Monday, May 19, 2014

Why I hate the Tourist vs Traveler Debate

I was browsing photos on Instagram and there's this one post that ticked me off so much that it deserves all my thoughts be put in one blog. I dare not confront the person behind it for I clearly know the gravity of the air volume this person has in his/her head. (sorry, I wouldn't also specify if that person's a girl or boy.)

Now the pondering question gets me: How does one truly define a tourist and/or a traveler? 

Say, if were both in one place and you see me in my usual shutter happy mode, you call me a tourist; then you, who was busily observing whats around define yourself a traveler? Or, if I had a full list of places to go, I'm a tourist while you, the self-defined traveler wanders around without any destination in mind? Mind you, these samples were just derived from the most common scenarios where someone could tell which one which. Whatever actually.

I just started to think that it's all about perspective and a matter of choice. I hate that debate of definitions and comparisons for both worlds. I hate how we unchalantly judge someone's preference. It's like putting a label on how a person goes places. We were all born differently, so why judge how someone sees the world? 

It doesn't matter if you choose to see the world as a tourist or seek adventures as a traveler. We are just walking under the same sky, seeing the same world, just in different perspective --and that's something everyone should respect at all costs.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Discovering Daraitan and Tinipak River (Photoblog)

 Daraitan is a small sleepy town located in Tanay, Rizal. The tedious 2 hour ride from Tanay market can be unbearable due to the dusty, rough road, but when you get there, place will open you up to a wondrous trip to nature you'll soon thrive for the days to come. 

How to get there:

1. Ride a van going to Tanay, Rizal at the public terminal in Starmall, along Shaw MRT station. The fare costs PHP70 each, but you may choose to ride a jeep for Php53. The ride takes about 2 hours.

2. The van will drop you off at Tanay market. A tricycle ride costs Php300, one way. Be very cautious when haggling, these drivers can be quite pushy because they're too many, it's a Battle of Thermopylae back there when it comes to getting a ride, so it's best that you have a contact already.

3. The tricycle ride takes about 2 hours of butt-numbing ride through rough roads and seemingly endless pavements. There's this stop where you'll need to pay Php30 one way just to cross the bridge.

 The rough road going up to Daraitan.

4. Lastly, the tricycle will drop you off at the jumpoff, Daraitan Barangay Hall where you need to secure a guide before going for a camp at Tinipak River. Registration costs Php20 each, while the guide fee is Php750.

The representation of the tour around Daraitan - Tinipak River. We took turns in explaining our ideas on how can we reach the summit in the shortest time possible. Turns out that we arrived too late so we just decided to camp near the cave instead.

After settling our fees and getting Mang Ed as our guide, we started our trek going to Tinipak River. It was an easy walk at first, we passed by rows of houses until we came to this...

A cemetery!

Yes, it's just near the road. Not too creepy though, because there are still houses beside the cemetery too.

We were basically following the river going to the campsite. A few minutes down the trail we saw this.

You don't need to pay for a boatman to carry you across the river by raft. When we got there, there's this bridge that you can safely cross.

Tinipak River and the white limestones that seem to glow under the scorching sun.

My friends choose the other route so we have to cross the river and go for some little rock climbing to get down the first campsite. I have a poor grip on my toes so I was literally holding on to those boulders for my dear life. I feel really weak when it comes to hiking, but only scenic views can make go on and start walking even more. 

My view from top, one slip, or I'll end up getting washed along the strong river current lol.

The rocks at this part are really interesting because of the colors, which made it appear like a gradient wall

We settled to set camp near the entrance of Tungtong Cave, since the group already decided that we won't push the idea of taking a hike to Mt. Daraitan (due to time constraints as well). The gushing sound of the stream beside our camp seemed to sound like a nature's lullaby, soothing our senses, making us appreciate how wonderful this weekend is.

We set camp just beside the river bed, close to the entrance of Tungtong Cave but not too far from the watersource. 

I didn't know that small bridge was a diving spot, I wanted to try, but I wish I knew how to swim LOL. 

That's us taking turns preparing our dinner for that night. 

..and that's me in my all-pink glory LOL. From hiking shoes, sleeping bag, rashguard even to my socks, I'm all color coordinated! I've been saving up for a pink tent though, and if I do get one, I'd be happiest camper ever. :3

The grand view of Tinipak River at the entrance of Tungtong Cave. 

That's Team Daraitan, all smiles before going inside the cave. A little history here, Tungtong Cave was formerly a Japanese hideout, and it was marked by a huge 400-yr old Balete tree. They used the cave as their mini hospital according to our tour guide.

You need to go down to get inside the cave.

The path inside the cave is really easy compared to what I've experienced at Bayukbok Cave in Manalmon. Going inside isn't as complicated, I don't need to kneel, crawl and squeeze myself into crevices to pass through. I said that would be my last caving adventure, but then I went inside Tungtong Cave, I realized there are easier ways to do spelunking.

This is the last stop inside the cave, a small body of water where you can cool off. It's not too deep, Manong Ed even told us you can go fishing here.

You can't go beyond that way, boys.

We also found crystallized rocks here. You cannot touch them or else they'll lose their luster.

Here's our very friendly and helpful tour guide, Manong Ed. :)

..and that's me and a 400 year old Balete Tree.

Since we failed to follow our given itinerary for this trip, I guess I'll just share this here. You can go on a dayhike at Mt. Daraitan, just be sure to go there as early as usual (around 9am) so you'll have plenty of time to explore the place, or just have an overnight camping like what we did, and do the other activities like caving, river trekking and swimming at the Tinipak River.

5AM ETD to Tanay Market from Shaw Blvd via Private Transportation
6:30 AM ETA Tanay Market / Buy Supplies
7:00AM Take Tricycle or Jeep rent to Daraitan
7:30AM ETA Daraitan / Boat Ride / Take Tricycle to Brgy. Hall
7:50AM ETA Brgy. Daraitan / Register and Get Guide / Proceed to jump-off point
8:00AM Start Trek (Main Trail)
8:40AM Tinipak Creek-Cottage-River / continue trekking via main trail
08:50AM ETA Boundary to Bagbagan Trail / continue trekking via main trail
09:00AM ETA Trail head of Lilindigan / continue trekking via main trail
09:45AM ETA Cemented stair 
10:00AM ETA Cablao Elementary School 
12:00PM ETA Trail Fork to Summit (Right Trail for Bato Peak 1) and (Left for Bato Peak 2) / Lunch / 
01:30PM Start descent
3:00PM Back to Main Trail
03:30PM ETA Tinipak Cottage-River / rest / set camp / socials / swimming whatever

06:00 AM Wake up call / Eat breakfast
08:00 AM Start taking rock boulders to cross the river to get to Tinipak Cave
9:30 AM ETA Tinipak cave / swimming and cave exploration
03:00 PM Go back to cottage /camp
04:30 PM Break camp
05:00PM head back to Jump off
06:00PM Jump-off / Rest and wash / Take Tricycle to Brgy. Hall / Log out / Proceed for boat ride
07:00PM ETD to Tanay Market
08:30PM ETD to Shaw Blvd
10:30PM ETA Shaw Blvd

70 - van going to Tanay, Rizal
100 - tricycle fare going to Daraitan
30 - tricycle tollgate (this is per tricycle, not by head fee)
20 - registration fee at Daraitan Brgy. Hall
750 - tourguide fee (overnight, you can divide this within your group)

Manong Ed (tour guide): 0905-2397186