Friday, September 1, 2017

TRAVEL | The once famed Hinulugang Taktak of Antipolo: There's hope

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Still beautiful in its own right.

I first learned of Hinulugang Taktak from Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies) textbooks back in grade school. From what I remember it was a popular place where people can actually bathe and swim. There's even a folk song called Tayo na sa Antipolo (Let's Go to Antipolo) where this waterfall is prominently featured in its lyrics.

Too bad I've never seen Hinulugang Taktak during its glory days because as urbanization spread, houses and establishments gradually inched closer towards the waterfall and the waterways that feed it, dumping sewage and garbage in the process. Sad, I know, considering the place is declared a national park.

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Prominent sign announcing the waterfall's location.

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Lots of people going in. This place is very much alive!

Thankfully there's hope, as the local government embarked on a massive rehabilitation plan for Antipolo's famed waterfall. I don't know what the place looked like immediately before all this but today, there's a park built at the foot of the waterfalls. Though most of the grounds are concrete, the park is covered in trees.

There's an entrance fee: Php 30 for adults, Php 15 for students, and wait--Php 100 for foreigners! For the life of me I will never ever be able to comprehend this practice of charging way more for foreigners. And I thought this country is encouraging tourists to come! This is just really preposterous.

Meanwhile, senior citizens, PWDs, and children below 7 years old are free of charge.

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Accessing the park entails descending several flights of concrete stairs.

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Our first glimpse of Hinulugang Taktak as we were descending the park's concrete stairs.

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There's a spacious promenade for people who want to get closer to the waterfall.

To access the park you need to descend a couple of flights of concrete stairs, which could present a challenge, of course, when you're exiting the park later. There's a lot of open space, lots of shade courtesy of the trees, and a balustered promenade for those who wish to get closer to the waterfall. Because, of course, the waterfall itself is off-limits due to pollution.

Scattered across the park are picnic tables and cottages for rent. Mind you, it's nice to see that they were all occupied. I'd like to think of it as the people somehow embracing Hinulugang Taktak's ongoing rehabilitation. Ditto with the public pool packed with visitors. Not everyone can afford a fancy resort, so it's nice of the LGU to provide an affordable option to families at only Php 50 per head.

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Lots of space, lots of shade. Happy to see such healthy trees.

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A footbridge goes over the silted stream from the waterfall.

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An altar of sorts housing some religious figures.

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Quite a healthy patronage for the public pool.

For all these efforts to rehabilitate Hinulugang Taktak, the battle is far from won. To be honest the water still stinks. And if it's any indication, that heavy foam at the waterfall's base tells us that the water is polluted. Yes, there's still work to be done, particularly uphill where the pollutants really come from. But at least it looks like someone's constantly monitoring the water's pollution levels. I saw a duo taking samples and labeling them, presumably for tests.

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Would love to see the day this waterfall fully regains its lost glory.

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Lady wading through the foamy waters for samples.

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Samples and test equipment. If you'd look closely, one container has the date and time the sample was taken written on it, along with the weather condition--sunny.

I appreciate the efforts and I hope the government has the political will to fully win this battle. I long for the day that these two kids below can finally swim in its waters safely and free from any worry of contamination.

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When, oh, when can these two swim in Hinulugang Taktak's waters? Soon, I hope.


There are jeepneys and UV Express vehicles near Farmer's Market in Cubao and in Shaw Boulevard (across Shangri-La Plaza, I think) that ply the Antipolo route. Take one that's going to Antipolo-Simbahan (church). 

Once there, hop on a tricycle and tell the driver to drop you off at
Hinulugang Taktak. Tricycles are aplenty, so you need not worry about going back.

If driving, just use Google Maps like we did.

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