The Secret Paradise of Tanay

If you want to get in touch with nature in a very intimate way without spending thousands of pesos just for a ticket, you need to consider going to Tanay, Rizal!

Tanay is a first class municipality in the province of Rizal, Philippines. It is located 57 kilometres (35 mi) east of Manila, although a typical commute between Manila and Tanay will take between one to three hours depending upon traffic conditions. It contains portions of the Sierra Madre Mountains and is bordered by Antipolo City in the northwest, Baras, Morong and Teresa in the west,General Nakar (Quezon Province) in the east, and Pililla, Santa Maria (Laguna province) as well as the lake Laguna de Bay in the south. (Thank you Wikipedia!)

From Star Mall Terminal in Shaw Boulevard, we rode a van heading to Tanay. Fare is Php 70.00.

It took us an hour and 45 minutes of travel to reach Tanay city proper. It was a Saturday (and a holiday) so traffic was light and easy. Praise God!

It was around 10 AM when we reached the center of Tanay. We hired a tricycle (for a package of a thousand) to tour us in all the major tourist attractions in the city. Kuya Jason was our driver.

Tanay Church

The first place that we visited is Tanay Church.

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Saint Ildefonsus of Toledo Parish Church (Tanay Church)

San Ildefonso Church or popularly known as Tanay Church is located along the street of Del Pilar at the heart of the city. It was completed in 1873 and is now a National Cultural Treasure. The relics that the church holds is a bone of their patron saint, San Ildefonso.

The interiors of the church show a baroque architecture. It’s amazing and breathtaking.

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The Adoration Chapel at San Ildefonso Church

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Tanay Parola

After visiting Tanay Church and saying a prayer for safe adventures ahead, we went to Tanay Parola located in Brgy. San Isidro, Tanay Rizal.

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Tanay Parola/Lighthouse

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Calinawan Cave

After lunch, we went to Calinawan Cave to do spelunking.

Assisted by our tour guide, Kuya Adam, we entered the cave full of excitement and thrill.

Calinawan Cave is located in Brgy. Tandang Kutyo, Tanay. As per Kuya Adam, the name of the cave was derived from the word “linaw” after the historical event where Filipinos settled and agreed on their disputes against Spanish Revolutionaries. Doon sila nagkalinawan.

Tour Guide Fee: Php 200.00 | Environmental Fee: Php 20.00

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The Curtains
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Abandoned Bat Holes
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Out of the 5 layers of the cave, my sister and I just finished the first 2 layers. Haha! Yup, we aren’t that brave.
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With Kuya Adam, the Cave Man

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Daranak Falls

Environmental Fee: Php 50.00

A hidden paradise near Calinawan Cave is Daranak Falls, still in Brgy. Tandang Kutyo. It boasts a 14-meter high falls and clear blue-green waters which serves as a natural pool for visitors.

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Daranak Falls

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Batlag Falls is just near Daranak Falls with an entrance fee of Php 100.00.

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Crossing the hanging bridge going to Daranak Falls

Tinipak River

This is such a dreamy place!

The night before heading to Tanay, i’ve been researching about this place a lot. Photos of this river really amazed me so I told myself that I must see it. And man, it’s spectacular.

Tinipak River is tucked in the mountainside of Sierra Madre, located in Brgy. Daraitan.

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Rocky Road to Tinipak River

The road to Brgy. Daraitan is a bit of a challenge. From Sampaloc, Tanay, you’ll endure almost an hour of butt-numbing tricycle ride in a long winding rocky road.

But as the saying goes, no pain, no gain. I assure you that the long bumpy ride is really worth it once you reach the majestic view of Tinipak  River!

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A truck collecting gravel and sand
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Crossing the river to Brgy. Daraitan

The river is the jump-off point to Tinipak River.

We crossed the very clean river (sorry, I  forgot its name) to get to the other side where tricycles are waiting to take all tourists to Brgy. Daraitan. The boat ride costs Php 5.00.

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Of rainbow, ducks, mountains, and crystal clear waters.

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Upon reaching the other side of the river, we rode a tricycle that took us to Brgy. Daraitan. Nakasabay namin dito si Ate Estrella, a missionary. She was with her grandson, John Michael. She heard us talk about our boat-ride experience using our Bicol dialect. To our surprise, she joined us in our conversation and instantly offered to stay the night at her house in Brgy. Daraitan (4 blocks away from the Brgy. Hall). I believe that this is a blessing — we saved Php 650.00 of accommodation. Praise God!

