Where is DRT?
Tila Pilon Hills and Talon Pari Falls are located in Barangay Kalawakan, Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT), Bulacan. But first, where is DRT? DRT, Bulacan lies northeast of Metro Manila at the southern section of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Sierra Madre separates DRT, Bulacan from Quezon Province.
DRT is the largest town of Bulacan, taking up about one third of the entire land area of the province. The municipality was established in 1977, but it’s a shame that I live in Bulacan and became aware of this remote town’s existence only after graduating college.
As a result of its remoteness, DRT, Bulacan is the least visited among the Bulacan destinations. But what it lacks in popularity, it makes up for the richness of its natural environment.
How to get to Tila Pilon Hills?
Tila Pilon Hills in Barangay Kalawakan, DRT, Bulacan can be reached through the following:
By public transportation from Cubao or Pasay
Take a bus bound for Cabanatuan. Tell the driver to that you are heading to DRT, Bulacan and ask to be dropped off at Camias-Sibul Road. From there, you can take a tricycle to the barangay hall of Brgy. Kalawakan. Travel time from Cubao to the school will take around 3 hours.
The barangay hall is just across Kalawakan Elementary School. Register at the barangay hall and get a local guide. From there, it takes about 30 minutes to hike Tila Pilon Hills.
By driving private vehicle
If you’re driving your own vehicle, take NLEX and continue onto Plaridel Bypass Road. Take right onto Pan-Philippine Highway and continue to Camias-Sibul Road. This road will lead to Sibul, San Miguel, Bulacan and will connect you to a road leading to Barangay Kalawakan. Use Waze or Google Maps and tag Kalawakan Elementary School as your destination.
Alternatively, from Plaridel ByPass Road, you can turn right to General Alejo Santos Highway and reach DRT via Angat, Bulacan. A third option is to take M. Valte Road from Plaridel ByPass Road and reach DRT via San Idelfonso. Once at the barangay hall, you may park your vehicle at the roadside near the school.
Cellphone and wifi signal will be erratic once you arrive DRT. Hence, be sure to save the Google map or Waze directions on your mobile device so you can have offline access to directions in this Bulacan destination.
Do I need a guide?
A local guide is required when hiking Tila Pilon Hills. Once you arrive at the Barangay Kalawakan Hall, register and pay Php 20 for the environmental fee. One local guide will be assigned for every 5 visitors upon registration. Guide fee is Php 300 for every 5 visitors.
We arrived at 4 AM for a sunrise hike and guides were already waiting when we arrived. It is best to coordinate beforehand with the barangay to ensure availability of local guides, especially if you plan to arrive early.
Hiking Tila Pilon Hills in DRT, Bulacan
Tila Pilon Hills Trek
Jump-off point for the trek to Tila Pilon Hills is at the Barangay Kalawakan office. The hike will take about 30 minutes or less, depending on your pace. The trail is surrounded by trees at the beginning. It was still dark at about 4:45 AM when we started off, so taking shade from the sun wasn’t an issue.
The trek eventually led to open grasslands with beautiful vistas of rolling hills. Generally, the hike up has gradually increasing slopes. However, a short climb up to the highest viewpoint at the last leg of the climb involves a steeper hike.
Apart from that, the trek is relatively easy. Elevation gain is around 22 meters (think less than 10 floor levels of a building) within a distance of less than two kilometers. Needless to say, hiking Tila Pilon Hills is a suitable hike for beginners, especially if you are looking for easy hiking destinations near Metro Manila.
We reached the top just before the sunrise painted the skies with pastel hues of pink, magenta and orange. The hilltop offers breathtaking views of rolling hills and higher mountain ranges such as Mt. Susong Dalaga and Mt. Silid.
You will be taking the same route back to Barangay Kalawakan hall upon descent. If you start early in time for sunrise at the hill peak, as we did, you can have your breakfast after descent. You can bring your own packed food and drinks. Conversely, you can take your meals at small eatery stalls near the barangay hall.
Check other stories on Bulacan destinations here:
Here are other photos I took from the highest viewpoint at Tila Pilon Hills and during our descent.
Side Trip to Talon Pari Falls
Getting to Talon Pari Falls
Talon Pari Falls in DRT, Bulacan is about 3 kilometers away from Barangay Kalawakan hall. Hence, the waterfalls can be a refreshing side trip after sweating it out at Tila Pilon Hills. The drive from the barangay hall to the waterfalls will take about 20 minutes.
Do note that a segment of the road to Talon Pari Falls is unpaved. It can get muddy and slippery, so be careful. Having your own vehicle is ideal. However, if you are traveling to DRT by public transportation, you can rent a tricycle from the barangay hall to get to the waterfalls.
You can drive up to a certain point, after which you need to park your vehicle. From this point, it is safer to walk to the waterfalls. The walk took only a few minutes before we started to hear the rushing sound of the waterfalls.
What’s Special About Talon Pari Falls?
Talon Pari Falls is not the towering high type of waterfalls. But then, the unique rock formation where the falls cascades down is Talon Pari Falls’ distinguishing feature. The rocks look like big blocks randomly stacked together.
Being a weekend when we came, the area was quite packed with mostly Bulakenyos. The waterfalls has two levels but I was able to photograph only the first level. The second level is actually only a few meters away. However, the rushing water of the main falls was calling me. I gladly succumbed as I felt the scorching heat of the sun on my skin.
What to Pack/ Bring?
- Water (better use a reusable tumbler than buy bottled mineral water)
- Trail food for the hike
- If you opt to bring packed meals, bring your own reusable containers and reusable spoon and fork
- Comfortable hiking shoes
- Sun protection (hat, sunscreen, arm sleeves)
- Extra clothes, especially if you want to take a dip in the waterfalls (Note: There’s a basic toilet and shower room near Talon Pari Falls where you can change clothes.)
Don’t forget to be a responsible visitor
Please remember to keep your trash off the trail or any part of the hills or the waterfalls. This is very elementary, but I’d still like to remind everyone to be mindful of their trash. Tila Pilon Hills and Talon Pari Falls are slowly gaining recognition as a scenic nature destination. Let’s contribute to keeping it that way.
I’ll mention it again. Let’s be responsible visitors. Avoid generating wastes in the first place. Don’t leave your wastes without proper disposal. Learn more in the linked images below how you can travel green, wherever your destination is.
Special thanks to Focus Bulacan, our local photography club, for organizing this trip to DRT, Bulacan.
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