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

Las Haciendas in Laurel, Batangas

Las Haciendas, Laurel, Batangas October 18, 2007. I had a Mass Media Law exam scheduled the next day, but I decided to go ahead and join Ivan, Nino, and Gideon to Las Haciendas in Laurel, Batangas. The place is a large and budding real estate development on what is apparently a large estate owned by a prominent landowning family. It initially bothered me how the extent of its area covers much of the town of Laurel, even including public offices within its private control and how its development will displace hundreds of local families who have lived in the area for centuries.

I will not claim to know much of the history and the exact details but it to me, it felt like it had the makings of a classic land ownership and feudal relationship issue dating from the Spanish period. Before I could raise the question to our hosts, however, we were told that the long-time peasant residents of the estate will indeed be displaced but will be offered socialized housing. Because we were hosted and toured for free, I will not be an ingrate and I’d rather say that that was fair enough for me, and I shall keep my reservations for now.

Anyway, Las Haciendas is a real estate development that claims to offer urban families and retirees a pampered ‘provincial life’, with their own farm lots and resorts where they can cultivate their own fruit trees and other such plants, and build their dream weekend getaway homes.

Las Haciendas, Laurel, Batangas

We visited Las Haciendas mainly to trek to Ambon-Ambon Falls that was within the estate. The trek to the falls was a fairly easy half-an-hour walk through some small local communities, foliage and streams.

Ambon-Ambon Falls gets its name from the particles of water that shower anyone within the fall’s enclave. The “ambon” however, was not as apparent as it used to be. Other real estate developments upstream have blocked many of the streams that provide the falls with much of its water, hence, the falls are not as strong as it used to be. The pools at the bottom of the falls have also since then become small and shallow so if you trekked to the falls for a swim or a dip, you’ll be disappointed. Unless of course, if it had just rained.

I slipped on some of the rocks on the way to the falls and managed to get myself a handful of cuts on my hands and on my legs. Thankfully, my digital camera came out from the minor accident scratchless, even though I was carrying it by hand when I slipped.

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

Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin (Part IV)

After having breakfast, we checked out of the resort and our host brought us to Katibawasan Falls, still in Camiguin.

Katibawasan Falls, Camiguin

We were to leave back for Manila that same day with an afternoon flight from Cagayan de Oro–so as much as I wanted to take a dip in the cold crystal clear pool at the bottom of the falls, I couldn’t. The falls itself was a tall one, 70+ feet.

Sunken Cemetery, CamiguinTo make most of our stay in Camiguin, we took the counter-clockwise route of the island’s circumferential road to make a full 360-degree drive of the entire island. We passed by the Sunken Cemetery in Catarman town, at the island’s west coast. Near the Sunken Cemetery is the ruins of Gui-ob Church. Both were devastated by an eruption of Mt. Vulcan, one of Camiguin’s volcanoes, almost 150 years ago. We didn’t stay long at those places. After a few minutes and a few snapshots, we hurriedly went off and proceeded to Benoni Port.

Katibawasan Falls, Camiguin

We arrived back at Misamis Oriental just before the clock struck 1 PM. We had less than two hours before our plane leaves for Manila, and Cagayan de Oro was almost two hours away. We had to speed through much of Misamis’ coastal highway back to CDO. We had fastfood take-out for lunch to save time. We almost missed our flight. So now, we’re back here in Quezon City. School’s about to start and I don’t know if that should delight me.

Check out my photo gallery for more pictures.