Hiking has become a hobby of mine and I’ve climbed a number of mountains before. Although I mostly do day hikes, I can say I’ve pushed myself to the limits. But lately, I’ve questioned myself about why am I doing it. Our last hike in Mt. Daraitan proved a challenge for me. Was it just the trail or is it me aging? I love nature but I hate the exhaustion. I’m looking for the rush and pushing of limits but when the exhaustion comes I tend to question my adventure.
I won’t forget my first climb in these parts of Rizal. We were supposed to climb Mt. Daraitan, but climbed Mt. Mamara instead, due to the high count of people climbing the prior. Our hike was a challenge. It rained hard and made the trail muddy and slippery. It was also the first time I organized a climb with a huge number of attendees. I was anxious, thinking of the things that might happen. Bad things happened. But despite it all, I’ve learned from that experience.
KUTA BUNGLIW X MT. DARAITAN
Our hike to Mt. Daraitan and Atburan Rockies was arranged by Kuta Bungliw. The guide picked us up at around 3:00 A.M. It rained the day before so the trail was muddy and slippery. A pile of mud started to stick to our shoes and made every step heavy and hard to grip.
It was still dark when we left Kuta Bungliw. We only had our lights to light our path. Our guide pointed upwards and we saw the silhouette of Daraitan’s Summit. We were still far but we have our wills to carry on.
The next steps became more challenging. It was getting steeper and harder to breathe. We reached the peak in time for the sunrise. We were in awe of what we had seen. One by one, we climbed the limestone rocks at Daraitan’s peak to have a better view. We took a gaze around the mountain and it left us breathless. Sea of clouds everywhere. It covered all the valleys in the area. I can’t help but stare long and be grateful for the experience. It was dramatic. The sunlight hit the clouds and birds flew in front of us. I can’t describe the feeling, it was a view to see.
It’s hard to leave the peak but we still have another landscape to conquer. We traversed to the other side to reach our next destination.
The Rockies is part of Mt. Atburan, a mountain just beside Mt Daraitan. It is a newly explored destination for hikers and nature lovers. I don’t know what to expect there. I didn’t see any photos of the place, so I’m curious and pumped up to go there.
We descended Mt. Daraitan and reached the low point again. We trekked and trekked, seeing grasslands and waterfalls. Then finally, we reached the base of Mt. Atburan. The trail to the Rockies looked ancient. You could see that it is still untouched—plants are high which leave the trail covered, insects lurking around you and there’s silence in the forest. I’ve seen different kinds of things that tickled my curiosity. Seashells on the ground, different-looking seeds (or fruits?) from a tree, and the mysterious limestones around the area. It felt like an expedition to unknown lands. Like Indiana Jones, searching for hidden treasures and civilizations.
I was getting tired and my legs were getting sore. Luckily, my foot injury did not persist. Huge limestones started to show on our path. Finally, it’s the Rockies! It looked like a stronghold from The Lord of the Rings where mythical creatures stay and are on guard. The limestones formed an enclosure that felt like a place to rest on. After a few more steps, we reached the outer limestones which showed a magnificent view of Mt. Daraitan. The limestones were sharp which made it hard for us to sit on them. Despite that, we endured appreciating the view in front of us.
Looking back at Daraitan made me appreciate the decisions and actions I made. Just seeing the distance and elevation we’ve traveled, all of it was worth trying again (Just not on the same day though. Haha!)
BACK TO BASE
Despite my aching legs, I pushed myself to return back to Kuta Bungliw. I thought of our breakfast as an inspiration to move on. Haha! As we continued our descent, I realized that I’m not a “Harkor”, but a nature lover, willing to test his limits to see the world’s wonders. Another important answer to my question is this: I neglected PREPARATION. I did not run and did not bring enough rations, that’s why I was exhausted. Note to self: never ever do this again. XD
I’ve been wanting to climb Mt. Daraitan before but it always got canceled. It is an achievement for me to finally conquer this mountain. Our hike in Mt. Daraitan and Atburan Rockies deepened my understanding of my experiences of climbing mountains.
