Ride & Hike to Daraitan

If you’ve ever played an RPG, you know that sometimes you just have to go back to a place you’ve already visited because you missed something very important. Maybe your skill level wasn’t enough yet to handle the obstacles or maybe the time just wasn’t right to visit a certain destination. Or maybe you just like the place so much that you want to visit it again. That’s the case for me with Daraitan, the scenic village nestled in the Sierra Madre mountain ranges between Tanay, Rizal and General Nakar, Quezon.

I’ve been here several times before, but each trip always brings something new. The first time, we hiked to Daraitan River and Tinipak Rocks. During that ride, I had to leave my scooter up on the highway because I was afraid of driving down solo on the rough roads. I ended up hitchhiking with a truck driver to get down to the community. The second time I went by mountain bike through the Laiban trail, which was another awesome adventure. However, those were just day trips because of our limited time.

I’ve been itching to drive my own motorcycle and camp overnight somewhere in order to hike up Mt. Daraitan. But the popularity of the mountain for hikers especially during peak summer season discouraged me. I also had to practice driving off-road first and do some adjustments on my bike Fenrir after Motobuilds to make him easier and more practical to drive. Last weekend, everything came together into one perfect ride, complete with a relaxing stay at a hidden eco-lodge in the mountains, a visit to a cave worthy of Tomb Raider and a stunning view of the sea of clouds from the mountain’s summit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Jacq, a friend from UP’s Outdoor Recreation Group (ORG) had set-up an eco-lodge near Daraitan, which Art and I planned to make as a base for our hiking trip. From Quezon City, the ride through Marilaque is pretty straightforward. Traffic was surprisingly light along Marikina for a Friday. After late breakfast at Cafe Katerina, we steeled ourselves for the Makaira-Daraitan Road, which is roughly a 15 kilometer stretch going down to the community. However, going down from the paved highway to the rough road wasn’t as bad as I expected. I seem to remember the road being really bad from my last visit, about 70% rough road and only 30% paved, which is a pretty bumpy ride even if you’re on a jeep or a habal-habal.

I guess the place is really becoming more popular because it seems that there are more concrete sections in between the stretches of gravel and dusty roads going downhill. Driving back up the next day was more challenging though since we had to wake up at 3 am and had just gone on back-to-back hikes to two peaks.

I still find it a bit scary driving up steep portions of the roads especially if there are other vehicles going the opposite direction. What’s great about motorcycling compared to commuting is you’re not bound by the schedules of the jeeps and tricycles. You can also stop and admire the view from several vantage points.

It took a lot of concentration to keep the bike balanced and not skid. It helped a lot that Fenrir’s knobby tires were suited to the terrain. I felt their cushioning as they easily scrambled over the gravel road.

Art faced more of a challenge on his much heavier Royal Enfield whose smooth road tires slipped a lot on the stones and ruts, but we both managed to keep our balance and get to our destination and back without any untoward incidents.

I’m just really thankful that the weather was good during the weekend because I wouldn’t want to attempt driving there during the rainy season. I can imagine how bad that road gets coated in slick mud and rocks. The view of the community and mountains below was pretty rewarding though, as was the view of the Mt. Daraitan from the riverside once we got down.

Kuta Bungliw Eco-Lodge & Campsite

From the Barangay Hall at Daraitan, we made our way to Kuta Bungliw, Jacq’s homestead and Eco-lodge that offers visitors a base camp for various outdoor activities in the area including camping, hiking, river trekking and swimming, caving, and bird watching and photography. Named after a local tree (Bungliw) which is abundant in the camp’s environs, the space is ideal for outdoorsy types who want a semi-private and remote location with view of the mountains and river below.

The site is located on top of a hill, 300 meters above sea level. Geographically, it’s located in Gen. Nakar, Quezon, but the easiest access is through Daraitan. Due to its elevation, mornings and nights are cold and the view is superb. However, getting here is a 15-20 minute hike from the vehicle’s jump-off point so we had to park our bikes in one of the houses near the barangay hall. Many houses now offer secure parking for about P20/motorcycle per day or P100 for cars (if overnight). From there, you can ride a tricycle to a nearer part of the dirt access roads or just hike the rest of the way for about 15-20 minutes.

Kuta Bungliw is best for couples and small groups who want a refreshing getaway but don’t want to do full-blown camping or can’t bring a lot of camping gear. They have several pocket campsites and open air huts along with the convenience of comfort rooms and water facilities. Tents are also available for rent.

Photo courtesy of Kuta Bungliw

Since their huts are limited, walk-ins are not allowed and reservations are required. They have a kitchen with cooking and eating utensils, solar powered light and outlets (limited), a flowing mini-pool, 3 toilets and bathrooms, a bonfire pit and view decks. We arrived past noon, so it was great to cool down with a dip in the pool. My favorite spot here is the treehouse-like view deck with a hammock, perfect for afternoon siestas.

