate our packed lunches…

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Enjoying lunch by the boulders

Kuya Bitoy with the reliable Daraitan tour guides.

Kuya Bitoy and Jumbo with the reliable Daraitan tour guides.

…dipped in the brook nearby while chit-chatting the time away as we enjoyed our lunch break.

Usapang sirena (mermaid talk) - Photo by Bitoy Labaniego

Usapang sirena (mermaid talk) – Photo by Bitoy Labaniego

Mineral water ready for drinking straight from the brook. Tinipak River was awarded as the cleanest inland body of water by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG),

Mineral water ready for drinking straight from the brook. Tinipak River was awarded as the cleanest inland body of water by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the whole Region IV.

At 1 p.m., it was time to go spelunking. The first time I went here, I wasn’t able to go in the cave and I promised myself I will not fail the second time around.

Going spelunking at Maytuntong Cave

Going spelunking at Maytuntong Cave

The entrance of Maytuntong Cave is different from the ones I've seen; you need to climb down into a hole on the ground which is approximately 20 feet deep.

Entrance of Maytuntong Cave

The cave entrance is different from the ones I’ve seen; you need to climb down into a hole on the ground which is approximately 20 feet deep with the rugged rocks as stepping stones/ladder.

As we went deeper into the cave, we saw glittering rock formations on the walls and ceiling scattered all over.

Glittering rock formations...they actually look a lot better when you're up close

Glittering rock formations…they actually look a lot better when you’re up close

Those white specks actually glitter like gold and diamonds in the dark.

Those white specks actually glitter like gold and diamonds in the dark, again, better when you’re up close

Woohoo! We made it this far. Photo by Art Soriano

“Woohoo! We made it this far!” Photo by Art Soriano

Farther on, we heard the sound of gushing water.

Clear water flows on the cave floor. Photo by Art Soriano

Clear water flows on the cave floor – Photo by Art Soriano

Soon enough, we have reached the cave’s natural pool. The water was so clear and cold, but it sure was refreshing. At first glance, there seems to be a deep black hole in the center but it’s actually black sand and it was only waist deep so no worries there.

The highlight of our spelunking was reaching the natural, waist-deep pool in Maytuntong Cave. Photo by Art Soriano

The highlight of our spelunking was reaching the natural, waist-deep pool in Maytuntong Cave. Photo by Art Soriano

The water in the pool is simply crystal clear!

The water in the pool is simply crystal clear!

At 3 p.m., we started our hike back. We were made to pass a different route on the opposite side of the river, with no paved trail, due to a territorial dispute between the barangays of Daraitan and General Nakar. We, the inexperienced trekkers, were literally bouldering! It was really difficult and it took us almost two hours to get back. Thank God, nobody was hurt (except for a few scratches and one of us suffered a dead toenail thereafter – not mine).  Nevertheless, the experience was really awesome and memorable. We were all charmed by the enchanting Tinipak River and the awesome Maytuntong Cave. Together, we enjoyed the beauty of nature as well as the camaraderie through the funny and difficult times of going and leaving this place. New friendships were born among us and our Daraitan Adventure never failed to bring a smile on our faces each time we reminisce… and so off we look forward to our next adventure!

WAFP Daraitan Trekkers

We are FUNtastic Philippines (WAFP) Daraitan Trekkers

A Mom’s Road Trip to Daranak Falls on an Impulse

After finding out that there was no daily load of work, I sat in thought thinking about what to do for the rest of day. Rain has been falling more often these past weeks, a sign that summer is almost over. This day though seemed to be a sunny one so might as well take advantage of the good weather. Another road trip would be nice before vacation ends with the intention of course of shooting nature images. I thought of the fish pens in Laguna de Bay, along the C6 highway in Taguig via Bicutan, would be a nice route to travel. I told hubby before he left for work that since I didn’t have work that day, I’ll be taking the kids out for for a road trip along this route.

I googled more to find out what other places could be seen and all were directed towards Rizal. Finally, I read about the blogs on Daranak Falls and Batlag Falls in Tanay. On google map, it says it’s just about 1.5 hours away, but I knew that wasn’t accurate. Still, adding another hour to the journey wasn’t such a bad idea. But I knew that if I’d call hubby and tell him where we were heading, his answer would be a big, fat NO. I just comforted myself with the fact that I did tell him that we were going to see the fish pens along C6, which was partially true. I will have to bear the consequence of his wrath when we get home. But for now, on with the adventure 🙂

The roads to Tanay were good with a lot of trees along the highway and the view was really nice especially along the winding roads. My daughter said that the mountains of Tanay looked similar to the pictures of the mountains in Europe. It was really scenic. There were roads that were quite steep but my lil’ ‘ol 96 hatchback didn’t fail me.

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The bridge leading to Daranak Falls

We finally arrived at Daranak Falls at 12pm after 2.5 hours. We decided to eat our packed lunch in the parking area so that we didn’t have to bring too much stuff up the stairs. The entrance fee was only P20 per adult and P15 for kids while the table costs 150, the picnic hut was P300.

Daranak Falls was really beautiful and there were numerous shallow plunge pools and little streams stemming from the falls. The water wasn’t cold at all which made it perfect.
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We stayed in the lower part where it was shallow so it would be safer for the kids. This is the area where you’d see the hundreds of rock balancing formations. The kids really enjoyed the pool basins in the river doing their own rock balancing, even my 4-year-old was able to make his own tiny tower.

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The stones here are perfect for rock balancing…we tried doing our own and it was fun!

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My little having a swell time

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While the kids were enjoying their dip, I went around to take some photos. There was a 5-minute trail up which led to another waterfall, Batlag Falls, with an entrance fee of P100. This is the place where Enteng Kabisote/Okay ka Fairy ko where done. It was also nice though smaller.

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Leading to Batlag Falls

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The kids and I really enjoyed a lot. It was both bonding time and a nice adventure all together. The bonus part is I only spent P400 for the entrance fee, table, sari-sari store plus gas and toll on this little adventure trip of ours planned on an impulse.

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P.S.
Hubby got home ahead of us and was silently mad at me. I apologized. I knew I deserved this treatment but it’s okay because it was all worth it 🙂 He used my car the following day and left it at the repair shop to have the air con “checked” and left me without a car for a week. Talk about coincidence and punishment.