Sunday, September 2, 2012

Wawa Dam 2012-08-27

I wanted to visit a new place and that's just what I did during the weekend. My plan was to visit the Wawa dam in Rodriguez, Rizal (formerly Montalban) and if there's any chance, I can do some birding as well. A few days before, I did some research on how to get to the place and other how tos in order to be as time efficient as possible when I'm there.

I took my usual route to Farmers Market Cubao, where there's an FX (mini-van) terminal there to take me to Montalban. FX drivers usually wait until the vehicle is full before they will depart. The wait took around 20 minutes while the actual trip took just a little more than an hour. I got off at barangay San Rafael in Montalban. From there I took a jeepney bound for Wawa. Along the way, you can see the nice landscape especially during the climb. However, settlers (possible illegal) took some of the beauty away.

When I reached the site, I can already see a section of the waterway dotted with large white boulders. I got off the jeep and started walking towards the dam. I did not see any entrance gate or guard, but there's a handwritten sign on one post about an entrance fee possibly put up by the settlers themselves in order to earn some extra income. As with the road, the place was littered with settlers. When I reached a tunnel carved out of the rocks, a slight drizzle started and I have to protect my camera from getting wet. Although the tunnel itself is dripping water to the ground, at least I can predict where I will get wet. When the rain stopped, I started walking again until I reached the dam taking photos along the way. I walked past the dam and reached another area with possibly the last group of settlers and their houses. I saw a lot of people gathering charcoals. Along the way, I also met some foreigners possible Koreans, some bikers and a group of kids.

I asked a guy about the place and he told me about a column of white rocks with "miraculous" properties that people usually visit during the holy week. I became interested but he was not sure if the road is still passable. He also told me that the way to get to the Pamintinan cave was downstream where I came from, but he said the pathway was possibly swept away by the recent flood. I decided to try the column of miraculous rock first and started walking towards the direction he pointed. A few hundred meters, I started to sense that the trail is getting narrower, so I asked another guy coming from that direction. He told me that I need about 2 hours  to get to the place. Upon hearing this, I changed my mind. I wasn't prepared to take the long hike along an unfamiliar territory. If I have a companion, I might take the challenge but not this time. I turned back and just took a few more shots.

I didn't notice any pathway that will allow me to cross the creek in order to get to the cave. So I asked another guyy and he told me that it was indeed swept away by the flood. I think the creek is passable even without the pathway, but you have to wade across the knee deep water. Since I  am not prepared for it, I decided to just come back some other time. On my way back, I reached an area with some trees and I heard some bird calls. I only saw some elegant tits and nothing else. I wanted to look for birds near the dam structure earlier. There were some trees there as well, but the roaring water was so loud that any bird calls will be masked. There's also a mist effect generated by the water splashes. After getting some documentary shots of the birds, I head for home.

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