Cooling off at Wawa Dam
Wawa Dam (also known as Montalban Dam) is a gravity dam constructed over the Marikina River in the municipality of Rodriguez in Rizal province, Philippines. The slightly arched dam is situated in the 360-metre (1,180 ft) high Montalban Gorge or Wawa Gorge, a water gap in the Sierra Madre Mountains, east of Manila. (Source: Wikipedia)
Because of its proximity from Metro Manila, it is often frequented by tourists. It also serves as sanctuary for hikers who want to rest after a long climb in nearby mountains, as well as one of the favorite destinations of cycling groups.
We went here one Monday morning. We deliberately avoided weekends, because it is the days when it is packed with visitors, especially during summer season. According to Neph, one of our tupanggala who happens to live here, visitors often peaked up to two thousand during weekends and summer months. And because of our perfect timing, we were the only ones in the dam.
The Dam was built during the early years of the American occupation, and is built to provide the water needs of Manila. It has long been abandoned after the construction of Angat Dam, which now serves as the primary water source in the metro. However, as the the water usage in Metro Manila is increasingly becoming insufficient because of overpopulation, there are some groups that are pushing for its reactivation.
Entrance is free, however, the optional cottages requires a fee. Commercialization is somewhat visible because of the cottages scattered around the site. And with many visitors, so are the trash, and the vandalism on walls. The site also lacked a public restroom, so it’s up to the visitors where and how to change clothes.
The water which falls from the dam is cold. The walls are filled with mold, so great care must be exercised as some of its portions are slippery. Bathing is pleasurable and refreshing as you can feel the strong water flow. The cool, pleasing breeze makes a best place to take coffee, which we did. Soon we took some photos, then we packed up, making sure to leave no traces behind. We only stayed for several hours because we have to immediately come back. But we are sure that we will return someday, especially we discovered some of the mountains that are teasing to be climbed. Aside from that, a bridge leading to the Pamintinan Cave is being built.
* From Cubao, take the often fast-and-furious jeepneys plying the Cubao-Montalban route, or FX (UV Express) if you prefer comfort. Alight at the luvers in Montalban. Jeepney fares are at PhP40 and for FX, it’s PhP50.
* Take the Wowtoda tricycle for PhP8 (be careful with some drivers, though)
* You will be taken in a school, and from here, walk for almost 500 meters going to the Dam’s waterfalls.