Tanay Rizal is one of the best day trip destinations from the metro. It’s only 2 hours away and so it’s very accessible, and it offers a lot of nature attractions and activities. Here’s our experience including an updated Tanay Rizal day tour itinerary.
This Tanay Rizal day tour only costed us P650 each, excluding lunch.
Our day trip in Tanay, Rizal
Hali and I went on this day trip in 2015. There was an upcoming holiday and as luck have it, I came across a tour to Tanay for only P650 per person.
The group met up in Cubao at 6AM. We drove for about 3 hours to Tanay. I was asleep most of the times, but whenever I’d wake up I would see the high mountains and then, on the way to our first destination (Calinawan Cave), a long rough road with dense vegetation on both sides. I love being in nature and I took this as a good omen.
Calinawan Cave is a historical cave that was used during the Filipino-American times.
The tour inside the cave only takes an hour or less. It is beginner-friendly and so it’s ideal for everyone. You just have to be watch your step because it’s dark inside.
Our local guide Kuya Adam gave us an entertaining and educational tour of this nature preserve. Apparently, this is where the Filipinos and Americans agreed to join arms to end the Spanish rule. Historically, this gesture was a sham, but this is not the place for an in-depth discussion.
Kuya Adam also explained the difference between stalactites and stalagmites and how these are formed. We also saw fruit bats and the holes they make in the ceilings. I think I’m missing something here. How are they drilling/punching these holes?
We only explored Levels 1 and 2 of the cave.
Levels 3-5 are open during summer and are more difficult, with some parts requiring the guest to crawl and such. Levels 6-7 are permanently inaccessible, from when the tunnels were bombed by Japanese soldiers. Once upon a time though, one can go through this tunnels and travel for 9 days to go to Montalban, Rizal! What an underground adventure that must be like.
It was nice to see that Calinawan cave is being preserved by a local organization. Sadly, before this was set up, a local network company filmed a local series here and irresponsibly left silver glitters and fakes stalactites. The rest of the cave remained intact, with minerals still able to produce new cave formations, which will take thousands of years to be completed.
This is one of the first caves I’d visited, and looking back, it really made an impression on me. It made me appreciate other caves in the Philippines that were properly preserved (e.g., Diamond Cave in Quirino).
Daranak Falls and Batlag Falls
Not far from Calinawan cave are the twin attractions Daranak Falls and Batlag Falls.
Daranak Falls is a government-owned park and it’s one of the most visited destinations in Tanay. Here you can swim, eat in one of the alfresco or indoor tables, or just relax.
When we arrived, we were awed by the huge stream falling down the falls into an aqua-blue basin. However, there were too many people, so we decided to go to the more-secluded Batlag Falls just a few walks away.
There are only picnic tables in Batlag falls and none of the man-made facilities such as stores in Daranak falls. Batlag falls is a refresher from the September heat but isn’t a place for regular swimming. Similar with other falls, the stones around were smooth and slippery. The ground underneath was uneven and hid rocks of different sizes. It’s best to wear aqua shoes or trekking sandals rather than ordinary slippers or going barefoot.
We went astray from the main falls and followed the water trail down south and then on a parallel northward direction from Batlag falls. There was nobody else with us, and the water on those parts seemed undisturbed. There were water insects and cobwebs. There were flying insects that might have been butterflies or dragonflies. it was difficult to tell since the wings were bigger and vividly colored.
We also found a pool, with corners too precise to be natural, but just like the other small pools and mini-falls, it too seemed abandoned.
After several minutes of trudging across undisturbed waters, we clambered up a high slope and went back to the familiar noise of people bathing in the main falls.
We intended to stay until late in Batlag Falls, but after a short discussion we agreed to visit the new Tanay windmill in Rizal as well. The Pililla windmills were a recent construction and only began operating summer of 2015.
There was nothing to do here but relax, check out the windmills and feel the strong winds brush your hair. It offers a full view of Laguna de Bay and the surrounding hills filled with white seed heads swaying with the wind. It was the perfect way to end our day trip.
