Daranak Falls – Spending Christmas with Nature

We celebrated my mother in law’s birthday differently this year by going on a picnic to Daranak Falls. I’ve been to a lot of places in the Philippines but I’m not too familiar with the Rizal area. I was really excited to try out this new place.

It’s about an hour from Masinag, Antipolo (where Espie grew up). Given the holiday season, traffic was also pretty light. We passed by the towns of Teresa, Morong and finally Tanay. The roads were pretty good and lined with trees. We had no trouble finding our way. There were, however, some zigzags roads in the town of Teresa where there a lot of passenger jeeps and tricycles. This made it harder to navigate through the curves and twists.

Tree-lined roads

Turning unto the road leading to Daranak Falls, you would have no idea that it’s there. We passed a short dirt road before we reached the gates. The parking area is quite small so it’s best to be there early and park in reverse so its easier to get out. Since we went there just two days after Christmas, it was not packed with tourists. I’m sure the cool weather was a deterrent as well.

Right beside the parking area

Getting out of the car, I saw a sight to behold. First thing I noticed was that the side of the parking area was eroded. According to locals, during typhoon Ondoy, the water level there was really high and strong thus carving into the banks of the river. The next thing I noticed was the dense forest and the sky beyond. There was a stream running through and I can’t imagine how it could have swollen enough to erode the river banks.

I really kept thinking that the surroundings looked nothing like what you would see in the Philippines, especially since it was that near to the city. At that point I was really excited to see the falls itself. This was a resort which could not be called “commercial” at all. Facilities were very very simple at PHP20 per head for the entrance fee (so don’t expect too much). To cross over to the other side, we had to cross a bridge made out of bamboo.
Once on the other side, you can already rent small huts where you can eat and rest. The stairs aren’t too steep but it can be tiring for the elderly or children.

Bamboo Bridge

When you reach the top, there are more huts and you can already hear the sound of the waterfall. Through the trees, you can see your first glimpse. It’s about 14 meters high and it falls unto a jade pool which is quite deep in the middle.

Picnic Huts

First Glimpse through the trees

I immediately went down through another set of stairs so I could get a better look at the falls and I got my first unobstructed view. I had never been up close to a natural waterfall before and the sight was amazing. The water looked so inviting but I knew that it was going to be really cold. I wasn’t a stranger to bathing in brooks and streams. I expected it to be ice cold.

The surrounding area has quite a number of trees and they give adequate shade. I really hope that the local government will continue to keep this area clean and pristine. It’s one of the few natural parks which is so near to the city and you can really tell the water is clean. There is another waterfall that goes up higher than Daranak but you will have to pay another PHP 20 to go there. It’s called Batlag Falls. On this trip, we decided not to go there anymore but it’s definitely something I would like to see soon.

When we finally decided to take the plunge, we had to get down to the waterfall by climbing down the stone bank. This might be very hard for the elderly and children should be accompanied by adults.

The water really hits you hard since its ice cold. It took me some time before I was able to brave the cold enough to dunk my whole body. Given that it was December, the temperature was really low. There are huge rocks here and there so you really have to be careful where you step. Some areas are deeper than the others.

I did not venture out into the center of the pool since it was really deep and I did not have enough confidence in my swimming skills because of the cold water. But some tourists were brave enough to jump off the lower ledge into the pool. Some were even climbing unto the facade of the waterfall.

Braving the cool waters

We also tried exploring the stream trickling through the other side near the parking area and discovered that here the water was pleasantly tolerable. We started out wading but in some parts the water was deep enough so that you could float and just relax.

Bubbling Stream

Enjoying Nature

I definitely enjoyed our trip here to Daranak Falls and I hope I can bring my own family here soon so they can also appreciate the beauty of this place. Hopefully when I come back, it will still be as untouched as before and I hope that the local authorities can improve the facilities a bit.

For the overall experience, I would have to rate it a 4/5. I’m hoping my next waterfall experience will come soon..

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