Have you ever yearned for a place to camp where you feel there is no tomorrow? MotoKampo has set on a trip again to the ranges of Sierra Madre in search of another campsite that sets standards in camping for many. The camp that we just visited presented us with more than what we were expecting. A campsite where your senses are soaked with nothing but nature’s grand display. A place where you can close your eyes as you slowly distance yourself from the busy urban life you have ground through. There is a campsite, in the heart of Daraitan Rizal, that lets you do all those. A camp where you can genuinely camp well.
Camp Well River Valley (CWRV) is a campsite along the river bends of Daraitan Rizal. Approximately 75 kilometers from SM City Marikina, it is a two-hour and a half drive from the boundaries of Metro Manila. The campsite is positioned along a horseshoe bend just beside a well-known campground for 4×4 enthusiasts. Not to be confused, access to the campsite is now partly developed by the local government which opens Camp Well River Valley (CWRV) to all types of vehicles. Roads to camp are 80% paved, with the last stretch as unpaved.
Getting to Camp Well River Valley is through Marilaque Highway; then turning to Makaira-Daraitan Road. As you set your Waze or Google Maps to the destination, please add Qalmara Estate as a stop in order for you to get the easiest route to the campsite. Getting to camp during dry days is easy even for sedans. However, do consider contacting the campsite prior to visiting as they can assist you in case there are dilemmas you might experience along the way.
Even before arriving, the path leading to camp has given us a glimpse of how gorgeous the scenery will be. This gave us a hype while as we coarse through the vast trees of Daraitan. And as we arrived, the hype that we all had during the drive ended with smiles on our faces. Camp Well River Valley has three “landing areas” before reaching the river bend. Visitors can pitch anywhere within these areas at any given time of the year. Whereas, pitching along the river is safe when the water levels are low. Please ask the staff upon arriving first if it would be safe to camp along the river bend.
Before going down the river to set up camp, we took a moment to see the amenities the camp has to offer. The camp has 5 comfort rooms with toilets, bidets, and showerheads (4 on the right and 1 on the left). Near the comfort rooms is a cemented platform with tables and chairs, perfect for families pitched nearby to have their meals. Also within the platform are sinks for washing of cookware and utensils, and finally a small griller for those who would need to cook their meats over coals.
There is also a cemented flight of stairs for guests to safely proceed down and enjoy the river. Also, there are a lot of trees that are standing tall within these areas that visitors can use as a shade. Even on a hot sunny day, you can easily find shelter as you enjoy your time at camp. Finally, at the center of it all, is the ramp that gives access for visitors to car camp along the river. The ramp, unpaved, is flat enough even for sedans to pass through. Although on rainy days, and for vehicles with highway tires, it might be a concern to climb out from the river as the soil gets slippery. Also, the riverside tappers from soil to sand. If you have a 4×2, be cautious and drive through the tire track marks as this would be your best way to a camp spot without getting stuck on loose sand. Make sure to seek advice from the staff if you would want to bring your vehicle down the river valley. Not only is this to ensure you can safely drive out the river, but it is also for them to take note of guests as they patrol the campsite through the night.
We kindly asked the staff if it is safe to bring our vehicle along the river for the night. They allowed us and we happily obliged. This is when our eyes feasted on the beauty of the campsite. The rocky mountain that stands tall and stretches along the entire campsite is only a few meters right in front of where we have set camp. The sun’s rays glaring on the smooth flowing river gave the water a crystal shine that stunned our eyes. And as we stare at the clouds, it moved ever so slowly while birds hover over the camp. It seemed like everything was almost at a standstill.
As we finished setting up camp, we brewed and sipped coffee as we sat and appreciate how beautiful mother nature can be. And without noticing, even with watches on our wrist, hours flew past us. It was then that we realized how time flew really fast and yet as if nothing significant has happened. Even the sun, as it sets behind the mountain, seems like forever to say goodbye. And when it did, we started our campfire and switched on our camp lights for it was total darkness. The camp had its own tune of chirps and clicks as insects and other nocturnal creatures woke up in the darkness. As I walk back up to the main camp to fill up our water bag for cleaning, the solar lights that hang on the tree beside the sinks illuminate the area ever so subtly. I must say that the upper area is as tranquil as the river bend.
As we cooked our meal for the night, the temperature dropped slowly. The wind started to brush our skin, and in a moment’s time, the clouds let its rain drizzle. As if orchestrated, the rain that drummed on our awning, also snared at the same time along the river. Birds chirping through the night while crickets ticked through, it was incredible. The next time we looked at our watches was when the staff paid a visit to check upon us. I was surprised again how time flew fast and it was approaching midnight. As we chatted through the night, had some drinks, the next thing we knew, we were again hours past what we expected it to be. We packed up and called it a night.
The morning had the same aura as the sunset, only cooler. We boiled our way through coffee and munched through breakfast. We sat down to relax and enjoy the time left we had before our stay was over. Eventually, we packed everything up and said our goodbyes to the staff at Camp Well River Valley.
Pricing is as follows:
Please do note that 100% of the fee for the bonfire goes to the staff at CWRV. This would really help out a lot for the work they give to their visitors.
Camp Well River Valley will soon host different seminars in relation to outdoor activities. Please follow their page for such activities.
With Camp Well River Valley, you will find it easy to find peace and tranquility the moment you sit down and relax. This is where families, friends, partners, and even solo campers can enjoy and appreciate what mother earth has to offer. With a majestic sunrise and sunset, clear and cool river water, vast land to run around and enjoy, and a bouldering mountain that will make you feel safe, it is a place where you can create precious memories all throughout your stay. Truly a place where everything slows down except time. A place where you can smile all the time. Definitely a place to camp. Definitely a place to Camp Well.