Day Trip to Wawa Dam in Montalban, Rizal

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 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.

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!


  1. says

    @ 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

  2. says

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

  3. says

    @ 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

  4. buzz says

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

  5. REZA says


  6. Sheena Rose says

    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. :(

  7. Michelle says

    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.

  8. says

    @ 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

  9. Angelo Esteban says

    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)

  10. marco basco says

    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 much
    would appreciate if you reply asap thaanks!:)


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