Who would’ve thought that a mere 2, ok, 2.5 hours public transport commute from Manila, you can already enjoy an awesome waterfalls retreat, more so that of Daranak Falls?! It was a fine Saturday morning when we trooped to Daranak Falls for a fun day trip. Armed with nothing but knowledge from other blogger’s post and personally, some worries from colleague-resident’s caution that Daranak Falls is no longer as clean and beautiful as it was before, we braved the zigzaggy road with nice mountain landscape (Sierra Madre?) scenes of Rizal and were not disappointed with what waited for us. The Daranak Falls was super impressive that day — full of water and full of life, from the people swimming and from the nature that’s inviting. For a moment, I stood in awe at the wonder before our eyes then, took a deep breath as I jumped from the small cliff into it’s cold waters. The swimming pool of Daranak Falls was not super clear that day but still, it kept us treading and playing in its waters for a while — even challenging ourselves to climb further up where the water falls and to take a plunge once more!
It was back in August 2011 during my VSO Bahaginan preparatory training when I first set foot on Lake Island. About 1.5-2 hours from Cubao (due to daytime traffic), this secluded and serene place is perfect for the purpose that it was built — a seminar and conference / retreat center. The Lake Island compound, in Binangonan, Rizal, is surrounded by lush trees, manicured grounds, flowering plants and of course, the calm man-made lake. All of the sleeping quarters are made of native materials — wooden walls and floors, bamboo beds, furniture and pillars, and nipa leaves for the roofing. The food served is always a delight, in its simplicity and freshness. Some of my favorites, I’ve been here three times (this photo taken in February 2014, 3rd visit), are the fried tilapia (pinaputok style), ensaladang camote tops, and the minatamis na saging! So, if you’re a group of friends or family wanting a relaxed and quiet weekend or a company looking for your next team building venue, consider heading out to Lake Island. 🙂