After settling in and resting a bit, we walked back to the village to get some supplies for the next day. We wanted to trek to Tinipak Rocks again, but the Tanay tourism has imposed very strict fees on a lot of the sites. Even if you’ve been to the place before, they require guides per group (P500), which can be steep if there are just 1-2 people.

We decided to just have a snack and wade around Daraitan River. The water level was pretty low but you can really see how clear the water is. There’s a new hanging bridge here that serves as a walkway for people to cross when the water level for the normal bridge is too high. Some kids were even jumping off the hanging bridge.

For city folk like us, just buying basic supplies like beer from the village and going back to the lodge already felt like a minor climb. But it was a leisurely trek compared to the real hike the next day.

NEXT POSTS:

Part 2: Hiking to Mt. Daraitan
Part 3: Hiking to Atburan Rockies

HOW TO GET THERE:

Via private transportation/car/motorcycle:

  • Make your way to the Tanay-Infanta Road via the Tanay-Sampaloc Road or Marcos Highway/Marilaque
  • Drive along the Tanay-Infanta Road and take a left turn on the Makaira-Daraitan dirt road with a sign that leads to Mt. Daraitan.
  • Follow the road until you reach the river crossing and wooden bridge.
  • You need to pay P20 for motorcycle or P50 per car to cross the bridge.
  • Follow the road and turn left to get to the Brgy. Hall.
  • The last stretch going to Kuta Bungliw is not accessible to motorcycles or cars. You can park your vehicles in one of the houses in the poblacion (secure parking is available for P20/motorcycles per day or P100 for cars if overnight)
  • From Brgy. Hall to Kuta Bungliw jump off/Irid, ride trike (P25/person) or walk for 25-30 mins. You can also bring mountain bikes but you will have to push your bikes up in some sections.
  • Travel time is roughly 2 to 3 hours depending on the traffic and your pace.

Via public transportation:

From EDSA-Shaw

  • Take a jeep from EDSA-Shaw to Tanay, Rizal (1.5 – 2 hrs; P50)
  • Get off at Tanay Public market and go to jeepney terminal; Take a jeep to Sampaloc, Tanay (30 mins)
  • Take a tricycle or hire a habal-habal to Brgy. Daraitan (P100/person; 30-45 mins)
  • When you arrive at Daraitan River, cross the bridge to the other side and take a trike (P10/person – 5 mins) to the Daraitan Barangay hall
  • From Brgy. Hall to Kuta Bungliw jump off/Irid, ride trike (P25/person) or walk for 25-30 mins.
  • Allot 3-4 hours travel time because of stops and delays

From Cubao:

  • From Cubao Aurora Blvd, ride a jeep to Cogeo Gate 2 (P24) First trip is 5:30 am.
  • At the end of the ride, walk to the intersection, turn right to the road up to reach Sampaloc Tanay jeep terminal (that’s after the Wet Market). First trip is 5:30am.
  • Ride a jeep (P65) to Sampaloc. From Sampaloc, walk past the intersection towards Shell gas station.
  • Across Shell is the Daraitan TODA trike & habal terminal (ride only w/ Daraitan TODA). Trike to brgy hall is P300/trike/max 5 passengers. Habal habal is P100/habal/max 2 passengers.
  • From Brgy. Hall to Kuta Bungliw jump off/Irid, ride trike (P25/person) or walk for 25-30 mins.

LOCATION:

For reservation or inquiries, send PM to Kuta Bungliw Eco Lodge and Campsite page or contact 0915.595.9988.

7 thoughts on “Ride & Hike to Daraitan

  1. I enjoy reading you posts about hikes and places to go, it would be useful to have the longitude and latitude of many of the places especially for the hiking ones.

    • Hi Rob. Thanks for the comment and suggestion. Usually I just embed the location on Googlemaps, but I’ll consider putting that information in future posts when I talk about hiking destinations. Will be writing a separate post on the actual climb up Mt. Daraitan. 🙂

  2. Kayanin kaya ng Honda Wave yung kalsada papunta sa Daraitan hall? Been here a year ago pero via tricycle, at hindi ko napasok yung cave dahil sa habaaaaa ng pila 🙁

    • Hi DJ, may sections of rough road pa rin but overall roads are much better now. Kaya naman siguro as long as hindi umulan or sobrang maputik. May nakita akong naka-park na mga scooters malapit sa Daraitan river. I think kaya ng Mio Fino ko, so kaya na rin ng Honda Wave.

  3. Hi, Kara,
    Next time, pass by for a good meal or cold drinks by the Sampaloc River, horseback riding, other outdoor activities &/or avail of our family/group lodging (max 27 pax) or camping/workshop/prenupt & other facilities @paninapfarms – along Sampaloc-Daraitan road, 5 km before the Umiray River junction. We’re also building a Rock Science Museum (open 2018) to complete your next trek to Daraitan.
    From the Ferrer Family
    Call 09157877428
    facebook/paninapfarms.com

  4. Pingback: Hike to Mt. Daraitan | Travel Up

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