A Trip To Wawa Dam in Montalban, Rizal

Wawa is a popular outdoor destination, only about an hour's drive from Cubao. It's known for its challenging rock climbing walls, historical caves and abandoned dam facility (which is now an artificial waterfall). Instead of feeling kawawa (pitiful) having nowhere to go last Holy Week, I dragged my family to Montalban to see this interesting place. We drove from Marikina, so it only took us some 45 minutes to get there.

From the passenger seat, I observed the concrete commercial buildings of Marikina transform into old colonial houses in San Mateo before morphing into shanties built on the foot of Sierra Madre in Rodriguez. A minimal entrance fee was collected at the entrance gate. We paid P20 for the vehicle, plus P2 per adult person.

The dam wall is about a 20-minute leisurely hike away from the parking lot. The trail starts on a busy wide path, where villagers sell their fruit and vegetable produce. Two mountains overshadow us, and I can just imagine Bernardo Carpio, a legendary hero of Philippine mythology, pushing them apart. After a few uphill steps, the path narrowed and we found ourselves trekking on the side of one of the mountains.

The slowly ascending trail rewards its hikers with a breathtaking view of the adjacent mountain and the limestone monoliths strewn on the river below. We passed by short tunnels carved on the side of the mountain. A good portion of the walkways have been installed with iron rails for the safety of the tourists.

Sadly, the area has been inhabited by informal settlers who seem to neglect environmental preservation in the area. Trash and vandalism is everywhere, and some areas reek of human waste.

Approaching the site, we cross a patchwork iron (or steel?) bridge where novice wall climbers usually practice their rappelling skills. From here, we could see floating bamboo huts (for rent at P100) and people enjoying the free water massage at the base of the waterfall. I could also hear videoke music blasting somewhere within the chaos.

We visited Wawa Dam on a Black Friday, in the middle of summer. This could explain the surprising turnout of people that day. Nevertheless, the place is vast enough to accommodate the visitors. After taking a few photos, we headed for the watchtower.

From the watch tower, one could see the activities from both sides of the dam wall. The upper bank has a similar thing going on except that the water was more calm and there was thicker foliage. We decided to give it a go.

Since swimming was not part of the original plan, we settled for a picnic table (P50 for 3 hours) by the riverbank near the brink of the dam. We brought our own snacks, but still managed to fill ourselves up with fresh coconut (P15).

We also bought a few other items to take home: eggplant (P20 per kilo), saba banana (P2 per piece), avocado (P30 per kilo) and wild honey (P120 lapad bottle). The only problem with buying from that part of the dam was carrying the stuff all the way back to the parking lot!

Before we left, we dropped by the tourism office where we saw the promising development plan for the place. Our stay in Wawa dam was brief, just enough to scratch the surface of the long list outdoor activities that can be done there. I must say that I will not return there -- without my headlamp, rock shoes and harness!


  1. wawa dam is a nice place to visit! :) nice photos dear!!!

  2. @Wander Shugah

    Thank you! I'd like to visit the caves next time :)

  3. nice place i love the dam wall its really nice even if its abandon dam, but it remains beautiful place. Thanks for continue develop the place and become a very popular outdoor destination. You have a great photos i really appreciate it.

  4. Nice place indeed! I hope the LGU can preserve its natural beauty.

    1. @Sole of Missy

      Yup, I hope the squatters don't encroach the entire area...

  5. Im going here today. Black Saturday ;)


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