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My hometown. Its official name is Rodriguez but it seems I will never be accustomed to calling it as such. ‘Saan ka nakatira?’ (Where do you live?)


    How to Get There?

    Montalban or Rodriguez is a town in the northern part of the province of Rizal. You will actually not, if not rarely, see any public transportation that uses the name Rodriguez. All PUJs use Montalban to refer to Rodriguez. (Also, barkers/dispatchers would often say 'Talban, instead of Montalban.)

    If you're coming from Cubao area, there are a number of terminals and they're easy to find. 

    1. The one under the Cubao MRT Station, on the Farmers side (the mall, not the market), there's a terminal at the corner outside Jollibee.
    2. Also near the Cubao MRT Station, on another corner of Farmers (again, the mall), there's a terminal by the stairs near Goldilocks.
    3. Be sure to ride Montalban 'Eastwood' and not Montalban 'Erap City' or anything else. 
    4. The fare costs Php50.00, and you should be in Montalban in 50 minutes, depending on the traffic condition.

    There is also a terminal in the TriNoma Public Transport Terminal.

    1. The terminal is very near the northern end of TriNoma.
    2. Again, make sure to ride Montalban-Eastwood.
    3. Same, Php50.00, for about 50 minutes to one hour.
    If you're coming from Marikina, there are 'FX' and jeepneys that go directly to Montalban. Fare shouldn't be more than Php40.00 for airconditioned PUJ (UV).

    Tell the driver to drop you off where you can ride a jeepney bound to Sitio Wawa. The terminal in Eastwood is a subdivision area and you will be dropped off by the driver appropriately so don't forget to ask that you're bound to Sitio Wawa.

    Take a jeepney (minimum fare) that says Wawa. The ride is a little uphill and should only take about or less than ten minutes. Welcome to Wawa!

    The jeepney stops near the Montalban Tourism Office. I am not sure if they still ask for some fees, but it should be minimal. It's also advisable to pass by there and ask for some registering. Not that I am a local, but I have never done that.

    Montalban is Home

    Montalban to me is synonymous to ‘that dead end town’ in the province of Rizal. To me, Montalban is the green mountain that you see upon walking out of your house. (And the other side.) Montalban is quarry. Montalban is landfill… Montalban is political dynasty. But home is home.

    Montalban is Wawa

    Sitio Wawa is the most famous destination in our town. And every year that I am home, as much as possible, visiting it should be in the itinerary. An escape from home to feel more at home.

    It is a shame that it took me over twenty years before I actually had the chance to see it! And it’s just ten minutes away from our house! (Ang tanda ko na bago ko nakita nang personal ang Wawa!)

    But it’s not about seeing or experiencing things first or ahead of everyone. It’s about the rewarding feeling once you’re there for the first time, and the next, and again and again.

    Wawa White Rocks 

    Among the prominent features of the place are its giant white rocks that seemed to be scattered randomly (how unnatural it would be if they were arranged!), and the the two prominent mountains that form the gorge.

    These kids are locals and they know what they’re dealing with. ‘Do not do this at home’.

    The Wawa Gorge

    The Dam 

    The place looks different depending on the time of the year. (Not that we have four seasons.)

    The waterfall on the dam itself, which is a favorite spot for excursionists to soak in, is only enjoyable during summer when the volume of water is much lesser. There’s no way you can stay safely under that torrential water. It also tends to turn murky and brown during the rainy season.

    The Locals

    Aside from the actual dam itself, I look forward every time to seeing and photographing the locals. The kids, playing on the ground, in the river, on a branch of the tree, are reminiscent of how simple and pure life used to be. No wired devices to be busy with. Just the outside, real world.

    The Falls I Wished To Photograph

    My brother has all the chance and time to explore new destinations in Montalban. On this trip, it was actually our objective to go to and photograph the waterfalls they’ve been to before, specially the one pictured below. He said we’d go there and that I’d enjoy taking photos of the place. Here’s the photo from his facebook:

    That was in July 2015. Locals and trippers from other places were quick in finding things out, it seemed. At that time, there was only one sun shade in the area. Locals obviously saw the opportunity and build more bamboo sun shades.

    Now: Here’s Andrew, my brother, and behind him is the same falls and a bunch of shades. If it wasn’t of the drunk people in the place (it's totally normal to have brandy or beer in places like this as part of the recreation), we would have stayed and took photos from this spot.

    We went on higher and deeper into the woods, following the stream from the mountain, and staying away wherever excursionists flocked. If it was earlier, we could have stayed longer or went farther.

    I told myself, I could sit by this place and stare all day, listen to the rustling leaves and the stream (of course with food).

    In an industrial and modernized world, we know how stressful life can become (especially if you allow it, like I do these days), and it’s good to have a place so close to home that you can come to and reconnect with nature. (Back-to-nature spiritual life? Parang hippie lang).

    I am not a fan of the expression “back to reality” when coming back from a vacation or a holiday. I actually dislike it (and whoever uses the phrase). It’s like saying your day-to-day life is the only of real thing and that’s sad. That the trip you just had to relax for a while was not part of reality. Every second of your mundane life is part of your reality. Unless you were just dreaming the whole time. Live life.

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