Trip to West Rizal with law school friends

Trip to Wawa Dam in Rodriguez, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates

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April 20, 2012. Some friends from law school and I took a day from our summer break to go on a road trip east of Metro Manila to the western towns of Rizal.

Our first stop was the town of Rodriguez, just half an hour’s drive from Quezon City, to frolic in the waters of the the abandoned Wawa Dam and its reservoir.

Situated upstream from Marikina River, Wawa Dam is an American colonial-era infrastructure nestled at the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains flanked by two majestic natural limestone walls covered in lush foliage. It used to supply water to Manila until the building of the Angat Dam in Bulacan. By legend, it was the infamous Bernardo Carpio who caused the separation of the limestone mountain which stood right where the dam is, as he was breaking free from bondage, and thus resulted in the flow of water creating the river that leads to Marikina.

Wawa Dam, Rodriguez, Rizal

Trip to Wawa Dam in Rodriguez, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates

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Antipolo Church, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates

We proceeded to Antipolo, further upland into Rizal where we paid a visit to Antipolo Church, a famous pilgrimage site, and to some waterfalls made infamous by a popular folk song, Hinulugang Taktak.

The falls, however, have all but lost its traditional charm, and nowhere is it near its folk song glory, having turned into a massive catch basin for detergent and other sewerage from residents upstream.

Before heading out of Antipolo, we dropped by the ‘pasalubong center’ to sample some local rice cakes to take home.

Restaurant near Masinag Market, Antipolo, Rizal Restaurant near Masinag Market, Antipolo, Rizal Antipolo Church, Rizal w/ Law School Classmates Antipolo, Rizal Town Proper w/ Law School Classmates Antipolo, Rizal Town Proper w/ Law School Classmates Hinulugang Taktak, Antipolo, Rizal

We were supposed to drive further east to the town of Tanay to end our day trip in the waterfalls of Daranak and Batlag, but my classmates didn’t think it was a good idea, as it was getting dark late in the afternoon.

Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Nemiranda's Art House, Angono, Rizal Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal

As an alternative, we proceeded south of Antipolo to a town along the banks of Laguna Lake, Angono, famous for its artisan families. We ended our trip with some drinks at Nemiranda’s Arthouse’s restaurant.

Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal

Law School Classmates at Nemiranda's Arthouse Cafe, Angono, Rizal

“Bagati” production stills

"Bagati" Production Stills "Bagati" Production Stills "Bagati" Production Stills "Bagati" Production Stills "Bagati" Production Stills "Bagati" Production Stills

Last weekend, I joined the thesis short film production of one of my colleagues in the UP Film Institute and STAND-UP. It had been a long time since I took part in a film production ever since I entered law school. Interestingly enough, I got invited into one right after I decided to take a break from law. The shoot was held in a peasant community in a barangay in Rodriguez (Montalban), Rizal, near Wawa Dam. It was, surprisingly, just a little more than thirty minutes from Diliman, if one takes the path through the winding Payatas Road.

"Bagati" Production Stills "Bagati" Production Stills

Despite the apparent beauty of the scenery surrounding the community, residents are actually suffering from neglect of support from the government. The hanging bridge that serves to connect the community with the main highway was only built three years ago, and even so, is already on the brink of total deterioration. Many of the residents are also confronted with the threat of demolition in the name of road widening and property development by big landowners. Until recently, the communities in the area were being patrolled relentlessly by soldiers and intelligence personnel.

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The short film features peasant children in communities suffering from military offensives and similar forms of violence.

Hinulugang Taktak, Daranak, Batlag

September 27, 2007. After my only class in the morning, I went with fellow blogger and a brod of mine, Ivan in one of his spur of the moment trips with fellow travelers Gideon and Sai to some falls in nearby Rizal province. We were supposed to go only to Daranak Falls in Tanay, Rizal but we ended up also passing by Hinulugang Taktak in Antipolo and further to Batlag Falls in Tanay, too.

Hinulugang Taktak

Hinulugang Taktak is one of the falls that many of us know, because of the infamous folk song that went “Tara na sa Antipolo, at doon maligo tayo!” and, also because of its proximity to Manila. Unfortunately, it is perhaps because of this proximity to human settlements that the falls seem quite neglected. The waterfalls is visually picturesque but it smelled like detergent from all the residents doing their laundry upstream.

Surrounding the falls is a park where families can have picnics. There’s also a swimming pool downstream. More information at PinoyMountaineer.com

After taking a few photographs with the falls, we proceeded to Tanay, Rizal which was less than an hour away from Antipolo.

Soon enough we found ourselves driving down a valley into a park along the river. After paying the entrance fee, we walked upstream through the park to Daranak Falls itself.

Daranak Falls

Since it had just rained around the area, the falls looked healthy with all the water plunging down to the catch basin. The water wasn’t really too clear with all the weathered matter from upstream, but that’s not a problem. Swimming is allowed, and the water doesn’t smell like detergent as it is in Hinulugang Taktak. The picturesque paradise-like surroundings and its proximity to Manila apparently make it an ideal location for shoots. Anyway, more information at PinoyMountaineer.com.

Daranak Falls

A few minutes walk upstream from Daranak Falls is another falls, Batlag Falls, surrounded by lush vegetation. It is for me, the most picturesque from among the three falls we went to.

Unlike Hinulugang Taktak and Daranak, Batlag Falls is more branched than it is continuously wide. You can also swim in the falls’ catchbasin. We were the only visitors in the area, probably because it was a weekday. From the cottages around, it would seem that Batlag Falls is also a frequent destination for those wanting to have a picnic within lush surroundings and a beautiful cascade of water around them.

Batlag Falls