Hinulugan Taktak is a waterfall located in Taktak Road, Brgy. Dela Paz, Antipolo City. It was once a popular tourist destination famous for its refreshing and idyllic falls. It has been considered as one of the most important landscapes in the Province of Rizal, playing a role in the province’s legendary history and a part in Antipolo’s natural and cultural heritage. Legend has it that during the 16th century, a local priest was forced by the local people to drop the bell in the river due to its harsh and unbearably loud sound when rung during Angelus; thus the name “Hinulugan Taktak,” which literally means “where the bell was dropped.”
The waterfall, itself, has a height of 21.5 meters from the water surface and a width of 25.8 meters. This place, then, is visited by thousands of visitors to bathe or swim. It is the nearest waterfall from Metro Manila.
On July 18, 1952, Hinulugan Taktak was established as a recreation area by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 330, reserving the said area for its scenic and recreation purposes. It was later converted into a national park thru the issuance of Republic Act No. 6964 dated September 18, 1990.The national park, covering 3.20 hectares, was then transferred from the administration of the Municipality of Antipolo to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (DENR-PAWB) in coordination with the Department of Tourism and the provincial government of Rizal.
Hinulugan Taktak Protected Landscape (HTPL) is, at present, being threatened by the incessant problems caused by human encroachment and pollution. Since the 1960’s, the waters of HTPL is slowly being polluted, thus the construction of a 12.0 meters x 24.0 meters rectangular swimming pool by the Municipality of Antipolo was needed.
Through Republic Act No. 6964(Annex 5), PAWB transferred the informal settlers within the vicinity of HTPL to prevent further degradation of the area and pollution of the waters, and also aid in the preservation of the remaining residual evergreen forest dominating the landscape of the park (Protected Area Suitability Assessment (PASA) - October 1997). The law also provides funds for the operation and maintenance of the park through the provisions of the Annual General Appropriations Act.
Since the enactment of Republic Act No. 6964, the PAWB has continuously implemented several plans and programs to rehabilitate the degraded portions of the park. It also constructed Basic recreation facilities and amenities were also constructed to provide a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction to the public throughout its usable condition.
In 1992, it became an initial component of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7586. Under this Act, HTPL is categorized as a Protected Landscape which was officially affirmed through Presidential Proclamation No. 412 dated November 17, 2000. This Act also has provisions for the utilization of the park’s Trust Fund (collection of park charges) through the Integrated Protected Area Fund (IPAF) system. The Trust Fund is used to augment the limited budget as allocated under the General Appropriations Act for the park’s continuous development, maintenance and operations.
On August 29, 2001 a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between DENR, represented Hon. Secretary Heherson T. Alvarez and Hon. Mayor Angelito C. Gatlabayan of Antipolo City, was executed for a joint administration of the HTPL. It had a term of three (3) years, renewable on the same period from the date of signing. However, the MOA was not renewed after it lapsed in August 2004.
Thus, in October of 2002, the Antipolo City Government (ACG) constructed other infrastructure projects. which were completed in July 2003. However, the maintenance and repair of these additional facilities and amenities were left under the administration of PAWB.
Topography , Geology and Soils of Hinulugang Taktak Protected Landscape
The Hinulugan Taktak Protected Landscape is located in the Province of Rizal which is within the Laguna Lake River Basin Region. The park is within the territorial/political jurisdiction of the City of Antipolo, Province of Rizal. It is located on the northwestern part of Antipolo City and about 1.25 kilometers away from the town proper. It is less than 28.98 kilometers from the southeast of Manila. The geographic location of the park is 121° 09’ 55” longitude and 14° 35’ 50” latitude (PASA-October 1997). It is accessible to all types of land transportation.
HTPL’s topography is rolling to steep terrain. It is traversed by the Taktak River. The Taktak River is the convergent point of the other creeks and open canal (drainage system) from the City proper. The water flowing into these creeks and the open canal, which drains into the water falls, is heavily polluted, mostly by domestic wastes coming from residential areas within and around HTPL.
Geology and Soil
The geological features of the park are the waterfalls and the trench configuration of the downstream section of the park. The soils in the HTPL are quaternary deposits. Beneath these are the Miocense sedimentary layers and basement rocks. It consists mainly of Andesitic to Ballistic agglomerate and minor tuff. The rocks are part of the Marikina fault line (PASA-October 1997).
The upstream section of the park is visible of this type of rocks including the middle base of the downstream section of the trench configuration. The soil composition of the steep slopes along the direction of the falls is clayey to mossy sand. The rocks found in the downstream portion from the footbridge toward the dam are adobe rocks.
