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Sunday, May 1, 2016

LAKAD PAMANA: Ecotourism with the Dumagat

Sorry for the late blog post, my hands were full after 2 days of not being able 
to  be at the shop because of 2 carshows I attended. 
the LOVERBOY  joins Mister D, Lakad Pamana and dBarkadz for another 
day of nature tripping in one of beautiful areas of Bulacan only a few hours away 
from North Caloocan, called   Norzagaray, this time in the settlement of Dumagats.
The day started when our friend Mister D, met us at our usual meeting 
place somewhere in Monumento. we were then joined by our friends from 
Bulacan, Bulacan. culinary expert maam Rheeza and her hubby Jonathan
also the beautiful maam Lani and her husband, Bernardo, also their 
pretty bff they call bunso.-Neelie Rodriguez. also maam Elvie and her daughter 
Sheryl. maam Chelle, her friend, also our friend Denzel(Washington)Sarmiento 
of Kenyo Travel from Meycauayan. this will be part 2 of our Norzagaray 
nature eco-tour experience, to promote the magnificent town of our friend
mayor Alfredo Germar.


Located at the eastern side of Bulacan and at the foot of the famed Sierra 
Madre Mountain Range, Norzagaray is the province's third largest municipality 
Dona Remedios Trinidad, a neighboring town, used to be a part of Norzagaray. 
here we visited Angat Dam, which provides electricity to most parts of Central 
Luzon, and Ipo Dam, which channels drinking water to Metro Manila residents, 
they are both found in Norzagaray. but we lacked time and did not go down
swimming in the area of Ipo dam.


we all went again to Norzagaray,  a quiet town where tall trees still abound, 
here, you can see beautiful streams cascade over and around rocks and 
boulders, women washing clothes,  where wide green fields showcase 

nature's bounty. and where locals love their mayor. its the election season
and here you can see locals willingly place their bet tarp, posters on their 
driveway,  here in this town, they ask the candidate for the poster, so that
they can put it themselves. - in front of their houses. thats how the folks
love mayor Germar. well, thats what I observed from my first trip.


We got apprehended for overspeeding on our way, but thanks to Chelle she
did what she can and "communicated well" with the officers. so we proceeded
with caution this time, its ok. we have the company of nice friends who bonded
so well together. all of LAKAD PAMANA trips were fun, educational and we
always meet new friends along our journey. Mister D(cp# 09233467575)
We started our ride around 7:00 am. There were some choke points when 
we hit town centers of Fairview, Novaliches, and back to Caloocan , this journey
always amazed me, as the northern part of Caloocan always look different and
you are instantly transported to nature at its best! 

the scenery suddenly changed from dusty towns to refreshing mountain views. 
after a few kilometers in Caloocan, we saw the new SM mall in San Jose del 
Monte, a few more kilometers then were in!

The real fun started once we got to Norzagaray in the area known as Hilltop, 
why? you tell me. when you see this thats why... this is a route that is very 
popular with cyclists, riders.

there are little huts perched on the side of the road where you can enjoy the 
breeze in the early morning and this view of Ipo dam with cold buko juice 
and snacks. well I frequently visit the washroom, looking for Cr? its 10.00 (pee)
and 20.00 (for upset stomach)respectively.

after a few minutes and a few meters of rough road that even sedans can 
manage, we arrrived at our destination-- the resort owned by Ibarra Castro
and we all had coffee and breakfast care of Angel Sebastian ( kakanin)

a subterranean network of caverns extending more than a kilometer deep. The cave is 4m x  2.5 m.

our first stop is the historic cave called Pinagrealan cave. I've read that the word
Pinagrealan came from tagalog words Real = Tanggulan/Kuta; so the word
Pinag-Real-an = pinaghimpilan or pinagkutaan.(by Aguinaldo's group)  its my 
second time to enter this cave. but I'm just afraid of spiders, so I dont have 
pictures of how the the waist deep waters look like inside. 
Inside the cave runs a refreshing crystal-clear stream and a few sinkholes that form natural swimming pools

photo credits: Lailani Concepcion

photo credits: Lailani Concepcion

photo credits: Lailani Concepcion


photo credits: Lailani Concepcion

oh, by the way, for outdoor and adventure people 10 yrs younger than me
when in Bulacan, visit this town, Norzagaray... because you wont regret....
Norzagaray's tourist attractions include: Sitio Bakas, Sitio Bitbit, the 
historic Pinagrealan Cave,  the historic Ipo Dam and the stunningly 
romantic Angat Dam.  As we passed  by we observed that its defnitely a
favorite destination of cyclists, riders and backpackers. 



I know that  we are on a different route that day, we headed to Sitio 
Suha, Brgy. San Mateo, Norzagaray, Bulacan. to visit our protectors,
The indigenous Dumagats. to interact with them. i was told that the place was 
already destroyed by the illegal loggers, charcoal makers, and even treasure hunters.




we met missionary and Sagip Sierra Madre Chairman, Bro. Martin Francisco
who showed  us around there, they developed 4 out of 8 caves as pilgrimage sites, 
a part of the 10 hectare land from National Power Corporation which later on 
becomes what the signboard saids, the “Punduhan ng mga Dumagat."


