Mt. Daraitan – This hike-worthy mountain is situated in the heart of Sierra Madre in Tanay, Rizal. Mt. Daraitan is very popular in the mountaineering community because aside from its magnificent view it also has a lot to offer including outdoor attraction such as a river, caves, limestone formations, and natural pools. Mt. Daraitan probably the longest and the hardest hike I’ve ever done by far. Nevertheless, it is also one of the best experience I had since I started mountaineering.
Major jumpoff: Brgy. Daraitan (village center), Tanay
Minor jumpoff: Sitio Cablao Brgy. Pagsangahan, General Nakar
LLA: 14°36′48.5′′N 121°26′19.5′′ E, 739 MASL (+600)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2.5-4 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Tropical forest, limestone formations, river trek
Waking up in the early hours of the morning is one of the hardest things to do, but if you’re heading into something beautiful I think going to sleep might be harder and will end up waiting for the call time due to the excitement. We woke up 1:30 AM! Yes! 1:30! Since I set the call time to Cubao at 2 AM. We were both drowning in drowsiness. pero kailangan talagang labanan ang antok! Aj prepared our food the night before the event. It was a 2 piece of fried chicken and 6 pieces of dynamite. Nah, not a dynamite use for bombing but a dynamite roll with a green chili and cheese wrapped with a lumpia wrapper. It is just a term for that kind of food but it’s non-explosive haha.
We arrived at Jollibee farmers at exactly 2:10 AM. After taking breakfast, we immediately headed to the Jeep terminal that bounds to Binangonan, Rizal. Our route was via Tikling-Junction to Tanay market. We left Cubao around 2:30 AM and the travel time only took around 20 minutes then we dropped off at Tikling to ride another jeep going to Tanay. We waited for about 30 minutes before we finally get a jeep going to Tanay since most of the jeepney that passing by was already full so I suggest if you’re planning to go to Tanay, get a van for a less hassle and to avoid waiting for a long period of time.
We arrived at Tanay, Jollibee at exactly 5:30 AM. There’s a queue of tricycle that bounds to Barangay Daraitan. The fare is PHP 100 per person and the travel time will take approximately 50 mins to 1 hour. 6:30 AM when we arrived at Barangay Daraitan. You have to pay PHP 30.00 fee at after passing the bridge upon entering Barangay Daraitan. I was rushingly looking for our contact guide as we arrived almost 2 hours late from our original 4 AM itinerary. Naubutan namin ang ibang grupo ng hikers na nasa registration area. Kuya Jouanson(our contact guide) tell us to just stay away from the Barangay hall para hindi gumaya ang ibang grupo since some of them were not yet registered. Limited lang talaga ang pwedeng umakyat. Before the hike, you have to attend the orientation. It will only take 10-15 mins.
Unfortunately, I lost my wallet including my IDs’ and ATM’s at registration area and it caused our hike to delay. 7:00 AM when I decided to just move on and forget what was happened and just enjoy the day. We started to trek around 7:15 AM.
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Mt. Daraitan was surprisingly challenging. The trail is a really straightforward assault even from the first part up to the summit. I never thought that this mountain would be more challenging than I expected. It was insanely 80% assault trail and only 20% were flat. Some of our colleagues were only first-timer so they might be surprised by the trail. A soft muddy trail surrounded by an abundant variety of trees welcomed us upon arriving at the jumpoff.
I noticed that Mt. Daraitan is well maintained and healthy because of the forest covering almost 80% of the surroundings making us feel like we were in the southern part of the Philippines. So hindi masyadong mainit mag hike. Kudos to the local and officials of Barangay Daraitan who’s there to protect our environment. They are also organized for handling visitors including trained local guides plus they only allowed 300 hikers to hike per day.
The 60-70 degree steepness of the trail makes your legs feel exhausted especially to those not used to hiking. However, there are still plenty of woods, branches and bagings that you can hold onto that might help you to move forward. The forest environment is somewhat similar in the forest in Montalban, but Mt. Daraitan offers a much challenging hike. While his neighboring mountain – Mt. Batolusong offers an extensive grassland and also outdoor attractions such as caves and natural pools.
It was 8:45 AM when we reached the station 1. The sweats started to come out all over our skin surfaces. Luckily, there’s an ice candy vendor there that fill our thirstiness. Kapag pagod ka, Iba yung lamig ng Ice candy! Sarap! hahaha. A group of local kids was also there offering to carry our bags up to the summit for only PHP 20.00. The youngest is only six years old and the oldest is only eleven. They’re still young to do this kind of work plus I doubt if they could carry my bag since it weighed around 3-3/12 kilos. So I declined the offer and we started to trek after spending 15 minutes at the station 1.
