01 February 2006

Camping out at Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal Part 2

[recent readers, please refer to the post prior to this for Part 1. Thanks!]

Sensing that we were inclined to stay at the valley and set-up camp already, one of their leaders said: "May isa na lang kaya sa inyo na sumama sa amin sa camping site para makita nya? Tara para masaya! (How about if one of you come with us to inspect the site? Let's go! It'll be fun.)

I thought, what the heck. I'll go with them and explore a bit further. They said it was just near, wasn't it? Just over the bend. I volunteered myself and another of our companion to go. And I started changing into slippers. Eventually, my other companions also decided that we all go together. O'hana! O'hana means family! Nobody get's left behind! (Uh, nobody said that actually but it just slipped my mind)

So we donned our gear and started the trek anew. After all it was already near, right?

The final leg of the hike took more than a couple of hours more. But it was a most exciting adventure as we crossed streams, some with flowing water that's too strong to be called a stream. But the waters were all very clean and clear! In places where the water gushed forth, we refilled our now-empty canisters and drank. Mineral water from the source! We passed by a cave which we no longer explored.

One time it's trees and mushy ground (it had been raining for the past few days), another time, it's crossing streams, still at another time its hopping and climbing rocks and boulders. It was great.

But of course, it was also a bit tiring. Especially when the path turned upwards towards the mountain. We rested near the top of the hill and the tailing campers handed over some chocolate mallows when they realized we were quite hungry. After some chit chat, we proceeded on our journey. Just when we thought that the hike would not end, the path suddenly sloped down the hill and we could hear the raging waters below. I knew we were already quite near. It was the same feeling I got years ago when my office colleagues and I hiked off to Mt. Majayjay in Laguna. The path gradually descended and we could clearly hear the raging waterfalls ahead. Anticipation was high.

The path suddenly turned sharply down the hill. It was quite muddy, but thankfully there were bamboo railings to hold on to. After a few more minutes, we were finally there.

We camped on dry, rocky ground while the other campers moved on a bit further. Ben (our leader) had the initiative to cook rice beforehand so we were able to get our fill of a late meal and recover energy to tidy up the place and build the tents.

That night, we cooked dinner and ate under the bright stars. We saw Orion's belt and a couple of fireflies hovering lazily as we chatted about and laid down while roasting mashmallows by the campfire. We slept before midnight as the other camp continued on with their revelry a distance from us.

We were greeted in the morning by mist in the mountains. Beside our campsite runs a brook, which was a good thing because we would occasionally waddle about to wash our hands and feet, and even just have a dip and relax! Or just sit there while rinsing spoons and cookware. After breakfast, we tied a long piece of rope into the nearby trees and this served as anchor as we waded and swam in the swirling waters. The water current was strong enough to drag you even when you're sitting near the shore! A couple of eagles flew overhead. Even from a distance you will know that they were quite huge!

After a bountiful lunch, the other campers passed by while we packed and a couple waited for us a little beyond the hill. The trek back was quicker, and soon we were enroute to the busy streets of Manila, with curious onlookers wondering where we had gone off to. Wish they knew the fun weekend we had.


  1. Is a Filipino tied to a long rope swirling around in a river called baiting for a large fish?

    I was wondering what Filipinos ate while camping since cooking rice over a campfire would be tough. I guess they just bring some cooked rice along. Nice!

  2. I once went hiking with my then boyfriend and a few friends in the hills of Binangonan Rizal. But it was nothing like this.

    This must be a really great escape from your daily routine.

  3. It is really a wonderful experience (mountain hiking), Watson. I hope I can do that in the near future.

    By the way, I had a hard time accessing your blog, the server is not available always :) Busy-busy hah!

    Thanks for the info re strawberry wine.

  4. Come to think of it, Kuya Ed, it did look like we were bait for something. Good thing there weren't anything bigger than us in that river :-)

    Actually, it was good our leader had the common sense to bring cooked rice to camp. We were able to eat immediately. But we still cooked rice in the morning. The ladies were pretty good at estimating the rice-water ratio.

    Oh yes niceheart. It was. And it was my first time to camp overnight inder the stars!

    Hi Lani! Must be a blogger.com problem. Hmmm... You're welcome!

  5. it is shameful to tell but there's really bunchful of places i still need to explore in philippines. The pics look superb and damn inviting.

    i can actually feel the happiness and excitement raging in your bodies while you were doing the hike, the camp and the trek.


  6. Hello Owen! I loved the trip. It was tiring, but all throughout the week until this point I feel so alive!

  7. i'm sure everyone enjoyed the trip. nice post you got there.

  8. Yes, we definitely did, DanieL! It was loads of fun.

  9. Your a man after my own heart Watson! Good pictures and a good adventure! reminds me a bit of a trek I made with a buddy into the Cascades in Washington State.

    Did you read about my adventures climbing the Mayon Volcano? Now THAT was hair raising!

  10. Hi Phil! Have you heard the news? Mayon is on emergency alert 2 and is on monitor these days. Lucky you, you got to climb it. I'll visit your post about your adventure. Thanks for dropping by!

  11. Anonymous4:15 pm

    ed, campfires are a "no-no". we just bring camping stoves and cook our meals with that. for 3-4 day trips, pre-cooked rice is also not a good idea. hey, watson, what was the name of the other group? :-) when i was there last y2k, we camped on the hill on the opposite side. (http://atmc.ws)

  12. Anonymous3:47 pm

    Well done!
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  13. Anonymous2:53 pm

    On that comment by Ed Abbey about rice on the trail...not tough at all if you bring the proper equipment. Used a cast aluminum pot ("kaldero") and a Kovea stove with bottled butane and voila', the Pinoy staple! Truth to tell, i think it's what makes us so horny. Don't believe Lenny Bruce ("Pinoys come quick").

