57 kilometers east of Manila lay one of the most underrated towns (in my opinion) that go by name of ‘Tanay’ in the province of Rizal. This picturesque municipality takes so much pride in their natural wonders, and rightfully so. The place is undoubtedly blessed with beautiful people, good food and amazing geography feats. To enumerate a few; a modest yet classic lighthouse, a historical yet enchanted cave, some religious grottos, a couple of mystical water falls, the cleanest body of water in the entire region IV and their own portion of Sierra Madre Mountain Range. If these aren’t enough reasons to entice you to visit the town, how about: Unlike some of the most famous tourists destinations in the country, Tanay would not require you to spend a small fortune (at least if you live somewhere in Manila) to have a ball in a town teeming with natural beauty as well as filled with exhilarating adventures. How about that?
Tucked away in the idyllic barangay of San Isidro P. Burgos is this modestly architectured lighthouse, fondly referred to as ‘the Parola’ by the locals. Built in the 1960’s, it served as a beacon to fisher men for some decades until its retirement in 2012. The Parola might have relinquished its initial purpose which is to be, ‘the guardian angel of the fisher folks at night’ but it carried on as a notable landmark for the town people and tourists alike.
Entrance fee: No entrance fee
If you are a catholic, the very idea of Mama Mary’s image right on top of these 200+ steps is enough to endure the exhilarating yet tiring climb. But if you aren’t, the amazing view of the city skyline and the Sierra Madre Mountain Range can probably seduce you. But don’t take my word for it, climb the steps and see for yourself.
Entrance fee: No entrance fee
If you want a fusion of history and adventure, Calinawan Cave is the perfect spot. Apparently, the cave played an essential role during the II World War both for the Filipino Guerillas and Japanese soldiers. There’s so much going on in this cave hence I deemed it best not to give away interesting historical details. Your would-be tour guide could explain everything a whole lot better once you’re there. As for the adventure part, the levels 1 and 2 of the cave boast amazing stalactites, stalagmites, columns and some wonderful mineral formations. Navigating through the dark chambers of the 1st and 2nd level is not that hard. However, the 3rd, 4th and 5th levels seemingly present sweet challenges for serious spelunkers and cavers. Unfortunately for me and my companions, the lower levels were a bit flooded and not navigable at the time of our visit due to the fact that it was a rainy season. Bummer!
Entrance Fee: P20 (They call it Environmental Fee by the way) / P200 tour guide
A couple of dirt and rough roads away from Calinawan Cave are the breath taking Daranak Falls. This approximately 45 ft. gorgeous water falls is so alluring that when it invites you to dive to its 6 ft. sea foam green basin you would not be able to resist. This wonderful nature feat is perfect for family outings or quick weekend getaway.
Entrance Fee: P50 (Adult and Children)/ Picnic Shed: P300 / Picnic Table: P200
Not far from Daranak Falls, approximately a fifteen-minute ascend to the much more elevated part of Tanay is the mystical Batlag Water Falls. Being privately owned, Batlag is far less crowded than Daranak, but be warned that you have to pay additional 100 pesos in order to gain access. But if you truly are a nature lover, the additional payment is nothing compared to what actually awaits you. I strongly encourage you to add this site on your ‘must see’ list. Before you reach Batlag Falls, you’d come across a shallow pond and a couple of mini water falls along the way. The trees surrounding these bodies of water create some sort of enchanted vibe.
Entrance Fee: P100- Adult / P50- Children / P200-Table / P300-Cottage/ P200-Overnight fee (If you are on a tight budget, no need to rent a cottage or a table. You can put your belongings on any clean surface where you can keep an eye on them.)
Tinipak River, Rock Formation and Cave
If there’s one place that draws me to Tanay, it is this loving village of Daraitan. The view is amazing it left me lost for words. Teeming with beautiful sights and activities that would challenge your endurance, one would thoroughly have the time of their lives. This is a hidden paradise.
Environment Fee: P20 for the province of Rizal / P20 for the province of Quezon/ P500 tour guide
How to get there: This is quite complicated. There is more than one option to go to Tinipak. Click the link https://travellingdogfairy.wordpress.com/2015/12/28/travel-guide-hidden-paradise-of-daraitan-tanay/ for a comprehensive detail.
How to get there:
- From Star Mall Terminal/ Edsa Crossing Terminal, take a jeepney /UV Express going to Tanay Terminal. Transportation fare is roughly around P60 per person.
- Once in Tanay Terminal, charter a tricycle (if you want to visit these places for a day). We were charged P700 for a one-day tour. Excluding Tinipak River, Cave and Rock Formation.
If you have any questions, hit the comment section below and I would gladly answer them. Have a safe trip, travellers!