The small town of Tanay in the province of Rizal, Philippines dishes a surplus of great outdoor attractions easily comparable to other more popular places in the greater Manila area, less the gridlocked roads and towering skyscrapers.
Situated almost inconspicuously, in this underrated province is a hidden getaway — Haranah Eco-Park — built on a sprawling piece of country grounds teeming with lush greens and picturesque settings.
It overlooks Laguna de Bay at its highest point, and has over 5,000 steps carving a path through its property.
Stretching at 16.2 hectares, the park is a product of utmost dedication and hard work exhibited by its owners, among them Mr. Jaime Tan. “When we bought it,” Tan said, “the land was filled with random shrubs, trees, and grasses. There wasn’t any form to its landscape. Slowly, we re-rooted the bushes and carefully re-planted it with a variety of plants, flowers, and trees.”
Tan and company consulted several professionals, including an architect and a landscape designer, to help them shape the property into a more environment-friendly park.
Today, Haranah Eco-Park boasts of an outdoor setting that meets the needs of everyone wanting to spend some quality time away from the dregs and stress of the big city. In here, chill time is served not on a silver platter but on the green grounds encompassing the park, made sweeter by the scenic image of the Sierra Madre Mountains.
To help you get an idea of what it is like spending a day or two in Haranah Eco-Park, here are some activities you might find interesting.
Camping in Haranah Eco-Park
As an avid mountaineer, I have experienced camping on 45-degree slopes and uneven terrains. This is why I was so glad to see the vast camping grounds that Haranah makes available to its visitors.
Camping is the only accommodation allowed in the whole property — and it is for the greater good, as it allows guests to form a closer bond with nature. Along the long circling path inside Haranah Eco-Park, pockets of camping grounds can be found, giving you the opportunity to enjoy isolation at its best.
The main camping site is located near the football field which can conveniently fit up to dozens of tents. Ours was perfectly set up under a batch of trees overlooking the Sierra Madre Mountains. Haranah Eco-Park provides adequately-sized tents for up to four people and furnishes it with a soft mattress and a blanket.
At night, be sure to proceed to the camping site’s designated bonfire area to enjoy s’mores and roasted hotdogs over ghost stories with your friends as you watch the trail of stars perfectly visible during most nights.
Hiking trails are carefully designed all over Haranah Eco-Park. The main trail leads you to the various gardens and pathways where you can find an assortment of plants and flowers — all properly labeled with their corresponding names.
Short snaking paths will lead you to a number of fascinating spots including the one that will take you to a small waterfalls. The hiking trail only requires moderate effort and even kids will enjoy a morning walk around the park.
With so much natural beauty, one can easily come up with a number of ways to make any team-building activity an exciting one at Haranah Eco-Park.
Aside from the expansive grounds where you can hold a number of fun games, there is also a short obstacle course inside. Or better yet, let the staff design your activities as they also offer team-building events.
Outdoor Sports and Nature Tripping
Hiking, fun games, and camping aren’t the only outdoorsy stuff you can do at Haranah Eco-Park. There is a half football field built over a smooth and well-maintained lawn grass and a full basketball court, should you choose to spend your day there kicking or shooting balls.
If sports isn’t your thing, you can also choose to just chill with nature. Other than learning more about different floras and going bird watching, developing a closer relationship with nature becomes the most fulfilling activity one can have there.
During our visit, we met the president of a rock-balancing group. I never even knew such a group existed before. He shared to us the therapeutic and Zen effect of rock balancing (yep, it’s a thing, apparently). After demonstrating the proper way of stacking each rock without the use of any adhesive materials, he let us try the activity ourselves.
He gave us a simple instruction: use your imaginative mind and trust your instinct in finding the matching angles to which each rock would connect.
In no time at all, I found myself deeply engrossed in the activity as the art of rock balancing created this inner calm in my head. It also gave me a new sense of achievement every time the rocks remained upright.
These are just some of the activities we did during our weekend foray to Haranah Eco-Park in Tanay. One can always have the freedom to use the huge space of the property to come up with a more exciting activity.
Always remember: a time spent in the great outdoors is a time worth living.
If you want to go to Haranah Eco-Park, the day tour fee is P1,000 per person, inclusive of set lunch. Camping is P3,200 per person inclusive of 3 meals, 2 snacks, and camping tents. For reservations or inquiries, contact them on their Facebook page or via their website.
Text by Marky Ramone Go of Nomadic Experiences. All photos courtesy of Haranah Eco-Park. This trip was made possible by the Tourism Promotions Board (the marketing arm of the Philippine Department of Tourism) and Haranah Eco-Park.