Saturday, 29 December 2012

To The Mountains Of Tanay Via The Marikina-Infanta Road

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 !!


Boso Boso area  in Antipolo City with a good view of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range

Upper Antipolo and the quarry site of La Farge in Teresa, Rizal  can be seen from the Marikina-Infanta Road.

Stretch of the Marikina-Infanta Road in Baras, Rizal

Mountain was bulldozed to make way for the construction of the  highway.

Start of ascent

Warning signage.  Motorcycle riders on their way home

Reflectorized signages to guide motorists

Palo Alto is a residential and leisure farm developed by Sta Lucia Realty Corp.  It is located near the Tanay-Baras-Antipolo boundary.

Approaching another subdivision
Garden Cottages is a residential estate along the Marikina Infanta Road being developed by the Blue Star Construction and Development Corporation. It boasts of a nature park.

View of the winding road from the gates of Garden Cottages

Closer shot. This is part of Barangay Cuyambay in Tanay, Rizal. Elevation here is double that of Tagaytay City.

A passenger jeepney descends.

A cyclist taking it easy on his way down.

Man waits at the bend.

A country-style house at Garden Cottages

Front garden

Guard willingly takes photo.

What lies ahead

Beautiful landscape by the road

Natural rocks at Garden Cottages

Stopping by the side of the road for more shots

View of the Sierra Madre at the bend

A glimpse of Laguna de Bay

Nearing the summit

Motorcycle rider is homeward bound.

Cow grazing on the roadside

More cows grazing

Another stop, another shot

Part of the Marikina-Infanta Road lined with trees

Farm solely breeding fighting cocks in Brgy Cuyambay in Tanay, Rizal

Picturesque view

Native horse near the road in Brgy Cuyambay

Gasoline in bottles for sale

Native bananas for sale

Gingers for sale in another store in Brgy Cuyambay

Gabi or Taro

More gingers and bananas

Niyog or coconut

Store owner Aling Emma gamely poses in Barangay Cuyambay.

Another view of Laguna de Bay

Feeder road at Brgy Cuyambay leading to the farms

Way to the Dept of Agriculture station in Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal

Closer view of Laguna de Bay

:Lush greens of mountains beyond mountains

Sierra Madre Mountain Resort

Sierra Madre Mountain Resort is planted with a wide variety of trees.

Standard pool at the resort

Sayote (Chayote), Chico (Sapodilla), Kalabasa (Squash),  & Kamote (Sweet Potato) being sold at a small store in Sitio Malagay

Sitaw (String Beans), Upo (White Squash), Kamoteng Kahoy &  Ube (Purple Yam)

Ginger (Luya)

Young girl tending the store answers: Malapit na ho ang Sampaloc.  Naka kotse naman kayo.

Taking my snack of one footlong hot dog sandwich at the mountain top
Footlong Hot Dog Sandwich

Beautiful Gumamela or Rosemallow.  In Spanish, it is called Flor de Jamaica.

View of the mountains of Rizal, Laguna and Quezon

Excellent road condition

Wild sunflowers

Another stop, another shot

Natural wonders

Paseo Rizal offers native cuisine. It is located at Sitio Mayagay.

Bungang China or Native Palm for sale in Tanay

Native Anahaw or Anahaw Palm also for sale

Another horse by the road

Pranjetto Hills Hotel and Resort is situated at Sito Mayagay, Brgy Sampaloc in Tanay, Rizal. It has a swimming pool and function rooms for seminars and weddings.

Busy intersection at Brgy Sampaloc in Tanay, Rizal

President Erap's resthouse in Sampaloc, Tanay where he was placed under house arrest.

Pres. Erap's resthouse is now a resort.

Across and a few meters away from Pres. Erap's resthouse is Camp Capinpin which is known as The Home Of The Junglefighters.

Sipping coffee under the cool shade of mango trees

Another store selling fruits and vegetables in Sampaloc

Sampaloc Inn

Iglesia Ni Cristo in Sampaloc

One of two gasoline stations in Sampaloc

International Peace Leadership College compound along the Marikina-Infanta Road in Brgy Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal.  It is a theological seminary.

There is a majestic view wherever you go.

Stopping to feel the cool breeze

Near the Bureau of Plant Industry station

St. Scholastica's Compound along the highway

Man walks towards the next sitio.

Barriers at dangerous cliffs

No overtaking near the bend

Warning signage of falling rocks

There are falling rocks after a heavy rain or during the rainy season.

Rider accelerating speed on his way up

Police outpost in Brgy Cuyambay

Another warning signage at a dangerous portion of the highway