home Rizal Sulit day trip in Tanay, Rizal: Calinawan Cave, Daranak and Batlag Falls, Pililla Windmills

Sulit day trip in Tanay, Rizal: Calinawan Cave, Daranak and Batlag Falls, Pililla Windmills

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We spent the last holiday on a very sulit day trip to Tanay Rizal. Tanay is just a few-hour drive from Manila. It was very laid back and fun. We started the day spelunking in Calinawan cave, visiting Daranak Falls and Batlag Falls and ended the afternoon visiting the recently constructed windmills in the very windy area of Barangay Halayhayin.

This Tanay Rizal day tour only costed us P650 each, excluding lunch.

Day trip in Tanay, Rizal

While I was browsing my Facebook groups, I came across someone organizing a holiday day tour in Tanay, Rizal. I urged Hali that we go and immediately reserved slots.

Hali and I, as well as other companions that day and our tour organizer Kuya Jake (none of whom I knew in real life, this is how travel goes apparently), met up in Cubao at 6:00AM. We drove for about 3 hours to Tanay, Rizal. Even though I was asleep at times, I very much enjoyed the ride because we cruised along high mountains and, on the way to the cave, on a long rough road with densely grown trees and plants on both sides.

Calinawan Cave

The tour to Calinawan cave takes only an hour or less. It’s not a strenuous activity, and guests aren’t expected to crawl (up to cave level 2 at least) or do something extreme such as tread across waist-length water to get across. You just have to be careful walking because it is dark inside and watch your head at times.

Calinawan cave in Tanay, Rizal
Inside Calinawan Cave. (Photo credit to Hali)
Calinawan cave in Tanay, Rizal
It’s completely dark without flashlights. Also Hali likes to make these funny faces.  (Photo credit to Hali)

The local guide, Kuya Adam, gave us an entertaining and educational background of this nature preserve. Apparently this is where the Filipinos and Americans agreed to join arms to end the Spanish rule (a sham, but this is not the place or time for an in-depth historical 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?

Stalactites in Calinawan cave
Glittery stalactites. Guests shouldn’t touch them because our skin is acidic, apparently. (Photo credit to Hali)
Calinawan cave bat holes
Bat holes in Calinawan cave. (Photo credit to Hali)

It was nice to see that Calinawan cave is being preserved by a local organization. Sadly, before this was set up, some network and production companies filmed here and irresponsibly left silver glitters and fake 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.

Calinawan cave in Tanay, Rizal
Another cave after our exit. Can’t we really go inside this one? (Photo credit to Hali)

We only explored levels 1 and 2. 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.

Reminder: Bring a headlight or flashlight. The local guide has a spare one but best be sure especially if you’re a group.

Daranak Falls and Batlag Falls

Our next stop for this Tanay Rizal day tour are these two sister falls.

Not far from Calinawan cave are the twin attractions Daranak and Batlag falls. At the time of our visit, there was a large volume of water streaming from Daranak falls and it was almost picture perfect with its aqua-blue basin, but one look at the crowd and we decided we were better off in the more secluded Batlag falls just a short trek away.

Daranak Falls in Tanay, Rizal
Daranak Falls.

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.

Batlag falls in Rizal
Batlag falls in Tanay Rizal. It’s so much bigger than it seems here. (Photo credit to Hali)
Batlag falls in Rizal
Tip: If nobody is swimming in that area, it’s probably because it’s too deep. (Photo credit to Hali)
Batlag falls in Rizal
It’s refreshing to be back with nature. (Photo credit to Hali)

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).

Water stream in Batlag falls
Follow the water stream. (Photo credit to Hali)
Creek near Batlag falls
Can you hear the quiet and the insect sounds? (Photo credit to Hali)
Batlag falls in Rizal
This place was deserted except for us. (Photo credit to Hali)

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.

Abandoned pool near Batlag falls
An abandoned swimming pool near Batlag falls. (Photo credit to Hali)

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.

Pililla Windmills

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. There was no entrance fee to the windmills, but we were asked to give a donation.

It isn’t surprising that Pililla windmills haven’t reached the ears of tourists yet. The Pililla windmills were a recent construction and only began operating summer of this year.

Pililla windmills in Rizal
Pililla windmills in Rizal province. (Photo credit to Hali)
Pillila windmills in Rizal
We enjoyed our visit here. (Photo credit to Hali)

There was nothing to do here but relax, check out the windmills and feel the strong winds brush (in my case, terrifically blow dry) your hair. There was also a full view of the Laguna de Bay and, on the nearby hills, of tall grasses with white seed heads swaying with the wind.

It was a perfect way to end our day trip.

Planning a Day Trip in Tanay, Rizal

Ever since I posted this, I’d received tons of inquiries. This section is an update so you can also plan your own Tanay Rizal day tour.

Alternatively, you can simply go on a joiner tour. We do not have any particular tour agency to recommend, but it’s easy to do a simple search in Facebook for Tanay Rizal tour packages. As of January 2020, rate is usually P799-999 per person for a joiner day tour.

