To The Mountains Of Tanay Via The Marikina-Infanta Road
A great portion of the town of Tanay consists of mountainous areas that form part of the vast Sierra Madre mountain range. While the town center is near Laguna de Bay, several barangays are located in the mountains. People residing in these far-flung areas plant crops and raise animals for food or to sell in the market, making Tanay an agricultural town.
To reach these mountainous areas, the normal route is through the Manila East Road and as one reaches an intersection near the town proper, he turns left towards Sampaloc Road. From there, the ascent begins. But there is another way to get to the mountain top. And this is through the Marikina-Infanta Road, which is also known as Marcos Highway. From Quezon City, this route is shorter and more accessible.
The Marikina-Infanta Road was built in the '70s specifically to connect Metro Manila to Infanta, Quezon where a port was being established. Though there are still some areas in the Laguna part of the road that need to be asphalted or cemented, the Manikina-Infanta Road is now considered as one of the most beautiful highways throughout the Philippines. The construction of this road is an engineering feat as it rivals that of Baguio-Nueva Viscaya Road as to design and beauty.
When one drives through the Boso Boso area in Antipolo City, the picturesque Sierra Madre looms on the horizon. And as the ascent starts, the beauty of the mountains and the countryside becomes more glaring. With reflectorized warning signs at every turn or bend and metal barriers at dangerous cliffs, the traveler gets that safe feeling as he continues to marvel at the natural wonders of the mountains of Tanay.
At Barangay Cuyambay in Tanay, there is a small community. One can see stores selling fruits and vegetables and even gasoline in bottles. In this village where there is cool mountain air, there is a farm solely breeding fighting cocks. And on the shoulders of the highway, horses and cows are grazing, unmindful of passing vehicles. And it is not surprising to see passenger jeepneys loaded with commuters up to the rooftop.
There are several resorts and restaurants as one gets to the summit. Sierra Madre Mountain Resort, Pranjetto, Paseo Rizal to name a few. And a few kilometers away from Cuyambay is Sampaloc, which is perhaps the most populated mountain sitio of Tanay. Sampaloc is the mountain's business center. President Erap's resthouse is located there. Across and a few meters away is the famed Camp Capinpin which is called The Home of the Jungle Fighters.
Travel time from Masinag to Sampaloc is less than an hour. There is no hassle. One breathes clean, fresh air. And there is not much noise up there. People in the mountains are friendly and hospitable. And there are no dangerous elements that pose threat to life and property as there are checkpoints along the way. It is no wonder this highway is a favorite route of cyclists, motorcycle riders and plain travelers. Next weekend, why not drive your car to the mountains of Tanay and find out for yourself what you have been missing all these years. Pronto !!