Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Tanay youngsters swimming at the Laguna Lake
Tanay's Parola (Lighthouse)




I've been a resident of Pasig City for the longest time but it was only last year when I had a full visit of Tanay, a municipality in the neighboring province of Rizal. As a young student, I recall visiting the town's famous Daranak Falls with high school classmates for a daytime picnic. And, two years ago, I had brunch with a friend at one of its mountainside village resorts. Like a familiar neighbor, the rest of the place seemed uninteresting to me until I came across an online article about Daraitan River. Next thing I knew, I was hiking a trail in the village with the same name and marveling at its pristine Tinipak Spring. Side trips to the town proper and the village of Sampaloc proved to be a sensational escapade that capped my 2014.

Distinct Location

Tanay is roughly a three-hour drive from Metro Manila. It's also easily accessible from Sta. Maria of Laguna and General Nakar of Quezon Province. With its one side facing the picturesque Sierra Madre and another the scenic Laguna Lake, a long stay in the town can be filled with exciting distinctions. Visitors can experience the seaside charm of lingering at a wharf next to an iconic parola (lighthouse) or gazing at a misty sunrise in the town's mountainous terrain where a rainbow is almost always visible.

View of Sierra Madre in Sampaloc
View of the short hike to Daraitan River
The pastoral view at Barangay Daraitan
Tanay Church

Touring Aboard A Tricycle

With most of the its areas still densely populated, waiting along the road outside of the town proper for connecting trips will just be a waste of one's time. I determined this to be true during my two-night stay in Sampaloc's Momarco Resort where access to the town's other tourist attractions was possible aboard a single tricycle rental. The commute package for various trips seemed steep but I realised it to be reasonable once I experienced the trips' breakneck speed at the well-paved Sampaloc Road. To get from one spot to another, it was clearly the best way to go. It was fast and it gave me more time to engage the local driver in meaningful conversations.

Aside from visiting Daranak Falls, visitors can also try checking out the following attractions:

Tanay Lakeshore
Sunset-Gaze At The Lakeshore

Locals normally frequent the town's Barangay San Isidro to welcome the morning at its lakeshore where the iconic parola stands. It's where the breeze is distinctly fresh and where fishing folks gather around to organize their fresh haul just before the public market opens. In the late afternoon, sunset gazers revel at the pleasant view of silhouettes that include fishing boats and the lighthouse itself.

Also erected at the edge of the wharf is a memorial marker for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy that struck the country in 2009. Designed by the Angono-based Higante Makers and Sculptors Society, the concrete marker is nostalgic for the loved ones of the town's 60 fatalities. With four residents who remain missing, it stands to symbolize hope over despair.

To further enjoy the scenery, tourists can rent a boat and experience Laguna Lake the way celebrated Filipino artists depicted the attraction in century-old paintings.

Typhoon Ondoy Memorial Marker at the Tanay Lakeshore
Tanay Lakeshore scenery
Regina Rica
Regina Rica

Reflect At Tanay Church and Regina Rica

The predominantly Catholic town has a couple of sites for spiritual activities -- the old San Ildefonso Church and the pilgrimage site known as Regina Rica.

Located at the heart of the town proper, the San Ildefonso Church (Tanay Church) is considered as one of the Philippines' 26 Heritage Churches according to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Regina Rica is both a shrine and a pilgrimage site that focuses on the Catholic religion’s Queen of the Holy Rosary where a Station of the Cross can also be found. Rica is actually a Spanish term that refers to the lady that is revered at the 13.5 hectare property. Even non-Catholic faithfuls who are not intent to hear mass visit the tranquil place simply to take pleasure in being at the peaceful sanctuary. The area is interestingly accentuated by two remarkable hills that seem to symbolize the official logo of the property.

Tanay Church
Read more about Regina Rica here.

Hike The Daraitan River Trail

The village of Daraitan, with its unpaved road, is an hour or so away from the town proper. The journey alone is an adventure as the long ride can be bumpy. At summer-time, the dirt road can get so dry and dusty so it's best to bring face towels for protection. Come rainy season, the same area becomes extremely muddy.

The long and winding river with the same name runs through it and is the reason for the intrepid visit. With a 45-minute hike that starts from the village proper after a river-crossing, hikers are rewarded with a mix of pastoral and mountain views of the area. The short trail also highlights the impressive Tinipak Spring.

Read more about Daraitan River here.

Daraitan's cemetery
Daraitan River scenery
Momarco Resort's Casitas
Momarco Resort's hotel room

Where To Stay

Tourists can find staying at the village of Sampaloc to be the best base for touring the whole town. Highly recommended for large groups and romantic guests is Momarco Resort as it has options for guesthouses, casitas, and hotel rooms. For those on a tight budget, the Sierra Madre Resort can be appealing.

Read more about Momarco Resort here.
Read more about Sierra Madre Resort here.

Whether it's the high altitude charm of Sampaloc or the reflective lure of San Isidro, Tanay has something for the discriminating traveler. Between the distinctions, there's always a space where you and the locals can engage.

Sierra Madre Resort grounds

Daraitan Tour Guide

Contact Person: Willy Manlapaz
Mobile: 0906-953-3470
Note: One tour guide (P500) is required per 10 visitors.

Tricycle Rental

Driver: Kuya Teng
Mobile: 0948-6781526
Note: Meet up at your booked Tanay-based resort or at the town market

More Photos Below:

Sierra Madre Resort lodgings
Crossing a river to Barangay Daraitan
A local fish vendor at the Tanay wharf
Tanay Parola
Barangay Daraitan scenery
Tanay wharf scenery
Tanay wharf scenery


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