Twice the Fun at Daranak and Batlag Falls

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

If you're anything like me, you'd emphatically nod your head when I say there's a constant itch in my system that can only be relieved by going on adventures. This biting urge is always there and never ever goes away, only palliated by seeing and experiencing what the world has to offer. So it's quite a rush for me when I get to go on more than one adventure in one day. Taking in the verdant and cerulean surroundings and feeling the rush of raging water against my skin after exploring what could be the home of diwatas can be likened to a release of copious amounts of endorphin. Oh, I cannot give justice to the exhilaration that had taken hold of me on that phenomenal day!

Visiting the popular Daranak Falls was the next item on our Tanay Adventure itinerary. I may be making things up but I think Daranak comes from the phrase "daranak ang dugo" which translates to "blood will spill". I believe the place has some historical significance, I'm just not sure what. (Sorry.) Anyhow, blood-spill will be the last thing you'd think of when you behold Daranak Falls.

Located along Sampaloc Road, Daranak Falls is a frequent choice for a quick summer getaway. The place had been developed by the local government to become a legitimate tourist attraction, and in that regard I think they have succeeded. And since, in my book, summer had already begun, it was no wonder that the cool clear waters of Daranak enticed quite a large crowd on the Sunday we decided to explore it.

But before we go to our actual destination, let's talk about the journey of getting there.

After our stint as spelunkers, we clambered into Kuya Lester's tricycle and rode off a stretch of dirt roads once again.

I didn't mind the dirt that got caught in my bushy hair because, like I said, dirt and fun walk hand in hand. Plus, when you get to have photos like those (above), anything is tolerable. 

We knew we were almost there when we stopped in front of a makeshift gate. Manned by one Ka Leo (and a host of other gentlemen), we were instructed to get off the tricycle and walk the rest of the way. It was for our safety, Kuya Lester explained, and we did not question it since the road before us was a steep descent and littered with stones and gravel. 

The entrance fee costs 50pesos/person. We also rented a picnic hut for 300pesos. It was almost lunch time and we wanted a place to eat and rest.

Lining up to pay the fees

The actual falls is not the only attraction in the place. Balanced rocks were also ubiquitous. Kuya Lester informed us that during the Hane Festival in November, rock balancing contests are held here.

So we went inside, to our designated picnic hut. We bumped into a group of students, who, I assumed, were on a science field trip (because I heard them talking about bodies of water and mineral formations). If I were a science teacher, I'd also bring my students here. The place, I'm sure, has lots to offer in the science department as well.

When we found our picnic hut, we agreed to have our lunch first before we continue with our adventure.

Although, after seeing this, I forgot about hunger. It was all about euphoria, as far as I was concerned:

We finished our packed lunch and decided to go on the short trek to Batlag Falls.

Batlag Falls can be accessed through a path inside Daranak. You'd have to pay 100pesos/person because the place is privately owned. But believe me, it's worth it. Good thing, French and Julius's camera is waterproof. Otherwise, I wouldn't have these photos to back up my claim:

As you'd probably noticed, we went into the waters of Batlag Falls but refrained from going into Daranak's. Well, there were too many people in the latter and it was made known to us that the catch-basin was too deep that you'd need a floatie, or be a decent swimmer, to access it. I, for one, was not that confident with my swimming abilities and did not want to bother with a salbabida. Plus, there was a silent consensus among us that we should make the most of our 100-peso entrance fee to Batlag. Hehe.

In any event, Batlag Falls has a couple of waterfalls (three, if I'm not mistaken) and all of them will bring a smile to your face. The gathered water was cold even on such a hot day. At first, the ice cold temperature was a shock but we got used to it and found it ultimately very relaxing. By the way, I think it is possible to camp around Batlag since we saw a couple of tents set up in one part of the place.

We spent maybe an hour exploring Batlag Falls, after which we headed back to our picnic shed and decided to clean up. We had one more stop in our Tanay Adventure.

Well, I hope you'd get to explore the famous Daranak Falls as well as the less-known but equally breathtaking Batlag Falls. Adventures need not be expensive and far-off, anyway. And if you're concerned that there might not be any place to wash up after taking a dip in the water, fret not. Daranak has some pretty decent showers and changing rooms. There's also a store/eatery where you can buy meals and souvenirs. Also, I can't really advise you to leave your things unattended, but in our case, we just brought our valuables and left the rest in our picnic hut. On that day, we just believed in the inherent goodness of our fellow men. And we weren't disappointed. :)

Cheers to the next adventure!

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