EXPLORING PAMITINAN and WAWA DAM
By: Nickson Garcia
It has been two months since my last climb and because I backed out at Mt. Damas last January, it made me more eager to climb mountain again. A week prior to 23rd of February, I together with some BPs planned to climb Mt. Pamitinan but due to some reasons, all of them backed out. On the morning of 23rd, I was inform by BP Isabel that she can’t make it and instead gave the number of Amber whom she informed about the planned climb. I immediately texted Amber and asked whether she is still interested to pursue the climb, in which she responded positively.
A BP MEETS “DIWATANG GALA”
I’ve known Amber (a.k.a Diwatang Gala based on her blogsite) for a year when she joined a BP climb last March 2013 at Mt. Humarap. The thing that reminded me of her was that she climbed Mt. Tapulao alone and on a dayhike and that made her, for me, a hardcore mountaineer. It was proven during our Mt. Humarap climb because she was leading the pack while everyone else was behind and catching some air. Due to this and two months of climb absence, I know that I will be up for a difficult challenge.
We met at Mcdonalds Gateway at around 8:00am and rode an FX bound to Montalban, Rizal, We arrived at Wawa Dam at exactly 9:30am and there we met our guide named Junie, whom I previously informed of our intended climb at Mt. Pamitinan. After few minutes of preparation, we then embarked on our first activity…PAMITINAN CAVE!
Located at Sitio Wawa, Barangay San Rafael, Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), Rizal, the cave is within Mt. Pamitinan. History dictates that it served as one of the hiding sites of Andres Bonifacio and some Katipuneros during the Spanish occupation.
According to the Tourism Office, it was supposed to be closed indefinitely but we were fortunate enough that Kuya Junie talked with the DENR personnel, prior to our arrival, which resulted to them allowing us to explore the cave.
Stalagmites and stalactites, ceiling measuring up to 30feet high and some waters, ranging from foot to below-the-knee deep are apparent especially in the first few meters of the cave. Also, rubber pipes can be found lying on the path. It is where the locale receives their water source. Amber and I were both amazed on the crystal like rocks of the cave and how it was formed.
The cave was not entirely level grounded but ascending. The technical and most challenging part happened, mostly, on its end part. We were crawling and dragging each other up into these small holes just to get to the other side. Luckily, we were all “slim and physically fit” (kidding). The helmet really helped me a lot because I’ve been head butting the rocks one after another.
At the “end” of the cave is what they called “the Bulwagan”. It served as the meeting place of Andres Bonifacio and the Katipuneros to discuss matters and plans on their next move against their enemies. According to Kuya Junie, if we continue until the farthest end of the cave, we will find a falls but for safety reason we did not push thru with it. He said that it would require us to swim then recommended that it would be safer during summer (So I guess, I will be returning this summer to finish the cave).
Here is something I learned from Kuya Junie about the waters of Pamintinan Cave. During summer, we can push thru until the falls and during rainy seasons, waters on the first few meters of the cave can measure up to waist deep which would obviously mean that the falls will be unreachable as well.
I considered this as one of the best caves I’ve been, sadly, it was never fully taken care of. I commend that the cave was clean from trashes (maybe there is but I haven’t seen any that time) but definitely noticed numerous wall writings. Hopefully, with proper maintenance and security, the beauty of the cave will someday be restored. We ended our cave exploration at 12nn or after two hours then proceeded to eat our lunch near the Tourism Office.
MT. PAMITINAN TRAVERSE (Sitio Sto. Nino to Sitio Kayropa)
After a very quick lunch, at exactly 1:30pm, we started our climb to Mt. Pamintinan. Kuya Junie told us that it would take less than 3 hours up to the summit.
Our jumpoff started at Sitio Niño by crossing a hanging bridge and passing by several houses thru stairs. It made me reminisce on our Mt. Humarap climb. According to Kuya Junie, rock climbing is a common activity on this mountain. He showed us several rock climbing spots specially designed for beginners and advance climbers. After half an hour of ascending, we finally achieve the halfway mark. I guess Kuya Junie underestimated us or I was just pressured on how fast Amber is.
|Amber, with cystrals on the trail|
The second half of the climb was different for it was more of “BOULDERneering”. This was the part where all of us where vigilant. The trail suddenly changed and it became hard and dangerous. There are some areas that required us to rock climb and the rocks we are stepping became sharp and pointed. I strongly suggest climbers to wear thick shoes. I was very cautious and nervous as I complete the mountain. The wind was strong and there are instances where we stretched our legs just to step on the next rock. We arrived on the summit at around 3pm or an hour and half of hike.
The summit was dangerously small and for safety reasons, it can only accommodate few people, like five. I admit that at the summit, I was just steadily sitting while Amber and Kuya Junie kept on standing and posing for pictures. I never had an experience in climbing where I felt wobbly at top. Imagine the view wherein just by looking on either on your right or left shoulder, you will instantly see the bottom view.
Instead of descending on the same route, Kuya Junie decided to descend to a different trail since we were way advance in time. This trail led us directly to Sitio Kayropa were the other side of Wawa Dam is located. It was a Sunday and there were lots of people, mostly families, spending their day together. Cottages for rent and videoke are readily available for a fee. I was ready to wash in the Wawa Dam itself but due to limited time, we just took some pictures.
|Waterfalls at Wawa Dam|
HOW TO GET THERE:
From Cubao Aurora Blvd, ride an FX or Jeepney bound to Montalban, Rizal. Ask the driver to drop you at Eastwood or in my case, I told the driver to drop us in the terminal. The travel will be an hour and half. From Eastwood, ride a Jeepney or Tricycle going to Wawa Dam.
FX Cubao to Montalban : PhP50.00
Tricycle Montalban (Eastwood) to Wawa Dam : PhP10.00 or Jeepney : PhP8.00
NO ENTRANCE FEE
Helmet Rental : PhP50.00
Lunch : PhP165.00 divided by 2
Guide Fee : PhP300.00 divided by 2 persons (No minimum guide fee)
Jeepney Wawa Dam to Montalban (Eastwood) : PhP8.00 or Tricycle : PhP10.00
FX Montalban to Cubao : PhP50.00
Wawa Dam area:
1. Sari-sari stores are EVERYWHERE!
1. Bring headlight or flashlight. Helmets are limited so it would be better to bring one, if available.
2. Expect your feet to be wet.
1. Bring hand protection like gloves.
2. Wear thick shoes or foot wear.
3. Be extra careful