There are 2 places to hike in Daraitan, namely Mt. Daraitan and Tinipak River. Just a head’s up to those so you won’t get surprised like I did. I was expecting TInipak River would be the place we would hike to when they said “let’s go hiking in Daraitan!”, but instead I saw the mountain summit rather than the caves I am expecting. I, did not see me, climbing rocks and sliding through muds feeling like a mountain monkey!
Hiking Mt. Daraitan can be a challenge for beginners, but if you’ve got guts, you can conquer the summit!
DARAITAN MOUNTAIN HIKE
Our group bought a package tour from a travel and tour Agency. All joiners were assembled in Cubao and we departed at 12:30am, the van ride took us 3 hours to reach our destination. In Tanay, Rizal, we were first gathered in the Registration Area.
- If your load is heavy due to clothes, towels and other toiletries, you can rent a locker and leave them there for safekeeping.
It rained the night before our visit, the mountain became quite dangerous because it’s so slippery and there aren’t enough places to touch for balance while climbing up.
- There's a merchant selling gloves, believe me there is a reason they’re selling that! If you’re a beginner and forgot to bring your Hiking materials, better buy that for the sake of your hands. I got cut many times by the trees and the wires, and had to touch rough branches to cross some rocks on the way.
ALONG THE WAY…
The hike starts at 4:30am but certain things happened and we started around 5 to 6am. The estimated time to reach the summit is in 2 hours, but we were only beginners, so it took us 6 hours to reach the top. We were the last group out of the whole batch, but it’s better, we get to enjoy the scenery not rushing to fit the itinerary schedule.
Climbers are grouped into 4-5 persons so the tour guides can properly accommodate us effectively along the way.
- Sadly, I slowed down our group because I was wearing a strap-on sandals, it was very muddy, the straps kept opening, I can’t even walk properly. We were not even 1/3 of the trail and I wanted to go back. The tour guide that waited for us was such a hero, he fixed my sandals using a vine plant! Such a mountain guy!
Can’t remember what they call this, but there’s 3 points in Daraitan mountain where you’ll know if you're halfway or just 1/3 of the path. The First point is where you can buy drinks. On the second point and a little more hike of 30 minutes and you’ll get to here.
Still not the summit, but I’m already liking it. Even if this is not the place I was expecting, but the river. As the saying goes “Expect the Unexpected”.
Near this site is where we can rest and eat brunch before heading to the summit. I have no picture of the place since my hands are too muddy here now.
TO THE SUMMIT!
When we reached the summit. Finally. Our tour guide brought us to the spot where he says has the next best view. But it needs some more rock climbing a little hop and sliding through. If you’re faint-hearted, hates the cliff, has fear of heights, better leave the rocks. It’s very steep and narrow, one wrong move and your down, rolling in the deep.
The main viewing area from the summit is this.
Our guide said that the river and the island there forms a heart shape. After a little picture taking here and there while enjoying the view, the next to visit is the waterfall area. It’s a 1 and a half or 2 hours before we reached the waterfall area…because we’re slow.
When we got there. The water is too refreshing! I washed off all the mud and played with the water! Ate my canned paella lunch, drank the fall water, just a sip by the way and just put my feet in the cold water. And here’s where I lost my favorite green top. I enjoyed the water too much and totally forgot it.
A ninja in training.
I saw two kids wearing no slippers, selling ice candy. It’s P10 per stick and it’s worth it. I ate 3 because it was just too delicious! The next part of the hike was the messiest, it was like a quicksand, no pictures were taken anymore. We needed to balance ourselves throughout the muddy area. There was even poops hidden along the mud, but don’t worry it’ll, be too late to notice and you’ll not care anymore. The advice here is, “just swim your feet in the mud”.
After the muddy area is the rocky road, yep, pure rocks, then it’s finally concrete after a few more walking. Our hike ended at 4pm, there was supposed to be a side trip to Tinipak river, but we were in a joiner’s group and we needed to head back to the van. Next time I’ll definitely be back for the river!
PS: We took a shower before heading to the van.
BEFORE THE TRIP
We paid P750 per person for this package tour. Inclusive of:
- Round-trip van transfers Cubao-Daraitan-Cubao (driver, gas, driver's meal, parking fee)
- All entrance fees (Barangay, campsite/ cave/ environmental)
- Tour guide
- Swimming, caving, hiking in 1 day (sadly, we did not have time for a side trip to Tinipak river)
This is the itinerary of the agency. It was not followed since we’re only beginners plus it rained, the terrain was difficult for us to catch up to the more experienced groups. And since it rained, all tours to Tinipak river is cancelled. Especially the water inside the cave were full, the other tour guide said.
12:30-01:00 am ETD to CUBAO, Assembly
04:00 am ETA to DARAITAN Registration/ Short Briefing/Secure Guide
04:30 am Start Hiking to Mt. Daraitan
06:30 am ETA @ SUMMIT/ Picture taking
07:30 am Descend to TINIPAK RIVER
11:30am ETA@ TINIPAK RIVER (rest)
12:00nn LUNCH @ Tinipak campsite (own account)
01:00pm Swimming time at Tinipak River
03:00pm Pack up/shower
04:00pm End of tour back to Cubao
WHAT TO BRING:
- Packed lunch (or fast food take out)
- Trail foods like jelly ace, nuts, chocolates, banana etc.
- Change of clothes (for Tinipak river swimming)
- Headlamp (available for rent also P30/each)
- Slippers (for after the hike)
- Poncho or rain coat (for when it rains)
- Plastic or zip lock ( for the gadgets just in case it will rain)
- Shower stuffs (shampoo, towel, soap etc.)
SOME USEFUL TIPS & REMINDERS:
- As usual pack lightly!
- Choose a dry season to hike, hiking when it rained is dangerous, slippery, muddy etc.
- Be prepared for your clothes, shoes, sandals or bag to be dirty, don’t wear white
- Shower rooms and CRs’ have fees, bring extra cash
- You’ll really have to take a shower after the hike, I said before that I’ll just take a bath when I get home, but with my appearance uhmm…..just take this shower advice
- Better remove your accessories before the hike if you don’t want them damaged after the day
- There’s a locker at the registration area where you can rent, I forgot the price I think P100
- Never wear a strap on sandals on a mountain that just got showered with rain. Just. DON’T.
- And slippers too, the guides will check and will not let you through if you’re wearing slippers, why wear slippers anyway when hiking a mountain?
Even if it's the dry season, you'll still get the mud, no one is exempted. There's an area you'll pass that really is soft mud.
THOUGHTS & EXPERIENCE:
It’s better to tour Mt. Daraitan for a day and savor the view, it’s relaxing on the summit looking over all the greeneries especially if you’re a nature lover like me. I also prefer not rushing while on the hike, you’re not at work rushing for a deadline. Overnight is also an option, you can camp here, then the next day head to Tinipak river.
Having a private tour is recommendable, well, for me, it’s still affordable and you get to manage your time per area. The tour guide who handled us, has got lots of stories to tell of his adventures, it’s very inspiring to hear them. I know not all guides are like this, but you can still start to ask with a question since they know the area well.
I think Mt. Daraitan may be a little easier than what I’ve experienced here, it rained so the terrain changed making it harder to climb. Challenging but also a little more dangerous since you’re high up, chances you’ll easily slip and fall. My advice would be to pick a dry season to climb, especially when you’re a mountain hiker beginner like me. Again, don't wear strap-on sandals! And buy the gloves! Unless you’re fine with having cuts on your hand. Happy hiking!