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Mt. Daraitan: Wear Those Gloves

mt. daraitan

I was on this climber’s high when I signed up for a Mt. Daraitan traverse. I did not do my research prior to the climb because I thought I could conquer any mountain trail that come my way. Boy was I wrong!

A few years ago, I never would consider myself a mountaineer let alone someone who would climb mountains weekly. Giving mountain climbing a second chance, however, got me hooked.

There is something about wanting to quit because of muscle pain, sweating buckets and occasionally slipping upon establishing foothold that is addictive. Something about the last few steps until you get that bird’s eyeview vantage point.

Mt. Daraitan

Really, Mt. Daraitan is a Beginner’s Climb?

This was, however, not your ordinary mountain. Mt. Daraitan is located in Tanay, Rizal bordering Quezon Province and part of the Sierra Madre mountain range. To get to the jump off point before sunrise, we crossed the shallow river with two boats joined together. This river makes up the majestic Tinipak River on the other side of Mt. Daraitan.

Mt. Daraitan, I found after we set out from the barangay hall, was unpretentious and tough. Several minutes into the base line, we were welcomed immediately with a sustained uphill slope reminiscent more of rock climbing or bouldering than hiking and trekking. Needless to say, there was little time for warming up.

It helped to be wearing gloves for the climb because of the sharp and jagged corral rocks that make up the entire trail of Mt. Daraitan. One wrong move could get your knees scraped and bruised. More so, we had to endure this climb for 3-4 hours tops.

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Trail Made of Limestone

Aside from the limestone-laden trail of Mt. Daraitan, it was also often made difficult by eroded trees and loose dirt that may be extra slippery if it had been raining. The density of the surrounding air also shortened our breaths. It was great that in playing Ultimate Frisbee, we have had training for the sustained lunge positions.

What I was thankful for was that our group for the day seemed to be seasoned climbers that nobody got injured, tired or complained easily. I believe that beginners who start with Mt. Daraitan may have more difficult time especially when not equipped with a warrior’s mindset. To me, it was a welcome push to not act as a weakling.

Mt. DaraitanIn a record time of a little past two hours, we were able to make it to the campsite. Even the site was small, as tents were perched in an inclined slope. I can actually hardly call it a campsite as it can’t accommodate much. The campsite was only ten minutes before the Mt. Daraitan summit!

Winding Rivers and Multiple Peaks

Summit reached! The peak of Mt. Daraitan itself is a bed of sharp crystallized limestone (also called Spanish marble) and crisp-stemmed trees at 719 meters above sea level. These rocks are actually used to make beautiful statues and sculptures. Like any mountain peak, there were also a lot of colorful insects. I cannot overemphasize how breathtaking it was seeing the beautiful mountain range of Sierra Madre from the peak of Mt. Daraitan!

Most people skip Mt. Daraitan and head straight for Tinipak River. But I can say that I had better appreciation of the River by going through the traverse first. Aside from the Sierra Madre mountain range, we lingered for hours staring at the long and winding Tinipak River that permeates through the ground below.

Mt. Daraitan

The Hellish Traverse

True enough, if the uphill bouldering was difficult, the Mt. Daraitan traverse to Tinipak River was more intense. We had to scramble down on an occasional 90 degree slope — holding on to tree branches, rough rock exposures or tough stems for hours longer than the climb. For the first time since my mountain climb breakthrough, I wanted to give up!

But as what I had learned from mountain climbing, I only had to suck it up and keep my legs moving. The faster I move, the sooner the traverse will finish. Soon enough, we made it down Mt. Daraitan could hear the sound of flowing river — the Tinipak River.

Mt. Daraitan

The beauty of the river? A different story altogether.

