By Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

Restoring Hinulugang Taktak

September 20, 2023, 12:49 pm

"Tayo na sa Antipolo at doo’y maligo tayo, sa batis na kung tawagin ay hi-hi- hinulugang taktak…” - German San Jose.

Last Sept. 14, a simple ceremony was held at the Hinulugang Taktak Nature and Adventure Park. The activity commemorated the “strengthening of the partnership” of Manila Water, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Rizal provincial government and the city government of Antipolo in their endeavor to fully rehabilitate the park.

The activity also highlighted the near completion of the Hinulugang Taktak Sewage Treatment Plant which is aimed to finally restore the water quality and ecological balance in the said site. The said project is a culmination of a decades-long effort by the aforesaid agencies and the local governments to restore Hinulugang Taktak to its former glory.

Next to the famous international shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage or Antipolo Cathedral, Hinulugang Taktak has always been an iconic destination for visitors of the city. A long-time resident of Antipolo told me that once upon a time, a large bell (taktak) was thrown (hinulog) into the falls because it was too loud. Henceforth, the area was known as the place where the bell fell (Hinulugang Taktak). It is featured in the famous song Antipolo or Tayo na Sa Antipolo composed by German San Jose in 1929. There was a time when Hinulugang Taktak was filled with people having picnics and swimming in the area.

In the latter half of the 20th century, Hinulugang Taktak gradually became polluted and lost its place on the list of places to visit. People still continued to visit it for its historical value and of course the legends about the area. Fortunately, in the last years of the said century, a group of people, namely prominent persons in the city and the province, the provincial government, and the newly minted city government back then started a campaign to rehabilitate and rescue Hinuklugang Taktak. Thereafter, the aforesaid national agencies came into the picture and pitched in with their funds and programs.

The area was declared a protected area/national park and several rehabilitation projects were initiated. These include reforestation and regreening, pollution control, and park conversion efforts. Today, it is a fully functioning recreation park complete with a spider web platform, hanging bridge and a wall climbing facility.

The water treatment project is projected to be completed by next year and designed to remove waste particles, toxic materials, bacteria and other harmful substances. It is the goal of this water treatment plant project to finally restore the waters of the falls to its previous state.

When I was part of the city government of Antipolo a few decades ago, I used to go to Hinulugang Taktak when I was stressed. Even before its rehabilitation began, it still retained its old charm that could soothe frazzled nerves. For me and many residents, this place holds a special place in our hearts.

Clearly, collaborative efforts that include both government agencies and the private sector have the highest chances of overcoming challenges. As the current Antipolo City Mayor stated, “Many have said that restoring the beauty and cleanliness of Hinulugang Taktak is impossible. This is an antidote to the impossible.”

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.


About the Columnist

Image of Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

ATTY. GILBERTO LAUENGCO, J.D. is a lawyer, educator, political strategist, government consultant, Lego enthusiast, and the director of CAER Think Tank. He is a Former Vice Chairman of MECO, Special Assistant of NFA and City Administrator among others. His broad experience has molded his unique approach to issues analysis which he calls the oblique observation.