Thanks to my very amenable friends for participating to this weekend getaway. Another milestone in our company. We planned this trip as early as January, and it all happened in February 6, 2015. It was a 2 days and 1 night out-of-town trip with friends (travel buddies). Unlike our Pangainan tour, I was the one who organised this one for the group. I researched and we made it possible. I’ve been living in Quezon City for quite sometime now, but this was my first time to visit the very beautiful and very laid-back town of Tanay Rizal.
Tanay Rizal’s close proximity to metropolis would take one and a half hour to two hours depending on the pace of the traffic. It’s very known to tourists and adventure seekers, but obscure to many. Tanay Rizal is a huge municipality in Rizal. Rizal, on the other hand, is a mountainous region which is part of region IV-A CALABARZON.
It was a cloudy Saturday morning when we left for Tanay, and we left at about 7:30AM. It was raining at that time, therefore I silently asked God to stop the rain; it might ruin all our outdoor plans. We rode a shuttle for Php75.00 at Starmall Shaw Boulevard bound to Tanay Market. The travel took almost two hours to reach our first stop which is the Tanay Market. The travel was relatively scary because of the sharp-curved roads, and knowing that it was raining. The travel seemed like we were running up to Baguio. We reached Tanay Market at 9:30AM, and amazingly, the rain ceased and the sun started to shine a little bit. Then we started our way to our hotel. The way going there was so funny because we flagged a tricycle, and little did we know that the place where we disembarked was just a few steps away.
We checked in at 10AM. The hotel was so nice and clean. We haven’t seen other guests when we came, and prior to this trip, I did an arrangement with the daughter of the owner of Sacramento Midtown Condioment; luckily, they use to give discounts for local tourists. In lieu of paying Php1,500.00 (24hrs good for 4pax) for hotel accommodation, we only paid Php1,300.00 and it’s all worth it.
People taking care of the hotel were so nice. If you happen to long for a clean and comfy place to stay in Tanay, I highly recommend Midtown, given that it is very accessible to shopping centers, fast food chains, convenient stores and terminals.
The main mode of transportation in this town is tricycle or a four-wheeled motor that can accommodate up to six persons. It was kinda awkward because while we were eating, the tricycle driver was waiting for us. (We’re not use to it). Meals there were cheap. I only spent Php50.00 for one set of meal. Right after that, we embarked on a tricycle to start our tour. We headed to our first destination which is the Calinawan Cave for spelunking. The fare for the tricycle going there is Php200.00 per travel.
The road going there was rocky, which made me really worried due to the vehicular accidents I have encountered before. Along the way were simple nipa houses made of woods, and it reminded me of my childhood days in Bulacan.
Suddenly, the driver stopped to introduce us the tranquil bridge, and he told us to take some pictures of it. According to him, this bridge has been used for filming movies; he’s right, it was so nice.
We had ourselves registered for Php50.00 each, and hired our tour guide for Php200.00. We started our caving adventure at exactly 12:00PM. I got astounded the moment I came inside the cave. It was dark inside, and the only source of light were the entrance and our torch.
Adam is the name of our guide, and he briefed us before going any further in the cave. He advised us about the do’s and don’ts as well as the specs of the cave. I was so excited to do it because this was my first time to do spelunking.
Calinawan cave is one of the vast cave in Luzon. It’s situated at Brgy. Tandang Kutyo, Tanay, Rizal. It has lots of chambers and some of them are still undiscovered. According to our guide and local folklore, Calinawan Cave served as a refuge of Filipinos during the World War II, and shelter for revolutionaries during the Spanish and American era. It was also used by the Japanese as their headquarters and a hiding place from American force during their occupation. There are also a horror story about this cave since there were lots of people died there.
During the trek, our guide used to tell stories with humors about the Calinawan Cave. I could say that he is a very good guide, and he managed to tell the rationale of everything so well. He said that it might take 30 minutes to 40 minutes to complete the trail depending on our pace. We had to be mindful of our steps and heads as the trail was so rocky and slippery. Some passages were narrow and sharp.
Our jester guide also flaunted us the various optical illusions inside the cave.
This one may look like an ordinary rock formation at the first sight, but the moment you activate your creative eyes, you could see that it looks like a head of a dinosaur.
Our guide proudly showcased the bests of Calinawan cave which are the extravagant stalagmites and stalactites. Well, I’ve learned from school how they are being formed, but this spelunking gave value to those. Stalagmites are the mineral formation on the ground due to the minerals coming from above, and stalactites, on the other hand are icicles hanging on the ceiling of a cave formed by minerals from the water dripping down from the soil above the cave, and when they meet, it’s column. They were dazzling like diamonds, and we really liked it. These creations reminded me anew how majestic our Creator is.
I am so amazed with them
Though, I read some reviews about Calinawan Cave as part of my research, we were still somewhat disappointed when we saw the ruined part of the cave due to TV networks who used the cave for filming. They put paint and artificial glitters to enhance the beauty and color of the rock formation, and failed to remove it. They should’ve practiced the “Leave No Trace” rule since this cave is now a heritage.
The original plan was to explore only layer 1 to 4, but since we were enthusiastic, we explored layer 5 and 6 for an extra fee (flat rate). Prior to that, our guide reminded us that the passages would be more difficult and narrower. He named some passages; Sexy is a narrow passage, Tsunami Walk for passage wherein we had to walk like a beauty queen to pass through. Duck Walk is when we had to walk in squatting position, and the Baby Crawl because we needed to crawl on a muddy ground to be able to pass through. I really enjoyed this activity because it somehow tested my endurance.
After spelunking, we had ourselves ready for our next destination. We were excited because finally, we would be able to wash ourselves after crawling on the mud. Too bad, we didn’t witness the beam of light passing through the holes on the cave because of the cloudy weather.
