Rizal Things to Do
TREK TO SEE THE TAU'T BATU (people of...
Rizal is the jumping off place should you be lucky enough to arrange a trek to see the Tau Batu who live up in the mountains. The tribe live in caves (part of the year) and are keen hunters and know the wild fruits to eat. The highest mountain, Mount Mantalingajan (2086m) is where they live. The Tau't Daram (people of the night) also lived in this area, and they built their shelters high in the forest canopy. There was never much contact with them due to their cannabalistic ferocity, and they were said to be almost superhuman and able to jump from tree to tree. Some people just say it is a legend but apparently the tribe became extinct last century when their last chieftain died. Another tribe, Tau't Arib are said to live in the hills too, but not many people have interacted with them so reports are scarce and dubious.
However the Tau't Batu are alive and well and it is possible to hire a guide and visit them, but be prepared for a long trek as they live hours or even days from the nearest road. Not too many wear the loincloth any more but they still use blowguns to catch their prey and also have a strange contraption to catch bats, another of their favorite foods.
In Rizal there used to be (or still is) a guy called Bojie who can arrange an English speaking guide who will lead you to the tribe, or you can catch a jeepney to Ransang where the guides are much cheaper but don't speak so much English. The tribe are used to tourists and will ask for money to take photographs. Also there are a few missionaries that go there to try and convert the tribes.
There is an excellent report and wonderful photos in the link below should you wish to know more about the Tau't Batu.
STATUE OF THE COUNTRY'S GREATEST HERO
When the road south and the road north meet at roundabout where there is another road that leads to the market and the sea, there is a statue of Jose Rizal in the center. He is coloured white and has his usual book in his hand, and you can actually go into the small room underneath him to shelter from the rain or sun. The book is the first one that he ever wrote ---"Nole Me Tangere". (Touch Me Not)
I have written a few details of Jose Rizal's life and will not repeat it again so if you want to know more about him please go to the website listed below.
THE MARKET AREA and FRIED BANANAS
Once you reach the roundabout you can take the turning to the market which is probably another km down the road. The market is quite small with a few stores around the perimeter. There are a couple of hardware stores, a pharmacy and a few small groceries and a bakery.
Unfortunately we could not find a decent place to eat in this small provincial town but as luck had it there were several stalls selling fried bananas so we were fortunate enough to arrive when the vendor had just fried some more . For me , i prefer the bananas when they are still hot.
BUS, SHUTTLE VAN & JEEPNEY
If you want to catch the old bus, the more comfortable shuttle van yoy mus t go to the market as they all depart from there. There are also jeepneys leaving for nearby villages.
Rizal Warnings and Dangers
There is a particular bad strain of malaria in the vicinity so if you are going to trek in the mountains you should take adequate precautions. A few years ago 3 journalists died when they trekked in the mountains too visit the Tau Batu tribe.