A D A Y T R I P
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R O D R I G U E Z
Where there's a bountiful town or city, a river runs through it. In the case of the municipality of Rodriguez, the 113-year old Wawa Dam cuts right through a water gap of the Sierra Madre to render the lengthy Marikina River a sort of a fancy dimple in the landscape. Built by the American colonizers in the early 1900s, Wawa Dam originally supplied Metro Manila's raw water requirements until it was abandoned later on for the more reliable Angat Dam in Bulacan.
Glenn Martinez of the Traveler On Foot blog.
Starting The Hike
The sky was initially clear after lunch time and then slightly overcast just before the afternoon that the surrounding mountains' exposed rock formations seemed to glimmer against the verdant surrounding. It was a fascinating sight as I advanced my trek from the entrance of the cemented pathway towards the river's gorge which locals continue to relate to the myth of one giant called Bernardo Carpio. Old folks reckon that the legendary figure was responsible for physically opening the mountain range's gap in their old town of Montalban.
Rocks and More Rocks
Boulders of rocks in various sizes dot the river from the dam's cascades all the way to the Sierra Madre slopes. I was never that close to that big size of a boulder before. There were instances when the sun shone so bright during our convenient hike that the whiteness of the rocks was visually enhanced like they were massive diamonds. I found the place quite spectacular especially because it was about 15 minutes only from Rodriguez's town center and less than two hours from my base in Pasig City.
Flourishing Tourist Spot
The pathway along the mountain was recently boarded up with steel railings to make visits child-friendly and generally safe. It was fun walking through a few cave tunnels and seeing pitch-dark mountain holes that seem to lead to nowhere. On my way up, I even spotted a few seminarians with green leafy vegetables in tow. They either bought some food supply from locals with stores set up along the river or they harvested them from a vegetable farm high up in the mountains.
My favorite spot was the old observation deck facing the slightly arching cascades of the dam. It's in ruins already but its remaining walls and windows showed me how well it was built by the Americans, lasting this long a time where it was painstakingly exposed to the elements.
This part of Luzon that's close to the congestion of Metro Manila is still thriving in natural wonders. We are still fortunate to have Wawa Dam and its surrounding areas. It's my hope that the local government continue to control its local residents who have decided to settle along the highway leading to the mountain slope with their houses' backside set against the river. And we all know that such setup can only mean what they think the river is -- one big restroom. Marikina River is still running through this bountiful municipality, but until when?
H E L P F U L H I N T
How to commute to Rodriguez (formerly Montalban)
Special thanks to Glenn Martinez and his son, Joaquin
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