Contributed by Mark Vicson C. Peria
After almost two years of lockdown, I have finally experienced freedom just two-and-a-half-hour drive away from Manila.
Last July, I discovered a pet-friendly and affordable lodge just beside the Tinipak River in Barangay Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal. Finally, I could escape the stressful city life and just enjoy nature away from the pandemic. My excitement made me bring my fiancé and our pet Shih Tzu for an overnight stay at the Tinipak Lodge and Restaurant.
Getting to Barangay Daraitan
Going to Barangay Daraitan, we travelled through the zigzag roads of Marilaque Highway toward the boundary of Rizal and Infanta, Quezon. As we escaped the metro, the sight of tall buildings and busy streets, little by little, vanished. Seeing the lush forests of Sierra Madre was already a relaxing experience.
On the main road, there were ample signages showing the way to Barangay Daraitan. As we entered the barangay, we were welcomed by a magnificent view of a river in the middle of a valley. According to the locals, there was once a bridge connecting the main road to Barangay Daraitan; however, a strong typhoon destroyed it. Now, residents and tourists cross the river through a bamboo raft.
Enjoying Tinipak Lodge and Restaurant
After we crossed the river, we rode a tricycle going to Tinipak Lodge and Restaurant. We were greeted by their friendly staff, who are locals of the small town. Our room was cozy and air-conditioned, and we also had our own comfort room. Another good thing is that pets are also allowed inside the room.
There were benches and hammocks just in front of our room so we can simply enjoy nature. While at night, the lodge’s staff lit a campfire for everyone to enjoy. The place was really in harmony with nature and an excellent place to unwind.
The food served was also excellent and their grilled pork belly was my favorite. Their menu was also affordable and satisfying. Another thing that I liked about this place was that our overnight stay came with a complimentary Filipino breakfast.
Flowing with Tinipak River
Tinipak River is home to endangered wildlife. The nearby areas are also the ancestral domains of Dumagat-Remontado indigenous peoples and is protected by the DENR.
We went to Tinipak River with a friendly local tour guide. Eco-tourism is one of the major livelihoods in the barangay. On our way to the river, I was awed by nature. It is amazing how the raging river water sculpted the scenic and picturesque rock formations.
At last, we were able to soak and chill in a natural body of water. It was refreshing, and it felt like the flowing water flushed away our fatigue from the city life. Finally, we were able to enjoy nature just within the NCR Plus Bubble.
News of Kaliwa Dam
News of the controversial Kaliwa Dam project showed that Tinipak River will be part of its main reservoir. Kaliwa Dam, if completed, will supply the increasing water demand of Metro Manila. Sadly, the same project is “designed” to flood the beautiful scenery of Tinipak River, together with all the endangered wildlife and ancestral domains of our indigenous people. Eco-tourism will also disappear as the project would submerge portion of Barangay Daraitan.
According to the website of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), mitigating measures will be in place. However, these are the costs that locals have to pay just to quench the thirst of people in the city.
Ensuring water for all
The construction of the Kaliwa Dam is a sad news for me because this might be the last chance that I will see this majestic scenery at Tinipak River. I work in Ginebra San Miguel Inc. (GSMI) and my job focuses on the company’s environmental management and sustainability projects. Being an advocate of sustainable development, I asked myself, “Will the benefits of having enough water supply outweigh the project’s costs?” I think we should look beyond the “supply” side of the equation, and consider reducing the “demand” instead.
In GSMI, we support San Miguel Corporation’s “Water for All” project, which aims to reduce the whole subsidiary’s reliance on scarce water resources in half by the year 2025.
For our future generations to enjoy the beauty of Tinipak River and experience the hospitality of the locals of Daraitan, let us play our part in reducing the water demand now, even in its simplest ways. Let us conserve water and rectify leaks. Let us support water reuse or implement water recycling at home and at work. If possible, let us harvest and maximize the use of rainwater. Otherwise, our future generations might not have the same natural resources that we get to enjoy now.
Our travel to Daraitan is not only refreshing, but also an eye-opening experience for me. I never thought that a simple vacation would further reinforce my belief in the importance of sustainability.
As we went back to the city, I realized that our simple act of consuming less water from our faucets could mean so much. It can save an entire barangay from being flooded. It can save a tribe’s ancestral domain. It can even save a biodiversity. It is never too late to save this piece of freedom that I have found just two-and-a-half-hour drive away from Manila.
The author is a Quality Management & Productivity Associate of Ginebra San Miguel Inc. (GSMI).