There are deposits of adobe or boulder rocks in the area. Physical test of the soil samples showed that they are highly refractory due to high alumina content. Chemically, it is similar in character with other mountainous areas in the City (PASA-October 1997).
HTPL is vulnerable to soil erosions and landslides during rainy seasons and earthquakes. The Province of Rizal, particularly Antipolo City, is exposed to different geologic hazards owing to its geographic location, tectonic cut and the nature of its origin. The city is also vulnerable to earthquakes, landslides, mass movements and erosions (PASA-October 1997).
The climate of HTPL falls under Type II of the Modified Corona’s classification. This is characterized by a short dry season lasting two (2) to four (4) months with no pronounced maximum rain period. Temperature ranges from 24.7° C during the month of February to 28.6° C during the month of June.
The areas receive the highest amount of rainfall during the month of October, while the driest period is within the months of March to April. Relative humidity varies from 78 percent for the month of April to 85 percent during October. The area is virtually cloudy during the early morning of December to February (PASA-October 1997).
Hinulugan Taktak has a very small area with only one (1) type of vegetation - a mini-forest. Hence, the ecological significance of the climate regime is very minimal considering that the present vegetation is not adversely affected by the climate change. Moreover, the area does not serve as habitat to any wildlife species of national or local significance that will be adversely affected by such change.
However, the climate regime has a great significance to outdoor recreation activities and opportunities in the HTPL. It is during the dry season that HTPL had the highest number of visitors.
During the rainy season, uprooting of trees along the steep slopes is likely to occur due to the weak anchorage provided by the loose soil. Soil erosion could also cause some riprap structures to collapse.
Boundaries and the rationale for their location
In 1952, the area of Hinulugan Taktak was only 0.80 hectare. Subsequent physical development undertaken by the Municipality of Antipolo had encompassed additional areas in the downstream and upstream section of the park which made up the present area of 3.2 hectares.
By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 412 dated November 17, 2000( , the area was proclaimed as PROTECTED LANDSCAPE pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7586 otherwise known as the NIPAS Act of 1992. The technical description of the boundary of the park which comprised the area of 3.20 hectare was officially affirmed by this proclamation.
Flora and Fauna
Based on Flora and Fauna Study(PASA- October 1997), there are 11 families of tree species within the park: with a total of 234 individual trees composed mostly of hardwood species like the Anchoan Dilaw (Cassia spectabilis),Ilang-Ilang (Cananga odorata), Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) and Narra (Pterocarpus indicus). Different species of ornamental plants are also found on the riprap structures of the park.
Fruit bearing trees are also found within the park such as Kaimito (Chrysophyllum cainito), Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Avocado (Persea americana), Santol (Sandoricum koetjape), Mango (Mangifera indica), Kamias(Averrhoa bilimbi), Coconut trees (Cocus nucifera).
The PaSa report does not contain any record of endemic, economically important, and/or endangered species of plants and animals.
Wildlife species commonly found in the park are Walak-Walak, Gigintod, Kingfishers, Owls and Swifts. There are also the presence of Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvator), Philippine Python (Python reticulatus), Flying Lizard (Draco volans), Chameleon, local name Hunyango and other unidentified species of wildlife.
Habitat and Ecosystem
HTPL has only one type of vegetation which is residual evergreen forest. It is characterized by the presence of more or less two (2) storey layers of forest trees from the base of the downstream portion of the park (PASA - October 1997).
The fact that the core of the recreation area is located in this portion of the park, no faunal species of some importance would prosper. The presence of many visitors in the park and the noise produced by those swimming in the pool will stress faunal species found in the area.
The present ecosystem of the HTPL (mini-forest) serves to provide the visiting public a cool ambience of a forest not found in other places in Antipolo. This ecosystem may not serve as a habitat for Avian or plant species of some importance but it does provide a free pollution atmosphere for recreation purposes. This is one factor that endeared people to visit HTPL.
The plantation of ornamental plants in all the riprap structure serves to enhance or improve the aesthetic view of the surroundings of the park in a modest way for the pleasure of the public (Table List of Ornamental Plant Species).
Nature Recreation Potential
Since the 1950’s, the downstream section of the park is the place where people converge for the following reasons:
- they can see the central view of the waterfalls;
- easy access to swimming in the falls (when the water was not polluted yet);
- witness and immerse in a mini-forest covering the entire area which provides a cool ambience in the park.
There are clusters of settlements as well as the built-up area of the city found within the subwatersheds of Hinulugan Taktak with majority of them found along the river banks of Taktak river. The center of Hinulugan Taktak is within the Bulao subwatershed and settlement clusters of San Isidro, Dela Paz, San Roque, San Jose, and Sta Cruz contribute to the pollution of Taktak River