Many dream of seeing the world but only few dare to conquer the price that comes with it. Work, money, fitness, time – you could come up with a handful of reasons not to be on the edge of cliff but there are more reasons as to why you should be. The scenic Ilocos Norte that boasts the Kapurpurawan Rock Formations and Bangui Windmills, among many, is a popular destination in most travel bucket lists. But, as I had mentioned, distance is one thing that keeps people from making the journey. Not a lot of people know, though, that hidden in Tanay, Rizal are the less commercialized and miniature versions of the two most famous landmarks up in the north, The Tinipak River and Pililla Windmills, which you can explore with Vagabond Pinas.
The moment I saw Tinipak River for the first time, it never left its spot on my list of conquests for the year. And upon searching online, through various references, thousands of times, I came across Vagabond Pinas’ day trip package that included a side trip to the Pililla Windmills. I thought it was an amazing deal and I was in.
Tinipak River and the Windmills of Pililla: Exploring the Hidden Gems of Rizal with Vagabond Pinas
In the conservative town of Brgy. Daraitan is a place where the mystic river gives life to the quiet little community. Characterized by limestone rock formations and pristine turquoise waters, Tinipak River’s picturesque natural form is one that can parallel the famous Kapurpurawan spectacle. There are two ways to get there: One, by hiking up the equally famous Mt. Daraitan and traversing towards it for a rewarding swim. Two, by choosing to pass by the rocky trail parallel to the flowing river that’ll only take an hour or so. We did the latter. As with most destinations in Rizal, It’s not easiest and it could take its toll on your knees especially during wet season. Although it’s completely doable so long as you have a guide or a seasoned climber with you.
But there’s nothing more comforting than jumping in a body of water after an intensive hike and the clean and cool waters of Tinipak River was a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Some of us also opted to explore the nearby Tungtong cave, which is just a couple few meters farther and higher. The entry, though, is a bit challenging so I did not dare bring my camera inside or I would’ve gone back up with a busted lens or something. Just see it for yourself. Inside is a fresh pool of water that you could also take a dip in.
The package also comes with free lunch, which is pretty convenient. But I don’t know if these guys are mountaineers or chefs cause they converted my taste for Menudo. I was really, really hungry after that trek so getting back to a warm and festive lunch was a treat. No need to worry about food when you’re with Vagabond Pinas.
When it was finally time to leave, I was already thinking about home and wasn’t really looking forward to the side trip anymore – I mean, it was called a side trip after all. Google had told me that they were similar to the ones in Bangui but having been there already, I really wasn’t expecting anything grand. But, as my eyes were getting droopy and half of my face was glued to the window, I saw fields of Cogongrass as far as my eyes stretched. From afar, the windmills had looked majestic, but the dreamy vibe of the scenic ride towards it was just as delightful. Imagine cascading fields of fluffy white grass against a backdrop of Laguna de Bay. The view was straight out of a postcard. I couldn’t ask for more. It was a day well spent.
Waking up at 4am on Saturdays for adventures like this is always worth it. I could say that choosing to participate in this short, yet beautiful adventure could jumpstart a promising relationship with the outdoors. Rizal is just 2 hours away from Manila and Tanay and Pililla are just two of gorgeous destinations in it. For only Php 1500, you get to experience the magic and mystery of Tinipak River and Pililla Windmills with Vagabond Pinas. The lucky few who turn their bucket lists to reality wake up with fuller souls and could tell you unending stories of places you’d only see in your dreams or the silver screen. Today, you can be one of them.
For the itinerary and a list of other tours visit their Facebook page. Hope to see you in future trips! Check out the short clip of our awesome adventure below.
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