Isang Sakay Lang: Daranak and Batlag Falls

I’ve never seen a waterfall until two Saturdays ago. “Isang sakay lang”(just one ride) was all it takes for Airine ( a friend from the QA team) and I to agree on packing our bags on the way to Tanay, Rizal.

Our wandering feet threaded the deadly pedestrian lane where a recent accident happened to get to the waiting spot for jeepneys going to Tanay, Rizal.  Honestly, I did not consult my geography book nor google maps to see how far the town of Tanay is from Rockwel Business Center in Ortigas Avenue. I was holding on to Kimmee’s words “Isang sakay lang”.  At the end of the journey, Kimmee did keep her word. It was indeed just one ride from Ortigas to Tanay, Rizal.  It’s just that it was some two hours of butt-numbing jeepney ride!
Rizal is a mountainous province perched on the western slopes of the southern portion of the Sierra Madre mountain range. We’ve passed through Cainta, Antipolo, Teresa, Morong and Baras before finally reaching the town of Tanay. The view on the way to Tanay was really great!  After Antipolo, where the city seems to be busy, the road became less congested and we’ve seen more of nature’s beauty.  We’ve passed through the curves along the mountains of Rizal.  We’ve seen a great view of the vast green land down the hills.  It was also cold and the breeze was refreshing. It cleanses the lungs from the pollutants of the city.
We had lunch at Chowking in Tanay Market.  It was a hearty lunch after a very long drive.  On the other hand the weather wasn’t  really cooperative. A shower rinsed the dusty road that made the air thick and humid. After filling our empty tummy, we crossed the street to have a quick look at a factory outlet. Since we were not really that prepared for this one-ride impromptu kind of trip, I bought myself a pair of slippers and pants. After a quick shopping spree at the factory outlet we headed out to Save More for bottled water and some chips.

From Tanay Market, one has to hire a tricycle to get to the entrance of the state-managed Daranak Falls. Since Kimmee was the one who brought us to Tanay with her “isang sakay lang” pitch, we have her do the negotiation. She sealed the deal at Php 50.00/person (x4).  She also had the driver pick us up at around 4 or 5 in the afternoon. According to Kimmee, it was already a good deal because the going rate is at Php 200 per trip.  The driver’s initial asking price was Php 300. The other choice was to take a jeep and drop off at the big sign that says “To Daranak Falls” and take a 2.5 Km walk/hike. Hence, the Php 200  deal was all good for the four of us.

The tricycle ride was in itself a feature/highlight of the trip. Just imagine the four of us fitting into a tricycle.  What made it more of a challenge is the non-stop rain keeping the temperature cool. The wet feeling made it colder.

Kimmee and the backpacking geek
Just imagine fitting the four of us in this tricycle!

Right after the wet and bumpy ride, we arrived!

Welcome to Daranak Falls!

The State-managed park charges visitors Php 20.00.

The park is only open from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon.  Better plan your trip/activities ahead.  IN case you want to stay overnight you can stay at Batlag Falls.  It is a private property with huts you can rent for the entire night.

This is not the hut I am talking about for overnight stay.  This is a hut downstream from Daranak Falls catch basin.  But just in case you are  to sleep at night in this hut, would you be able to sleep?
Stream below the bridge.  You have to cross a bridge as soon as you enter the park.
Crossing the stream to Batlag Falls

I though this was the way across the river hehehe.  There’s an old wooden bridge pala! You got to be careful because it’s old, its kind of brittle and slippery when wet!

Okay! so this is the right way

Daranak Falls is a big falls coming from Batlag Falls upstream.  Whatever is flowing from Batlag goes to Daranak. We decided to see Batlag falls first since we will pass by Daranak on our way back.

To get to Batlag Falls you have to take a 5-10 minute steep hike.

The start of the 5 minute hike
after a couple of minutes…

The scenery of the steep slope to Batlag Falls.

poor frog! Ang mga nangyayari daw sa mga “echuserang frogs”
My second attempt to macro photography.  Not even sure it it can be called such!

And finally, we reached the gate!

According to most of the blogs Kimmee read before she tricked us via “isang sakay lang!” pitch, Batlag falls is better than Daranak.

Since it is a private property, the fee is relatively higher.  We paid Php 50.00 each.  According to the “manong” who welcomed us,overnight is allowed.  There are concrete cottages that can be rented.  I just forgot the prices he quoted. Anyway, I will update this page as soon as I get the info. We have plans of going back during the summer!

The welcome party!
crossing another bridge
First look at Batlag Falls

There are four falls in Batlag.

Getting closer to the falls…

crossing to get a closer look and feel
I found an old bottle of Tanduay Ice! I hope people are responsible  in keeping these resources clean!
Tables and chairs are all over the place.

You can make  use of the tables and chairs all around the place.  Some are on the shallow portion of the stream so you can eat while feeling the light tickling sensation from the smooth flow of cold water from the falls.

The cold water will really invite you to take a dip! The thing is, the rain just stopped when we arrived. The water at the top of the mountain came rushing in via Batlag Falls.  The water became dangerous.  Ang lakas ng tubig. Parang may bagyo lang! The strong gush of water resulted to the erosion of the river banks.  Ang ending ay isang choco fondue at choco lava!

Choco Lava!
The choco fondue! after the rain

We didn’t have the opportunity to take a dip on the cold water of the falls.  More than the discoloration of the water, swimming was prohibited due to the danger it may cause.  Of course we don’t want to go home in a body bag so we decided to just take pictures!

According to the care taker of the falls, the place has been featured in most of GMA 7’s fantaseryes.  The enchanting view of the falls made it the perfect setting for fantasy-themed soap operas like Encantadia.

Some props that were left behind from a fantaserye shoot

Nature trip is one of the things I love to do when I’m traveling. I enjoy seeing the wonders of mother nature more than the marvels created my mankind.  It’s nice to relax on places where peace can be found.

After the adventure of going to Tanay, it was time to pack and go home!

Rock Balancing! We were amazed by these work of arts! No glue or something, just plain balancing!
Siguradong BABALIK PO!
The hike to the relatively stable grounds before riding the tricycle!

It’s getting dark and we’re absolutely tired yet happy! With all the hiking and trekking, we needed the energy to go back to the city.  We asked for places to eat local food.  The guy who’s cleaning the shower area suggested that we try Parola or Halaman.  Parola (light house) is a restaurant serving local dishes.  It was called Parola becasue its just beside a lighthouse. We decided to have dinner at Halaman because it’s along the road with jeepneys plying the Tanay-Crossing (Shaw Blvd.) route.

Chopsuey-Ang crispy ng veggie at juicy
Crispy liempo (I think), pork in sour soup and grilled eggplant in shrimp paste

The dinner was superb! The soup’s sourness was perfect! and the rice serving was just enough for all the food we ordered!

It was time to go home.

After the meal, the total bill for each of the four of use was just Php 170!

Then there’s the Isang Sakay to Crossing (Shaw Boulevard).  I crossed EDSA on foot (well naka slippers) while my shoes were hanging on to my backpack. It was a bit awkward carrying my shoe on the bus to Makati so I went inside Star Mall to fit all my stuff in my backpack and put my stinking (LOL) shoes in the plastic bag.

When I reached home, I took a shower and crashed on my bed.  I woke up the next morning fresh and ready for another trip!

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