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Day Trip to Wawa Dam in Montalban, Rizal

15 May 2011 22,927 views 43 Comments

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.

Wawa Dam, Montalban

This was Wawa Dam in December 2009. ©Dejan Glavnik

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 there 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.

Wawa Dam, Montalban (2011)

This is the how the water looks like in Wawa Dam now (May 2011).

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.

Boulders, Wawa Dam, Montalban

The huge boulders in Montalban Gorge (can you see the people?).

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.

Family in Wawa Dam

Families can spend time in Wawa Dam.

Boating in Wawa Dam

It is fun to go boating in the reservoir.

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.

Worker in Wawa Dam

A local hauling a sack of vegetables for sale in the market.

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.

 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!

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  • Nicely said:

    Wow! Mukhang malinis pa ang tubig sa Wawa Dam ah. I feel like swimming there to beat the summer heat. Ikaw, naligo ka din ba dyan?
    Nicely recently posted..The Cavite Weekend Project- Tierra de Maria Haven Of Meditation and Enrichment- Tagaytay City

  • Aleah said:

    Hi Nicely! No, I haven’t had a chance to swim there yet. Maybe when my friends and I go sometime next month :)
    Aleah recently posted..Day Trip to Wawa Dam in Montalban- Rizal

  • Red Nomad OZ said:

    Haha! No water there because it’s all downunder here in OZ!! Those boulders are amazing – but I hope they’re stable!!!

    Have a great day!!
    Red Nomad OZ recently posted..Dont Miss This! Daintree Discovery Centre- Queensland

  • bertN said:

    I’ll never know how huge the boulders are without those four guys in the foreground!
    bertN recently posted..Day 6-8- Cozumel- At Sea and Home

  • Aleah said:

    @ Red: I wish you’d give us some of your water. Wawa is so dry nowadays. haha. Thanks for dropping by!

    @ BertN: Amazing, huh?
    Aleah recently posted..Day Trip to Wawa Dam in Montalban- Rizal

  • lakwatsera de primera said:

    Mag-eenjoy dito si Charles, obsessed kasi sya sa bouldering at mountain biking :)

  • Aleah said:

    @ Claire: will he be with you when you come in June? Let’s go to Wawa then! :D
    Aleah recently posted..Day Trip to Wawa Dam in Montalban- Rizal

  • chyng said:

    ang bongga ng hometown! would surely join PTB carnival this month kung ganyan ka-blessed ang lugar namin. sa inyo wawa, samin baha. haha!
    chyng recently posted..Vikings Luxury Buffet Restaurant @ MoA

  • Happy Sole said:

    nasa listahan ko na to.. sana mapuntahan na. maybe after summer na, para sure na merong tubig ang dam. :)

    by the way, i added you to my roll!

  • Grace said:

    Grabe you can go boating in the reservoir pala with the bamboo floaters!? I like the shot of the guy with a sack of vegetables!
    Grace recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday- Beach Bum

  • Aleah said:

    @ Chyng: You live in Malabon right? Why not write about how you learned to surf from the baha there? haha
    @ Happy Sole: You can always swim in the reservoir! Will add you in my list too :)
    @ Grace: Thanks. Haven’t tried renting the bamboo floater pa. It should be fun.
    Aleah recently posted..Day Trip to Wawa Dam in Montalban- Rizal

  • pinoy boy journals said:

    sobrang accessible lang pala nito! and true, maganda pa rin talaga siya!!! puwedeng day trip pala dito para lang mag-unwind from the hustle and bustle of city life

  • chinchanlakwatsero said:

    hay ang tagal ko na gusto puntahan to.. . Malalim siguro ang dam na yan =)

  • Aleah said:

    @ Jerik: Yes, it’s a very doable day trip :)
    @ Chinchan: Don’t know rin eh, but it looks fun to go boating there hehe
    Aleah recently posted..Things to Do in Bohol- Danao Adventure Park

  • Travel Photo Friday—Fish Roadkill | Solitary Wanderer said:

    [...] you ever seen a fish roadkill though? In my town of Montalban, Rizal, there is a causeway across the Wawa River. Every time there’s a heavy rain, the river runs [...]

  • Batang Lakwatsero said:

    ang lakwatsa kong hndi matuloytuloy.. gusto ko na tlga ‘to puntahan..
    Batang Lakwatsero recently posted..Viaje Mauban A Place for Chillax and Adventure

  • Aleah said:

    @ Ivan! Ituloy mo na kasi! Lapit lang nyan…relatively. hehe
    Aleah recently posted..Couchsurfing Project—Stay Anywhere in the World for Free!

  • neall said:

    beautiful place.. wish i can go there!! soonnn….

  • Micamyx|Senyorita said:

    Eto pala yung sinasabi nina Ivan na Wawa Dam. Gusto ko rin pumunta dyan! :D Sayang, hindi ako nakasali sa PTB Hometown Blog Carnival. Gustong-gusto ko pa man din magsulat about Dagupan 0_o

  • Aleah said:

    @ Neall: Yes, it’s beautiful. You can just do a day trip. Go na! :)
    @ Mica: I didn’t know you didn’t join that blog carnival. Sayang nga, I’m sure you can write a lot about Dagupan.
    Aleah recently posted..Danakit Cave: Spelunking in Tandag, Surigao del Sur

  • neall said:

    how about night? pde rin ba?! panu b papunta jn? f galing akong manila??