ALSO CHECK OUT MY CLIMB GUIDE TO MT. BATOLUSONG, MT. BALAGBAG, MT. MAYNUBA, MT. KULIS
CLIMB GUIDE & TIPS
This is our itinerary and expenses based on our experience, which includes our overnight stay at Kuta Bungliw. I’ll be adding additional guides below if you will be having a day hike.
- Jump-off: Barangay Daraitan, Tanay
- Elevation: 739+ Meters
- Difficulty: Minor Climb (4/9)
- Hours to Summit: 4 Hours
HOW TO GET THERE:
a. From EDSA Shaw:
- Ride a van at Star Mall Terminal to go to Tanay Market (₱70.00). If a van is still not available, ride a jeepney going to Tanay and drop at Tanay Market (₱50.00). (Travel Time: 1 Hour and 40 Minutes)
- Ride a jeepney in front of Tanay Market to go to Sampaloc Tricycle Terminal. (Travel Time: 30 Minutes; Fare: ₱28.00)
- Ride a tricycle going to the Daraitan (Agos) River. (Travel Time: 40 Minutes; Fare: ₱300.00 for 1-4 Persons)
- Cross bridge or cross via Barge (₱5.00).
- Take a trike going to Daraitan Barangay Hall. (Travel Time: 5 Minutes; Fare: ₱20.00/person)
b. From Cubao:
- Ride Jeepney from Aurora Blvd, Cubao going to Cogeo Gate 2. (Travel Time: 30 Minutes; Fare: ₱24.00)
- Ride Jeepney going to Sampaloc. (Travel Time: 1 Hour and 5 Minutes; Fare: ₱65.00)
- Look for Daraitan TODA. Ride a tricycle going to the Daraitan (Agos) River. (Travel Time: 40 Minutes; Fare: ₱300.00 for 1-4 Persons)
- Cross bridge or cross via Barge (₱5.00).
- Take trike going to Daraitan Barangay Hall. (Travel Time: 5 Minutes; Fare: ₱20.00/person)
- Trekking shoes/slippers
- Trekking Gloves
- Trail Food
- 2-3 Liters of Water
- First Aid Kit
- Insect Repellant
- Packed Lunch
- Guide Fee – ₱500.00 for mountain hiking (1-5 pax) or caving and river trekking (1-10 pax)
- Tourism Fee – ₱30.00
- Environmental Fee – ₱50.00
- Parking Fees – ₱20 for motorcycles, ₱50 for automobiles, and ₱100 for overnight parking
- OR if you don’t want the hassle, you can join MT. DARAITAN DAY HIKE TOUR VIA VIATOR.
CHECK OUT THESE DISCOUNTED/PROMO RATES IN KLOOK:
- Contact Number (Tanay Tourism): 0932 375 7376 (SUN), 0998 988 1590 (SMART)
- Be prepared for a bumpy ride when going from Sampaloc to Daraitan. The road to Daraitan is still not developed and most parts are rugged.
- Guides are required. You can hire them for a day hike or overnight activity.
- The tourism office offers different packages—a twin hike or a river trekking-caving activity, depending on your desired adventure.
- Leave No Trace! Don’t leave your trash anywhere and be responsible for the environment.
- Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Trees cover the trail which serves as protection from direct heat, but when it rains, the trail can be muddy and slippery.
- Although it is day-hike-able, always do some preparations. Run and bring enough snacks and water.
- Shower areas are available in the Barangay. There are some near the Barangay Hall.
- Parking areas are available for those who have private transport.
- If you don’t want the hassle of the fees and securing guides, you can check and plan a stay at Kuta Bungliw. Guides plus food and accommodation are included in their packages.
- Before continuing the climb, make sure that the weather is okay. Climbing Daraitan can be dangerous when the trail is muddy and slippery. You may contact Tanay Tourism for confirmation and follow-ups.