As much as we enjoy the experience when we camp, most of the time the journey to the destination is an experience in itself. As most define overlanding as a self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations, the journey is definitely the highlight more than the destination. We have been to a campsite, in Tanay, Rizal, that you might consider as a sneak peek to what overlanding might look like. The adventure that you will experience before getting to the campsite is as memorable as the camp itself. The fun feeling of getting to camp will be sealed by the breathtaking view of the camp itself.
Ecoside Campsite and Agricultural Farm is located within the heart of Sta Ines Road, Tanay, Rizal. As many of our readers know, Sta Ines Road cradles a huge amount of campsites along the river leading to Kinabuan Falls. The campsite is around 48kms from SM City Marikina, traversing the Marikina-Infanta Highway.
To get to the campsite is fairly tricky for sedans as you will have to go through three river crossings to get to camp. Yes there are some sedans who had made it up until the campsites along Barangay Tinucan, but we still highly discourage bringing sedans as the river level can be unpredictable. MPVs, Crossovers, and Vans are more capable. It is still advisable to contact the campsite prior to visiting as you might need some assistance if you happen to get stuck. We personally witnessed two vehicles (a subcompact sedan, and a van) who got stuck on the river crossings. One we gladly extended a helping hand.
On the other hand, SUVs, 4×2 or 4×4 can easily pass through to get to camp. Street tires might be tricky when the soil is wet, but All Terrain, Hybrids, and Mud Terrain Tires are more than enough to do the job.
The experience is basically separated into two parts. If it is your first time to pass the rivers of Sta Ines, then it is a memory on its own that you will cherish. The first section of Sta. Ines Road is fairly easy. Some parts are cemented and some are unpaved. Regardless, the angulations and the dips along these parts will surely excite any first timer. As you arrive at the first river crossing, you basically can pass through either the far left or the far right of the crossing (the middle part has huge boulders). We do suggest parking your vehicle first and taking a walk to see where you will actually pass through the river. As per experienced off roaders, always check each and every river crossing and discuss where if it is passable and where to pass through when it is. Crossing the first river for one of MotoKampo’s members was a thrilling experience.
Continuing through the journey, you will pass by another barangay before getting onto the second river crossing. Again, wade it through and observe others who pass through before passing through the river. The right portion of the river crossing has been modified by the LGUs. They have dumped and packed this portion enough that it is now easy for vehicles to pass through.
Finally the last river crossing is a piece of cake by now. The river bed is packed with rubbles, and the water is low enough for anyone to pass through. The campsite is directly across the third river crossing. The other side of the steel bridge is where you will find Ecoside Campsite’s signage. By this time, you are smiling as you have accomplished a big milestone as a camper. And by now you are in awe with the view you are seeing as you enter the grounds of Ecoside Campsite and Agricultural Farm.
Ecoside Campsite and Agricultural Farm is divided into two Areas. Area 1 (on the right side from the river) is a 3000 square meter land that is further divided as a farm and a campsite. Area 1 has a Kubo with 1 bedroom, has a toilet and bath, a hammock area, a kitchen, and a bonfire. It is huge enough to accommodate two to three big families, with enough room for the kids to run and play (they have a small basketball hoop as well). This is where the floral farms of the owners are found. As not only do they welcome guests, they also happen to have an export business selling their agricultural plants. From Area 1 you will appreciate the vast view of the mountain range. As you look from all sides, all you will see on the horizon are the tall mountains of the Sierra Madre.
If you wish to be up close with the mountain and spend time along the river, then request for a stay in Area 2 (you can still go to the river even if you are booked in area 1). Area 2 is an est. 2000 sqm property, stretched along the river. It also has a cabana, toilet and bath, a kitchen sink, fire pit for bonfires, and a small sari-sari store for things you need extra or forgot. Area 2 has a ramp where you can bring your vehicle down to the river and camp(can accommodate a family car camp at a time). In our experience, Area 2 is cooler as it is shaded by the mountain beside it.
However, it is in Area 1 where the calming gusts of wind flow through. We arrived at Area 1 an hour past noon, set up camp, and cooked our lunch meal. We spent the remaining daylight by the river at Area 2, setting up our chairs along the river and chatting our way through dinner. As we settled down at camp while cooking our dinner for the team, the skies opened up to flex its sea of stars that shined throughout the entire night. And by 1 am in the morning, we were all fast asleep.
Waking up to a cool and windy morning was as calming as the night. The morning dew of the campgrounds, as well as the plantation farm, gave a natural scent that you will rarely find in the metro. Birds were gliding along above us while dead leaves from the huge tree at camp fell on to us. It was all picturesque and Instagram worthy as we boiled our way to our usual morning coffee. We had a hearty breakfast as we painfully ready ourselves and our rigs for the way back home.
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It was an easy process in making the title of this article. The journey to Ecoside Campsite and Agricultural Farm is easily a small sample on how Overland is. The journey to camp is as memorable as the camp itself. The planning, team effort, and finally achieving your first off road journey is what sets campsites like this apart from campsites that have been urbanized. Not only is the journey and campsite unforgettable, the management and the caretakers are really hospitable with everything you might need. It is easy for anyone to be friends with the owners, and with everybody else. Once you get a grasp of the entire Ecoside Campsite experience, you will definitely return to the campsite as we will definitely plan to do.