Mt. Daraitan : Diary of A Novice Hiker

There are no gentle means to climb a mountain, especially if it’s raining and everything is slippery. It was early February when my officemate invited me to do organized an activity on 25 February 2016 since it’s a holiday.

Initially, we had a group of ten individuals who will be joining the climb until a week before when we finally realized that we were already twenty-eight in counting. I was a bit nervous for a few reasons. One, I am not an expert hiker (I am also a novice).Two, the majority of the member are first-timers.  And lastly, no matter what, it’s still a mountain.

Our destination:


Tanay, Rizal and General Nakar, Quezon

Major jumpoff: Brgy. Daraitan (village centre), Tanay

Minor jumpoff: Sitio Cablao Brgy. Pagsangahan, General Nakar

LLA: 14°36′48.5′′N 121°26′19.5′′ E, 739 MASL (+600)

Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2.5-4 hours

Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 1-3

Features: Tropical forest, limestone formations, river trek


Our itinerary:

01:30Meet up at Mcdo La Salle Taft

0200 ETA Barangay Daraitan

0500 ETD Barangay Hall, Process registration

0600 Short Orientation

0630 Start trek up Mt. Daraitan

1030 ETA summit. Explore the viewpoints

1100 Lunch

1200 Start descent to Tinipak River

1500 Arrival at Tinipak River. Explore the area including the cave

1630 Proceed to Brgy. Daritan via riverside trail

1800 Head back to Manila via rented Van


Expenses :

P6000.00 – per Van (back and forth DLSU-Tanay)

P25.00-per head registration

P20.00-Environmental fee at Tinipak River

P500.00-per Tour Guide (Maximum of 10 per Guide

Contact Person: Kuya Willie (Tourguide President) -09069533470

We were all on work 24th of  February 2016. And with the call time of 01:30am, I doubt if all of us gain a sufficient number of hours sleep. At the very last minute, the comprehensive number of participants is twenty-six. We were all complete exactly 02:00 am at Mcdonalds near La Salle. They were all compliant maybe because of the excitement about this new experience will bring them.

As we leave Manila, the weather is great and just perfect for the hike. Because most of us rise very early and even I almost got only an hour to sleep, we decided to take a nap at the Van while heading to Tanay. As Kuya driver said, it will take two hours and a half to get there.

As we woke up around 05:50 am, we found out that we were almost there at the registration area. And to our shocked, the rain is showering not drizzle but sporadically heavy. Deep in my heart, I am really worried about these people that I supposed to introduce to this kind of activity. I’ve been there once, hiking on a very slippery and muddy trail and It wasn’t easy. But the hike must go on. Sabi ko “Bahala na si Batman” , “Tiwala na lang sa Tourguide”.

I processed the registration (P25.00 per head). The name should all be listed in the log book separate the male from female.

They assigned three guides for us since we were twenty-six. They were Kuya Hapon, Daddy Max and Kuya Albert. It’s good that they were all male. Given the situation and circumstances, I am sure that we will be needing their strength and patience.

Our group needs to buy raincoats because we do not trust the forecast that there will be rain shower for that day : )

The lesson there, check the weather bulletin and believe in it. The orientation was conducted by the President of tour guide association himself (Sir Willie). This is the advantage of being him the contact person. He prioritizes us to be included in the first 300 hikers (Daraitan limits 300 persons per assault every weekend and holidays).

The trekking started. As per our guide, we will be using the long trail for the benefits of the newbies. In here, the assault is lesser than the other one.12794325_1149095961801735_2761046694043662646_n

And as expected, as you go higher, the difficulty becaming higher as well. The trail is getting steeper and rockier. Our guide joking, telling us to use GPS (Gapang Para Safe).12795376_1149096181801713_1117838099524223417_n

Along the way, there were parts that you’ll be enjoying the scenery of the giant Sierra Madre. Abot tanaw ang ganda. As per our tour guide, Sierra Madre is not open for trekking as of this moment. I look forward being there someday if God’s permit, I tell myself.Daraitan

The rain is falling even harder. The wind breeze touches our skin.Until we reached the summit.

Starting to look at the never ending beauty of nature makes this all worth it

It’s cold indeed.12800249_1149096185135046_5906701195822149804_n

After 30 minutes, we decided to go down into the campsite to take a snap lunch. “Libreng  Sabaw”, says my co-hikers. The rain straight to our foods. But well, we have to eat. The descents will be very difficult if we were hungry.

Then we started the very difficult part of the hike, traverse going to the Tinipak River. That was a cute combination of challenging and risky descent.12802714_1149116315133033_4145749902968774094_n

But all in all, the experience is great.

This will reveal who you really are, what you truly wanted and a lot more of you as a person in your most tough time.

After four hours, we reached the fantastic Tinipak River. Some decided to go and do more buwis buhay, nakakapagod exploration. Some decided to go and rest.12734229_1037441376297768_4280637897761133836_n1460984_1037441766297729_7479513321105422896_nExactly 1830 hours, we traveled back to Manila. As expected, everybody was asleep along the way.


In pain.

But grateful.

Nevertheless, I would like to think that I climb a mountain for a purpose. As much as I can, I always try to figure out the inspiration it provides me. The values we learn and continue learning will always be a great part of my growth and development as a person and as a creation. The art of nature will constantly be more than just a selfie and photography to remember. The encounter with co-hikers, local and different person continually draw a commonness in spite of diversity.

This is me. This is my hiking story…



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