The most physically challenging activity I’ve ever done in my life. Mt. Daraitan is one of the beautiful mountains within the Sierra Madre Mountain range. The mystical trail was covered with lush greeneries, giving enough shade for the late hikers. Huge rocks are also present as support to hold on when crossing a muddy pathway. Weather can be bipolar. This mountain is not easy to climb, but anyone with persistence and positive thinking can definitely reach the breathtaking summit in no time.
I myself is an amateur hiker. This was my second summit after Taal Volcano. I was so excited to join a group of 5th year engineering students to conduct a test of their thesis prototype in Tinipak River. Mt. Daraitan was just actually a side trip.
We were lucky to have a friend who lives in Tanay, Rizal. He offered us to stay in his humble abode the night before our day hike, giving us more time to rest. We left his home at 8am in the morning and arrived at Taytay-Sampaloc intersection at 9am where we rode a tricycle heading to Daraitan. I know what you’re thinking! We are so late. It’s so hard to sleep early when you’re with a great company.
After around an hour of bumpy ride in a tricycle that seemed like its parts were being disassembled piece by piece because of the rough road, we finally reached Daraitan. We crossed the river standing in a raft managed by two locals. Then hailed another tricycle for a short ride going to the Barangay hall.
10:04AM: HERE WE GO
Logged in, paid for the mandatory tour guide, environmental fee, tinipak river fee, rented head lamps and gloves, had a short orientation with our assigned tour guide Kuya Roderick and started the adventure.
Kuya Roderick said that there are visitors that can reach the summit in 3-5 hours, some even take the whole day and sometimes there are people who don’t. The trail is 90% steep and 10% walkable.
We reached Station 1 after an hour with few pauses along the very steep trail. We were surrounded with different kinds of trees with different hues of green. The enchanting forest trail will make you feel like you’re in some sort of an adventure movie. I don’t know if there’s signal coz who checks their phone while having a date with mother earth?
“There is no wi-fi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection.”
This was also the station that got me doubting.
“What have I gotten myself into?”
We reached Station 2 after another hour but this time the trail was easier as there were some parts where it feels like you’re just walking. I ate my apple while appreciating the view of the river from down below which got us all motivated.
“We’ve come this far, there’s no turning back.”
Station 3 was a bit shorter and we were able to reach it in 40 minutes with enough self-motivation and some short conversation from anyone we came across. Everyone was very friendly. They’d be like “Magandang hapon po” or “Hi! You’re almost there!”. Why can’t the world be like this all the time? If people can be so kind and supportive in mountains then why not in the city? We had our light lunch in this last station before trekking to the summit for another 15 minutes. I had a light tuna sandwich and a KitKat bar.
“Food is your body’s fuel, without it, your body wants to shut down.”
Choose a food that will help you get going. Something that’s not too heavy on the stomach as it can slow you down. Then something hit me. I like spending my time getting close with nature and living an active and healthy lifestyle. This could be my hobby, I thought.
1:00PM: THE SUMMIT
We spent a relaxing 40 minutes on the summit taking photos and videos. Testing our fear of heights standing at one of the rock formations with a lovely view of the heart shaped river.
“You were terrifying, strange and beautiful, Mt. Daraitan”
1:40PM: MUD SLIDE
We started to descend the mountain and it was the most challenging and fun part of the adventure. So many bloopers! I slipped off not once, not twice, just a few times. The lower we are, the harder it becomes. Each one of us has his/her own style of going down the steep and muddy trail. It became muddier when the rain started to drizzle. Familiar with the exercise ‘Mountain Climber’? Yup. I call it the ‘Spiderman style’. Whenever we’re about to go down a very steep trail I’d be like “I-sspider man ko na ‘to”. I know my style requires full body force but I find it less stressful on the knees since a portion of my weight was being transferred in my upper body. All our legs started to get jelly and I was literally crawling for my life. The gloves was a big help.
We made it! We had a rest at the first convenience store we saw and the heavy rain started to pour. We were all amazed at how everything seems to happen at the right time. It’s like mother nature was looking out for us the whole time.
We decided to head back down and ride a tricycle instead of taking the Riverside trail from the top going to Tinipak River since Kuya Roderick said it would be easier.
My friend Bella and I stayed in a hut located near the river while the guys test their thesis prototype in the river. At around 6 pm we hailed a tricycle back to the Barangay Hall and took a refreshing shower. We had a good deal and rented a jeep going to back to Tanay instead of stuffing ourselves in a tricycle. Had dinner at Jollibee Tanay before heading back to Manila. We had spaghetti, chicken, burger, fries, rice and peach mango pie. We almost ordered everything on the menu. After filling our tummies it was time to go home. It was indeed a weekend well spent. Best full body workout ever.
OUR MT. DARAITAN ITINERARY & OVERALL EXPENSES