Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mt. Daraitan and Tinipak River

Return to the Mountains
(Unang Hirit sa Tag-Ulan)
It has been seven (7) months since TheBackpackers had their official climb and it was the induction climb at Mt. Damas last January 2014. From February to July, we have visited different provinces not to climb but to explore their well-known beaches. However, we all know that despite those beautiful beaches and relaxing experiences, we will still go back to our first love and that is the pain of ascending, the slippery and muddy trails, small crawling inserts, leg breaking descents…in short, we miss body pains!

But on a serious note, we will always go back because of the experiences, the breath-taking views, the different stories shared, meeting new people and most importantly, the people within TheBackpackers. This is our home, this is where it all started and this is where our family will always go back.

For the month of August, the new set of BP officers had their event at one of the province of Rizal’s pride, Mt. Daraitan and Quezon province’s Tinipak River. Four (4) BPs and nine (9) guests participated in this event and they are:


Heinz Lopez
Ivan Ignacio
Liz Honrade
Nickson Garcia


Jeng Emeriz
Melva Barba
Chi Cruz

Ramon Obmerga
Jima Maret

Climb buddies/Officemates:
Allen Santos
Alner Fernandez

Fraternity brothers
Red Abjar

The group (except for me) met in StarMall at around 10:00am and rode an FX bound to Tanay. Upon reaching Tanay (specifically on Tanay Market), the group decided to have their lunch at Chowking and last minute grocery while waiting for yours truly. As soon as I arrived, tricycle drivers came rushing and offered me transportation to Daraitan which I humbly declined.
     At Chowking, we met Mr. Willy. He was the head of tour guide association in Brgy. Daraitan and was our contact person in providing us transporation (phone number located below) from Tanay Market to Brgy. Daraitan. He offers rented jeepney from StarMall to Brgy. Daraitan for a price of P6,500.oo or from Tanay Market to Brgy. Daraitan for a price of P3,000.00, we chose the latter. Their jeepney fits around ten (10) to thirteen (13) persons at least and top load is possible.

The Guest
      Once completed, the group continued in their journey to Brgy. Daraitan. During the trip, rain suddenly fell which signifies that our climb will be wet and slippery. Obviously, we are on a rainy season therefore we are expecting a rainy climb. But as BP traditions dictates, we should have a montly event (climb) except when there is a possible danger or typhoon/s on the scheduled date of event.

Top load
Kuya Willie 
River crossing via Balsa    
Tricycle ride
   Upon arrival at Brgy. Hall of Daraitan the rain stopped and we distributed to all the participants, who are more able and willing to carry, some loads. The guides/porters assigned to us were named Rizal and Bert and were both helpful in carrying some of the heavy loads of the group. After a prayer lead by yours truly, the group began their journey in conquering their 2nd official mountain climb of the year.

Trail map of Mt. Daraitan
Prayer circle
     Located at Brgy. Daraitan in Tanay Rizal, Mt. Daraitan is well-known for its sea-of-clouds and the magnificent Tinipak River (although within the boundary of General Nakar, Quezon province). From the jump-off, we can see clouds forming below the summit of Mt. Daraitan which made us more excited for the sunrise the next day.

Clouds forming in the summit of Mt. Daraitan
     The whole climb was an "all assault trail". I think it is similar to the assault trails of Pico De Loro (on my personal experience). Coming in from my four (4) months of climbing absence, I had a hard time ascending the trails of this mountain but I have my mind set that If I conquered one of the toughest mountains in the Philippines than I can conquer this as well. After three (3) hours of climbing, we arrived at the campsite.

BP Heinz
BP Liz and Jima     
Assault trail
Assault trail
Assault trail 
Take 5
    There are three (3) campsites located at the mountain itself but all of them are small which can fit around four (4) to five (5) tents. As soon as we arrived at the campsite, rained again poured. Dinner was prepared and served by our event chef, BP Heinz. It was the all-time favorite of BP when in mountains, Adobong Manok. As soon as the rain again stopped, we convened for the usual event socials.
    The social(s) was a little different this time since, the usual heads of social were absent and almost everyone felt uncomfortable having socials in the rain. However, we need to continue with it for us to get to know a little bit about everyone. In the socials, it was found our that almost every set of guest are either officemates or friends. We disclosed some personal details on almost everyone (one guest wasn't able to join the socials). One funny thing that BP admitted was that we thought all through-out the climb that the one who was with us in the sweeper group is named "Melva" (and we've been calling her as such) it turned out that her name was "Jima" which we even thought was a "Visayan accent" of Gemma but it was short for Jimmalyn. Also a truth was discovered by Jeng, who was previously our guest at  Minalungao adventure last March 2014, on what really happens in BP social circle. He was surprised to know that the crazy things that happened in Minalungao did not occur at this event.

      Our Day 2 started as early as 5:30am. Based on blogs that where previously written, a sea-of-clouds can be seen at the summit. Fog surrounded our campsite that early morning. No one had prepared any breakfast for we were eager to assault right to the summit to experience sea-of-clouds. However, BPs Heinz and Ivan were still sleeping so we went ahead without them.

