One destination Antipolo is supposedly known for are waterfalls. Many Antipolo websites (ie. http://www.antipolo.gov.ph/tourism.php) made reference to one specific waterfall as a tourist attraction… Hinulugang Taktak. So during my daytrip to Antipolo, I listed Hinulugang Taktak as part of the agenda.
Finding the park
During my previous night’s research, I tried to locate Hinulugang Taktak on a number of websites on Antipolo and travel blogs. The park even had its own decent-looking website (http://www.hinulugangtaktak.com) Note: the website no longer exists. The one frustrating thing I discovered was that none of these sites actually gives directions as to how to get there. Which is kinda sad and frustrating… if you are going to promote a tourist spot, you should give directions to make it easier for tourists and guests to find it. After combing around 7-8 websites, I patiently took a look at Google Maps and pleasantly found it (see below). Getting there was quite simple actually…
UPDATE: (April 14, 2012)
The Antipolo City Government has updated its website. The content looks similar to the original one I visited 2 years ago but with an updated layout. This time, the site now provides directions to Hinulugang Taktak. (http://www.antipolo.gov.ph/localattraction.php)
View Hinulugang Taktak in a larger map
We proceeded to Hinulugang Taktak after visiting the Antipolo Cathedral to see the shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (http://lakwatsero.me/2010/05/22/our-lady-of-antipolo-shrine-antipolo-city-rizal-may-22-2010/).
While finding the place we actually got a tad lost. We first ended up at the Cristina Villas (north of the location), then after asking around we found Taktak Road, but again missed it, as we were looking for something grander en route. It was actually on the right side of Taktak Road. We just missed the sign.
From the outside, it looks nice.
To go in, you pay P8 per adult if you just want to go inside. There were misc. fees depending on if you wanted to swim, rent a picnic hit, etc.
The map below is shows a “development plan”. Made we wonder at what stage the development was. I was soon to find out.
As we went in, it looked somewhat promising. Lush greeneries and somewhat decent cemented walkways. If you look closely at the photo below, you will see the falls right behind the gazebo.
At the bottom of the stairs, you will some picnic tables and umbrellaed sitting areas.
Walking toward the falls, I saw some strange signage. The swimming prohibited seemed a little normal. But the restricted sign seemed somewhat disconcerting.
Before I proceed writing, let me add one little tidbit. The waterfalls are downriver from the City of Antipolo itself. One can assume what a city river seems like. Now… proceed.
Looking up, the waterfalls are, like most waterfalls, quite amazing to look at. It isn’t quite high, probably around 30 meters high or so.
Let us zoom out for a moment…
If you look at the picture below, you will notice a white foamy layer on the water below. At first glance it looks like normal water bubbles foaming at the base of a waterfall. But wait! The water isn’t that strong, and that is a lot of foam. More on that later on.
Now if you take a look at that grey clump by the lower center-right of the picture you will see…
Something not quite right.
Zooming in further… you will see that it is an assortment of plastic garbage coming down the falls from the city above.
The word “yuck” hardly does the sight justice. It was downright gross. And the stench was horrible. One would wonder why they don’t clean up this area right in front of the falls. It is after all a National Park, and the second most famous tourist attraction of Antipolo. It was utterly disgusting.
Now back to that foamy substance… I assume it was detergent. It was after all downstream from the city.
Enough of the disgusting falls… let’s take a peak at some of the other facilities.
There are number of huts when one can enjoy the nature of the forest… and the aromatic stench from the river below… that stream is downstream from the waterfall.
The park had a huge swimming pool. Around the pool families have set up camp and started preparing their food on the available grills.
First, the water was a murky greenish tinge. But it seemed reasonably maintained.
All in all, the experience was interesting. This is Antipolo’s second more famous tourist attraction after all.
My honest opinion
I would say that as a tourist attraction. It was downright… embarrassing. The city of Antipolo should do one of two things quite simple a) clean it up or b) shut it down… sobrang nakakahiya!
You can go visit it as an oddity, but even at just P8/head, this place is so not worth it. I would rate this a “STAY AWAY” as far as tourist destinations go… hmmm, maybe I should start rating my LAKWATSAS.
Then again, there were quite a number of families that were there enjoying the pool. So I guess, to each their own. For me, I would never recommend this to a friend.