Atburan Rockies is a very raw and unknown site with caverns and towering limestone rock formations hidden in the mountainous region of General Nakar, Quezon. Aside from locals who call it “Kulungang Bato,” the site has only been explored by a handful of outdoor enthusiasts and mountaineers from the UP Outdoor Recreation Group (ORG). In fact, when I was researching about the place, I couldn’t find any existing write-up or background information about the area.
We got to the summit of Mt. Daraitan right after sunrise, that magical golden hour when early morning daylight bathes the landscape in a soft glow. The rays cast a hazy orange hue on one side of the jagged limestone rock formations. As I clambered to the top of one rock facing the East, I got a silhouette view of mountain peaks in the distance. The view of the snaking river below was obscured by a sea of clouds blanketing the rest of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.
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.
Outdoor enthusiasts know Daraitan as a village nestled in the Sierra Madre mountain ranges somewhere between Rizal and Quezon. After visiting the place during a trail run and on a mountain bike ride, Art of Outside Slacker likened it to Rivendell, the Elven realm in Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. After finally seeing the place first-hand, I have to agree. The scenery wouldn’t look out of place in a fantasy film. You get that sense of wonder just walking through the white rock formations and crossing the clear streams snaking through the mountains.