MT. DARAITAN – SIERRA MADRE BRIGHTEST HIDDEN GEM

MT. DARAITAN

TANAY, RIZAL

You want to find out why MT. Daraitan is the Brightest Hidden Gem of Sierra Madre?

Mt. Daraitan is situated in the heart of Sierra Madre in Tanay, Rizal. It is very popular in the mountaineering community because of its breath-taking and eye-catching view. Aside from that Mt Daraitan has a lot of attractions to offer it was surrounded by Falls, River, Caves, and Limestones formations that’s why it is considered the brightest gem of Sierra Madre. I considered this as one of the hardest hikes I’ve experienced, maybe because the rain falls during our hike and the trail was very muddy and slippery and most of us fell down several times to the point that we have to crawl just to finish the trail. Difficulty level 4/9 and approximately 3-4 hrs hike.

How to Get There

  • Commute (Public Transportation)
    • Ride a van from EDSA-Show Crossing to Tanay or a jeepney along Shaw Boulevard.
    • Take a jeep from Tanay going to Sampaloc.
    • Head to Barangay Daraitan via tricycle.
    • Go rafting the Daraitan river.
    • After crossing the river, ride a tricycle going to the barangay hall for registration.

The entire trip will most likely take you about 3 to 4 hours due to various delays and stops.

  • Private
    • Drive to Marcos Highway and head over Tanay-Infanta Road.
    • Turn left to the rough roads leading to Barangay Daraitan.
    • Follow the road until you see the river crossing.
    • Cross the bridge
    • Go to the barangay hall for registration.

This route may take you approximately 2 to 2.5  travel time.

Preparation for the Hike

The adventure starts when we arrived at the barangay hall and registered for 20 PHP. You are required to get a local tour guide since hikers won’t be allowed to trek without one. In our case, we have 2 tour guides since we are composed of 11 hikers. Take note that the guide’s fee is 500 PHP for a day hike and 1,250 PHP overnight and the environmental fee costs 100 PHP. With this, it’s highly recommended that you go in larger groups to lessen the expense you need to pay.

All the pre-hiking requirements are done at the barangay hall. In case you have brought unnecessary things you can leave it behind at the barangay locker area. Once everything’s settled, you can begin your climb. Just be sure to bring all the essentials like foods and other refreshments and make sure you are fully prepared.

The Actual Hike

At around 5:00 am if I’m not mistaken (LOL), we start our trek to Mt. Daraitan. It was surprisingly very challenging. The hike kicked off with a walk along an uphill concrete road that stretched for several meters then shifted to a slippery rock-strewn road. The first leg of the trek was really hard for us since it rains the day before our hike although its dark and all you can see are the clouds and the lights that surround the diversity of this mountain’s ecosystem.

As the hike gets tougher since it was already 6:00 am, we also slowly seen the beauty of the sky towering over other plants of various species and immeasurable abundance. Flowers were scattered on both sides of the trail looking so lovely in different colors. The scene was so delighting we barely noticed we’ve trekked quite far from -where we started until the ordeal began passed station 1.

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 an insanely much assault trail and only 20% were flat.

Some of our colleagues were only first-timer so they might be surprised by the trail. There were wooden bars placed in both sides of the trail as support but they were not much of help, even as we are not exempted to fall several times.

The assault seemed so endless with the ascent becoming steeper in every step. There were 2 resting camps in-between stations 1 and 2. After the painstaking assault along a mud-covered trail which lasted almost 2 hours, we finally reached the summit.

It was something unique only to the exemplary Mt. Daraitan, enough to remind my too tired body and soul that she was so worthy of it all.

The summit

The summit from camp 2 was just 15 minutes away but don’t ever get too excited as one miss can still get you rolling down the hills. I have expected to see a crowd and I have witnessed no less than 50 people upon setting afoot the summit. Everyone seemed to be very busy getting on with their daredevil poses. Anyways, before the summit you can visit and take some pictures in two different stone formation just see pictures below, and let yourself judge how beautiful and exciting to be there haha…

Stone formation near the summit
Stone formation near the summit

Enough for stone formations, its time to go to our next destination,” The Heart Peak“. It’s around 12:00 PM when we descend the summit, the rain starts to fall at that time that’s why we decided to take our lunch while we wait for the rain to stop. Because most of us are not ready we don’t have raincoats to protect us and it’s not safe for us since it’s very difficult and dangerous if we continue our trek and most of our co-hikers are first-timer.

Thank God, I think after 15 mins the rain stop and we are ready to continue our journey. The trail was not so easy since it’s very very slippery and most of us struggle because we fell down most of the time but that pains don’t stop us to reach our destination. “The Heart Peak”.

Heart Peak

Heart Peak is one of the amazing views I’ve ever seen and experience, I thought I was in Bali Indonesia which is one of the Tourist spots there, I realize we don’t need to go far or to go to Indonesia to experience this kind of view. Because we have it here in the Philippines here in Mt Daraitan (Heart Peak).

It overlooks the Tinipak River which is our last destination. You can ask your tour guide to take your Instagramable pictures.

Although our legs are shaking and our body wants to give up already we still manage to continue and finish our trek.

Tinipak River

From Heart Peak, you will reach Tinipak River within 20-25 minutes trek. While on your way you will hear the breeze of running water from the river that will excite your heart not just that you really want to swim or experience the touch of cool and freshwater that the river will offer but its the kind of feeling that you know to yourself that your climb is about to end, and finally you have to take a rest, Yes! that’s a great feeling that I feel that time because my body is soo tired already.

But Tinipak River doesn’t disappoint me, it is a hidden gem that boasts white marbled rocks and pristine water, it is a nice place to relax. You can swim and indulge in cool and freshwater. You can do camping as well.

Besides Tinipak River you can take a rest while you wait for fresh cook Pancit Canton the store offered just like we did, of course, you have to pay for it haha. At the same time, we did clean our muddy-muddy shoes (yay). We plan to visit the cave but the cave was closed during that time.

Note: If ever you’re planning to hike somewhere in Rizal like Mt Daraitan, check the weather forecast and make sure that it’ll be sunny or else you know what your shoes would look like hahaha.

We end up the hike almost 5:00 PM which is late compare to our scheduled departure time in the area. But then its all worth it.

I always thought that all the pain in my life will have an amazing end just like our adventure here in Mt Daraitan there’s something with the nature that you can’t resist from, even though I know it is tiresome and I will go back to the normal life in the city with a broken heart, I mean broken knee (LOL) but I keep climbing, again and again, I keep chasing mountains like I am addicted to it.

By the way, we climb Mt Daraitan last January 13, 2019, which is my birthday. For me, it was one of the best gifts I ever experience, memories that I will never forget FOREVER!

Recommendations & Reminders

  • To avoid a jam-packed trek, go to Mt. Daraitan during weekdays.
  • Bring your own food. 
  • Bring lots of water 1-2 Liters.
  • Bring Raincoat in case of rain.
  • Carry sufficient cash. Restrooms are charged from 5 PHP to 20 PHP. Pay 20 PHP when using a table in Tinipak River.
  • Bring extra clothes, especially when you’re planning to swim.
  • Carry a headlamp or flashlight, so you’re ready when darkness comes and carry your camera as well for Instagramable pictures. 
  • Wear hiking shoes or sandals which is good for muddy roads (with a spike as much as possible).
  • Put sunblock as there is not enough shade in the area.
  • Give extra tip for your Tour Guide and share food with them as well.
  • Support Local products by buying food and souvenirs.
  • Respect Local culture and property.
  • Listen to your guide always.
  • Leave no Trace but footprints and bring home the Memories.
Travel Adventuristas@MT. Daraitan

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