Mighty Rockies of Tanay: Mt. Daraitan

Part of our Labor day getaway adventure featuring Mt. Daraitan + Tinipak River and Cave + Batlag Falls + Daranak Falls last April 30, 2015

A year after climbing Mt. Pulag, I spontaneously invited a close friend of mine to join my attempt to climb Mt. Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal. I stumble upon the image of Tinipak River in facebook and upon searching, I found out that it is actually near the said mountain and can be traversed from the summit to the river and the cave.

About Mt. Daraitan

“Ancestors from ages ago called this Daraitan which when translated to the local tongue means rendezvous point, “kitaan” or “tagpuan”…A rendezvous point of people and also of nature where mountains, river and caves meet.”Carving That Niche

Altitude: 739+ masl
Difficluty: 4/9
Trail class: 1-3
Hours to summit: 3 - 4 hours
Tanay, Rizal and General Nakar, Quezon
(source: Pinoy Mountaineer)

Activities & Features:
– Dayhike/Overnight
– Sea of clouds*
– Cave
– River

* possible but not guaranteed


📍 The trail was forested. There were also moss-covered rocks that can be slippery at times. The difficulty trail in terms of steepness can be around mild to moderate, if I were to be asked.

📍 The striking display of rocks at the summit. Similar to Mt. Maculot’s rockies, most hikers/tourists find it a great spot for taking their death-defying (buwis-buhay) shots overlooking the beautiful Tinipak River and the Sierra Madre mountain range. I do not recommend it for the faint of heart though.

📍 The clean, clear, turquoise water of the Tinipak River. It is noted as the cleanest inland body of water in Region IV. The astounding form of limestones made it more astonishing.

📍 We had a chance to have the cave all for ourselves for a moment despite the number of people on queue to enter the cave. Traveling in smaller group really do have some perks sometimes. The water was cold and refreshing!

A “just-got-lucky” top-load style ride for us. We arrived earlier than the scheduled jeepney bound to Sampaloc, Tanay. Good thing, there was this group of mountaineers who rented one going straight to Brgy. Daraitan’s Barangay Hall (also the registration and Jump-off point). For some, it seems unfortunate for us that there were no vacant seats available inside, when in fact we were really hoping for it as it’s one thing off our bucket-list to ride top-load style together.

Fast forward 2017, Taylor Swift would sing – “Are you ready for it?” Well way back 2014, I’m not!

It was my second hike. I admit I became over-confident that I could easily finish our hike in Mt. Daraitan since my first mountain was the country’s third highest. I thought all trails were like that of Mt. Pulag’s Ambangeg trail! I never would’ve thought that there were lots of assault en route to the summit. It was definitely heart pounding I could hear it beating out of my ears. We have to stop every now and then to catch our breath and taking pictures were just an excuse to rest. For someone who stopped hiking for a year and with quite sedentary lifestyle that time, I almost gave up – again. But I didn’t. Our guide told us that we were quite fast. If it’s just a compliment to boost our confidence, well he succeeded. And there is nothing like looking down from a hiking trail and realizing you are few steps closer to your goal.

Mt. Daraitan is one of the mountains along the Sierra Madre Mountain Range – the longest mountain range in the Philippines with vast majority of mountains still unexplored. To date, mountains in Rizal we’re being opened for hikers/tourist for ecotourism purposes.

We finally reached the summit after 3 hours.

Looking back, I realized how slow we were in reaching the summit (binobola lang pala kami ni Kuya guide). But we were able to finish our hike to the summit with a smile on our face. That satisfaction of completing a challenging hike is quite powerful.

From the summit, one could also see the meandring Tinipak River.

Tinipak River

The Tinipak River features marvelous boulder of limestones which we haven’t got any decent photo. The trek from the summit to the river took us four hours to finish including our stop-over at a mini store to eat halo-halo which were about an hour or so.

I noticed that the trail towards the river were longer than the trail from the jump-off point to the summit. Our guide told us that one of the options could be going straight to the river and set up camp there instead without hiking Mt. Daraitan. Mostly, those who prefer added thrill do the traverse. We arrived at the river at one in the afternoon. There were many people already enjoying their cold dip in the water. After looking for a spot to leave our stuff, we were off hitting our way to the river and cave exploration!

Inside the cave was a natural Jacuzzi. There were beautiful rock formations as well.

Ours for a while.

I look forward in revisiting this mountain, river, and cave some time soon.


* Never underestimate the mountain. I thought this climb would be easy for me because I’ve been to Mt. Pulag already but the trail of Mt. Daraitan is really different from the Ambangeg trail of Mt. Pulag. I recommend taking a closer look at the trail specs and difficulty posted in Pinoy Mountaineer.

** Travel with someone you’re really comfortable with. Specially on spontaneous activities like this.

*** Be friendly and act with courtesy with other people as well.

**** Research. Research. Research. Even though this is a sudden climb for us (sudden because I invited her 2 days before the climb), I’ve already done my part on our itinerary and even research about estimated budget for the climb.

– credits to Princess for the photos © May, 2014.

Babalik ka rin - YAK HANE!
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