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My sister before Ate Estrella joined us in our conversation and offered us free accommodation at her house

So we headed to Tinipak River. We registered at the Brgy. Hall of Daraitan, and we were welcomed by Kuya Tony, our tour guide.

Tour Guide Fee: Php 500.00 | Environmental Fee: Php 20.00

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Tourism Bulletin at the Brgy. Hall
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This is Kuya Tony. He is also from Bicol, but he can’t speak our dialect fluently. He is a father to 9 children and has been working as a tour guide in Tinipak River for more than a year now.
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Trekking the rocky mountainside of Sierra Madre to Tinipak River

From the Brgy. Hall, it took us 45 minutes before we reach Tinipak River. The trail was easy amidst the presence of rocks and gentle streams of water.

The moment I saw a portion of the river, i became too happy. Tinitignan ko lang ito sa picture last night pero eto na sya ngayon sa harap ko. It is so beautiful. No wonder – it’s really the cleanest river in Region IV-A.

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Open Heaven / River Wild

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A gentle stream along the trail to the farthest point of the river.

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My sister and I really enjoyed it!
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A merchant horse. Haha.
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Heaven and Earth

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Paradise
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The sun is about to set.

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My sister going down the man-made wooden staircase leading to the farthest point of the river where an underground cave is located

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The name Tinipak refers to the limestone and white marble formations that have been carved by the flowing waters.

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This is just near the underground cave that can be accessed through a bridge.

Unfortunately, the bridge was devastated by the flood brought by the recent typhoon. According to Kuya Tony, the bridge might be restored in January.

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Kids playing near the camp site

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We spent almost 3 hours in the area. We did not swim because of the strong current.

Before we run out of daylight, we decided to leave the river at around 5:30 PM. We went back to Daraitan Brgy. Hall to settle our fees.

Tinipak River is one of best destinations i have been to! I will definitely be back there!

Seven PM when we went to Ate Estrella’s house to have some rest. It’s just awesome to think about how she offered her house where we can stay despite the fact that we’re strangers. I believe it was God who moved in that situation.

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This is Ate Estrella’s dining table. Her house is just a small cabin. My sister and I slept on the floor using the cushion she provided.

As I have mentioned, Ate Estrella is a Christian missionary. She runs an outreach church in far-flung communities in the country under the Christ-Centered Mission Church. She holds Sunday worship service just right outside her house. We are blessed to have attended the service the next day.

 Her dedication in sharing the Word is outstanding.

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Ate Estrella studying the Word for Sunday worship service at 9:30 PM.

The service started at around 10 AM. There was only a few who attended the service, most of then were children. But she told us that she is not after the number of people who attend her service but she’s more concerned with sharing the Word to those who most need it.

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Worship being led by a member
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We’re thankful for the opportunity to meet these people.
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The pets in Ate Estrella’s neighborhood

We left Ate Estrella’s house at 11 AM for Regina RICA. As Catholic Christians, we want to attend the Holy Eucharist at Regina RICA at 3 PM. It was the last Sunday of 2015 so we made sure not to miss it.

From Brgy. Daraitan, we rode a tricycle to Regina Rica for P300.00. It took us around 25 minutes to get there.

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Regina Rosarii Institue for Contemplation in Asia is located along Marcos Highway, Sitio Aguho, Sampaloc, Tanay.

This is the perfect place for those who are in need of peace and solemnity of the soul, heart, mind and body. This is the place that i need. It was my birthday the next day so visiting Regina Rica was a perfect gift for myself — not just Regina Rica, but all the places we visited in Tanay!

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Our Lady of the Holy Rosary stands 71-foot tall.

The place is being taken care of by Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii.

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A Dominican nun giving a short orientation prior to entering the statue
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Facts about the statue

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We lit a candle with and offered prayers in all areas of life like good health, financial prosperity, success, and other important stuff. But more than these, I prayed for peace and joy of my inner self.

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I also took the opportunity to write in my 2016 planner. It was fun to just sit under a tree, be still, free my mind, and forget all my worries and fears even for just a moment.
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Devotees lining up to adore the Holy Cross at the altar of RICA Chapel

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We attended the 3 PM mass. It was powerful.

Before and after the mass, there was a like session where attendees are being led by a Dominican nun to meditate, relax and just feel the presence of God. It was amazing!

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From the rising of the sun to its setting, the Name of the Lord is to be praised. – Psalm 113

Overall, our Tanay trip is something that should not be forgotten. I just want to praise God for this not-so-far-away yet so meaningful trip. I really felt His presence and His love for me. It seemed like all the events were carefully-woven by Him. Oh, tapestry of grace!

Thank you for reading.

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