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An epic road trip for moms in Montalban

An epic road trip for moms in Montalban

Bernard Supetran

Road warriors, which include adventurer mothers, use the superlative adjective “epic” to describe a challenging, distant, unforgettable and to some extent, buwis-buhay drive on their trusty four- or two-wheel vehicles.

But one need not go far for a trip that is truly epic, both in the physical and figurative sense. Just at the eastern doorstep of the metropolis is the bustling town of Montalban (Rodriguez), Rizal which has been the cradle of legends, folklore, and historic events since time immemorial.

Its unique blend of rugged terrain, rocky roads, urban living, and nature adventures are the ingredients for an inexpensive getaway for moms and their grown-up children that won’t take too much time and moolah. Below are the must-go to places when you foray east of the border, down Montalban way, this Mother’s Day and beyond.

Pit Stop 1: Wawa Dam Complex. The most ideal access to Montalban is the Litex Road in Payatas, Quezon City which has a downhill slope and offers a stunning view of the town. From there, the iconic Wawa Dam which is perfectly framed by the twin peaks of Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan, is just 6.2 km away.

Situated within the 608-hectare Pamitinan Protected Landscape, the area has been a top natural resort and a rock climbing haven for decades because of its limestone karsts. It is also a fave go-to place for bikers because of its moderate incline and its myriad of activities—bathing at the dam’s cascades, river cruising, and spelunking 101 at Pamitinan Cave through a scenic hanging bridge.

Despite its pedestrian facilities and ambiance, its natural beauty and historic value are more than enough to compensate for its shortcomings. On weekends, it is teeming with bikers from all ages, who just want to enjoy the simple joys of life and escape the trappings of modern living.

Wawa is said to be the lair of the mythical Filipino giant Bernardo Carpio, the counterpart of Greek titan Atlas as it were, who prevented the twin mountains from colliding. The adjoining cave, meanwhile, is the site of the first declaration of independence from Spain by Filipinos with the Katipunan revolutionaries led by Andres Bonifacio on April 12, 1895.

Because of these natural and historical attributes, the dam complex was recently declared by the National Museum as an Important Cultural Property, which is a compelling reason to swing by the area.

Pit Stop 2: Mt. Parawagan. This peak, which has an altitude of 480 meters above sea level, is an enticing climb for hikers and riders despite being just a minor climb with a 3/9 difficulty rating and a trail 5 km long.

Riders would find the ascent exciting and challenging which rugged moms would surely revel in.

Its summit has an oversized statue of the Jesus, which apes Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer, and overlooks the Pamitinan Landscape and portions of the town. The vicinity is a favorite glamping ground by celebrities and outlanders, and the typical camping by ordinary mortals.

Pit Stop 3: Mt. Puray. About 15 km away from the town, this is the epic spot because of its steep slopes and rough, narrow roads which are literally breathtaking.

The endpoint of the legendary ride is the view deck where you will be rewarded by the stunning vista of the Sierra Madre, the archipelago’s longest mountain range. A few kilometers downhill is the picture-pretty Puray (Tungtong) Falls which boasts of a tall and massive drop and an ice-cold natural pool which is a refreshing respite from the scorching heat after the tough drive, ride or trek.

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The ancestral domain of the indigenous Dumagat Remontado tribe, this upland village is among the four original barrios of Montalban when it was organized as a township in 1871. It has also been the seat of the Filipino Central Luzon government and has seen significant rebel assemblies and battles during the Philippine Revolution, including the legendary Battle of Mt. Puray in June 1897 when Filipinos defeated a Spanish force thrice its size.

Because of these, the National Historical Commission installed two historic landmarks near the Puray tribal hall, which will inevitably be an added attraction to the area.

Pit Stop 4: The Hilltop Garden. This special events venue is nothing legendary, but the mesmerizing view and the Graeco-Roman motif is. Situated just over a hundred meters up from the main road, this is arguably the best vantage point for watching the kaleidoscopic dusk and the mountains in the horizon.

For the best sunset watching experience, sip on your beverage of choice which you can bring in from the roadside shops.

Complete the loop back to Manila via the San Mateo-Marikina Road which has a unique “rurban” blend.

When culture, adventure, and nature come together, you can always expect an epic road trip to Montalban.