Tip: Going in large groups is more advisable because it lessens the individual expense for the tour guide fee
9:20 AM when we arrived at the station 2. Station 2 is also a campsite, so for those who want to hike overnight, you can stay at station 2. Talking about the campsite, the campsite near the summit is very limited as it can only accommodate few tents.
THE LATTER PART
Since we arrived late, we were the last group to hike so there was no other group along the trail except us. Solong solo namin ang bundok. hahahaha. The surroundings offer extremely enjoyable relaxation and retreat to hikers in the psithurism and the songs of nature. The trail becomes steeper in every step although some part of the trail has a wooden ladder.
The assault seemed so endless until we reached the adventure camp at 10:30 AM. We decided to eat our packed foods and we took some rest. We spent around 45 minutes there before we headed to the summit which is just 20 minutes away. There is a group of hikers in the area eating their foods since eating at the summit is strictly prohibited.
The trail is so physically demanding and causing us to rest more often since some of our colleagues were only first-timer. There’s also a rock formation with a view of vast green scenery near the summit where you could take your first “I’m on the top” pose. hahah
After a long journey which lasted almost 5 hours including rest and stopovers, we have made it and finally reached the summit covered with gigantic limestone formations at exactly 12:20 PM. There’s no other group at the summit that time. So we took the opportunity to take photos as we can. The breathtaking view of the Daraitan river at the ground and the Sierra Madre mountains can be seen from the summit.
It was totally rewarding after the exhausting assault to the summit. I think I can see the whole province of Rizal. We took photos everywhere.Kanya-kanyang pwesto na sa summit. Kuya Jeffrey and ate Josie (Our tour guide) seems like they already knew what to do next. They climb into a much higher position to get a good spot where they could properly take photos.
We spent 1-hour taking Instagramable pictures at the summit. From my vantage point, I realized that the panoramic view of its neighbor mountain is one of the reasons why Mt. Daraitan is really a hike-worthy mountain near Manila. After taking so many selfies, groupies and candid photos, we decided to start our descent at exactly 1:15 PM. We traversed to another trail which is much longer and it doubled the length of the first trail that we have passed through to the summit.
TINIPAK RIVER AND CAVE
3:25 PM when we reached the store at the Tinipak River. Huge limestones and rock formations greeted us with a beautiful view of the river upon arriving at Tinipak river. I found myself looking at gigantic rocks wondering how it made and where it came from. I couldn’t help myself but to just wander and take photos of everything that looks very beautiful in my eyes.
The cold water running inside the cave refreshen us after a drawn-out journey. At the end of the cave, there was a pool that you could swim in. It was very cold as it comes from a melted ice. We really enjoyed swimming in the cave despite being dark that we ended up leaving the cave at 5 PM. We were the last group in the area and the darkness already seizing the light real quick.
From Tinipak cave, we headed to the tricycle terminal located at the other side of Tinipak River which as I remembered we walked for another 30 minutes before we finally reach the terminal. Super nakakapagod pero worth it! It is very recommended for the beginner who wants to experience an extra weekend adventure near Manila.
What to expect?
Expect that Mt. Daraitan trail will be more challenging than other mountains in Tanay. But even the trail was about 60-70 degrees incline all the way up to the summit from the ground, it was still considered as a minor climb and still advisable for beginners. Here’s a piece of advice, before visiting Mt. Daraitan, make sure that you are physically fit and jog at least 1 weak before the hike to avoid leg muscle cramps. Mt. Daraitan definitely suitable for your Instagram worthy travel photos.
Related Article: Treasure Mountain Travel Guide
HOW TO GET THERE?
Commute: From Cubao VIA Tikling (24 Hours)
- Ride a jeep that bounds to Binangonan near SM Cubao along P. Tuazon Avenue. PHP 25
- Drop off at Tikling and ride a jeep that bounds to Tanay. (Travel time: Approximately 1 hour). PHP 40
- Drop off at Jollibee Tanay.
- Then from Jollibee Tanay, ride a tricycle going to Barangay Daraitan. PHP 100 per head
Commute: From Cubao via Marco highway to Cogeo
- From Aurora Blvd, Cubao, ride a jeepney going to Antipolo Cogeo. Drop off at Cogeo Gate 2 or Cogeo public market. PHP 35.00
- From Cogeo, walk to Cogeo City Mall(Jeep terminal) and ride a jeepney going to Barangay Sampaloc. The first trip is 5:30 AM. The fare is PHP 65.00
- From there, you can ride a tricycle near Shell gas station going to Barangay Daraitan.
