This is the continuation of my Mt. Daraitan adventure last June 25, 2017.
At around 10:00 AM, and after having had our fill, the climbing group began the descent to Tinipak River. Before pushing further we stopped at campsite two to consume our late breakfast-cum-early lunch. This also serves as our rest after our morning assertion. When everyone was already re-energized, we began the descent to Tinipak River.
In descending to Tinipak River, we used the opposite trail. This trail is more challenging than the one we used in ascending Mt. Daraitan. The climb up was easier because the rocky trail aided our ascent. The climb down was made challenging by the muddy trail. The sun was already high up but the mountain’s thick vegetation ensured that the trail won’t easily dry up.
The descent is gradual and not as steep as our ascent. However, just like what I’ve read on the other blogs, the real challenge was on the muddy and slippery trail. At around 12 noon, we finally reached the base of Mt. Daraitan where we rested while waiting for the rest of the group. We are to regroup before proceeding to Tinipak River, the second highlight of our weekend excursion.
After ample rest and when the group was completed, we proceeded to Tinipak River. To get there, we had to walk through an open trail under the scorching heat of the afternoon sun. Exposed, we were literally being toasted as we walked towards Daraitan Cave. After about 20 minutes of walk, we reached the registration area. Further walking ensued after we registered.
A queue has already formed at the cave entrance as the other climbers were also waiting for their turn to get inside. The cave can only accommodate a limited number of people due to its size. We waited under the shade of the big balete tree that serves as the cave’s protector.
We waited for about 30 minutes before finally getting the chance to experience the cave. The only access down the cave is a slippery wooden ladder. Inside, it was dark and it was as slippery as our descent from the summit of Mt. Daraitan. There are stalactite and stalagmite formations surrounding the cave, but, unfortunately, some of them are already dead. These formations are very sensitive – a simple touch is enough to hamper their formation.
A short walk ended with a pleasant sight at the end of the cave. Water, seemingly flowing from the heart of the mountain, is rushing down a small swimming hole. It was so amazing that we all couldn’t wait to immerse in the cold waters. My manna got rejuvenated I slowly entered the cold waters. After our hike, the cold waters are a welcome relief to our exhausted bodies. When we exited the cave, there were still a lot of expectant visitors waiting for their turn even though it was already late in the afternoon.
From the cave, we walked back for a bit to the famed rock formations of Tinipak River. The river’s idyllic formations is a perfect spot to take Instagram worthy pictures. The waters were also very inviting and we can’t help but swim more. It’s been a while since I’ve swam in a natural body of water because I haven’t had much of beach adventures this year, unlike the previous years.
The river has a shallow part that is perfect for non-swimmers. While we were having fun just being swept by the river current, I saw a group of visitors cliff jump on the other side of the river. I was naturally curious if such was allowed but when I saw some members of our climbing group swim to the platform, I immediately joined them without further ado.
Cliff-jumping is a nerve wracking experience, especially when you are about to jump into the waters. I have already done this in Hundred Islands’ Imelda Cove, Isla de Gigantes’ Tangke Lagoon, and Cebu’s Kawasan River. However, each jump is different and so is the adrenaline rush that usually accompanies such extreme undertakings. For starters, I’m not an adrenaline junkie. These are just experiences in which body pushes its limits, not for the sake of adventure, but for it to feel alive, a subtle validation that it still exists.
On my first try, I was naturally apprehensive although I volunteered to go first, ahead of my two female companions. I am not sure of how deep the river is but then, I have to put these doubts at the back of my mind. Taking a deep breath and a leap of faith, I just jumped, without flair, without pomp, but I jumped, letting go of all the doubts that hounded me. And man, does it feel good to just let go! Someone took a video of my jump but wasn’t able to fully film it. It is fine, some experiences are just meant to be enjoyed. Not easily outdone and satisfied, I swam back up to the platform for another dose of this adrenaline pumping free fall. I have to say that it just gets better with every jump.
After our afternoon dip and adventure, we finally decided to go back to the jump-off point so that we can wash up. We left Tinipak River at around 3:30 PM. The sun was still high up in the sky and was burning us yet again as we trudged our way back to the jump-off point. It took as an hour to reach the end of the trail. We rode a tricycle because we are still far from the jump-off point.
Wow. I can’t help but breathe a big sigh of relief after this adventure. The experience was both exhausting and refreshing at the same time. However, I earned great memories that I will take with me as I go on with my mundane existence.
So, until the next mountain and weekend adventure!