  14. Anonymous3:58 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. hey guzz.,.,,

    gs2 sana nmin pnta dyan kso d nmin alam daan eh.,., bka nman pwde kming mg join s inyo minsan, if u want lng nman poh eh.,.,

    just check our accnt. nrin poh,


  16. sama kmi nxt clim nyo.,.,.

  17. Anonymous8:20 pm

    Wow! I’m so glad to see Daraitan here.. Maybe.. Daraitan forget me but I cannot forget her...
    A single soul of a child will not forget her.
    With the words such as.. "Saan ka pupunta?" with the answer "ay duon po, sa taludtod". (Where are you goin?.. There in the mountain peak) The mountains in Daraitan taught me a lot.. she taught me humility... at a young age of 6 or 7, she taught me to interact to different kinds of people..well, the Dumagats are my playmates.. (I envied how my lil playmates younger than I, swim expertly in Tinipak River. Dumagats are the most real people I ever met.. They will love you. I can remember an old Dumagat woman, embracing me and kissing my head as many times as she wants everytime she have sight of me. I can remember an old man I called Ka Martinis (also a Dumagat) bring us palos.. (a fish that can be caught in the river) which my Dad love so much!
    The stones of Daraitan are the best stones I ever had… so white! I can remember how we love to put them on our landscape beside our Bahay Kubo.
    Daraitan also taught me to persevere.. the family used to have Citrus Farm in Daraitan.. I experienced how every morning, with the cool fog all around, Me and Manong (our caretaker) will patiently take out all the grass below the growing calamansi plant… In the afternoon, my sisters and my cousins will be in charge in watering them without using any plastic pipe huh.. we just have 2 gallons per pax at a time.. imagine watering plants in the mountains with not lower than 60 % slope. But unfortunately, when I was 11 years old, Manong arrived in our home downtown to inform us that those calamansi plants are now ashes.. only the Kubo remained to us.. )-:
    Daraitan river is the best river… I remember my Dad told me that a hundreds of people cannot make her water dirty.. and as a lil girl… I believed him… How can I forget a river where I was drowned not once or twice but thrice! With my playmates, we will catch little crabs.. all you have to do is to take up the stones… beneath those stones… are the talangka (small crabs). We will give it to mommy and she will put salt and fry it in the pan without cooking oil.. and then she will ask us to take bananas and she will just put those green bananas (we call saba) in the burning coals (baga) and so we share the food..
    The sleep in Daraitan were the best nights.. With the stories of Kapre and Tikbalang.. There is no electricity… we are just using gasera every night… but there are fireflies… playing up around while we are lying in the bamboo floor which is also our bed. We watched the fireflies until we fall asleep.
    I can also remember watching monkeys playing on the forest at the back of our house. Watching the jeepneys trying hard to cross the river.. The meeeeh.. meeeeh.. of goats..
    I loved eating quail eggs straight from the nest. My rice sock swing which Manong improvised and hanged in passion fruit tree and Madre kakaw tree.
    Every barrio fiesta March 19; St. Joseph as the Patron, also my Dad’s Birthday, our house is full of visitors from town, my Dad’s colleagues, and other barrio folks as well as Dumagats. (Dad died last year, March 20, 2006)
    There I tasted my first wine made by Ka Pepe (if my memory serves me right) who is by then living near the river.Imagine, I though it was just buko juice.. but it is tuba (a wine from coconut).
    I can also remember myself ran after by a bull because I’m wearing red jacket.
    So much of memories..
    As a member of a tourism planning team way back in Manila, I’ve been to beautiful places of the Philippines.. but still Daraitan is the best for me. Now, I am here in Dubai working as Assistant Landscape Architect... been to multiple stars hotel, with well lighting skyscrapers as their Mountain… with well landscaped parks.. technically well designed water features such as cascades and fountains..this will not compare the natural landscape of Daraitan. The memory of verdant Sierra Madre, the simple food, the bamboo bed, the lights from the fireflys, the hospitality of Dumagats, that’s what I loved most!
    By the way, I saw an issue of a GULFNEWS featuring Daraitan. A very good reminder for me (maybe an invitation) to come back to my childhood home..
    I’ll be back on June 1 in the Philippines.. and will celebrate my birthday beside the river of Daraitan.. I hope to see the black living stone on the center of the river.. my favorite seat. How big are you now?
    See you soon! I’m coming back…

  18. Anonymous12:57 am

    wow daraitan... 2 times na kme na naipit sa bagyo jan... bawal tumawid and mag camp sa tinipak... pag tag init sobra init... pag tag ulan maulan sobra at malakas pa hangin...

  19. hello kitty5:55 pm

    Hi! May I just ask if there would be a tour guide available that we can pay (4 persons) when we got there? For how much? And also are there other people also camping there? Please let me know. Thanks! =)

  20. Anonymous5:56 pm

    Hi! May I just ask if there would be a tour guide available that we can pay (4 persons) when we got there? For how much? And also are there other people also camping there? Please let me know. Thanks! =)

  21. Hi! May I just ask if there would be a tour guide available that we can pay (4 persons) when we got there? For how much? And also are there other people also camping there? Please let me know. Thanks! =)

  22. Wow, That trip looks amazing. Looks like a real hiking and camping trip and the way camping should be done.For as long as I have been on this earth I have never dared into the wilderness like that, just been chained to traditional camping ground, however, I pledge that one day I'll get to experience something like this...Awesome enjoy this tremendously.


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