The rains did not dampen our spirits and, neither, did the mud spoil the fun. It was one surprise after another that kept everyone on their toes, including my management team. And on the last leg of our trip, we made a swift turn that had everyone pushing their last ounce of strength to reach the top. Well, this was not going to be a #Fitspiration story without testing our fitness levels, right?
But the teams came out victorious and conquered a peaceful haven atop Daraitan - welcome to Kuta Bungliw!
Nestled atop the rockies of Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal, Kuta Bungliw caught my attention when I saw an FB post that showed a view of its version of the “sea of clouds”. The mountain haven offers simple “bahay-kubo” accomodations and has a commanding view of the town of Daraitan and its river. It has a serene atmosphere that is conducive for our teambuilding activity. It was a good choice.
Sidelines: The Race to Daraitan
We added a little spice as our teams headed off to our road trip to Daraitan with a pinch of interesting Philippine history. This got them up and around parts of Quezon City to find the answers while navigating their way to Daraitan. It did help that they did not know that Kuta Bungliw was our finish line so they had to go the way we wanted them to go with a small bit of challenge.
Here are some of the interesting history tidbits that they found along the way:
Did you know that the mural in front of the Quezon City Hall was a visual interpretation of the late President Manuel Quezon’s vision for Quezon City?
Manuel Quezon did not only establish Quezon City but he had envisioned it to be government capital of the Philippines. In fact, the QC Memorial Circle was to be a park and would serve as the focal point of the city and government centers would be built around it. Too bad though that only a part of that plan was put into action.
Did you know that both the remains of the late President Manuel Quezon and his wife, Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon, are interred at the QC Memorial Circle?
Quezon City honors deeply the man behind the creation of the city. The memorial tower that is the center of the park also serves as the final resting place of President Quezon. The crypt of his wife sits alongside his crypt. The three phylons of the tower, representing Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, has a height of 66 meters - the number represents the age President Quezon died.
Did you know that the UP Oblation at the UP Admin Building is a replica?
The UP Oblation that greets students and visitors of the campus is a replica. The original UP Oblation can be found at the 3rd floor of the UP Main Library inside the campus.
Did you know that the Andres Bonifacio monument in front of UP Vinzon’s Hall was originally installed at Balintawak?
The Bonifacio Monument that stands along Vinzons Hall’s driveway was first unveiled in Balintawak in September 1911 to honor the great Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio and the “Cry of Balintawak”. The question to the authenticity of the sculpture, in terms of how Bonifacio looked and dressed, gave way to the installation of a bronze masterpiece that we now see in Monumento. Meanwhile the old monument was transferred to its present location in UP Diliman.
With these trivia answered, our teams were now all headed for a 2-hour scenic jeepney journey to Sampaloc, Tanay through the Manila-Infanta Road and another 1 hour rough road trip to Daraitan from Sampaloc.
Upon reaching Daraitan, the team were on to a last push to get to the top. The last part of the race was a challenge as we had to ascend to Kuta Bungliw. It required a 15 minute ascend on the rough and rocky road to the jump off point and a final 10-minute trek through slippery forest trails to Kuta Bungliw.
Kuta Bungliw - A Haven Atop Daraitan
The road to Kuta Bungliw was tough and challenging and the rains did not make things easier for us. But all the running and puffing were all worth it because the view of Rizal’s rugged landscape was enough reward.
Kuta Bungliw is nestled on one of the peaks of the mountain ranges that surround Daraitan. It is a mountain escape that allows you to commune with nature while recharging you from all the stress in the city. It is a great place to enjoy that peace and quiet in the midst of nature’s bounty.
Kuta Bungliw offers basic accommodations for those intending to spend a night.. They have native huts that accommodate both small and big groups. If you are tight on the budget, you can also bring a tent as there are designated areas for pitching. Meals, the lutong-bahay type, can also be arranged with them. Do not expect resort-type facilities and this is where the charm of the place really kicks in. It makes you realize that all you need are the basics to have a fun weekend. By the way, they have a small spring water pool where you can have a quick dip.
The biggest draw of the place is the amazing 180 degree view of Daraitan. They have a viewing deck where you can enjoy the view of the mountains and Daraitan River snaking through the flat land of Daraitan. The view is a refreshing sight to enjoy especially in the mornings where you can catch a glimpse of Daraitan’s version of the “sea of clouds”.
Kuta Bungliw is a good weekend escape for nature lovers that is close to the city and soft on the budget. You can also try their day activities like climbing Mount Daraitan or trekking Tinipak River.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
Social media is one medium that continually churns our surprises after surprises for me and for a lot of my fellow travelers. It is a platform that continually churns out destinations that could have remained a secret by a few had it not been exposed online. We now have a lot of “hotspots” that took the online community by storm - Hulugan Falls, Kaparkan Falls, Siquijor, etc. Social media is a good reaource for discovering and re-discovering both the new and old tourist destinations. There are no more secrets on social media. A single post can spark enough interest to spark a “cascade” of tourists to a particular destination.
This was the same case of Kuta Bungliw when I stumbled on an FB post about it. It was new that offered something interesting. It is a destination that you should consider if you are out looking for that quick, relaxing, and recharging weekend trip. It is one place that recharges you because it allows you to spend time with yourself or your friends while nature recharges you. You will not get tired of repeatedly going to Kuta Bungliw when you need to. And it all started with a single post on social media.
Like what I said, I have fallen in love with the place and that I have found my nature haven that I can always go back to.
Getting There: Kuta Bungliw is about 3-4 hours away from Manila if you are commuting. You need to take a jeep to Cogeo Gate 2 in Aurora Boulevard. Once you are in Cogeo 2, you walk towards the public wet market where the jeepney stop for Sampaloc, Tanay is located. Fare to Sampaloc is Php65. Once you are in Sampaloc, you need to take a trike to Daraitan. Fare is at Php300 per trike.
Once you are in Daraitan, you have the option to take the barge across the river (Fare is at Php5) or walk across the Daraitan hanging bridge. You then take a trike to the jump-off point of Kuta Bungliw. Fare is at Php60. Kuta Bungliw is a 30-minute uphill trek from the jump-off point.
You can make inquiries and reservations at Kuta Bungliw through their facebook page or at (0915) 5959988. You can look for Jaqc.
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Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.