Rizal’s Mount Daraitan and Tinipak River


Half a day’s journey from Metro Manila, Mount Daraitan and Tinipak River in Rizal Province make a memorable weekend trip for the adventurous looking to free themselves from their four walls and to get a good hiking workout.

Smack in the midst of nature, this itinerary can be a day or two long. Prepare your hiking gear and a camera to capture mountain range views, and get ready to reward yourself with a dip in the limestone-banked river after your climb.


Mount Daraitan – a half-day ascent worth it for the views


mount daraitan peak
The peak of Mount Daraitan
Image credit: joefferbalong prado

739 meters above sea level, ascending to the Mount Daraitan peak is worth it for the view of rolling clouds and mountains beneath you. To get here, you have a choice of a long, gentler trail and a short, steeper trail to the peak.

Newbies to mountain-climbing should start out with the former which will take them to the peak in about 4 hours. Plan about 6-8 hours for your entire climb both ways, and come in sturdy shoes to take on the muddy and rocky slopes.

mount daraitan hike
On the way to the peak

Image credit: redjz labanero 

Small stalls along the way to the peak sell snacks and drinks should you need a quick breather. Ask your guide to bring you to the Heart Peak along the way to the summit. Once you hit the top, look northward for a view of the Sierra Madre range 200KM away if the weather is clear.

mount daraitan - heart peak
Heart Peak
Image credit: maria amor

Remember the mountaineers’ creed, just as if you were in any natural attraction – to take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time to help preserve this mountain in the best condition for hikers after you.


Cool down after your hike at the Tinipak River


tinipak river
Take a dip at the Tinipak River

Image credit: Louise

You won’t need fantastic photography skills to capture the beauty of the cool water of the Tinipak River rushing past its limestone rock formations.

tinipak river view
Navigate the rocky banks of the Tinipak River carefully 
Image credit: Tourish

If you’re skipping the abovementioned mountain hike, you can get here by boarding a tricycle from Tanay market, roughly 20 km or 2 hours’ drive from the river. A tour guide is highly recommended to bring you to the best viewpoints and to point out the safer areas that you can swim in. Like with mountain hiking guides, you can hire them at the barangay hall from P500 (~USD10.29) to take you here.

Bathroom facilities and picnic tables are available in the nearby camp grounds for your afternoon or evening breather before heading back into town.

tinipak cave
Inside Tinipak Cave

Image credit: Jan Alfred Dagangon Alonzo

Arrange with your tour guide well in advance if you’d like to explore the Tinipak Cave, because they’ll need to prepare torches and headlamps to light the way. Climb in slowly through the cave’s wooden ladder, and move around the dark underground river carefully while taking in the view of gleaming stones formed over centuries.

Due to the challenging nature of the wooden bridges and rocky paths around the river and lake, this is best for adventurers 12 years old and above.


Where to eat and stay while you’re there


tinipak camping ground
Tinipak Camping Ground

Image credit: Tinipak Camping Ground

Near the Daraitan Barangay Hall, accommodations are humble but you have a few choices of overnight campsites along the Agos River to complete your outdoor experience.

camp tabing ilog
Camp Tabing Ilog

Image credit: Camp Tabing Ilog

Pick from the Tinipak Camping Ground with an open-air village-style restaurant, The Private Camp: Daraitan with kubo-style raised huts, campfires, and dining areas, Camp Tabing Ilog where you can sleep in tent-shaped huts or even pitch your own tents by the river, and several more. We wouldn’t resist the temptation to bring along our own s’mores kits for the fire here.

tinipak lodge and restaurant
Tinipak Lodge & Restaurant

Image credit: Tinipak Lodge & Restaurant

On the higher end, there’s also Tinipak Lodge & Restaurant where rooms start from P1,500 (~USD30.90) and beds from P500 (~USD10.30), and pets are welcome. The on-site Kamalig Restaurant is also open daily, serving local favorites from bangsilog (milkfish, fried rice, and fried eggs) to icy halo-halo for you to fuel up after all your hiking.


How to get there


daraitan barangay hall
Orient yourself at the Barangay Hall before venturing out into nature

Image credit: Sherdon Go

From Metro Manila, take a jeepney to Tanay, Rizal, and switch to a tricycle to Daraitan (from P500, ~USD10.30). The tricycles will stop on the bank of the Agos River, where you can hire a boatman to take you across by raft for P10 (~USD0.21) per person. From that side of the river, hail a tricycle to Daraitan’s Barangay Hall where you can register your visit and hire a local guide for your climb.

agos river raft
A raft that crosses the Agos River
Image credit: Sikkir Dionson

Other fees payable along the way include P100 (~USD2.10) as the environmental fee, P20 (~USD0.41) for motorcycle parking, and P50 (~USD1.03) for vehicle parking.

To ascend the mountain before the sun is at its peak, you can start your journey by leaving the metro just after midnight and aim to reach the Daraitan Barangay Hall by 4 or 5AM. Otherwise, leaving early in the morning will also enable you to complete your ascent by late afternoon.

Do remember to bring sunblock, a windbreaker, a torchlight or headlamp if you plan to visit the Tinipak Cave, plenty of drinking water, an extra pair of slippers for wading in the river, a trekking pole, a basic first-aid kit, and your regular medicine for the journey.


Things to do in Mount Daraitan & Tinipak River in Rizal


You’ll certainly hit any step-counter and calorie-burning targets you may have set for yourself on a hike up Mount Daraitan and along the Tinipak River, but more than that, being surrounded by nature and roughing it out by camping on the riverbanks will surely make a welcome escape from the daily grind.

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Cover image adapted from: maria amor and Tourish

 

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