The small town of Montalban, Rizal lies against the slopes of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Only an hour from Quezon City and two hours from Manila, it is a good place to visit during the holidays.
You can go caving in Wawa Dam, as well swimming, trekking and bouldering; appreciate the variety of animals in Avilon Zoo; or spend the whole day in the Noah’s Park Resort.
I’ve lived in Montalban only in the past two years, so I’m still slowly getting to know this town. What I love most about it is whenever I look out of my window, I see the mountains.
To go out of our subdivision, I have to cross the Wawa River, with sometimes the water reaching up halfway to my knees. (I could take the tricycle, but it’s more enjoyable to walk, right?) For a place that’s only an hour from big cities, Montalban is pretty much my ideal town.
Located in Montalban Gorge where the story of legendary Bernardo Carpio was supposed to happen, Wawa Dam is a pretty nice place to just pass the time. Built in 1909, it used to be Manila’s primary water source until it was replaced by the La Mesa/Ipo/Angat watershed system.
When I first went to Wawa Dam in December 2009, there was a lot of water in the dam. I was very much surprised to see it almost dried up this year.
During the summer months, the water in the dam is sparse; one has to get pretty close to the wall in order to get drenched. There are a lot of other things to do aside from swimming, though. One can also go bouldering and rock climbing; everything looks huge here. There are numerous caves that can be explored as well. According to the tourism office, guide fees to the caves is P500 per person.
The UP Mountaineers (and I assume, other organizations as well) also come here a lot with their mountain bikes. More recently, the place also became host to trail runs which Merrel once organized. Once I can run again, Wawa will be my first destination! It is especially nice to run along the riverbank; the locals are pretty friendly and the view is certainly amazing.
Families spend time in Wawa just looking around, if they don’t want to swim or rent a hut (rental: P100). They can also go boating in the reservoir using bamboo rafts. These can be rented for P100 from locals who are living by the riverbank.
Locals earn a living by making charcoal, or harvesting vegetables for sale in the market. If you are coming here with children for your family holidays, there is no need to worry about food; there are many stalls just before entering the dam. There are fruits for sale, as well as the usual Filipino meriendas and sweetened drinks (samalamig).
There is no entrance fee to Wawa Dam. It is accessible by private car, jeepney, and FX taxis; cabs are not common here, and the buses only go up to San Mateo. From Cubao, Quezon City, take the FX vans bound for Eastwood parked in front of either Tropical Hut or in front of Jollibee, in Farmer’s along EDSA. One way costs P50 each. Once in Eastwood, take the jeepney bound for Wawa or Yagit for only P8.
This is my entry to the 7th Blog Carnival of the Pinoy Travel Bloggers called “My Hometown” hosted by Mhe-anne Ojeda of My Comings and Goings.
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Aleah Taboclaon is a freelance writer and editor. She likes running (completed one marathon, training for the next!), diving (PADI open water diver), and traveling with her Kindle. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. You can also email her; she would love to hear from you!