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A giant ball setting behind a mountain somewhere in Bataan. Imagine the expanse that your eyes can see from this point.

Montalban, my hometown, is the largest municipality in Rizal by land area. Many parts of the town are still uninhabited mainly because they are a part of the Sierra Mountain Range. Within these mountains though are gems, natural beauties that are truly worth experiencing.

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      In the recent years, I've seen how my family (my brother especially) and friends have explored the rugged parts of Montalban. They've been to places that I hope I'd see, too. I have been to a lot of places in KSA but I've barely explored my own hometown, let alone the whole country.

      I envy them, but in a good way. It adds to the reasons to be excited to go home once in a while.

      A personal tour guide

      Three years ago, I asked my brother to take me to one small waterfall in Sitio San Rafael. Last year, in January 2019, he took me to the summit of Mount Parawagan with his motorcycle that is not really built to be taken on such terrain. And this year, to a stream getting popular among the locals and bikers from other places thanks to its clear waters, the Blue Rock Lagoon (post soon).

      Andrew, my brother, has become my spur-of-the-moment-travel-buddy, so long as he is off duty. He's a biker and has been to a lot of places in and out of Montalban with a bicycle or a motorcycle.

      At one point, near the summit, I had to walk a short distance because of the steep slope. Other than that, the summit is practically reachable by motorcycles. (Actually, this picture was taken on the way down, and I had to walk for the same reason.)

      The summit of Mt. Parawagan

      Without much planning and with a bit of hesitation (having no idea how much time it would take to summit), I asked my brother to take me to the top of Mt. Parawagan. This would turn out to be one of the most breathtaking (and yet free, except for the gas) experiences I've had.

      Mt. Parawagan is the mountain we grew up seeing every morning when we go out on the street.

      It's the mountain with those distinct structure/s that we refer to as the 'radar', pronounced in Tagalog, that light up at night. Apparently, they're communication towers with obstruction lights, as I would later learn and literally climb during my first job.

      A place to watch the sun set

      I am no mountaineer and I have no idea whether it is advised by the local tourism office, if there's any, to climb late in the afternoon and stay at the summit overnight. All I had in mind was to be there until the sunset time because of the quality of light.

      Photos from the summit of Mt. Parawagan

      Enough with so many words, here are the pictures:

      The tower on the left is the most visible from the town proper and has the most number of antennas. When I was a kid, I used to look at this whenever I felt like it from the window of our house's second floor through binoculars. Little did I know that I would be climbing and working on such a tower in my first job.

      (Top left and bottom left) the boundary monument and (right) a vista of the Sierra Madre.


      Almost the entire town can be seen from the summit of Mt. Parawagan, including the La Mesa watershed. This was my goal, to see it during the golden hour. 

      (Left) some grass against the sun. (Right) Mount Balagbag as seen from Mt. Parawagan.

      Another peak which is also a host f towers. I believe this mountain, although connected, is already part of the town of San Mateo, Rizal. Seen in the background is the Metro Manila skyline disappearing into the sunlight... actually, smog.

      Andrew taking pictures with his mobile.

      A giant ball setting behind a mountain somewhere in Bataan. Imagine the expanse that your eyes can see from this point.

      I may get tired of other things and give up on them, but I won't stop seeing, seeking how beautiful our world is.

      Check out the whole album on flickr (click) or facebook (click).

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