Not many know that there is a town called Rizal, yes, our national hero’s last name, in Laguna. Also, few people know that there is a hill in Rizal called Tayak that is fast becoming THE place for weekend retreats and getaways.
The town of Rizal, situated some 93km south of Manila, started out as one of Nagcarlan’s barangay. It was named after the National Hero himself. This quaint, sleepy town lies at the foot Mt. Cristobal. From there, Tayak Hill is just a short, uphill trek (30 minutes to an hour, maybe two, depending on one’s pace). Trek is easy even for people who do not regularly do strenuous activity. Facing where the sun sets, it gives a commanding view of Laguna as far as Muntinlupa with Mt. Cristobal at the back. At the summit you can also see Mts. Makiling, Kalisungan-Atimla and Mabilog, the hills of Prinza and Imoc as well as the summit of Mt. Tagapo. Also seen from the vantage point is the Malarayat Range with prominent peaks of Manabu, Malipunyo and Susong Dalaga.
The hill was also dubbed as the Biker’s Haven of Laguna, as the place was once known only within bike enthusiasts and pilgrims who trek the area during Lenten season.
The hill itself, bordering the town of Rizal and San Pablo, also have historical significance since it became a command outpost by the Filipino-American troops during the World War II. Adjacent to the hill you can find the Landing Point where Fil-Am troops used it as a runway for their planes during the war. During the Liberation in 1945, the guerrillas of San Pablo built a 300 meters landing strip that served an L-4 Piper observation plane. The said runway also served as drop-off point for ammunitions, arms and other provisions during the war.
Now hiking up the hill is easy because of the newly constructed concrete steps leading to the summit. The view at the peak is very rewarding. There is a campsite near the summit where you can pitch tents if you’re planning an overnight stay (a must try activity). Just bring your jackets as the temperature on top of the hill drops significantly, even during summer months. Cellular access on the area is intermittent though. There is a sari-sari store at the foot of the concrete steps where you can buy supplies or anything you need before you begin your trek to the hill.
Tayak Hill is being groomed to become the next tourist draw not just in Rizal, but the whole of Laguna. Aside from being an Adventure and Nature Park, talks on making the place the paintball and airsoft capital of Laguna as well as proposed zipline, cable cars and construction of hand gliding facilities are all in the pipeline. As of writing, there are facilities already constructed if you want to spend a day or two at the area.
Getting there and away
The easiest way to go to Tayak Hill if you’re taking public transport is via the regular buses that ply on Manila to San Pablo in Cubao or Pasay. Travel time is around 2-3 hours depending on traffic. From San Pablo itself, you need to take another jeepney going to Nagcarlan to reach Rizal. Alight at Rizal Elementary School in Brgy Tala, the jump-off point going to Tayak Hill. It’s just along the highway (on your left if from San Pablo) so you can find it easily. Once you’re there, just cross the street and follow the concrete road. After 15-30 minutes, you’ll be passing by Terreza Verde Resort. Continue walking until you reach Sitio Sto. Niño. Walk a little further and you’ll see concrete structures. On the left is the chapel and on the right is the water source. The right path is a concrete steps going up to the hill that will lead you to the summit of Tayak Hill. As of writing, there is a D
LTBCo buses that ply directly from Buendia to Rizal once a day that leaves the terminal in Manila by 5pm.
If your planning to go there using a private vehicle, it would take you around 2-3 hours taking SLEX and R3 roads via Calamba, then take Exit 58 (Sto Tomas Exit) then drive all the way to Alaminos, San Pablo then Rizal. There are parking spaces at the foot of the hill so you don’t need to worry where you will leave your car.
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