At the summit, we were greeted by a view of utterly white background. As guest Jeng said, it was a perfect white background for a 2x2 ID picture. Even thought the first group hadn’t seen a view, we managed to keep our summit experience memorable by throwing some humor and funny stories with each other. It goes to show that a summit experience can still be achieved even without a great view.

Summit pictures of the first batch
Summit picture
As soon as we arrived back at the campsite, the weather suddenly changed and became sunny.  From there, we had our breakfast. BP’s Heinz and Ivan woke up while the rest prepared for our descent.

We were again divided into two (2) groups. The first one started to descend to Tinapak River while BP’s Heinz and Ivan went to the summit to experience the clear view of the summit. Below are their pictures: 

BP Ivan and Heinz at the summit
BP Heinz at the summit rock
After over two (2) hours of descending, the whole group (including BPs Heinz and Ivan) safely reached the Tinipak River. But before plunging our dirty selves in the river, we ate our lunch.

BPs Heinz, Nick and Liz
Guest Chi
Guest Melva and Jeng
BP Mon Guest Daryl
Tinipak River is located within of General Nakar, Quezon Province but before reaching the main river of Tinipak, one must endure different challenges like ladder climbing and rocks balancing. Surrounded by limestone, it can be considered similar Nueva Ecija’s Minalungao (of course it depends on what place you've been first which will be your comparison). Just like Minalungao, the group enjoyed the clear waters and the scenery. A little caution should be exercised when crossing the other side of the river. The water current was strong and a help of a rope tied in one of the rocks served as aid in crossing the river.

Signage of Tinipak
Wooden ladders going to Tinipak River
(Yeah boy) BP Ivan
Hey its Matapang @ Tinipak River
Signature pose of BP Nick
The beauty of Tinipak river did not end there but going back to the jump-off point was way beautiful than the end of Tinipak River itself. The group experienced some other magnificent views of the whole stretch of Tinipak River. A must see scenery to every tourist who will visit Daraitan. Since we were on a traverse trail, we did not experience the magnificent stretch of Tinipak River only until the second (2nd) day. An estimate 45minutes from Tinipak River to jump-off turned out to be an hour due to stop-pose-picture of the group.

Chi @ the rocks of Tinipak River
BP Heinz
BP Ivan
A scenery to remember
In behalf of TheBackpackers, I would like to thank the entire guest (friends) who joined us on this August event and we hope to see more of you in our upcoming events. We promise to continue exploring and sharing the country’s prized destinations.

The Guest (L-R) Jeng, Melva, Red, Chi, Daryl, Ramon, Jima, Allen and Alner
The four (4) Backpackers (Nickson, Heinz, Liz and Ivan)
Group shot at Tinipak River


Meet up at StarMall
Departure to Tanay Market
Arrival at Tanay Market
Departure to Brgy. Daraitan
Arrival at Brgy. Hall of Daraitan/ Final Preparation
Start Trek
Arrival at Camp Site
Dinner/Socials/Lights Off


Wake up
Trek to Summit
Arrival at Summit/Bonding/Picture taking
Trek back to Camp Site
Arrival to Campsite/Breakfast
Start Trek  to Tinipak River
Arrival at Camp Site near Tinipak River
Swimming at Tinipak River
Trek back to Brgy. Hall of Daraitan
Arrival at Brgy. Hall of Daraitan/ Clean up
Departure back to StarMall
Arrival at StarMall


From Shaw Boulevard:
At StarMall, ride an FX bound to Tanay and alight at Tanay Market. Travel time would be an hour and half (depending on traffic) From Tanay Market, ride either a tricycle or jeepney bound to Brgy. Daraitan and would also take about an hour and half (depending on traffic).

Remarks: Usually the transportation from Tanay Market to Brgy. Daraitan would lead you straight to the Barangay Hall. However, due to weather constraints (being rainy season), they have removed the bridge connecting the mainland Tanay to Brgy. Daraitan and uses a “balsa” for small vehicles (e.g. Tricycle) and residents/tourist to cross the river. After crossing the river, you may choose either to walk or to ride a tricycle going to Barangay Hall of Daraitan.


Expenses (PhP)
FX ride (StarMall to Tanay Market)

Rented – Jeepney (Tanay Market to Brgy. Daraitan)
(3,000/ 13) = 231.00
Back and forth
“Balsa” during river crossing

Tricycle (River to Brgy Hall of Daraitan)

Tour Guide
2,500 (2 guides)/ 13= 192.00
One guide is worth P1,250.00 is good for 10 people and once you exceed that number you are compelled to hire another guide. For dayhike, it would cost P850.00/guide. You may try to bargain for a lower cost.
Tricycle (River to Brgy Hall of Daraitan)

“Balsa” during river crossing

FX ride (Tanay Market to StarMall)

Other expenses (Foods and utensils)*
Price depends on your needs.


       1.       Mr. Willy number is 09069533470 (globe);
      2.       If you have a contact of a specific guide, it doesn’t mean that he will be the assigned guide for your climb. The Brgy. Hall is equally distributing the tour guide for each group of climbers.
       3.       There are no water sources in the summit
       4.       There are strong cellphone signals for SMART, SUN and GLOBE at the summit.

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