TANAY, Rizal — The southern part of Luzon has many wonders to offer: mountains, volcanoes, beaches, falls, rivers, and lakes, among others. Name any nature escapade you want, Southern Luzon has a lot to offer.
One of these many wonders of Southern Luzon is Mt. Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal.
It’s obvious that going to Mt. Daraitan means hiking activity, but this 739-meter-above-sea-level (MASL) mountain is also a good spot for caving or spelunking, rock climbing, river swimming, and camping.
There are two main camp sites in Mt. Daraitan. First is right at the summit, but it can accommodate only four to five tents. Second is in Tinipak riverside which can hold up to 25 tents.
Mt. Daraitan can be climbed by day hike but it will be hard to compress all activities in a single day.
So, to enjoy the wonders of Mt. Daraitan, I and my group allotted two days for all the activities in this wonderful mountain.
You may also follow our itinerary whenever you plan to hit this mountain.
Day 1: Tinipak River adventure
Coming from Metro Manila, ride a jeepney or SUV Express going to Tanay in front of Starmall in Shaw Blvd. This will be an hour-and-a-half ride to Tanay market. From Tanay market, you can take a tricycle going to Barangay Daraitan with estimated travel time of two hours.
The jump-off point would be its Barangay Hall where there will be an environmental fee of PhP20 per person and a tour guide fee of PhP1,250 per group for overnight activities or PhP550 for day hike.
The tourism cluster of Brgy. Daraitan requires tourists to have their local guides for safety reasons. A guide can facilitate up to 10 persons.
Since we chose to have a two-day activity, we took first the Tinipak River adventure.
Our Day 1 activity involved a one-hour walk to the camp site in Tinipak River. Just walking to the camping site, you’ll surely be amazed with the rock formations, cleanliness, and the relaxing sound of water rushing in the river.
Going to the camp site will also involve minor rock climbing.
After setting up the tents, we then hit the cave just across our camp site. It was 15- to 25-minute walk inside the cave (depending on speed and photo opportunity moments) until we reached a Mother Earth-made Jacuzzi with some 15-degree-Celsius-cold water, swimming and spelunking at the same time! Then we continue our swimming activities in the river, afterwards.
After a day of jam-packed wandering, it’s best to sleep early and prepare yourselves for the main activity the next day which is climbing Mt. Daraitan.
Day 2: Mt. Daraitan hike
It’s best to start the Mt. Daraitan hike at the break of dawn since it’s hard to see the trail when it is still dark.
Climbing Mt. Daraitan will require two-and-a-half to four hours of hiking until reaching the summit.
I must warn you, this is a tough hike. Unlike other mountains which have ascend and descend trails and mostly require walking, almost 90 percent of your Mt. Daraitan experience will be climbing.
Good thing that Mt. Daraitan is a forest-type mountain; you’ll be protected from sunlight.
But this tough experience is all worth it when you reach the summit. Be ready to amaze yourself with the view of the Sierra Madre Mountains, Daraitan River, and Laguna de Bay.
Since 2015 is Visit Philippines Year, why not wander in Mt. Daraitan — one of the wonders of Southern Luzon?