Commute: From EDSA-Shaw Blvd
- From EDSA-Shaw beside Star mall, take a jeep that bounds to Tanay, Rizal.
- Drop off at Tanay public market.
- From there, take a jeep to Sampaloc, Tanay
- Take a tricycle going to Brgy Daraitan.
- You have to cross the bridge above Daraitan River and take a tricycle going to the Daraitan Barangay Hall.
Estimated travel time from Cubao would take 3-4 hours depends on the traffic and delays.
SUMMARY OF EXPENSES AS OF APRIL 2018
- Jeep from Cubao to Tikling – PHP 25.00
- Jeep from Tikling to Jollibee, Tanay – PHP 40.00
- Tricycle from Jollibee, Tanay to Baranggay Daraitan – PHP 100.00 (Travel time: Approximately 1 hour)
- Registration fee – PHP 20.00
- Tinipak River fee – PHP 20.00
- Tour guide fee – PHP 500.00 per 5 person – PHP 100 per pax(Max capacity is 10 per guide)
- Food and other expenses – PHP 200. (Lunch and Dinner)
- Van/Jeep from Barangay Daraitan to Jollibee, Tanay – PHP 100.00
- Jeep from Tanay to Tikling – PHP 40.00
- Jeep from Tikling to Cubao – 25.00
- TOTAL budget per pax = PHP 670.00 (more or less)
Mt. Daraitan Itinerary + Tinipak River
0200 Meet Up Jollibee Farmers Cubao
0230 Travel to Tikling
0300 ETA Tikling
0400 ETA Jollibee Tanay (Hike Trike)
0500 ETA Brgy. Daraitan Registration Site
0530 Start of Trek
0830 ETA Camp 3
0900 Summit/Photo Ops
1000 Descent to camp 3 for lunch since they’re not allowing guests to eat at the summit.
1100 Start Traverse to Tinipak River
1400 Swimming at Tinipak River/Cave
1500 Wash Up
1600 Hike back to the registration
1700 Ride jeep or van going back to Tanay Terminal
1800 Tanay Jollibee /Terminal
1900 ETA Manila
THINGS TO BRING
- Bring a lot of water (At least 2 liters)
- Energy drink (Gatorade)
- Hand Gloves
- Trek Pole
- Headlamp for Tinipak Cave
- Packed lunch(Optional). You can buy foods at carinderia nearby
- Garbage Bag( Leave no trace)
- Extra clothes
- Cameras(Actioncam, Phone, DSLR, etc)
WHAT TO WEAR
Any outdoor clothes are advisable such as dry-fit, long sleeve, hiking short/pants, leggings, and a camp shirt. It is also recommended to bring swimwear or extra clothes if you’re planning to swim at Tinipak river or in Tinipak cave. Wearing hiking shoes and outdoor sandals are much advisable than slippers.
USEFUL TRAVEL TIPS
- The earliest trip of jeepney from Cogeo to Sampaloc starts at 5:30 AM, while jeepney at P.Tuazon Cubao is 24 hours.
- Approximately 3.5 hours travel time from Cubao to Brgy Daraitan.
- You will spend approximately 10 hours hiking Mt. Daraitan back and forth including Tinipak River and cave side trip.
- Mt. Daraitan can be hiked 3-4 hours and another 4 hours descending.
- Pack light and bring enough water. 💧
- Water sources are not available on Mt. Daraitan.
- Bring gloves or any hand protection gears.
- Bring snacks/food (Chocolates, jelly, nuts, and etc)
- There are shower rooms and toilets at the jump-off point.
- There are sari-sari store and carinderia at the jump-off point where you could have a breakfast or lunch.
- Best time to start hiking is 5:00 AM so you can witness the sea of clouds before the sunrise.
- The trail can be slippery.
- Better to bring your own trash bag for the disposal of waste properly.
- Practice LNT principle and do not ever attempt to touch stalactites and stalagmites inside the tinipak cave.
- You can either bring your own headlight or rent at the registration area.
- A headlight is required if you’re planning to visit Tinipak Cave.
- No need to join any package tour since it is possible to hike DIY.
- Reservation is needed a week after the climb since they only allowing 300 hikers per day.
- Make sure to abide all the given guidelines.
- There’s no ATM Machine in the area, so better to bring extra cash.
- Pray before hiking.
The original plan on that date was to hike Mt.Ulap but due to some factor, we moved it on May 5-6, 2018. So for those who want to join us, just send us a PM on our facebook account.
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