  • Aleah said:

    @ Neall: Nope, not advisable to come at night. This is still a probinsya, there are not so many lights, esp in the area. Besides, the rocks make it dangerous to walk in the evening. From Manila, go to Cubao (by LRT, jeep, FX). Go to Farmer’s and across Jollibee Farmer’s, there are FX taxis going to Montalban Eastwood (P50 one way). When you arrive in Eastwood, take the jeepney going to Wawa or Yagit (P8). At the end of the line is Wawa Dam.
    Aleah recently posted..Danakit Cave: Spelunking in Tandag, Surigao del Sur

  • buzz said:

    Hi, grabe ganda rin talga un wawa..3yrs na ako sa centella home subdivision katabi lang ng eastwood subdivision..eh ndi pa rin ako nakakapunta diyan sa Wawa dam na yan..hahaha..sana mapuntahan ko..sana pde overnyt..sana safe..hehehe..

  • Aleah said:

    @ Buzz: I also live in Centella :) And no, there’s no need to stay overnight. I don’t think they have the facilities for that. A half day trip will do, given we’re only around 15 minutes away. :)
    Aleah recently posted..Nighttime in Pattaya, Thailand

  • Faith said:

    i love wawa dam! Promise :)
    Sana mas mapangalagaan p ang lugar.. it could be one of the tourist spots here in our country.. :)

  • Mark said:

    Dami na namatay dyan mysterious talaga ang Wawa River

  • Mark said:

    dito namatay c Adjong Adrian Alba, ngaun september lng kapitbahay naman sa makati city

  • Aleah said:

    @ Faith: Yes, hopefully people won’t pollute it!
    @ Mark: Yeah, I’ve heard about it :( So sad.
    Aleah recently posted..Solitary Wanderer is Turning 2! (A Call for Sponsors)

  • rommel said:

    Namiss ko na togn lugar na to.nakapag swimming na rin ako dito, magandang lugar to at tahimik pa.

  • Aleah said:

    @ Rommel: Yeah, it’s a really peaceful place. Nice to just sit on the boulders and magmuni-muni. hehe
    Aleah recently posted..How to Cook Lechon, the Popular Filipino Christmas Dish

  • Snapshot Sunday—It’s More Fun in the Philippines! | Solitary Wanderer said:

    [...] Day Trip to Wawa Dam in Montalban, Rizal [...]

  • REZA said:


  • Caving in Wawa Dam, Montalban | Solitary Wanderer said:

    [...] in the Metro Manila area, there’s one place you can go to for a perfect day trip this season: Wawa Dam in Montalban, Rizal. You can go swimming, boating, trekking, biking, and yes, for the more adventurous, you can even go [...]

  • Aleah said:

    @ Reza: Not so much. There are new structures yes, they have a new barangay hall and tourism office, but in the dam itself wala naman.
    Aleah recently posted..Caving in Wawa Dam, Montalban

  • fritzie said:

    wow!!!amazing….wanna go there!!!

  • Missy l Sole of Missy said:

    I’ve been here the other day. Maganda nga sana sya kaso ang dumi! :(

  • Sheena Rose said:

    This dam killed my nephew and a lot of others, too. PLease, to save lives, don’t promote this to the public because you’re just adding chances of lost lives and souls. :(

  • Michelle said:

    Dyan din po namatay ang kuya ko. Gusto na sana namin ipasara sa public ang lugar na ‘to kasi kawawa ang mga inosenteng ppamilyang maiiwan ng mga nalunod nilang mahal sa buhay. YUng ibang mga katawan, hindi na nakita pa. If you have a heart, please stop ppromoting this mysterious place kasi may mga engkanto dito na ang kinukuha lagi ay mga dayo…kalungkot. Kaya if you want to save lives, please don’t promote, please help convince WAWA DAM Management to close the dam to the public.

  • Aleah said:

    @ Fritzie: Enjoy, but take care!
    @ Missy: Is it the water that’s dirty? I think that’s mud. I agree the surrounding are is polluted though. They’re not enlightened yet with regards to proper garbage disposal.
    @ Sheena Rose: Sorry for your loss :(
    @ Michelle: I’m really sorry to hear that. The river can be quite treacherous. Kelangan talaga mag-ingat pag maligo sa mga ganitong lugar.
    Aleah recently posted..India’s Tourist Visa on Arrival for Filipinos

  • andrew said:

    daming tulya sa wawa sarap ipulutan… haha

  • Angelo Esteban said:

    Been there when I was still little, fresh air, cool weather, hospitable people and the water is the cleanest of all, I wonder if it still the same after 40 years (I am 48)

  • Aleah said:

    @ Andrew: I haven’t eaten tulya there yet!
    @ Angelo Esteban: So many things have changed na po. Even after just a few years, I noticed changes already. I’ve been living in Montalban for 5 years now, and I can see those changes.
    Aleah recently posted..My Wishlist: More Christmas Gift Suggestions for Travelers

  • marco basco said:

    uhm aleah i need to ask you a couple of questions:))
    first:how long is the time travel from cubao up to there
    second: are there shallow parts in there
    third:is there an entrance fee and if yes.how much
    would appreciate if you reply asap thaanks!:)

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