The area still lacks a descent comfort rooms, as their C.R. washroom or 
the place I called "yehey!!!!! nahanap din kita!"  my stomach was really upset 
that day so I spend 15 mins? inside their version of the C.R. this doesnt have 
water they dont have enough  signages, and even training for Dumagats.
amonte cristo cave
this area is their huge playground, as you can see, the young dumagats can
really climb the rocks how fast? well, to give you an idea, 10 secs to them is
one minute to us, and you need to wear safety gear, before the climb, there are 
4 levels in each cave. and each cave has a name. you have a guide as you climb
down. and yes, this cave takes lots of courage and is not for weak wrist and arms. 





after going to the C.R. hehe, we went straight to our cave adventure at
MONTE CRISTO and Bitbit na bato, 

this video is one of the many caves in norzagaray. Monte Cristo cave has several 
more caves , there are 4 levels. I only got into level 3, others went to level 4. our friend 
went to the top most level. and enjoyed the top most view of the Norzagaray Sierra 
madre landscape.

but the Dumagats were friendly, and they were my photographers for that day
thanks to one, I had shots of what you see inside one of their level 4 caves.
which I will post in down here. enjoy the pics...












uuhmm... why? do you guys wonder... am I not in the photos? but the


pics came from my camera? hahaha! because I'm  arachnophobic!
I was with sir Bernard outside the cave enjoying nature and the cold
breeze. taking pictures of that cute black doggie waiting for evryone. haha!



CAVE OF MONTE CRISTO photo by Leilani Concepcion




our friend Denzel got past level 4. and went to the topmost part of
"bitbit na bato " called the diablo cave. thats what I missed. the stamina and the
will to climb.
photo credits from Denzel of KENYO Travel

after the cave experience, its time for lunch! we started with a short
performance from the local dumagats, to my surprise,they know how
to sing tagalog songs!


diablo cave at bitbit na bato
this land should have more assistance in forest protection and to focus more
on the development of the area, when you are there, you know, that the locals 
are in need of food assistance, school supplies, medicine, and even 
agriculturists who are willing to teach them about farming and other soil-related 
concerns.
picture credits: RENCE CHAN, tour guide, blogger

we dine, interact and donated what we can to their community. after a few hours
of spelunking , we headed to our next destination after our lunch.

Our next destination was Angat Dam located on the highest slope of the 
mountains in eastern Bulacan.


Across the bridge is the gated entrance leading to Angat Rainforest and
Eco Park   I think the area was previously closed off, it’s been open 
to visitors for a small fee of P25/head. you have to register at the gate, 
everyone headed to the view deck, it offers a great view of the huge blue lake 
and river, the romantic mountains, and the power plant. parking area is no problem.


however, Signs of El Nino could be seen in the scorched terrain and dry earth.
The lake looks like a great place to swim and do water sports, but tourists 
aren’t allowed to do that since all the water here goes to Manila’s drinking supply.



The Angat Rainforest and Eco-Park was set up to raise public awareness on 
the importance of preserving the watershed, it plays a vital role in the lives
of filipinos living in nearby provinces. but please be aware that the aging Angat 
Dam is right along the West Valley Fault.  when the BIG ONE strikes. I just cant
imagine what will happen as there is a huge crack somewhere and the dam is 
more than 50 yr old

Angat Rainforest and Eco Park lies at the Southernmost tip of the Sierra Madre 
mountain range and is part of the towns of Dona Remedios Trinidad, Norzagaray, 
and San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan. The entry point is through Norzagaray, Bulacan.

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • From Quezon City Memorial Circle, take Commonwealth Avenue – Regalado Ave up to SM Fairview.
  • Turn right to Quirino Avenue passing part of Caloocan then the bridge boundary of Caloocan – San Jose del Monte, Bulacan boundary.
  • You will pass La Mesa Nature Reserve to your right.
  • Continue driving along the Del Monte – Norzagaray Road.
  • When you get to the Rotunda passing the Norzagaray Municipal Hall Annex, stay on the right lane heading to the Lioness Rock formations.
  • A few meters away, you’ll see a sign to Pinagrealan Cave on your left.
  • Just follow this road. You’ll reach an overlooking point with a nice view of the river below.
  • Continue on the road until you Bitbit Bridge over Norzagaray River. Cross the bridge and enter through the gate.
After having our mirienda, we went straight back, its really a worthwhile trip
aside from adventure, meeting friends, we all took part of giving the Dumagat
their happiness, giving them hope, by donating whatever we could to them.


Our adventure would not be possible if not for the Vans we used 
for inquiries you may call/txt Jon Tanyag at 09228021886 hey have a Van 
FOR RENT.
our next one hopefully will be on May 21, till our next adventure at 
LAKAD PAMANA This is your LOVERBOY Dennis Signing out.


5 comments:

  1. Nice blog. Very informative! ☺☺☺

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi po, may we know if a sedan car is capable to be used from manila to punduhan ng mga dumagat?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, as long as its summer, and with a stock suspension
      we have seen a honda city typeZ and a GM city

      Delete
    2. yes, as long as its summer, and with a stock suspension
      we have seen a honda city typeZ and a GM city

      Delete