If you live in Manila but you are someone who constantly craves adventure, Rizal is a must visit destination. Less than 2 hours away from the city center, you can find yourself ready to embark on an outdoor adventure. With the Sierra Madre Mountains to its east, Rizal is filled with diverse natural treasures for those who have a wandering soul.
It’s been my third time to visit Rizal, and every time I go there, I am off on a different adventure. For this day trip, we were able to accomplish 5 different activities in one day.
We left BGC, Taguig at 6:30 AM. This was a Tuesday, so traffic was not that heavy as it is counterflow to all the people trying to get into the city for work in the morning. In less than 2hours, we reached the entrance of our first activity: spelunking.
Activity 1: Spelunking in Calinawan Cave
Calinawan Cave is found in Barangay Tandang Kutyo of Tanay, Rizal. As we started driving through the mountains of Rizal, the winding roads filled with lush trees and forests were so picturesque. We visited during the rainy season (July), and all the plants and leaves were in full bloom. Closer to Calinawan Cave, we had to drive through a dirt road with the branches completely covering the path. It was a bit of a rocky ride, but still beautiful. We were lucky, as it was not raining when we visited.
When you reach the entrance of the cave, there is a little hut where you pay your entrance fee, and also get a guide. The costs include rental of a helmet and a flashlight. You are not allowed to enter the cave without a tour guide, as there are chances you might get lost. The good thing is, Calinawan Cave has a rich history which the tour guide can explain in more depth.
The cave name was derived from the word “Kalinawan”, which means ‘clarity’, and it was where the Filipinos held discussions to revolt against the Spaniards. The cave was also used to house civilians during World War II. Aside from the rich history, the different rock formations have been compared to many familiar things: from a T-Rex dinosaur, a Mother Mary statue, a crocodile and many more.
The tour takes around 30minutes, and from there, we decided to go river trekking where the hike starts just at the entrance of the cave.
Tour Guide: Php 200.00
Entrance fee per person: Php 20.00
Activity 2: River Trekking in Calinawan River
In the cave, we had to go on all fours at one point as there were really narrow and low passages. Because it was the rainy season, we ended up muddy in our feet, knees, and hands. It was all part of the adventure! And it did not matter to us as our next activity was river trekking. We wanted to reach Daranak Falls by foot, and the guide told us that there are two ways to get there – by river trekking or by walking over the grotto/ mountain. The mountain had a lot of stairs, so we decided to do the former, and wash off all the mud from the cave.
Just a few meters away from the cave, you come across some ruins. Initially, I thought these were some remnants from WWII, but apparently, they were just leftover props from a movie or TV series that was shot inside the cave.
The trek was not difficult at all, and barely slippery. If kuya was able to do it in flipflops, then I would imagine it to be an easy trek for people of different ages and fitness levels. The trek is quite picturesque – you walk across bamboo filled paths, huge but smooth boulders, and farmland. You can see cows grazing, beautiful birds (we saw a blue kingfisher!), and butterflies. It felt so nice just being there.
After a 30-45minute trek, we reached the entrance of Daranak and Batlag waterfalls.
Tour Guide: Php 300.00
Activity 3: Swimming in Daranak & Batlag Falls
Arriving at the entrance of Daranak and Batlag falls, we could not wait to start swimming in the emerald blue waters. I’ve been chasing waterfalls around Manila, and this was the first time I’ve seen water like this around the area. It is almost comparable to Kawasan Falls in Cebu.
Since we were visiting on a weekday, it was quite empty, and we almost had the place to ourselves. If you do visit on a weekend, get ready to share the place with hundreds of other people. The nice thing about this area is it has been maintained properly by tourism and has everything you need – from cottages to food, and even fresh flowing showers (fresh water straight from the river) and clean toilets.
The only disadvantage of going on a weekday is there is no “real food” being prepared. You will need to walk outside and find food prepared by the vendors outside the entrance.
Both waterfalls are a stone throw away from each other, so you can enjoy both of them at the same time. What I enjoy the most about Daranak and Batlag falls is the ability to play at your own risk. You can go jumping, boulder climbing, and even go do some laps in the water basin at your own risk. You also are not required to wear life jackets. But they are available for rent if you do not know how to swim.
When our fingers and toes started wrinkling, we decided to leave the area and go to our next adventure.
Entrance Fee: Php 50.00
Activity 4: Relaxing and enjoying the view from a Leisure Camp
Just 20minutes drive away from Daranak waterfalls is Ten Cents to Heaven Leisure Camp. This is a perfect place to spend the afternoon because aside from the outdoor adventures offered in this resort, they also have a restaurant overlooking the mountains surrounding Rizal province and it is the best place to just wind down a little and enjoy a local afternoon snack paired with a coffee or tea.
To those of you who do not want to chill, there is a list of activities being offered by the resort which you can do at any given time. Their outdoor adventures include rappelling, hanging bridge, rock wall climbing, free fall, and an air-gun firing range. They also have a swimming pool.
If you are feeling a little bit more competitive, they have an obstacle course which has a centipede walk, zigzag log, tire relay, tug o’ war, rope untie, walls with cargo net, Tarzan swing, and many more. If you do not feel like driving back to Manila on the same day, this resort has accommodation options as well.
Activity 5: Ride the longest Zipline in Luzon
If you’re still not done for the day, embark on the claimed “longest zipline in Luzon” which is one of the activities offered in the resort. It is a 1.2km long zipline and you can either do a sit down, a superman or a tandem.
One-Way: Sit down: Php 500.00; Superman: Php 600.00; Tandem: Php 850.00
Two-Way: Sit down: Php 800.00; Superman: Php 900.00; Tandem: Php 1,150.00
If you eat in the restaurant, the entrance fee to the resort is void. If you just go there to enjoy the place, there is an entrance fee of Php100.00
How to get to Rizal Province
Our choice of travel is through a private vehicle, as you are able to come and leave anytime you want. You can use ‘Waze’ or ‘Google Maps’ app and type in the destination: Calinawan Cave, Daranak Falls, and Ten Cents to Heaven.
For public transportation, you can take a passenger van from Starmall Mandaluyong bound for Tanay. Once you reach Tanay Supermarket, you can ride a jeepney or a UV/FX bound for Antipolo. Once you get off Antipolo, you can ride a jeepney to Tanay. Once you reach Tanay, you can hire a tricycle where the fare starts at Php150.00.
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