Daraitan and Tinipak, Tanay Rizal, Laguna
If you haven't already been to Daraitan River and Tinipak Springs, I suggest you put it at the top of your day trips list. It is an absolute must. The drive thru Laguna is stunning and Daraitan is breathtaking. As you head through Laguna this lush scenery is everywhere. You don't have to get far out of Manila to see The Phils' magic. We got a bit lost so it took us an extra hour getting there. It took us nearly three hours to reach this point when it could have easily been only two.There were two signs pointing the way to Daraitan which was super helpful. As you follow the signs down a windy road, the image below is what awaits you. :) We went during a rainy week, so we had to park and take this awesome "water taxi" for five pesos each. During the dry months you can actually drive your car across. The water taxi was one solid trunk of a tree they had carved. Provincial life is so fascinating and awe inspiring to me. After crossing the river I squeezed my big fat American butt into a trike and headed to the barangay hall where we will paid an entrance fee for Daraitan/Tinipak. (Meet my friend Alma! She also blogs at www.kidsmorefun.blogspot.com)Everything was very organized and as usual, everyone was very friendly. At the barangay hall you have to register (sign a ledger) and pay the fee. There is a nice sitting area and a bathroom. Information about the trek ahead. The towns people really care about what they have to offer and I can support that! The bathroom is very simple, fairly clean and don't forgot to drop a coin in the slot. :) It is quite literally a hole carved into the wall. Ha! After you get everything situated at the barangay, a team of tour guides are available. For a group of ten the guide is 500php and absolutely worth it. Hop on that trike again and off to the trail head. Natural wildlife along the way. After about twenty minutes you cross a small creek and some vegetation that leads to a restaurant and camping site. I couldn't help but stop and admire (and snap way too many pictures). The Philippines is so diverse even just a few kilometers and hours away. Remarkable. You will definitely be going up and down rocks, through mud, up and down ladders and in and out of caves and water. The Tinipak Rocks put on quite a show. They are so massive it's hard to believe they are naturally occurring. I felt so small in comparison. If you fancy Tinipak Cave you will continue hiking another ten-15 minutes and brave a make shift bridge across the large boulders. The bridge was very sturdy and felt safe. Don't forget a flashlight if you plan on going. We were able to use our cellphone flashlights but I don't recommend it. After you ascend into the cave you slowly feel your way through a large dark tunnel. On the top and bottom of the caves are stalagmites and stalactites.Swimming in the cave was unreal. Because it had been rainy the current was quite strong but still safe to stay in place. It wasn't a spring pool you could just lounge in. The cool temp was fantastic after working up a sweat from the hike. On our hike back we stopped at Tinipak Springs for a short dip. It really was a dreamy adventure. I have numerous screen shots saved from seeing photos of this place on IG. Thankfully Kara of Traveling Up had a very detailed and helpful post.
Things to know:
It is an all day activity if coming from Metro Manila. We were gone 13 hours and this included stopping for dinner at Paseo Rizal.
The time from crossing the first river to the springs/cave is close to 1-1.5 hours. We stayed around 2 hours and then another 1-1.5 hours return. (This is just the hiking etc not the drive from Manila.)
This activity is not small child friendly. If you have a child who enjoys the outdoors and doesn't mind getting dirty then 10+ is a good age.
Our friends remembered a tip from hiking Mt. Pinatubo and brought sandals to switch into when crossing the water. You cross water a handful of times. By the end I was just walking through the rivers with my shoes on.
You can camp in some really nice accommodations right near Tinipak Springs or bring your own tent and there are multiple sites.
Definitely pack food and water but there is an eatery and small sari sari right near the springs.
Bring lots of small bills and coins as most everything has a small fee.
Bring a flashlight and water camera/water protection if you are planning on enter Tinipak Cave.
I would only use Waze for directions. We used google maps and it wasn't helpful.
Contact: Municipality of Tanay, Province of Rizal Tourism Information Center. Contact info: 0906-2436298/ 0908-4579509 / 0998-9881590 / 0923-6810969. (More detailed info on traveling-up.com)
AND JUST BECAUSE I HAD WAY TOO MANY PHOTOS...A SLIDESHOW.