TRAVEL DIARY: Mt. Daraitan Day Trip

It’s true—a little adventure goes a long way. There’s nothing like taking a break from the city to go into the wild, and that’s exactly what we did yesterday. My boyfriend Marco and I have been wanting to visit Mt. Daraitan with friends for a while now, and I’m glad we still pushed through even if our friends weren’t able to go. But after yesterday’s amazing trip, we’re definitely going back for more!

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AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH. Adventure time is our favorite time. 

We left the south at 5:30AM—actually quite late for a morning hike–and got to Barangay Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal at 8AM. It was a straightforward trip getting there (we took C5 then Marcos Highway) except for the dirt road leading up to the river bank so if you plan to go, make sure you take a vehicle that can handle off-road terrain. We parked by the river and took a minute long boat ride and a ten minute tricycle ride to get to the base of the mountain.

At the barangay hall, we checked into their tourism logbook and met our tour guide for the day, Kuya Roderick. We set our agenda for the day: reach the Daraitan summit, descend to Tinipak River for a swim and then finally, spelunking at Tinipak Cave. At 8:30AM, we set off to conquer Mt. Daraitan!

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MARCO WITH KUYA RODERICK. He was the perfect tour guide for the trip: always lending a helping hand, telling us to mind slippery steps, and giving us just the right amount of fun facts. 

Initially, Kuya Roderick told us the average climb to the summit takes about 3-4 hours and then another 3-4 hours going down, but Marco and I were so competitive to beat that time that we got to the top in just 1.5 hours! It didn’t feel like it at the time, but I guess we were going at a steady quick pace which also explains why I forgot to take photos during the climb itself. It also helped that we were a small group, making it easier for us to move quickly and to take less breaks.

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LIVE HIGH. We reached the summit in a record-breaking hour and a half! 
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TOP OF THE WORLD. An amazing view after a challenging hike makes it all worth it. 

I remember we only took about 2 short breaks on the way up, but I must say that the first 1/4 of the ascent was pretty challenging. The trail itself cuts across the forest so the path is rocky and could be hard to navigate if you didn’t hold on to the branches and vines for support. Nonetheless, we love the workout aspect of mountain climbing, so the sweat and struggle that comes with the uphill hike is part of the fun and makes the view at the peak all the more satisfying.

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KING OF THE ROCK. Marco at the summit. 

After enjoying the view, we started our descent at 10:30AM. It started to drizzle steadily so we had to be way more careful not to slide down the slippery mountain slope. Rain makes it twice as hard to keep your balance on wet ground, so if it ever rains as you hike, take your time instead of risking safety. But despite our slower pace, thankfully we reached the base near the river in about 2 hours and after a 20 minute walk on flat ground, we finally reached the raging waters of Tinipak River!

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HOLD BACK THE RIVER. Well deserved dip after 3.5 hours of hiking!

It was such a relief to wade into the cool freshwater. But the current was so strong that we had to tread underwater just to stay in one place plus the water was freezing, so we only ended up swimming for a few minutes. After having lunch by the pebbly shore, we got moving again to see the beautiful rock formations of Tinipak.

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TINIPAK ROCK FORMATIONS. Places like these remind me how beautiful the Philippines is.

The boulders did not disappoint! After seeing these rock formations in photos, it was amazing to finally see them in real life. These beautiful rocks made it well worth the trip. I could just sit there all day and watch the waters gushing over them.

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RAGING WATERS. Yesterday was the best day ever.

But the adventure didn’t end there! We crossed the rocks via a bamboo bridge and reached the opening of Tinipak Cave. Descending into the darkness with only flashlights strapped to our heads, we explored the cavern and marveled at the stalactites and stalagmites inside. Soon enough, we reached a small swimming hole gushing with river water and of course we couldn’t resist wading into the dark waters.

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STALACTITES IN TINIPAK CAVE. Fascinating and mysterious formations. 

I’ve only been to a few caves in my life (in Bohol and Palawan), but Tinipak cave was definitely one of the best spelunking experiences I’ve had so far! We felt like real explorers discovering new depths of the earth, and it was just so much fun.

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SPELUNKING BUDDIES. Happy and grimy after a whole day of adventure. 

We got out of the cave and made our way back to the barangay hall on the flat ground path which took us about 30 minutes. By this time we were definitely exhausted, but the thrill of adventure left us only with good vibes. Back at the village, we paid our tour guide (the fee is only P500 per group) and at 5PM, we left taking with us only great memories and the promise that we’ll be back.

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TINIPAK RIVER. Already looking forward to round 2! 

I can’t wait for our next adventure! We’re definitely coming back to Mt. Daraitan, and next time with friends. I would love to spend more time by the river and visit the nearby waterfalls which are about an hour walk away.

Now, who wants to come with? 🙂


You can read more about Mt. Daraitan’s awesome tourism program here. Make sure to bring around P600 with you to pay for the tour guide and other small transportation fees (P10 for a tricycle ride, P5 for a boat ride, etc) and bring snacks, packed lunch (but you can buy there) and lots of water. If you’re going by car, make sure your vehicle can go off-road and prepare gas money worth P800-P1000 total, which you can split among your group. 

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