Monday, July 14, 2014

Hinulugang Taktak

This is the first time in quite a while that the Clairvoyant and I have not taken a summer trip together. We have always had an out of town trip, usually in a seaside resort, including a couple of trips to Bohol, or at least a weekend trip to Tagaytay. During the time that she was based in Singapore, we did explore that city and even made a land trip to Melaka in Malaysia. This year, we were considering trips to Cebu or Davao but had to defer these in order to save money after paying for our new home while also just preparing to sell our old one.

We did, however, resolve that we would be exploring our adopted home city and province of Antipolo and Rizal. So far, there have been a lot that we have found with some being revisits to places that have been favourites like Vieux Chalet and Pinto, and others to places that we have planned to go to but were unable to for various reasons. Hinulugang Taktak is one of those places that are easy to take for granted as we pass through the area almost everyday because of our commutes. On Sundays, it is also along our route to and from the church, which is along Daang Bakal, the former railway line turned road that is historic in itself. 

The story of Daang Bakal and Antipolo's attractions are intertwined as it was only logical then and now that a transport system like the old rail service be along a route where the demand for transport was. Hinulugang Taktak was one of those places that were ahead of their time for being a major tourist destination that justified it being a stop along the rail line. It was supposed to be the second to the last station with the last one being the nearest to another important attraction (perhaps the most important  then and for more years to come) - the Shrine to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Hinulugang Taktak refers to a falls (Filipino term is "talon", pronounced the same way as the term for "jump") that is very accessible unlike other similar attractions in the province (e.g., Daranak Falls).

The Clairvoyant had been asking me where the falls were and I usually replied you could see it along the roadside. Unfortunately, there are also structures including a tall concrete fence along Daang Bakal that obscures view of the falls. Yesterday, I decided to make a quick stop at what looked like an unfinished view deck along Daang Bakal just beside the gate to what is being developed into a public resort. Following are a couple of photos of the falls itself.

Hinulugang Taktak as seen from the unfinished roadside view deck along Daang Bakal.
A closer look of the falls shows its alive and well though likely still polluted judging from the bubbles (soap suds or foam?) accumulating at the foot of the falls.
What we saw yesterday was very promising. Hinulugang Taktak had been neglected for a long time and there was a joke before stating that the falls should be renamed to Hinulugang Tak, referring to the trickle of water after the source had been blocked by debris, which mainly consisted of garbage.  It also stunk and the smell was attributed to the garbage, sewage and other effluents that were dumped on the waters. It is good that there is a project that seems to be focused on reviving the area despite what seems to be its slow implementation.

Now that the falls seem to be getting back to what it was during its more glorious days, perhaps there should be even more aggressive programs to ensure its preservation as well as to make the waters cleaner. The latter comment is pointed at the local government, which is responsible for making sure that the source river and streams of Hinulugang Taktak will not continue to be a dumpsite of Antipolo's many residents (especially informal settlers). Meanwhile, there should also be stricter control of development in the areas around the falls itself. This has been designated as a national park and all those who have encroached upon the land covered by the park should be demolished so as to preserve what was once and being revived as a heritage tourism site for the city and the province.


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