Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.
~ Billy Graham
Another mountain along the Sierra Madre range is Mt. Daraitan (739+ MASL) sitting at the border of Tanay in Rizal and General Nakar in Quezon. Our club hiked up to its summit in July 2015, just a few weeks after Mt. Balagbag. I must say that at this point, I am hard pressed to remember the details of our past hikes in chronological order. I sure am going to try, though, because our trip to Daraitan is one of my favorites!
My second hiking adventure was with 30+ people, also hosted by the MS Nature Club. Barangay Daraitan is a jeepney ride from Shaw Blvd., and a brief river crossing aboard a bamboo raft. Across the river, you can take the 30-minute walk to the major jump-off point in Tanay or ride a tricycle for 10php. Once there, we were divided into three groups: 10 hikers for every guide. Prior to the trek is a brief orientation and a prayer to keep us safe throughout our journey.
I was trying to hide it at the time, but I was quite nervous when we started out. There was talk that an 80-degree ascent is waiting for us halfway up the mountain. But as Billy Graham said, “courage is contagious”, and seeing the confidence from some of the experienced hikers we were with, I got over the jitters pretty quickly.
The trail that day was muddy and slippery because it’s July and the rainy season has started. Some upperbody strength is needed as there are a lot of sturdy tree branches and roots to cling to on the way up. This is what I enjoyed in this trip the most: It feels like I am climbing a mountain instead of just walking up its surface. Majority of the trail is covered by forest trees and bamboo, allowing us to focus on the challenges of the climb without being distracted by the uncomfortable heat of the sun.
The 80-degree climb I mentioned earlier is not just a rumour, though it was at the last quarter of the trek. Before that, we got to enjoy a few much-needed rests, eating popsicles bought from a very physically fit vendor, chocolates and other trail food we brought with us.
After three long hours, we finally reached the summit! We took pictures, ate lunch, took more pictures and then began our descent because our guides spotted some rainclouds in the horizon. Spending time in any mountain, make sure you clean up after yourself – take your trash with you when you descend. You wouldn’t want to pollute something so beautiful, right? 🙂
We took a different route going down. Instead of returning to the barangay hall, we went to Tinipak River. Some of us opted to rest and hangout by the riverside, while a few adventurous members explored the cave.
The threat of rain remained just a threat, thank God! We safely got back to the jumpoff to wash up, although it took us well after sundown to get back on the road. Here’s the itinerary we used for this dayhike:
0415H ETD Shaw Blvd to Brgy. Daraitan
0745H ETA Daraitan River Crossing, Take Tricycle or Walk to Brgy. Hall
0810H ETA Brgy. Hall
0815H Registration and Securing guides
0830H Start Trek
0930H ETA Station 1
1030H ETA Station 2
1100H ETA Camp Site
1130H ETA Summit
1230H Start Descent
1600H ETA Tinipak River
1630H ETA Tinipak Cave
1700H ETD Tinipak Cave
1800H ETA Brgy Daraitan Hall
1820H Wash up, Snacks
1845H ETD to Daraitan River
1915H ETA Daraitan River
1945H ETD to Manila
2230H ETA Shaw Blvd
Things to Bring:
1L of water (minimum)
First Aid Kit
SHOUTOUT: Kudos to my friend, Aimee, who have conquered her fear of heights; and to Tafs, Warren and Argie who I have met in this hike. 😀