Before, I didn’t know that several kilometers from Quezon City in Rodriguez, Rizal lies a popular outdoor destination that’s possibly one of the best places to visit during the summer months. I’m taking about the Wawa Dam and the Montalban Gorge. The Wawa Dam is the white arc that you see in the thumbnail and is shown in the photo below, while the Montalban Gorge is the boulder-strewn valley to the east of the dam—its rocky cliffs throw shadows that are quite visible on Google Maps.
The Montalban Gorge is supposedly the place where the legendary Bernardo Carpio is trapped, like Atlas trying to hold the earth. If you’re a rock climbing enthusiast, both the north and south faces of the gorge, as well as the surrounding areas, have a lot of numerous climbing paths that you can try. Here’s a web page documenting such paths. In addition, there are a few caves in the area that the Katipuneros supposedly used as hiding places during the Philippine Revolution and then by Japanese soldiers during the final years of World War II.
The Wawa Dam itself is interesting. It was constructed by the American colonial government on the upper Marikina River back in 1909 and it served as the primary water source for the Manila area. Then in the 1960s, the La Mesa–Ipo–Angat watershed system was established. The new water source and the increased siltation and pollution upstream from the Wawa Dam led to its decommissioning in the 1970s.
Anyway, you might want to read about how the popular GMA reporter Howie Severino jumped 40 feet into the reservoir provides for an entertaining read. You can also check out this blogger travelogue about his visit to the dam including instructions on how to get there. Finally, here’s an album depicting the area if you want to see more.