Change of plans. I love it when my companions are just ready for anything. Meeting hiking buddies Christine and Marky early Friday morning in Cubao, we were supposed to go to another mountain. As fast as the changing wind, we decided to visit another mountain at the vicinity of Daraitan – Mt Mamara. A smaller brother of Mt Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal, Mt Mamara was opened as an alternative to climbers who got cut-off from the maximum 300 pax per day limit of climbers for Mt Daraitan. It may be a minor mountain but the rewards of the climb is equally captivating.
Jump-off at Daraitan
I have long been interested with Daraitan since my early climbing days in 2000. But I never had a chance to visit then. Back in those days, I have heard tales on how difficult it is to get there. Lately it’s a different story. We simply hopped a UV Express to Cogeo Antipolo, rode a big jeep to Sampaloc, Tanay, then hopped in a tricycle to Daraitan. That transit took 2–3 hours and the road only got rough during the tricycle ride.
The jump-off starts from the Daraitan tourist center where we paid our registration and environment fees (P100 total per pax) and guide fee for the three of us (P500). Before starting our climb, we helped ourselves with a hearty and warm lomi, Tanay style topped with crispy home-made kikiam. We rode another tryke to take us to our jump-off at Mt Mamara.
Our guide Edwin explained that the mountain was named from the local word “maramara” which means windy. And it does describe the place. Even with a good forest cover, wind sweeps through the mountain slopes. Passing through the trees. Easy to feel and quite audible. For a short cut of the term, they use “mamara” instead.
Our trail starts following a dry river bed then ascends on a narrow but established forest trail. We crossed paths with a group of local guides early on the trail. Our guide said they do regular clean-ups here which is good. From the start, the trail ascends through a covered low forest. Before the summit there are already breathtaking viewpoints along craggy limestone rocks. Views of verdant mountains and Tinipak river below. What amused me is how the guides here seemed trained on how to take photos of their guest. The best spots, the best angles. A plus if you’re travelling solo.
The Mt Mamara summit has a small clearing near the rockies. Mt Daraitan summit can be seen behind. I heard there’s a sea of clouds here in the morning. An incentive to go back for it if ever. My altimeter estimates I’m 1240 feet (378 meters) above sea level. Truly rewarding views on a relatively easy climb.
As an added fun to our climb is descending down to this huge balete tree that is so picturesque by the river. Maytuntong Cave is also nearby but we didn’t opt to go inside. Again, a reason to go back to. What we did enjoy taking time is taking a cool dip at the clear waters of Tinipak River. I could actually feel the fatigue wash away. Overall, a fun and easy chill climb. Though Mt Mamara has a predicament being at the border. The mountain itself is located in Siniloan, Laguna already but the jump-off is at Mt Daraitan. And crossing the river, we already found ourselves at General Nakar, Quezon. The footbridges where we had to pay crossing fees and then the registration fee as we crossed to Quezon. Hey, what’s the P100 environmental and registration fee I paid for? Good thing the activity made up for these dubious fees.
The jump-off to Mt Mamara is the same as in Mt Daraitan. Visit the Daraitan Tourist center to register and secure a guide.
- Guide fee – P500 for a group of up to 5 pax
- Environmental Fee – P50/pax
- Cultural Fee – P20/pax
- Tourism Fee – P30/pax
- Wear good and sturdy foot wear as there are rocky and sharp trails
- There were several foot bridge crossing where you have to pay either P5 or P10
- Bring extra clothes, there are a lot of areas to freshen up. Usually P20 for a shower. Check out Manalo’s shower area as they have 28 shower rooms
How to go to Daraitan
From EDSA-Shaw Crossing
- Ride a jeep or UV Express from EDSA-Shaw to Tanay, Rizal. Jeeps at Parklea Terminal, UV Express at Megamall
- Get off at Tanay Public market. Take a jeep to Sampaloc, Tanay from the jeepney terminal (P28 30 mins)
- Take a tricycle to Brgy. Daraitan (P300 whole tryke standard rate; 30–45 mins). Tricycle can take you directly to the Daraitan Tourist Center
- From Cubao Aurora Blvd, ride a UV Express to Cogeo Gate 2 (P35)From the intersection (landmark Jollibee), walk inside towards the market. At the end length of the market is the jeepney terminal.
- Ride a big jeep to Sampaloc (P65). From Sampaloc, walk past the intersection towards Shell gas station.
- Take a tricycle to Brgy. Daraitan (P300 whole tryke standard rate; 30–45 mins). Tricycle can take you directly to the Daraitan Tourist Center.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.