Whenever I see a place of beauty, I stare at it for a long time.
And that’s exactly what happened when I first saw Tinipak River. A gem by the foot of Mount Daraitan in Rizal, the place is a total visual treat: boulders of limestone bordering the clear river, and in the background a majestic view of Mount Daraitan and Mount Mamara standing tall through a curtain of clouds. The sound of the rushing stream is music to the ears. I could listen to it all day.
Before reaching this paradise, it took a lot of work and of course, a lot of walking. Getting to the place requires time and patience, our energy almost drained from the two-hour shaky tricycle ride from Tanay to the registration area. After that, we traversed through the secluded but scenic pathway to the foot of the mountain.
But don’t let the long walk daunt you; the place is literally a breath of fresh air and a sight to behold. It’s normal to cross paths with animals along the way, and with friendly locals who won’t hesitate to give you a greeting and a smile.
After climbing the mountain for hours, I don’t exactly remember how far we’ve walked to the river, but I won’t forget how many times I froze walking on the makeshift wooden bridges.
To cut the story short, I am acrophobic. It was really, really challenging to see and hear the rush of water below you, but it felt great crossing it. Like it was a feat good enough for the books.
Oh, how enchanting this place is. The water is crystal clear — it is the cleanest river in their region. You can even get potable water from some spots! And since it sits in a very natural environment surrounded by high land formations, the water is very chilly.
Despite the very cold temperature, swimming in the river is one of the best parts of this experience. Try going to the areas with active water and wash away your fatigue from the preceding climb. It’s the best feeling. There’s also a cave beside it where there’s also a body of water to swim in. Oh, how I love the sound of running water reverberating through cave chambers. It was just too dark and risky to take a photo.
When I saw the beauty and life of this flowing river, I stared at it for a long time. And when I come around for the second time, I will do it again; even longer if I could.
ALL PHOTOS BY TYNNE DE LEON
Been to this captivating place? Share your experience in the comments section below!