Other places to see in Tanay
Here are other places you can also include in your Tanay Rizal day tour itinerary.
- Treasure Mountain. This is a mountain campsite where you can witness the sea of clouds — a popular spot for sunrise viewing. There is no hiking involved to reach the view deck. The campsite has a restaurant where you can order silog meals for breakfast. There are other activities available for those who wish to stay longer, including an Obstacle Course with Spider’s Web Activity and visits to The Apiary Farm, Bosay Falls, and Laiban Falls.
- El Patio Razon. Want to experience kawa hot bath without having to book a flight to Tibiao? This is the place to be!
- Regina Rica. A popular pilgrimage site in Tanay, Rizal. You can look at the religious displays and explore the surroundings.
How to get to Tanay, Rizal
From EDSA, it takes about 2 hours to get to Tanay, Rizal.
- From EDSA Shaw, head to the terminal in front of Starmall and ride a van to Tanay (P70 per person). Alternatively, you may also ride a jeep (about P50 per person).
How to get around
If you know your way around Tanay, you can commute via jeepneys to your destination.
You can also charter a tricycle for the tour. Head to the public market or supermarket and look for the tricycle lines. However, it may be challenging to find a driver that will take you to different destinations especially since some of them are quiet far (e.g., Pililla Windmills is not part of Tanay, but Pililla municipality).
That saying, the best way to explore different destinations in Tanay is by private car.
Tanay Rizal Day Tour Itinerary
Here’s an updated day tour itinerary to Tanay, Rizal.
|3AM – 5AM||Departure from Manila to Tanay|
|5:30AM – 7AM||Sunrise watching at Treasure Mountain|
|7AM – 8AM||Breakfast|
|8AM – 8:30AM||Head to Regina Rica|
|8:30AM – 9:30AM||Explore Regina Rica|
|9:30AM – 10:15AM||Head to Pillila Windmills|
|10:15AM – 10:45AM||Picture taking at Pililla Windmills|
|11AM – 12PM||Lunch|
|12PM – 12:45PM||Head to Calinawan Cave|
|1PM – 2PM||Spelunking at Calinawan Cave|
|2PM – 2:30PM||Head to Daranak Falls|
|2:30PM – 4:30PM||Swim at Daranak Falls and/or Batlag Falls|
|Optional: Bali of Tanay or Pasalubong Center|
|5PM – 7PM||Travel back to Manila|
P.S. Don’t forget to read our guide on the Top Things to Do in Tanay, Rizal.
Budget and expenses
Here are the current rates of the destinations (Updated as of 2020):
- Calinawan Cave: Entrance fee – P20 per person / Guide fee – P200
- Daranak Falls: Entrance fee – P50 per person, kids below 3 feet are free of charge / Picnic shed – P300/picnic table – P200
- Batlag Falls: Entrance fee – P100 per person / Picnic table – P250
- Treasure Mountain: Entrance fee – P150 per person
- El Patio Razon: Entrance fee – P120 per person / kawa hot bath – P300 per person/hour
- Pilillia Windmills, Regina Rica: None
Total budget depends on how many you are in a group and the destinations/activities you want to visit. In a group, a safe budget would be P1500+ per person.
There are also travel agencies offering convenient day trips in Tanay for around P999 per person.
Reminders and Tips
Here are some reminders and tips before you go:
- The easiest way to go on a day tour in Tanay is to book a packaged tour.
- Things to bring: Trekking sandals and headlight/flashlight for caving. Bring swimwear and change of clothes. If you are visiting Regina Rica, make sure that you are properly dressed. Don’t forget to bring snacks and drinking water.
- Tanay is a great place for outdoor activities, including biking, hiking, visiting waterfalls, and more. If you want to experience more of Tanay, consider booking for a longer stay.
Here are some contact information:
- Tanay Tourism: Facebook
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).