Thursday, February 19, 2015

Hinulugang Taktak

The Antipolo City Government in partnership with the Provincial Government of Rizal and other groups recently reopened the Hinulugang Taktak National Park. Hinulugang Taktak (literally Taktak Falls with "taktak" translating into "sprinkle"). I believe we were among the first few who checked out the park and the famous falls that's been part of Antipolo lore along with the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. The national park is along the way to the church where we hear Mass on Sundays and so we were already anticipating its reopening from the time we transferred residence nearby.

People used to go to Antipolo not just to visit the shrine but also to bathe in the waters of Hinulugang Taktak. However, due to the rapid, unplanned and uncontrolled development of the city, the waters feeding the falls immediately became polluted and at one point, the water fall was literally "taktak" or only a sprinkle (if not a trickle) of water. I'm sharing photos I took last weekend at Hinulugang Taktak for people to see how much progress has been made to rehabilitate the falls and the national park environs.

Sign outside the park

Quick info on the projects and initiatives for the national park
A view of the newly constructed walkways in the park. The old walkways are still there and you can compare how steep the old ones are.
Efforts were obviously made to make the park accessible to most if not all people.
A view of the swimming pool (not yet for use by visitors) from the walkway to the falls.
We saw this group comprised of senior citizens making their way back up from the falls. We learned that Antipolo City provided enough staff to assist senior citizens as they walked up.
A nice view of the falls from one of the more strategically and conveniently located tables in the park.
The picturesque Hinulugang Taktak is getting back to what it was like during its glory days.
"May amoy pa ba?" - yes, there is still a distinctive smell from the spray and mist. The streams and other waters leading to the falls are not yet that clean as evidenced by the bubbles and the soap suds accumulating at the foot of the falls.
A look at the gardens and the network of walkways at the park.
A view of the falls from the quadrangle in the middle of the park.
The park is clean and there are staff taking good care of the park grounds as well as garbage bins encouraging segregation.
There were already a lot of people at the park as most tables were taken. There is a meditation area and more tables on the other side of the park across from the river.
We saw some cottages near the park administration office that look like they will allow people to stay overnight at the park. We didn't inquire about this so we're not sure about it. It would be nice though if accommodations are available once the park becomes a popular spot again.
Downstream of the falls and away from the crowds are parts of the park that are still under development.

Park rules and regulations
Hinulugang Taktak is located along Taktak Road, the old Daang Bakal and about 200 meters from the intersection with Sumulong Highway (near Robinsons Place Antipolo). It is a short tricycle ride from the Rizal Provincial Capitol and along the way to the Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Entrance is currently free but perhaps they will start charging fees to cover the costs of maintaining the park as well as making sure it is safe and secure for visitors. My only suggestion at this point is for the city to also manage parking as certain people and especially kids from the nearby communities have appeared at the parking area to become informal parking attendants. I think the city should at least deputize people in coordination with the barangay to ensure safety and security for visitors bringing their vehicles to the park.

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