How to get here

From EDSA, it takes about 2 hours to get to Tanay, Rizal.

Via commute:

  • 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. Or you can charter a tricycle for the tour.

For the latter, head to the public market or supermarket and charter a tricycle to take you on tour to Calinawan Cave and the falls. Price depends on your haggling skills, but to be safe prepare as much as P400. From Daranak Falls, proceed to your next destination.

Personal suggestion: While commuting is possible, it’s a little inconvenient and it may be difficult to find a tricycle driver that will agree to take you to Calinawan Cave and the twin falls and then to other attractions in Tanay, Rizal. The Pililla Windmills in particular is quite far, as it’s not technically in Tanay but in Pililla municipality.

The easiest way to get around is via private car, so I suggest bringing your own wheels or forming a group so you can rent a van.

Rates

Here are the current rates for the attractions in Tanay, Rizal:

  • Calinawan Cave: Entrance fee: P20 per person / Guide fee: P200
    Contact: Facebook / 0936 246 3735
  • Daranak Falls: Entrance fee: P50 per person, kids below 3 feet are free of charge / Picnic shed – P300/picnic table – P200
    Contact: Facebook
  • Batlag Falls: Entrance fee: P100 per person / Picnic table: P250
    Contact: Facebook
  • Pililla Windmills: Entrance fee: None, donation only

Sample day trip itinerary

Here’s an updated sample day trip itinerary to Tanay, Rizal:

1AM Departure from Manila
5:30AM Sunrise watching at Treasure Mountain
7:30AM Breakfast
9:30AM Regina Rica
10:30AM Pililla Windmills
11:30AM Lunch
1PM Calinawan Cave
2:30 – 4:30PM Daranak Falls
Optional: Bali of Tanay or Pasalubong Center
7 or 8PM ETA in Manila

Budget depends on how many you are in a group. A safe budget would be P1000-1500 per person.

Other things you have to know

Daranak Falls and Batlag Falls are managed by separate groups. Daranak Falls is a government-owned park, while Batlag Falls is privately owned by a family. You have to pass through Daranak Falls to get to Batlag Falls, which means you have to pay both entrance fees to get to Batlag Falls.

Daranak Falls is the more popular choice — in fact it’s the top destination in Tanay, Rizal. It features various amenities, a function room and outdoor tables, store and canteen, and restrooms. You can buy food in the canteen at affordable prices, although the options are limited. That saying, Daranak Falls can get noisy and crowded on weekends and holidays.

Batlag Falls is the better choice if you want a quieter commune with nature. There are picnic tables available where you can store your bags, though I’ve read some people just placing their bags underneath trees to save expenses.

Things to bring

Here are the things you should bring for this activity:

  • Durable sandals for caving
  • Swimwear and change of clothes
  • Snacks and drinking water

 

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18 thoughts on “Sulit day trip in Tanay, Rizal: Calinawan Cave, Daranak and Batlag Falls, Pililla Windmills

  1. Hi, I would like to visit these places? Where should I start?
    Pililla windmills, regina rica pilgrimage, calinawan cave, daranak falls, batlag falls, our lady of rawan grotto, parola light house, lambingan hill, treasure mountain sea of cloud, masungi georeserve, hobbit house, el patio razon and kawa hot bath.

    You’re help is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Michelle. I haven’t been to all these places. I suggest looking at a map and then plan your route from there.

  2. There are so many places to go to Rizal yet I haven’t really explored that part of the country yet. I would love to check out Daranak falls, I heard so much about it.

  3. I didnt know that Tanay has this windmill. I love it! great info. I love windmills not because of it’s structure but of it’s use and purpose. I fell in love the windmills in Ilocos when I visited the place 7 years ago.

  4. I’m from Taguig which is technically close to Rizal, so I’m still wondering why I haven’t explored that area yet. But based on your photos and adventure, I really need to do a visit soon! Look at all those wonderful activities!

  5. Hello, i’m from Marikina. It’s already the rainy season, can these places still be visited in such a weather? Thank you!

    1. Hi Ester, I know the cave is closed off to visitors when there’s heavy rain. As for the others, I’m not sure. You have to ask the contact people for the respective places. 🙂

  6. Hi, what mode of transportation do you use to go to 3 destination? If you use the public transpo, how much yung fare nyo sa trike for those destinations? I want to to Pililla Windmills din kasi after sa Daranak though sa mga blogs laging separate yung itinerary nila. 🙁 Hope you could help me. We’re planning to go there next Wednesday sana. 🙂

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Eloisa! We went there via van kasi, so I don’t know how much is the fare for the trikes. For the commute guide, nagtanong lang ako from a friend who lives in Rizal although I wasn’t able to get quotation on prices din. If you will push through with your trip, hope you can give us feedback regarding sa prices to help readers na din. Thank you! 🙂

    1. Hi Charm! I’m not sure if there are, and as I’ve mentioned above I did ask our tour organizer if I could post his contact number here (since I have received like a dozen similar inquiries already) and unfortunately he said no. So there’s nothing I can do about that. However, I did put up instructions in case you want to follow the itinerary DIY style. 🙂

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