Rizal · Travel Adventures

The Tinipak River Adventure

Traveling in Tanay, Rizal will not be complete without paying a visit to Tinipak River, one of the best destinations in the town. Rich in natural attractions, you will be entertained with the marble rock formations and enjoy a refreshing swim in the cool, clear spring waters.

Tinipak River was awarded as the cleanest inland body of water in the CALABARZON region. Let us help preserve it by keeping it clean… and leaving only memories behind. 

This article shares some travel tips based on our experiences in February 2016. My bestfriend, Lenei, decided to celebrate her birthday there. With Kuya Gelo and our friends, we packed our bags, enjoyed each moment and created good memories.

Getting There

If you are going out in a big group, hiring a private vehicle may be more convenient, especially on an unexpected rainy day.

If you opt to commute, here are some tips:

  • From McDonald’s-Crossing (near Pavilion and Teleperformance), proceed to the terminal at Unilever (EDSA Central Crossing) and take a jeepney ride bound to Tanay (Php58.00). An alternative ride would be through vans that are available at the Starmall in Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong (Php70.00).
  • Drop off at the Tanay Public Market and hire a tricyle good for 4-5 persons.  Travel time to Brgy. Daraitan is approximately 45 minutes- 1 hour. You will pass by major rough roads which could add fun to the adventure. However, the roads become muddy when it rains.

Registration and Orientation at the Barangay Hall

  • All visitors are required to register at the Barangay Hall of Brgy. Daraitan and attend an orientation prior to the trek. A local guide is designated to each group. Our guides, Ate Ana and Paul, met us at the covered court and asked our preferred destinations (i.e. Mt. Daraitan, Mt. Mamara or Tinipak River). We chose to visit Tinipak River only. 
  • The best time to go here is on a dry season. But of course, since it is now a popular tourist destination, expect a heavy crowd during summer, holidays and weekends.  
  • In case it rains, there’s “kapote” on the rescue! Yes, it was unexpectedly stormy the moment we arrived. So we bought raincoats sold at P60.00 to protect our bags (after several minutes, the sun shone with few rainshowers, haha).
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Ready to take the challenge! (Photo Credits: Mar Zeus Katigbak)
  • In the community, you will find stores, eateries (some selling barbecues, some offering lomi), souvenir stores, comfort rooms, “paliguan,” and lots of guyabano trees!

Trekking the Narrow Winding Path

From the jumpoff, the trek takes about an hour (one way) depending on your pace. For beginners, this may sound like “whhaatt?” But the walk will all be worth it, especially if you are a nature lover. Just to give a glimpse, here are some of our precious encounters:

  • Passing by Mt. Mamara, a small mountain which could be trekked for approximately 3 hours from the entry point to the exit point. It was raining back then so we decided to skip this at the moment.
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Photo Credits: Mar Zeus Katigbak
  • Splendid rock boulders scattered along the river. It seems that big giants threw rock boulders at each other, and the rocks dropped at distal and closer proximity. But collectively, they look exquisite and creative the way they are… and where they are!
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Photo Credits: Mar Zeus Katigbak
  • Mountain goats in action! They really climbed the steep slope.

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  • A brook with clean and clear spring water. Nobody is allowed to take a bath and do laundry here. So, water is potable.

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  • Seeing Mt. Daraitan adorned with luscious vegetation, and the huge marble rock formations.

The brook will remind you that you are near the Tinipak Camping Ground. We registered inside a store offering snacks and meals. Our guide, Paul, granted our request to steam the fish we bought at Tanay market and bring it to the campsite.

As with any journey, trekking Tinipak does not promise smooth paths. 😀 It also entails a challenge which may require pounds of courage and positivity. Since the ground was muddy and slippery due to rainshowers, we descended several segments of narrow wooden ladders and white, slippery rock boulders with extra (as in super duper) care. One of our companions managed to save my bestfriend’s birthday cake despite having slipped and getting out of balance on a muddy trail (haha). Kudos!

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Since rain is inevitable, it is recommended that you wear trekking sandals for balance and safety. Shoes get heavier and its sole gets slippery when wet or soaked in mud.

