Mt. Daraitan’s trail difficulty is a 4/9; I’ve been to Mt. Ulap twice and Mt. Pulag (both 3/9 difficulty) and a college life mostly traversing the steep stairs of my university every day, and I would say that this hike was difficult for me.
Mt. Daraitan is situated on the border of Tanay, Rizal, and General Nakar, Quezon. The name “Daraitan” came from dara, a local term for limestone, and aeta, an indigenous group from Luzon, Philippines. It has a total elevation of 739 MASL and is only 2-3 hours away from Metro Manila, since we availed a joiner tour, we rode a van from Manila to Rizal. You can also take public transportation if you wish to, but you need to add an hour or two if you choose to take this option. Here’s how:
- Take a van or jeepney from EDSA (Shaw Crossing) to Tanay, fare is 70-90PHP).
- From Tanay, ride a jeep going to Sampaloc, fare is 26PHP.
- Upon arrival, hail a tricycle heading to Barangay Daraitan via tricycle, fare is 100PHP per person.
- And then take a raft (balsa) going to the other side of the Daraitan River with 10PHP fare. Then a tricycle is waiting for you going to the barangay hall, the fare is 10PHP.
Upon our arrival at the barangay hall, we were provided with tour guides, a guide fee of 500PHP is collected and is good for ten persons. Please note that the “no guide, no hike” policy is strictly implemented. There is also a registration and environmental fee of 25PHP to be paid before going up.
After a short briefing, we started our ascend at exactly 4 a.m. The hike to the summit is around 3 to 4 hours depending on your pace, it is advisable to begin the ascent before 6 a.m. You need to bring a flashlight or rent one in the station (30PHP).
Our tour guide said that the trek is 90% assault and 10% flat surface, which means that the trail is certainly well-maintained and respected, but honestly, I wasn’t physically prepared and was sleep-deprived, so ascending is quite challenging for me. The trail is a combination of big boulders and sharp edges, it was also muddy since it rained a bit the day before we hiked.
I highly recommend wearing your comfortable clothes and good rubber shoes or sandals. Since there are sharp rocks along the trail, bring thick gloves too. You are allowed to eat snacks and request a short rest when you are tired.
We arrived at the summit of Mt. Daraitan after 2 hours. At the top, the view was absolutely remarkable, it’s actually very wonderful seeing again the sea of clouds, it made me miss Baguio city more. Note: The peak can get very crowded with lines forming at the best place for photos.
At the summit, there is a magnificent view of the Sierra Madre southern mountain range and the province of Rizal.
After indulging in the view from the summit, we descended. The descent is just as slippery. We had a short stopover at Mapuso Peak, a heart-shaped lookout made of woods and sticks that gives you an awesome view of Mt. Marami and Tinipak River.
Aside from Mt. Daraitan, our day tour includes an opportunity to see the Tinipak River, one of the country’s cleanest, free-flowing rivers with white rocks and cliffs that border it. It was awarded as the cleanest inland body of water in the CALABARZON region.
The river looks really alive, it is unpolluted and will give you a magnificent feeling after the long and tiring trek. Its greeny waters match perfectly with the marble rock formations.
There are also a lot of things you can do here aside from swimming, you can go cliff diving, spelunking, visit mini-waterfalls, and camping. If you wish to camp, you can pitch your tent for free or rent cottages for 200PHP.
Overall, my Mt. Daraitan, Mapuso Peak, and Tinipak River experience is one for the books. It will test your stamina and you need to give enormous effort to hike the trail, but is fulfilling. It is one of the perfect ways to enjoy even just for a quick while.
Event fee: 899PHP
- Van (Roundtrip)
- Parking Fee
- Environmental Fee
- Guide Fee
- Registration Fee
- Coordinator Fee
- Tinipak River Fee
- Personal Expenses
- Shower Fee
- back to Jump-off Point (60PHP/ tricycle)
- Bring hydration. There are no water sources along the trail, there are stores along the trail, but sell drinks and snacks at a reasonable price.
- I recommend Mt. Daraitan for experienced hikers. Prepare and don’t forget to stretch your legs before the climb, I was sore for 3 days after the hike.
- Restrooms are available at Tinipak River and Jump-off point, they charge 10PHP-20PHP for shower.
- Have fun, bring your friends with you!