Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tanay Adventure | Cave, Waterfalls, and a Lighthouse

Amid my self-imposed hiatus from hiking mountains (kinailangan ko talaga magpahinga sa pag-akyat matapos ang napaka-habang dayhike sa Mt. Pinatubo via Sapang Uwak), a friend invited me to join their day trip in Tanay, Rizal. She told me they were planning to visit a cave, a waterfall, and a lighthouse, all in one day. Pinag-isipan ko itong mabuti. Then I realized, I am a mere mortal with an adventurous soul, so how can I ever decline such opportunity to go outdoors and be adventurous.

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Sunday - April 27, 2014

Tucked in the shadows of the Great Sierra Madre is the humble town of Tanay. A place that is home to many outdoor adventure destinations which are fast becoming popular recently, especially in the social media. Among those attractions frequented by visitors are Calinawan Cave, and Daranak-Batlag Falls - happens to be our destinations for the day. Actually, matagal nang kilala ang mga destination na ito, even way before facebook conquered our lives, pero ngayon ko lang sila mapupuntahan.

So our group of spontaneous travelers, upon the invite of Ms. Dezzy, showed up at our meeting place somewhere in Shaw Boulevard-EDSA Crossing one Sunday morning. The town of Tanay is pretty much accessible from Manila via the public transpo parked at EDSA-Shaw Crossing. There are vans, FX and jeepney, pili lang kung alin ang gusto niyo. But for us, we opted to ride a van (P70) and alighted at Tanay Public Maket.

Since it was still quite early, we had our breakfast first in a karinderya somewhere at the town center then hailed tricycles to bring our group of 9 to Calinawan Cave, our first destination for the day. And as usual, I was extremely excited.

this way to Calinawan Cave

Arriving at the vicinity of Calinawan Cave, we were immediately accommodated by the local care takers. We registered and paid the necessary fees and were given a guide which was readily available on site. There was no fixed rate for the guiding service, bahala na kayo mag-usap kung magkano ang ibabayad nyo.

The cave was easily accessible from the main road and the path inside was very tourist friendly. By that, I mean the caving experience was no challenge at all, petiks lang ang lakad. It is fairly manageable unlike other caves which require technical skills in caving and spelunking. Dito, parang naglalakad lang sa park. Also, the cave tunnels are big enough, no need to worry of bumping your head to any cave feature.

inside the cave
The guides will surely not miss the fact that the cave was apparently used as shoot location by a number of TV and movie productions. Sa tingin ko, bahagi na talaga yun ng pang-araw-araw na guiding script nila. It's just sad though, that traces of these productions may still be seen from the walls and floors of the cave. As in kumikislap-kislap pa yung mga glitters na ginamit at dinikit sa mga pader ng kuweba. Desecrated cave, indeed.

Nevertheless, Calinawan Cave has not fully lost its charm. Crystalline columns and rock formations, the usual attractions that a cave may offer, are still present in some parts of the cave. Apart from that, the light effects from ceiling holes set ambiance inside the cave. How cool is that?

inside Calinawan Cave
light effects inside the cave
To be able to fully appreciate the cave, it is recommended that you bring your own head lamp. Minsan kasi yung head lamp na provided ng guides ay mahina na yung battery.

Touring the cave would only take about 30 minutes, it's not that very long. Though there are portions of the cave which are still unexplored, or rather prohibited to the general public. Magpapatagal lang siyempre ng tour yung selfies at groupies sa loob.

goupie shot minus myself
After experiencing the dark alleys of Calinawan cave, we decided to carry on to our next stop - the twin waterfalls of Batlag and Daranak. According to our guide, the place isn't really far from the cave so he suggested that he'll accompany us up to the entrance of the waterfalls park. We just walked all the way, malapit lang naman daw e.

we thought our way to the waterfalls was easy peasy... but the midday sun made it hard for us
arriving at the gate of Daranak-Batlag Falls compound, we were welcomed by posted entrance fees.
Again, these are popular destinations in the area so I kind of expecting already that there will be so many tourists that day. But still, as we got near Daranak Falls, I was shocked. Totally shocked by the sheer number of people dipping and bathing under the cascades at one time. My expectations were exceeded. I didn't know it will be that much. As in grabbeeeeehhh, andameeeng taoooo!!

woooaaah! Now how are we suppose to get in there?
Oh, it was a Sunday, and summer season. Hot summer day. Not to mention, the place was very accessible. All factors in, and you'll surely get that unwanted crowd. To be quite honest, I was turned off by that scene, but what else can we do? Might as well, join the crowd.

Because it seems that there's no more room for us in Daranak Falls, we decided to move further upstream to its sister falls, the Batlag Falls. Past the huts and cottages, we reached it in just a few minutes.

Batlag Falls, still crowded, but more acceptable than the other.
the pool beneath the cascades 
The water looked really refreshing, so taking a dip is certainly a stress-reliever. But as usual, being a non-swimmer that I am, I appreciated the beauty of the place at the side only. I was just sitting there, watching people and making funny thoughts in my head. Hindi na rin masama, kanya-kanyang trip lang.

There is also a spot in Batlag Falls where people who wants a bit of adrenaline rush may take a good cliff dive. Just about 10-feet high jump from the ledge down to the cool water of the catch basin. Hindi naman gaanong mataas, pero sapat nang maka-buhay ng dugo.

Some of my companions have already been to Daranak and Batlag Falls in the past decade or so, and according to them, so much have changed in the place and they find it quite unappealing. Developments were done to accommodate more visitors, but in the expense of the place's natural charm. Sayang. But in fairness to it, the twin falls of Tanay is still fascinating. Perhaps it'll be more charming less the crowd.

Before we took the ride back to Manila, the group decided to stop by to one more destination in Tanay. So we took a tricycle ride from the Twin Falls back to the town center. Our last destination is found by the lakeside.

parola ng Tanay. In all honesty, this lighthouse is not that visually appealing. But who cares, we're not really after the lighthouse. 
Tanay is after all a fishing town. Tanay is among the harvesters of  Laguna Lake's bounty.
fishing boats docked at Tanay fishport.
We arrived at the lakeside just in time. It was almost 6 PM, and the sun is about to set. Watching the sunset from Tanay was our last activity in the place, and it was fantastic as ever.

Beautiful sunset as seen from the lakeside in Tanay. The scenery that we're really after.
how more can this photo be lovely? Sunset, and the love of my life.
As soon as the sun bids goodbye, we bid farewell to Tanay as well. We had a good adventure.


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