Singing In The Dump And Other Beauty Secrets

hinulugang taktak: still hauntingly beautiful

My 6-year-0ld Lover has been going around the house today, singing Frère Jacques (probably due to the Paris Mouseketeer episodes of Tom & Jerry where the  little gray French mouse Tuffy belts out an off-key and breathless original rendition of the rhyme) while “playing” her toy violin:

Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Din, dan, don. Din, dan, don.

—very old French nursery song, commonly translated to:

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping,
Brother John? Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.

  (Not sure if it’s just my naturally dark inner self, but I’m always free associating old nursery rhymes with some shadowy part of history)

Right now the shadowy part of my story is what I don’t show in these pictures of  Antipolo City’s Hinulugang Taktak:  the sickeningly appalling garbage, the evil smell, the foamy waste water, yadda yadda yadda—all that jazz.  Well, I’d read that there are actually on-going official efforts to be true to its legal status as a “National Park,” but I feel compelled to state here that this once-an-ethereal-beauty is currently in no state to visit (just so you don’t say I didn’t warn you in case you do).

amazing how it’s possible to capture only the beautiful and leave out the garbage…

But, hey.  If you can hold your breath (literally!) and sing Frère Jacques in your head, and if you are curious enough about the most famous waterfall near Metro Manila (which I definitely was), maybe you could spare a minute or two.

Legend has it that the waterfall’s name, “Hinulugang Taktak,” which translates into “Where The Bell Was Dropped,” was on account of a local priest (with unknown name, but  I would love to call him Frère Jacques) , sometime in the 15th century, dropping the church bell into the waterfall upon demand by the townsfolk who found all the raucous bell-ringing during Angelus too unbearable.  The Angelus, incidentally, is a Catholic prayer traditionally recited by the Church 3 times daily— at 6 a.m., at noon, then at 6 p.m.— and accompanied by the “Angelus bell.”  Don’t ask me why said priest didn’t just stop the offensive ringing instead of actually throwing the bell into the waterfall, which must have required a lot more money, time and energy (my guess is that it must have felt better!).   I have no more of an idea of that, than why this place has become the dumpster that it is now.

Just thinking….it may not even be around when my children are old enough to go on their own and chase waterfalls…..

(Pardon me as I howl from the depths of consummate desolation.)

hinulugang taktak national park with surprisingly still lush greenery: the last vestiges of primal beauty!

Well, there will always be an inexhaustible supply of things to be happy about.  Yes, I state that as a matter of fact.

To prove it, only about 10 minutes upwards the same Taktak Road where this waterfall is found, we drove to this little-known “Swiss Home” — the sweet and chirpy  Vieux Chalet of Antipolo.  Been around since 1984, although I’ve never heard of it before last week.

And what a treat it is for the heartsick!  A charming little garden, vintage knickknacks, a bottle of wine by the window, with the day’s last rays of the sun streaming cheerily into the cozy and rustic little room—really, what’s not to fall in love with?

swiss awesomeness!!!

So maybe you can just completely skip the waterfall and just go straight up to this bed and breakfast “secret.”  I wouldn’t blame you.

Antipolo City lies in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range (the longest mountain range in the Philippines).  Its higher elevation relative to Manila gives a fantastic view of the metropolis.

vieux chalet
padi’s point

In my head, I am singing Frère Jacques now.  To tell you the truth, it is pretty hard to be melancholy at the same time.

How about you?

Do you have a go-to song in your head when you’re (figuratively) down in the dumps?

Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

See you again,



Add yours →

  1. That is so sad that that place is in the state of affair that it is!!! The pictures are absolutely beautiful. Just to think what it could be! That bed and breakfast is so cute!!!


  2. Very nice post with lovely photos.


  3. Oh my! Glad to see that Vieux Chalet (a blast from my past) is still as charming as ever. Must make a visit!!! If they’re still around, I suppose their Osso Buco must still be a winner. As for Hinulugang Taktak… heard about the awful state too. Hope the “clean up” effort is true. 🙂


    • thanks for your thoughts, jenn! always a pleasure to hear from you. 🙂 we didn’t get to try anything at vieux chalet other than a bottle of wine for the parents and fruit shakes for the little ones. and yes, the place is enchanting! really keeping my fingers crossed about the falls, so sad!


  4. what amazing pictures! loved them all! 🙂


  5. hey, i would like to connect with you on facebook….pls provide me ur facebook profile link…:) or i’m sending you the link of my facebook account ie.
    add me if your facebook doctrine allows 🙂
    Harshit Chauhan


  6. A beautiful blog, beautiful pix, I feel like i’m right there!


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