Dramatic marble rock formations, an in-cave natural swimming pool and its proximity to Metro Manila, make this gem a perfect getaway for the weekend. Tinipak is located in between boundaries of Barangay Daraitan in Rizal and General Nakar in Quezon Province. The river is popular to mountaineers since this is the main attraction after summiting Mt. Daraitan and it was also awarded as the cleanest inland body of water in Region IV.
My recent trip to Tinipak River is not actually solo. I’m with a friend but I decided to write this guide for solo travelers since I cannot find one on the net. I was actually planning to go solo before but I was a little bit hesitant since I haven’t heard or read from anyone who did.
The Road to Tinipak River
From Star Mall in Shaw Boulevard, ride a commuter UV Express van going to Tanay Market. Upon reaching Tanay market, ride a tricycle going to Barangay Daraitan. It’s not hard to find them in Tanay since they will be the one to find you. Before riding, make sure to ask how much the driver will charge. Try to haggle but their rate is pretty much the same if you’re in a group of six. It’s also possible to ride a jeep bound to Sampaloc but you still need to get another tricycle going to Barangay Daraitan.
After about 1.5 hours of tricycle ride, you will need to cross a river to reach Daraitan Barangay Hall. During summer, locals setup a bridge so vehicles can cross but during rainy season, they remove it due to the river’s water level. After crossing, ride another tricycle going to Barangay Hall. You will need to register and pay the environmental fee for Barangay Daraitan. After securing a guide, your trek to Tinipak River starts. The trek is easy but during rainy season, it’s muddy and the rocks were really slippery. Extra caution is needed.
Before reaching Tinipak river camp site, you will need to pay another registration fee to pass a private lot. This is also because of ongoing disputes of which jurisdiction between Daraitan or General Nakar Quezon Tinipak belongs so both sides were charging separate fees. After another 10 minutes, you’ll reach the camp site which is also where the rock formations, swimming area and the cave are. If you wish to go inside the cave you need to pay to cross a makeshift bridge. Make sure to bring flash lights to appreciate the beauty of the cave. Headlamps are available for rent at Barangay Daraitan Hall.
Things to do
- Cliff jumping – Ask you guide for the right spot to do it. The river bed is not consistently deep and some were rocky. Make sure to jump on the correct area to avoid any accident. Climbing up is a challenge because you need to swim against the current from one side of the river to the other.
- Explore Tinipak Cave – The cave is not as big and grand compared to the last I explored in Sagada but everything looks raw and alive. The highlight of this cave is swimming in a pool inside. Make sure to bring a camera with a powerful flash if you wish to take photos. My GoPro and flash light were useless inside the cave.
- Swimming – You can’t just swim on any part of the river. The reason why you have a guide is to watch over you and make sure you are safe. Some parts of the river have strong current so make sure to listen to your guide.
- Camping – Overnight camping is possible. Just bring you own tent and food. Be kind enough to bring extra food to share with your guide.
- Take a lot of pictures – The rock formations of Tinipak River were just so dramatic and stunning on pictures and so Instagram worthy.
For a destination near Manila, I want to make this trip as cheap as possible, but most of the time, travelling solo will require you to spend a little more compared to if you’re in a big group.
Summary of Expenses
- UV Express Van from Star Mall to Tanay Market – Php 70
- Tricycle ride from Tanay to Brgy. Daraitan – Php 400
- Boat for River Crossing – Php 5
- Tricycle ride after crossing the River to Daraitan Brgy. Hall – Php 10
- Guide Fee – Php 1250 for overnight stay, Php 500 for day tour (Still the same even if you will not summit Mt. Daraitan)
- Environmental Fee (Barangay Daraitan) – Php 20
- Registration to cross a private lot going to Tinipak River – Php 20
- Bridge fee to go to Tinipak Cave – Php 5
- Tricycle ride from Daraitan Brgy. Hall to River crossing – Php 10
- Boat River Crossing – Php 5
- Tricycle ride going back to Tanay Market – Php 400
- Van to Star Mall – Php 70
Total – 2265 (For overnight stay)
Note: Above prices were based on current rates at the time of writing. Transportation from home to Star Mall and food expenses were not included.
Bringing a private car is possible but please be advised that the road going to Barangay Daraitan is very rough and some were really steep. There is a parking space before you cross the river going to Barangay hall but it’s pretty limited.