Another tour guide ushered us to Daranak Falls which is almost two kilometers away from Calinawan Cave. I enjoyed the trail because we had to pass through fields, rocky plains, river, and the 350 steps grotto.
We didn’t get a cottage since we would be staying there shortly. We weren’t surprised about the number of people that crowded the water since it was weekend when we went there. There were shallow part and there were beyond human height deep. I wanted to take solo shot in the water falls itself, but I didn’t want to bother myself going back to get money to rent a lifebuoy. Indeed, the place was so amazing. Me and my buddies opted to stay in shallow part, in that way, we could somehow enjoy our time and the water; the water was so cold, though.
We really enjoyed our stay in Daranak, though it was sort of jammed. At about 2PM, we left Daranak falls for Batlag falls which is few steps away. We had to trek for at least 10 to 15 minutes to reach Batlag.
Batlag Falls is a private property, hence, the entrance fee is much higher than Daranak. Fee for Batlag Falls is Php100.00. At first, I was so astonished by the water formations that we saw along the way.
What we really like about it is, there were very few people going there, perhaps because of the high-rated fee. The place is far diffirent from Daranak; the only noice that you could hear was the rowdy water falling from height. My friends and I definitely enjoyed Batlag falls. The water was also cold as with Daranak, and the picturesqueness of nature exceeded our expectation.
Batlag has two water falls. The smaller one has a deep basin wherein you would be needing a lifebuoy to reach the falls itself. You have to be careful as the ground and rocks were so slippery because of moss. I love the place so much! Truly, it captured our heart, and it was another fascinating showcase of God’s wonder. It was also a perfect spot for photo shoot.
We decided to take shower in our hotel rather than doing it there because of the crowded bathing facilities. We flagged a tricycle to bring us back to our hotel. Fare is Php200.00. We reached Mindtown hotel at about 5:30PM. We took a bath and rest.
We had our first dinner at about 7PM. I just forgot the name of the restaurant, but it was so good. Their menus were very affordable with a large servings. We only spent almost Php500.00 for a great and scumptous dinner, and we got full and satisfied. Morover, the crews were nice and amiable. Thumbs up!
To complete our food tasting adventure, we also went to an ice cream parlor just a few steps away from the restaurant.
We came back to our hotel and went to bed. Our bodies were so exhausted and aching due to whole day activities, but our experiences worth the pain.
After breakfast, we came back to the hotel to prepare for our next destination which is the San Ildefonso de Toledo Church. My friends planned to attend mass, but unfortunately, we didn’t catch it.
We arrived at San Ildefonso Church at about 11AM, which is few meters away from our hotel. I’m not Catholic, but I really like seeing old churches like this one. It amazed us so much.
San Ildefonso de Toledo Church is one of the old churches in Luzon. The construction of it was started in 1773 and completely built in 1783. Not sure why it took them 10 years to complete the building. Now, it’s short-listed as one of the Philippine national heritage.
I really love this kind of scenery that makes me feel that I’m traveling back in time.
We toured around the church, and our most fave part was the bell tower. They said that the bell they’re currently using is the original bell, and hasn’t been replaced. The place has a rancid smell of dead birds and bats, so do not be surprised.
We left the church at about 12:30PM, and had our lunch at a small eatery just a few steps away from the church. They were very nice and accommodating; the meals were cheap as well.
Soon after, we headed to our next and last destination, the Momarco Resort. I was sort of excited because this one is dubbed as one of the beautiful and expensive resort in Rizal. We hired a tricycle anew to bring us there, but we tried to haggle the price for it was kinda expensive. The driver agreed for Php160.00 in lieu of Php200.00 fare. We could actually take jeepney, but it would only bring us to the main road, and we would need to walk 2 to 3 kilometers to reach the resort itself.
We reached the resort at about 2PM, and indeed, it was expensive. Lol. The original plan was to take tables and chairs only, because we would not be staying for long; unluckily, they got a new policy that all small cabanas have to be occupied first before they offer tables and chairs. It was relatively disappointing, nevertheless, we had no choice but to take the small cabana for Php1000.00.
The resort was definitely nice and classy. (the price is right) Entrance fee is Php250.00 per person, and not bad because of the service. There would be a hotelier who will take your things on a cart, and will usher you to your cabana.
The driver who brought us there was the one fetched us because we chartered him, but this time the fare is Php200.00. It’s better to have your own car when you visit Momarco Resort as there is no outbound shuttle or you can do likewise. We departed the resort past 7PM already because we waited for the driver to fetch us. The way going out was somewhat frightening due to lack of lamp posts, and the driver told me that there are ghost appearing somewhere in the dark. I don’t believe in ghost, though.
We got back to Tanay Market at about 7:30PM, and we took our dinner at the same restaurant. After our dinner, we started our way back to Manila. We rode a van again for the same fare of Php70.00.
We had an amazing Tanay Rizal experience. We never thought that we would find a precious gem in a neaighboring town. We will absolutely sojourn that captivating place again. In Tanay, there are lots of beautiful places that you must reckon with.
We thank God for manifesting His majesty in His fascinating creations.
BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES
● 70.00 van fare from Starmall Shaw to Tanay Market
● 200.00 for tricycle rides bound to Calinawan and other destinations (you can haggle)
● 50.00 entrance for Calinawan Cave
● 50.00 entrance for Daranak Falls
● 100.00 entrance for Batlag Falls
● 1,350.00 (discounted) for hotel accommodation (Sacramento Midtown Condioment. Refer to the link above)
● 250.00 entrance for Momarco Resort (Refer to the link above)
● 1,000.00 for small cabana (Refer to the link above)
Fees and fares are based on the time of writing