IMG_20130809_075445Right after work, the call center trainer quickly transformed to a hobbit. The get up? Shorts, a hooded jacket, a high-cut Converse shoes, a backpack, and this time, a tent. The heavy eyelids from the night shift suddenly disappeared, replaced with excitement for a whole new adventure.

He took a cab to Starmall on Shaw Boulevard. At 5AM, he found himself in a jeepney of half-awake passengers.

Slowly, the morning unfolded as the jeepney took the zigzag road up the mountain. The cold fresh air slapped the hobbit’s face, bringing to mind the familiar roads to Baguio. His ears popped. His eyes twinkled at the view of the mountains, the valley, and from far away, the crowded megacity. After two hours, he reached his destination: Tanay, Rizal.

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18th Century Church
It was supposed to be a gathering of travel-smitten yuppies, but the group he met on Facebook trooped early to Daraitan. The poor hobbit was left on his own. Well, he got all the time to spare. No company means no long arguments on what to do next and where to go next. So, before taking off to the outskirts of Rizal, he decided to explore the downtown area.

The first stop was Tanay Church, officially named as San Ildefonso de Toledo Parish. This stone church took 10 years to build, starting in 1773. Boasting an impressive 18th century architecture, the church was declared as a National Cultural Treasure Church in 2001 by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

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IMG_20130809_065353IMG_20130809_070744The Beloved Daranak Falls
After a short tour downtown, the hobbit headed back to the public market to catch a jeepney bound for Daraitan. Surprisingly, there aren’t many trips to Daraitan and the jeepneys leave the terminal in the afternoon. It didn’t take much time to figure out the next move—drop by Daranak Falls, a popular summer getaway for the locals of Tanay. The hobbit hopped on a tricycle and asked the driver to take him uphill to the falls. The trip took about 30 minutes. (Entrance fee: P20)

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IMG_20130809_075514The Rough Road to Daraitan
Shortly, the hobbit took a jeepney back to the town. The locals he met in the jeepney gave him a tip on how to easily get to Daraitan: 1) take a habal-habal that will take him fast through the rough roads; or 2) take a jeepney to Sampaloc and then a tricycle from there. Hobbits go for the long ride, so it was the second that won.
194659_127045874069143_777661149_oAt first, the road was calm. Past the highway, however, the road turned crazy for the rest of the ride. It was like hopping on a mad bull on a rodeo show. The hobbit turned pale, worried of where this adventure would take him. It felt like it was a wrong choice for a weekend getaway.

Finally, after about an hour on the rough road, the tricycle stopped by the river. Some locals were having their morning swim. Others were busy with work, loading motorcycles, food, and coconuts in the rafts.4Adventure starts here, he realized.

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HOW TO GET TO DARAITAN:

  1. At EDSA Central Crossing, take a van or a jeepney going to Tanay. Travel time is about 1.5 to 2 hours. The earliest trip is 4AM, and the last trip for the van is 8PM; for the jeepneys, it’s 10PM. The fare is about P50 to P60.
  2. Get off at Tanay Public Market. At the back of the market is a line of jeepneys that travel to different parts of Tanay. The trip to Daraitan is scheduled at 1PM and 3PM. Going back, the jeepneys leave Daraitan at 9AM and after lunch.
  3. If you want to get to Daraitan early, take a jeepney from Tanay market to Sampaloc. The fare is P26. Look for the gasoline station and ask which tricycles go to Daraitan. The fare is P50. You can also take a tricycle going back.
  4. Upon reaching Brgy. Daraitan, you have to cross the river by taking a banca. It’s a two minute ride, the fare is P5. Then take a tricycle to the Barangay Hall where you have to register and pay for the guide. The tricycle fare is P20, and the tour guide fee is P500 pesos (plus 50% for overnight stay).

ArisMape

ArisMape is a travel insider at ABS-CBN's Choose Philippines. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint, and hates beef, slow internet, and long taxi lines. His pastime is watching people watch other people. He swears on the power of smartphone. His half-life? Thirty.