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33 Comments

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Kathy Ngo
    September 2, 2014 at 4:50 AM

    This is very inspiring since I never saw myself as a mountaineer as well. This is awesome. Keep inspiring people.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      September 10, 2014 at 7:29 AM

      I hope that won’t stop us from trying. Go ahead! 🙂

  • Reply
    Janice
    August 29, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    You climbed the mountain for 3-4 hours. Okay, mountain climbing is definitely not for me. Hahaha! But I gotta admit, that view is awesome! I’m sure the photos don’t do them justice though.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      September 10, 2014 at 7:30 AM

      You’re right. It was very difficult capturing the beauty of the bird’s eye view. You really gotta see it for yourself 🙂

  • Reply
    Que Sullano - Gavan
    August 29, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    I want to hike and climb mountains too! Hopefully when my son is a little bigger, for now, I’ll stick with cardio workouts and running

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      That’s actually great training for mountain climbing. Go ahead! 🙂

  • Reply
    Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen
    August 29, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    Climb mountains weekly??? I don’t think I can do that. Kudos to you, girl!

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      I didn’t think I can do that too! But it’s actually possible 🙂

  • Reply
    Mitch Ryan (@mitchryan23)
    August 29, 2014 at 4:11 AM

    I was able to conquer Mt. Apo when I was younger. I also had a taste of how it feels to hang on to tree branches, crawl on all fours, or just let go and slide on the muddy slope. Looking back it was something I did once, but something I don’t really look forward doing anymore. ^_^

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      Wow I’m so jealous! I am yet to climb Apo. It will be the ultimate mountain to climb 🙂

  • Reply
    rochkirstin
    August 29, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    Beautiful mountain views – almost like a painting on your backdrop! It was good that it did not rain that day.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      That’s exactly what I thought. I was trying to take in the texture of the multiple mountains! So beautiful 🙂

  • Reply
    May De Jesus-Palacpac
    August 27, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    How nice! I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, I’ve only been able to climb Mt. Maculot and got to go up the Rockies. I wish I can do it again, sigh, andhopefully with my kids. 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      I have recently done it and will blog about it! Glad we have something in common 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle Solee (@michisolee)
    August 27, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    It looks like you really like to climb. My husband wanted to climb Mt. Pulag pag malaki na daw anak ko para may kasama siya. hehehe!

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      Haha! You wanna try joining him before that? Mt. Pulag has an easy trail 🙂

  • Reply
    Sol Felice
    August 24, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    The view from the top is amazing! The mountain range of Sierra Madre is really worth the climb. Do you have any tips for those who’d like to climb mountains for the first time? 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      To be honest the only tip I have is just climb. 🙂 Start it now and don’t overthink the preparations

  • Reply
    Franc Ramon
    August 22, 2014 at 4:32 AM

    I have to agree how beautiful Sierra Madre Mountain range is. We did a trail in Tanay where you can see the mountain ranges.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      I saw that blog post! I wish someday I can do trail running too 🙂

  • Reply
    Fred
    August 21, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Interesting info about the Spanish limestone. Good that more and more towns are getting into the mountain climbing activity. But following that recent tragic accident in Bulacan, there should be more community involvement to ensure safety of the climbers.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      I have to agree. It was really sad, although the students were on a field trip. Still, they should put safety measures. Let’s hope the LGUs get more involved in social tourism

  • Reply
    Manu Kalia
    August 18, 2014 at 3:02 AM

    I miss traveling so much, I love the cute text. lovely place to be

  • Reply
    Patty | MrsC
    August 16, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Wow do you really go on a climb every week? Sounds like a great way to de-stress. I bet the whole nature experience is a welcome break from city chaos.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      I have to say I lost weight because of all the climbs :)) Mountain climbing has become my way to unwind to be honest 🙂

  • Reply
    franckxethee
    August 16, 2014 at 5:41 AM

    I think this is one of your better treks from the views.

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      Yes. Although, it was really a lot of hard work! Check out my new post on Tinipak River for even better views 🙂

      • Reply
        franckxethee
        August 31, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        I did a mountain run today and it was really exhausting. We did 16K of Mt. Talamitan, taking both the longer way going to the summit and getting back.

  • Reply
    FX777 Classified Articles
    August 15, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Glad you did this climb and found your true self. More climbing of mountains for you in the future. Great outdoor activity. Commenter: Fernando Lachica

    • Reply
      Samantha Isabel
      August 29, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      It was actually Pico de Loro that first got me interested 🙂

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