Your Guide to Mt Daraitan

Birthday is said to be a momentous occasion to celebrate the gift of life. While most people commemorate their natal day by throwing a party, going to favorite shops, chilling on the beach, booking a concert ticket and such, I choose to spend time with nature.

I organized a trip with my hiking buddies to Mount Daraitan and Tinipak River in Tanay Rizal for this occasion. My expectation was a little low, though I anticipated that it’s going to be a blast and surely a memorable one.

We took a jeepney from Shaw Boulevard going to Tanay, Rizal about 8 in the morning, then another jeepney going straight to Daraitan. Our journey from Tanay en route to Daraitan was insane. The roadway was rugged and the vehicle was overloaded. We got off from the vehicle right next to Agos River. It was one hell of a ride.

The raft ride
The raft ride.

We must ride a raft to cross the river or if you wish to swim to get to the other side, then it’s up to you. The locals usually build a bridge during summer, however during rainy season the bridge will not hold the huge volume of natural stream of water. So, that’s one of the reasons why raft exist.

The raft ride cost as cheap as 5 pesos each. We then rode a tricycle heading to Daraitan Barangay Hall for 10 pesos per head. The barangay officials were very accommodating and trustworthy who’s also responsible in assigning a guide for us. We rested a bit while waiting for the guide, then hit the ground few minutes later.

Getting started
Our adventure begins.
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Trekking alongside the Daraitan cemetery.

We must trek alongside the cemetery early on. However, we didn’t feel the ambiance of the cemetery as we pass by, yet I’m not positive if we’d feel the same during the night. Scared of ghost? No worries, you won’t even notice that it’s a cemetery from afar since it’s surrounded with lush green trees and vegetation.

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Serene Agos River

After 15 minutes of gradual tramping, we were rewarded with mind-blowing, picturesque charm of nature. The terrain was straightforward and the scenery was wonderful. We didn’t feel the weight of our rucksacks at all. At some point, we we’re stunned by the genuine glamour of giant limestone’s dispersed systematically at the spine of Agos River. We couldn’t help ourselves but halt for several minutes, took thousands of photos while at a loss for words. It’s just – WOW!

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Stunning rock formations.

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The epic rock wall amidst Agos river and yes, it’s natural and authentic.

We had so much fun like little kids and these gorgeous rock formations served as our playground. It’s getting late and the sun already bid farewell, so we resumed trekking and reached the camp site at about 5 pm.

This day was surely our lucky day. Who would’ve thought that the camp site next to Tinipak River was unoccupied. We had the whole campsite for ourselves. Great, wasn’t it?

We set up our tents and cooked dinner. After fueling our appetite, my best friend and I ran towards the river with our guide who’s guarding us from the distance. I’ve never soak myself in the river at night before, yet I was pleased as punch that I did. The water was warm and the fine pebbles underneath was perfect for foot massage. I didn’t thought that night swimming in the river was awesome. 

Socials
This is how we party at night.

My alarm woke me up at 5 am. The summit team supposed to leave early, however everyone are lazy to get up. Only 4 of us went for the summit while the other 3 decided to stay at the camp. We left campsite past 7 in the morning and had a great start. It was an arduous steep ascent all the way to the top though it’s not as tough as you think.

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Devil snail on the trail.
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The home of king cobra several meters away from the summit.

We’ve met a group of hikers on their way down from the campsite near the summit. Seemed like they spent a terrific night few meters away from the peak of Mount Daraitan. They descended while we headed towards the summit and reached the top in two hours and a half time.

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You didn’t reach the summit of Daraitan w/o a photo taken at the top of this knife-edge rock.

When we reached the famous knife-edge rock, the panoramic view was great. However, when we set foot at the real summit on the other side, it was spectacular. The surreal heart-shape Agos river was amazing. It was surely refreshing when you’re standing on top of the mountain surrounded with massive lush green trees, entertained by singing birds, and embraced by chilling mountain breeze.

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Heart-shaped Agos river taken at the top of Mt Daraitan.
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Panoramic scenery taken at the summit.

We had a hellacious moment at the top, then we head back down after 20 minutes. As soon as we reached the second campsite below the peak, we’ve met king cobra. The not so friendly, huge, deadly creature was lying on the trail and literally blocking our pathway. It was a hilarious retreat that no one could afford to take a photo. No, thank you but I’d rather save my life than boast king cobra photo online.

After few minutes of good laugh and tension, the cobra finally keep its distance from us. I was so relieved for the fact that I was on the lead. We moved swiftly to escape from the bushy terrain. Of course, who would want another cobra? We’re back at our campsite next to Tinipak River after an hour. We had a superb lunch, a perfect treat for us after our grueling summit bid and hilarious descent.   

We deserve to reward ourselves a nice river bath after a successful summit. Then our Tinipak River adventure begun. Continue Reading


TIPS and TRICKS

  • If you’re camping near the summit of Mt. Daraitan, it is recommended to pack light. The trail all the way to the top is very steep.
  • There’s a campsite next to Tinipak river and camping here is preferable if you wish to climb the summit without your heavy backpack.
  • Night swimming in Tinipak river is great, however make sure you bring your guide with you. Trust me, you’ll need someone who knows the place by heart for safety purposes.
  • Toilet and bath are available near campsite but it’s very basic and it’s not for free.
  • Watch out for snakes, especially king cobra on your way to the summit.
  • Extra caution is a must when scaling the knife-edge rock. Few people pay the ultimate price here due to arrogance and carelessness.
  • Respect Mother Nature and please never leave your trash at all cost.

HOW TO GET THERE?

If you’re planning to stay overnight like we did, then we took the below route.

    • Take a van or jeepney from EDSA-Shaw Crossing to Tanay (approximately 1 and a half hours)
    • From Tanay, ride a jeepney going to Daraitan that leaves at exactly 1pm, then return at 9 in the morning and 12 noon.
    • Ride a raft to cross Agos river (5PHP per head, activate your haggling skills)
    • Lastly, ride a tricycle going to Daraitan Brgy. Hall (10PHP per head)

Alternate route (recommended for day hike)

    • Take a van or jeepney from EDSA-Shaw Crossing to Tanay (approximately 1 and a half hours)
    • From Tanay, ride a jeepney going to Sampaloc (40-50 minutes)
    • Hire a tricycle to Brgy. Daraitan (30 minutes or less)
    • Ride a raft to cross Agos river (5PHP per head, activate your haggling skills)
    • Lastly, ride a tricycle going to Daraitan Brgy.Hall (10PHP per head)

Additional Note:

  • Environmental fee will cost you 20PHP.
  • Guides will be assigned to you by barangay personnel’s and guide cost 500PHP for day hike and 700PHP for overnight.

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