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Friday, August 8, 2014

Mt. Daraitan Summit (700++MASL) - Tinipak River Traverse

Who would have thought that there's a hidden paradise at the heart of Tanay, Rizal. Mt. Daraitan offers mountain trekking, repelling, caving or spelunking, river crossing, swimming and camping. Definitely hitting a flock of birds in one stone and if you get lucky, you'll be witnessing the breath-taking sea of clouds at the summit.

Quick Facts:

Location: Brgy. Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal
Major Jumpoff: Daraitan Barangay Hall
Altitude: 700++ MASL
Difficulty: 3/10 but 4/10 on rainy season since the trail becomes muddy.
Specs: Minor Climb
Exit point (traverse): Tinipak River back to Brgy. Hall

This trip was made possible by FUNtastic Philippines Fun group which by that time had their second FUNmeet at this place. It's really nice to travel in group as it minimizes the expenses. And traveling with people having the same interest and goal to promote Philippine tourism through photographs is awesome. We're not yet even reaching the place and we're already planning for our next trips. 

We assemble at our meeting place in VMMC (Veterans Memorial Medical Center) in Quezon City and leave at 6:00AM.

We arrived in Barangay Daraitan at 10:00AM where we took a small boat to cross the river. Before, there's a wooden bridge that was used by the locals and tourists but most of the time, it was destroyed by flash floods so they decided to have this small boat and also for their source of income. It's just a minute boat ride passing to the other side of Daraitan river and costs P5.00 per person.

Then on the other side of the river, there's a tricycle terminal which will bring you to the Barangay Hall. The tricycle can accommodate 6 persons and will cost P10.00 per head. It will be a 15 minute ride to the barangay hall.

We register upon arriving at the barangay hall, then secure our guides and porters. It's mandatory to have at least one guide for a group of ten people. There are also stores near the brgy. hall where you can buy your food if you forgot to bring yours. I packed everything 3 days before this trip but there's one thing i forgot to bring,... RICE. I was lucky that there are stores here, or else i'll be having my "No rice" diet on this climb.

After setting our fees, we started trekking to the campsite of Mt. Daraitan. The first hour and a half was an easy walk. That morning was sunny then the weather changed suddenly. Here comes the muddy trail because of the rain and the 70 - 80 degree assault where we need to use rope on some parts of the trail. Good thing there are plenty of trees to grab on but be cautious because some stems have thorns.

The climbing time is variable; experienced climbers can reach the campsite in two to three hours, but on a more relaxed pace, one could take up four to five hours. Also consider the weather since it will be harder when the trail is slippery.

It was still raining when we arrived at our campsite (550++MASL) at around 3:30PM. We setup our tents and had some rest. You may choose to go to the summit for the sunset but we decided to stay at the campsite since it was a rainy afternoon. Still hoping for a good weather the next day to witness the sunrise.

(FUNtastic Philippines Fun Group at the campsite)

The campsite is just a small area that can accommodate a maximum of 10 tents. Others can camp at the summit which is 10 - 15 minutes away from the campsite. Summit campsite can accommodate 3 - 4 tents.

We woke up the next day at 5:15AM and began our climb to the summit of Mt.Daraitan. The weather was totally on our favor. We experience cold and fog but the rest of the way was clear. It took us about 10 minutes to get to the summit. It was a breathtaking view! We are blessed to witness the sunrise and the sea of clouds after the rain the previous day. The joy and fulfillment was beyond words!

(Sunrise and sea of clouds as viewed from Mt. Daraitan Peak 1)

(With the FUNtarp at the famous white rocks at Peak 2)

Another challenge was the descent because of the slippery and muddy trail due to the rain on the past few days.  Good thing our guides have ropes with them. Along the trail, our guide kuya Celso Jr. looks for "bayoko", an edible land snail. It is best prepared as adobo, sisig or just fried. 

After almost 3 and a half hours of descend, we reached the flat surface. Yey!!!! I was surprised when kuya Celso told us that we're now on Quezon Province. We already emptied our bottles and hydration bag, and what we want is to reach the cottage and drink water. We are very fortunate there are already houses in the area and the people are very accommodating. They even let us drink and refill our bottles.

We continued trekking and following the path of Tinipak River until we reached the cottages at 12:40PM.

Check this link for my separate post about Tinipak River.

Here's our itinerary:

Day 1

6:00AM - ETD VMMC, Quezon City
6:15AM - ETA Fastfood in Q.C. for breakfast.
7:00AM - ETD to Daraitan, Tanay Rizal
10:00AM - ETA Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal
                Cross the river with a small boat (P5 per head)
                Ride a tricycle to the Barangay Hall
10:25AM - ETA Barangay Hall
                Prepare for the climb
10:45AM - Start trek
2:45PM - Arrival at the campsite (550++MASL)
               Set up tent and rest
6:00PM - Dinner
7:00PM onward - Socials

Day 2
5:15AM -
Wake up call then proceed for summit trek
5:25AM - Summit
               Sunrise with the sea of clouds
7:30AM - Descend from the summit
7:40AM - At the campsite for breakfast
8:45AM - Start descent
12:20PM - Tinipak River
12:40PM - Tinipak River Cottages
                Take a bath at the river
                Photo-ops at the rock boulders
2:30PM  - Trek back to the Barangay Hall
3:00PM -  Meryenda at Dudayell's Carenderia (Their Lomi is the best)
4:00PM - Barangay Hall
               Tricycle back to Agos River
4:15PM - ETA at Agos River
               Cross the river
4:20PM - ETD back to Manila
7:15PM - ETA VMMC, Quezon City

But if you want to commute to Mt. Daraitan, you can ride a jeep from EDSA Shaw Central Terminal to Tanay Public Market for P58.00. Another option is riding a van at the Starmall for P70. Then from Tanay Public Market, you can reach Barangay Daraitan by riding a jeepney or a tricycle. If you choose to ride the jeep, it will cost you P60.00 but there are just two scheduled trips daily; 10:00AM and 1:00PM. On the other hand, it will be an expensive option if you choose to ride a tricycle. The whole tricycle can cost P500 - P1000 for a group maximum of four persons so it will be depending on your haggling skills. More than a thousand pesos is to much so look for another one.

Average travel time from EDSA Shaw Terminal to Barangay Daraitan is 3 hours. It's also recommended to travel in group to minimize the cost for guide and fare (if you choose to travel by tricycle from Tanay Public Market).

Guide fees are posted in the Barangay hall. If you're planning to visit the Tinipak Rock formation /River, it will be P500 for dayhike and P750 for overnight. And for those planning to have a dayhike to the summit, it will be P800 and P1200 for overnight.

Thanks to FUNtastic Philippines Fun group, and to our guides: Tatay Celso, Kuya Erick, Kuya Edward, and Kuya Celso Jr. for making this adventure possible. Even if it rain hard the previous day it was such a wonderful experience being with FUNtastic peeps. And witnessing the sea of clouds was such a rewarding experience.

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