Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Windmills of Pililla and the Natural Beauty of Tanay

Pililla & Tanay, RIZAL
Date: APR 09, 2019

It’s my sister’s 24th birthday - and just like last year, the whole family’s going on an out of town trip. We decided to travel further east, visiting the windmills in the town of Pilillia and Daranak Falls in Tanay. We also had a stopover at Cafe Katarina, a well-reviewed restaurant on the mountaintops serving festive Filipino food.

Laguna de Bay seen from the windmills of Pililla, Rizal
After staying at the Pioneer Woodlands Condominiums last night with Aljhon, I had to return home early because we will be on an out of town trip. Aljhon and his family will be returning to Bicol today, and his dad offered me a ride because they will be passing through Ortigas Avenue. They dropped me off at Tikling Junction, and I was able to make it back home at around six in the morning.

We had a little time to prepare, and by 9 A.M., we left Taytay and went straight to Pililla. Dad chose to drive along the rugged highways of Antipolo, and we passed by countless zigzags and cliffs as we are heading to the town of Teresa. Later on, we passed by the towns of Morong, Baras, and Tanay before we made it to Pililla.

Family photo with the windmills on the background
The windmills are built on the top of the mountains, so we had to take the road going to Mabitac, Laguna, and passed by another set of winding roads. We made it safely to the windmills by 10 A.M., and dad looked for a nice parking space near the souvenir stalls.

The "I Love Tanay" and "I Love Daranak" sign
We were accompanied by a little girl who works as a part-time tour guide, and we had to climb a small hill that will guarantee us a scenic view of the surrounding landscape. She even showed us some of the best spots where we can take our photos. I fell in love with the view – the Laguna de Bay can be seen in a distance, surrounded by lush Sierra Madre mountains.

My mom decided to go down after staying on the top of the hill for 15 minutes, but my sister and I stayed for a while taking a few more snapshots. We also bought a few souvenirs from the sellers and tried some of the delicacies that they offer.

I was clueless about where our next destination is, and I suggested that we visit Daranak Falls since I’ve never been there. Dad knows the route going to the falls and agreed to take us there. We had to turn right as we reach the junction in Barangay Sampaloc, Tanay, taking the same road leading to Daraitan. A few kilometers from the junction, we turned left, and braved the steep zigzags leading to a parking lot.

There were many tourists that day visiting the falls, and we saw hundreds of cars parked a few kilometers from the entrance. The parking lot is still a kilometer away from the gate, and we had to take a tricycle, paying P50 for the ride.

The famous Daranak Falls, but with weaker water flow due to the El Nino phenomenon
Inside Daranak Falls, we had to pay a P50 entrance fee, and I was hugely disappointed after seeing the place. It was full of people, and the water was murky. It was far from what I was expecting, and we decided to leave early.

The restaurant's facade (left) and a lovely sculpture in front (right)
Cafe Katerina will be our final stop for today. It is a restaurant located on the top of the mountains, and it is a popular restaurant for bikers, riders, and travelers. The restaurant offers a scenic view of the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges and Laguna de Bay. The temperature is way cooler as well, because of its high altitude.

The scenic view from our table
We ordered tons of food and had a great time together.

We ordered fried pork, chicken curry, sinigang na hipon, pancit canton guisado, chopsuey, iced tea, and coconut juice
The food from Cafe Katerina tasted good, and I highly recommend it to those who are traveling along the Marilaque Highway.

After our festive lunch, we decided to go home and get some rest.

Mouth-watering pancit canton guisado
1. NO ENTRANCE FEE at Pililla Windfarm, but you would need to pay for the parking fee
2. Daranak Falls entrance costs P50 per head. Parking space costs P50 per vehicle.
3. If you visited Daranak Falls on a holiday or a weekend, you might be required to ride a tricycle going to the gate, which will cost you another P50 for the whole ride.

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