Spelunking, Swimming and Mini-Waterfalls

  • If spelunking is on top of your to-do list, the guide will bring you to the resting grounds near the cave to lay your things. We chose to stay beside the river, where a strong vine (“baging“) clings from the rock. Our friends enjoyed doing the “Tarzan” moves a lot of times, swinging to and fro a rock where they land.

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  • The tour at Maytuntong (Tinipak) Cave takes about 20 minutes to reach the infinity pool. After appreciating the stalactites, stalagmites, helictites and crystal-like carbonates, enjoy a refreshing swim from cool flowing spring water in the pool. This experience is best captured by a waterproof camera. The guides lend flashlights for a fee, hence, it would be ideal to bring your own flashlights. Also, it is recommended you choose spelunking early in the morning; on peak seasons, lines of people get longer as time progresses.
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Wooden bridges have been installed on boulders to aid visitors safely towards the cave entrance. During our visit last year (2015), visitors muster courage to do rapelling and climb these boulders (Photo Credits: Angelo Aguiling)
  • Take pictures with the marble rock formations on the background. This is not a common sight, so make sure you take a creative remembrance. 

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  • Bathe in the waterfalls. There are two mini-falls in the area. One  flows with strong current (perhaps due to the rains), so be extra careful you won’t be carried away. Our guide warned us of our safety everytime we attempted to cross the strong current (crossing it is surely an achievement! haha). The other mini-falls is layered and is situated beside coral-like rocks which is ideal for picture-taking. Need a relaxing head and back massage? Just position your back against the flowing water and let the therapeutic hand of nature bring you relief.

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Photo Credits: Angelo Aguiling

Our team celebrated my bestfriend’s birthday after the morning swim; thankfully, the cake was unharmed! :). We shared our potluck (mostly, adobo cooked the Batangas way, Cavite way and Tinipak way) and enjoyed the hot and freshly steamed fish.

Cliff Diving and the Natural Pool

For those who love cliffdiving, Tinipak River will make your outdoor experience complete. Our guide led us to another place which I call the “serenity pool” because water runs calmly and quietly. Here, cliffdiving from approximately 20 feet is allowed, which some of our friends enjoyed doing.

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Towards the cam, natural pool… the hidden paradise
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Overlooking the natural pool from the cliff (Photo Credits: Mar Zeus Katigbak)

The natural pool was indeed a hidden paradise. Its greeny, calm waters blend with the huge marble rock formations standing on both sides of the river. We enjoyed dipping and wading in the cool waters for the remaining hours. If you are a good swimmer, you may swim until the deep portions near the wooden bridge. Life vests were not available so we stayed in waist-deep areas.

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We just can’t hide the smiles on our faces (Photo Credits: Angelo Aguiling)
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Photo Credits: Mar Zeus Katigbak

Heading Back to Daraitan Barangay Hall

Because it was again drizzling, we opted to cross the river (the natural pool) with our bags over our shoulders or head instead of climbing back to the wooden ladders. Sooner, we crossed another wooden bridge and hiked a rocky trail until we reached the main trail leading to the barangay hall.

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Exhausted but happy and satisfied… 🙂 (Photo Credits: Mar Zeus Katigbak)
Our travel that day was indeed jampacked with adventure. Tinipak River is a place to be. 🙂
Sample Itinerary and Expenses (As of February 2016)
Time Activity Expenses per head
4:30AM Departure from Guadalupe P275.00 – Van Rental @ P5,500/ 20 pax
6:30AM Arrival at Tanay Public Market; marketing (optional)
7:00AM Departure from Tanay Public Market
8:00AM Arrival at Brgy. Daraitan; registration at the Brgy. Hall P20.00 – Registration fee

P50.00 – Guide fee – 1 guide for group of 10 @ P500)

8:30AM Orientation; start of trek
9:15AM Arrival at Tinipak Camping Ground
P25.00 – Registration fee
9:30AM Arrival at Tinipak River; cave, swimming, photo ops P5.00 – Cave entrance fee

P30.00 – Flashlight

12:00NN Lunch
1:00NN Swimming at natural pool, cliffdiving (optional)
2:00PM Departure from Tinipak River
3:00PM Arrival at the Brgy. Daraitan Hall
6:00PM Arrival in Manila
TOTAL EXPENSES = P405.00
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The lakwatseros, meeting new friends, created new memories 🙂

Related post:

Touring Tanay and Pililla Wind Farms

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