Tinipak River Family Adventure

Tinipak River in Tanay, Rizal is a good trek for beginners and even kids 7 and up.  The trek is just 3 hours two-way and the trail is gorgeous with the forest on one side and clean running river with beautiful boulders on the other. There is also the  constant view of the mountains everywhere.  The final destination are limestone rock formations that are simply stunning.

It is the first trek of my 3 kids (youngest is 10 year old).  The 10 year old was able to manage quite well. Since it is their first, I wanted it to be really good. That said, the trail mix of Tinipak of walking on grass, soil, rocks, mud and boulders provided an interesting and fairly challenging experience. Not too easy and not too hard. Not too long trek either.  You would get a repeat request for trekking if you start with Tinipak. I did!

For this trip, since it is a first for all the kids, we opted to do an overnight in Bulod Campsite so they can also have an intro of camping but in a comfier way since Bulod is more of a glamping campsite.  Review of Bulod Campsite to come.

QUICK REVIEW, TIPS AND OTHER DETAILS:

GENERAL REVIEW: The trek is fairly easy and beginner friendly even for kids aged 7 and up.  The trail is a mix of walking in firm soil, rocks, mud (during rainy season), boulders and the limestones. The views are fantastic all the way through and the limestone rock formations at the end of the trek is a rewarding sight. The trail is clean, let’s keep it that way.  Tinipak is awarded the cleanest inland body of water in Region IV.  Unfortunately, it is in danger of being destroyed when Kaliwa Dam pushes through.  Please sign the petition below to stop the project.

ACTIVITIES:  3 hour trek back and forth. Swimming in the river but not advised where there is strong current.  Caving when permitted.  Guide said there is cliff jumping but I find that too dangerous.

GETTING THERE: Tinipak is located between the boundaries of Baranggay Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal and General Nakar in Quezon Province. You can pin Daraitan Baranggay Hall in Waze.  There is no signal in some parts so be sure to download the map. Daraitan road is rough so we brought a 2x4 SUV all the way to Bulod Campsite. 

If you are just doing a day trip, according to King Tolentino, you would have to park your car just before the river, this is the jump off point.  After which you would have to ride a balsa to cross the river and hire a tricycle to take you all the way to the Baranggay Hall of Daraitan.  Thank you King for this information.  I will update you next time if there is parking near Baranggay Hall in Daraitan. Watch King’s video short of Daraitan here.

When you get to the Baranggay hall, register and pay the environmental fee.  You will also secure your guide from the Baranggay.  Other people start their trek from there but we hired a tricycle to take us to the start of trail. That saved us probably 20 mins or so of walking.  Make a deal with the tricycle driver to come back for you or wait for you so he can bring you back to the parking area.  Apart from the environmental fee you would also need to pay again as you pass through a private lot and another fee to cross the makeshift bridge if you want to get into the cave.   Total Fees: P 100 / person. (Subject to change)

SAFETY:  As with any trek, make sure people back home know where you are trekking.  If going DIY,  you can get guides that are registered with the Baranggay. They are on a queue, so you get the next one in line.  From my previous climbing experiences,  guides are well versed with the terrain and are kind and helpful. Bonus photographer pa.  Ask him to help out the kids in tricky portions of the terrain.  Our guide was provided by Bulod Campsite.

The terrain is a mix of firm soil, rocks, mud (during rainy season), boulders and the limestones which are very slippery.  My kids like it cool so it was drizzling most of the time ergo it was very muddy and slippery. My son slipped in the mud, thankfully it was a safe fall.   There is an almost 60 degree mud slope but the locals made a make shift rail to hold onto.  The limestones at the end are very, very slippery so I didn't let my youngest walk on his own.  Caution kids and keep a watchful eye.  Kids can also be excited and do the trail fast.  Just remind them constantly to be careful.  

If you intend to swim in the river,  ask the permission of the guide first since some parts have strong current.  People have drowned and died so be very careful.

Cellphone signal is available only at certain parts of the trail not all the way through.

THINGS TO BRING: 

  • Trek shoes with good grip is recommended. You will be walking on stones so if you wear something with a thin sole it will be very uncomfortable if not painful. My biggest mistake is I allowed my son to wear his Crocs.  If you don’t want to invest in trek shoes yet, rubber shoes with good grip will do. You won't be crossing a river so unless you take a dip in the river with your shoes on or if you are trekking in the rain, your shoes won't get wet.
  • Dress to get wet. We trekked in the rain so doing this is one thing less to worry about.  But I would think even if it is summer, if you plan to take a dip in the river or cave it would be easier if you are dressed to get wet already. You just dry yourself on the walk back.  We just wore rash guard, dri-fit shirts and shorts.
  • Backpack, preferably waterproof to carry your stuff. You can get backpack rain cover from ROX or Shopee.
  • 100/person for fees. 500/group tour guide fee for group of 10. Tricycle is ride is 50/person. Tips to driver and tricycle.
  • 500-750ml water per person. It was raining and we finished 400ml per person and it wasn’t enough.  Imagine if it was hot.
  • First Aid Kit. Band aid. Assorted bandages. Medical Tape. Insect sting ointment.
  • Wet Wipes, Insect Repellant (we didn’t use it though), sunblock, hat
  • Head lamp / flashlight if you are going inside the cave. I read you can also rent one at the Baranggay hall.
  • Waterproof camera/smart phone case. I just used my trusty Ziploc.
  • Light snack for your family and your guide
  • Aqua shoes or rubber sandals with strap, if you are going inside the cave. We did not go but I assume you would have to remove your shoes unless you want it soaked.  My kids are a little bit iffy stepping on the floor so I would have to bring this for next time.
  • Extra plastic bag for your trash (pls don’t leave any trash behind).
  • Extra plastic bag for wet clothes.
  • Huge trash bag to dump all your muddy shoes when you get to the car.
  • Change of shoes, dry clothes to be left in the car.

FOOD: There is one sari-sari store along the way and they sell reasonably priced snacks, soda and water.

BATHROOM: There is no bathroom. Pee along the way or in the river.  Just have someone stand guard in front of you and behind you to ask people coming to temporarily stop until you are done.

BEST TIME TO GO:  It depends on your preference.  My family always prefers it cool even if it is raining or drizzling. We don’t mind the rain, we love it.  Plus people don’t usually like it when it is raining so we always end up by ourselves when it’s raining. It was a weekend and we had the whole mountain and river to ourselves! The best time I would presume though is November-February.  It is not raining yet cool and the river is not dry unlike in the summer months.

BOOKING REQUIREMENTS: We booked through Bulod so they arranged everything but I read that guides are available the whole day at the Baranggay hall.  As for quarantine requirements, follow the quarantine rules of Rizal province.  At the moment of this writing, Rizal is under MECQ, therefore closed to tourists until October 15, 2021. We are planning to do a day hike and shall update this blog post after.

SAVE DARAITAN AND TINIPAK RIVER: The New Centennial Water Source Project (NCWSP) is building a dam at the Kaliwa Watershed Forest Reserve within the Sierra Madre. Building the dam would flood certain portions of Daraitan and Tinipak River which is home to indigenous Dumagat-Remontado communities. It will also destroy natural ecosystems and threaten wildlife.  Sign a petition to save Daraitan and Tinipak River here.  Know more about petitioner here

TRAVEL HAPPY!

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