Hinulugang Taktak Falls – There are many ways to tell a story. And there are many ways to view the truth.
Hinulugang Taktak Falls is one of Antipolo’s primary natural attractions. It’s a waterfall that’s also proclaimed as a National Historical Shrine in the Philippines! After a quick visit to Jardin de Marimar, our next stop was to one of Antipolo’s top tourist destinations, the famous Hinulugang Taktak Falls. Located in Brgy. Dela Paz Antipolo City lies the 12-meter-high waterfall of Hinulugang Taktak which gain its fame through the song “Tayo Na Sa Antipolo”. On our way from Jardin de Marimar to the falls, we almost got lost. We were lucky enough get the only tricycle driver in Antipolo who didn’t know where Hinulugang Taktak was located… Or so he claimed. We stopped several times just to ask directions from residents along the roadside. Ironic, isn’t it?
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When we finally arrived at Hinulugang Taktak Falls, we are welcome by the friendly smiles of the staff. Friendly? Hmm, maybe just eager to take money from a foreigner for an overpriced entrance fee. And, to make it worse, they weren’t shy to announce it… Right after you pass through the gates there is a large sign telling you that if you are a foreigner we will Rip You Off – ₱30 for adults, ₱15 for students, Senior Citizens, PSWD and children below 7 years old are free but wait – ₱100 for foreigners… OMG, over 3 times the price just because you are a foreigner! Also notice it is P30 for Adults, not locals. I would understand if it was a lower price for locals… But this is not the case. Now, P100 is not a lot of money but it is the principle Gary was opposed to. And I thought this country is encouraging tourists to come! OMG! This is just really preposterous.
After registering we continued down to the falls. There is a large paved space on the side of the road at the entrance to Hinulugang Taktak Falls used as a parking area. From here, it is a five-minute walk down some rather nicely kept stone stairs (nice to see the entrance fee is being spent in the right areas) to the base of the falls. This was an easy walk with a big pay off.
Legend has it that during the 16th century, the people living near the Antipolo church complained about the thunderous clanging the bell made during Angelus. The people demanded in force that the local priest remove the bell. The priest, annoyed with the locals, had the bell removed and taken to the nearby river where it is reported it was sunk near the falls.
The name Hinulugang Taktak is derived from (taktak) a large bell and (hinulog) which means thrown or dropped. So, Hinulugang Taktak means the “place where the bell was thrown”. Cool isn’t?
The Falls and National Park
Hinulugng Taktak was declared a National Park in 1990, just before the tourist boom erupted. Once a place known for providing a serene, relaxing atmosphere, clean flowing water, and the sweet sound of chirping birds were all gone. Instead, it was replaced with heavily polluted water and trash. Too much garbage with too little maintenance, it wasn’t long before the smell was too much to bear. By the year 2000, the area had suffered badly from years of environmental degradation. The fate of the waterfalls was looking grim if not for the actions of the local government and other organizations exerting their continuous efforts to bring the area back to its former glory. In 2015, an oil spill forced the closure of the park, Eleven days after the oil spill, the park was reopened to visitors.
When we visited it was quite evident that there was still a problem with trash in the river and nearby waterways. On the other hand, the park, swimming pool, and the waterfalls area were maintained very well.
Restoration of the park has been completed but in our opinion, it will still take a few years before people can safely swim in the stream. Barricades have been erected around the falls preventing visitors from getting too close. Despite the fall’s current condition, Hinulugang Taktak is still well worth the visit. I just hope the local government will remain faithful with their mission to bring Hinulugang Taktak back to its former glory so future generations will witness the beauty of Antipolo’s treasure!
Some tourist says that improvement to the area so far has been remarkable and I’m hoping that one day the residents around the area will discipline themselves and care for something that is a truly beautiful piece of nature. 😁
Hinulugang Taktak Entrance Fee
If you are planning to make a side trip to Hinulugang Taktak Falls bring extra money. WHY? Other than the main entrance fee, the use of amenities (pool, cottage, basketball court) also comes with their own separate charges. Make sure you have proper swimwear, as they aim to turn the Hinulugang Taktak swimming pool it into a place that Antipolo can be proud of once more. It’s open during the day all week. Night swimming is strictly not allowed. Day swimmers will not need to worry about leaving their items in the open as there are cottages available for the public at a fee.
Gary and I roam around the area, taking in the sights. We still had to make it to Cloud 9 that day so we really didn’t have time to swim. The overall area was nice but not spectacular. The tall trees, greenery and the sound of the falls make for a relaxing experience if there weren’t crowds to contend with. Luckily for us, there were no crowds when we were there.
There is a stone stairway that leads down to the falls, fitted along the way with benches for you to rest if the walk is too much for you. There is also an elevator for Senior Citizens and to use for free. It could definitely improve more. While the falls is a sight to behold, they could probably put up some other attractions or activities that you can do inside. It’s good that there are lots of benches and cottages where you can rest after a tiring walk of exploration and going up and down the stairs.
Since the falls is no longer suitable for swimming they offer cottages which could be ideal for a picnic. Visitors who may want to use the swimming pool must also pay ₱50 per head while the use of the cottages is ₱500 per hour. The picnic tables are priced at ₱50 per hour.
The basketball court can be rented at ₱100 per hour in the daytime while it costs double at night time with lights. Vehicles are now also required to pay parking fees ranging from ₱20 – ₱150 for every 2 hours with additional fees between₱5 and ₱30 for every succeeding hour.
How to Get to Hinulugang Taktak:
► Antipolo is accessible by jeepney or FX taxi, with terminals in Metro Manila including one in Araneta Center Cubao and Valero Street behind RCBC Plaza in Makati. This will drop you off to Antipolo’s Town Proper. From here, you can ride a tricycle which can take you to all nearby destinations including the Hinulugang Taktak. Places along the main roads are accessible by jeepney.
Where to Stay in Antipolo
Antipolo has so many great places to offer that you guys can explore and a day tour may not be enough to discover them all. After visiting the Hinulugang Taktak falls, we headed to our next destination. A place in Antipolo which is becoming one of the city’s top destination especially by the millennials! The 360 and I am going to share it with you on my next entry.
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