Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Stampang Bato (Wawa, Rizal)

I've been aiming to chronicle another trip we had this summer. I should do so before the details slip my mind. The mind is a fickle thing. I remember my highschool teacher quoting "the palest ink is better than the most retentive memory" to me one time. Back then computers were for large companies who could spare "buildings" in which to house a machine equivalent to less than a Pentium I with 24kilobyte memory. Its really crazy how fast the industry has progressed.

(photo: road to kasili from pintong bokawe taken by FrancisAtendido Panasonic Lumix FZ-20 2006/04/22)

I was watching this lesson on rivers featuring one of our local veins somewhere in Mindanao. I commented on how beautiful and clean it was to which George said there was a river like that not far from manila. It turns out it was in Rizal. So a little google earth and some help with my garmin GPS and off we went with our camping gear.
With all the gear we packed it would be impossible to make the 3hr hike from wawa dam so I looked for a way to get to the site by car. Fortunately there was a new road from a little known town called Pintong Bokawe. I found this town's GPS coordinates via the net and made a beeline for it while the rest of the group hiked to the site. Looking at just my coordinates to see if I'm getting warmer or colder... I was led to a place called Timberland. It looked like a private housing development but I asked the guad if I could pass through it going to Pintong Bokawe.

Luckily, they just looked at my drivers license, logged me and let me pass. There is a rough road through Timberland to Pintong Bokawe after all. The rough road will terminate to a cemented road. Take this road for about 4 kilometers until you see a turn to the left (also cemented). Take this turn and just ask around for directions to Pintong Bokawe. The road from pintong bokawe to the river via Kasili town is rough but the scenery was awesome! Kudos to Capitan Danilo of Pintong Bokawe for his staunch efforts in creating that road.
We left the car beside the river and proceeded to hike the 1 kilometer or so upstream to stampang bato. Montalban river is fed by two veins. Unfortunately one of the veins (locally called pormos river) passess through a large piggery farm owned by another chinese conglomerate. Needless to say they've really been fouling it up. One must go upstream of the unpolluted vein to reach stampang bato. Once there, unsatisfied with the depth of the waters immediately infront of the famous stone (incidentally, its a stone where vague religous images appear to have formed in a circular stains on the stone) we headed a few hundred meters more upstream and found what we were looking for. Thankfully some kind soul erected a huge nipa shed in which we decided to establish camp. Apparently it was used for activities during the past holy week.
(above left: Neil testing the waters taken by FrancisAtendido , Right: Owen kamikaze jump taken by AllanBarredo , Lower Left: dusk taken by AllanBarredo Olympus Camedia C4040Z 2006/04/22)

We brought two 35liter coolers packed with ice but unfortunately one fell and displaced all its contents over the river. Too bad, we'd have to make do with one.

The water was clear! And it felt really good to dip in it especially with the hot summer sun over our heads. Another hundred meters upstream was an excellent 15 feet deep portion with huge rocks where you can jump from. It was awesome! Everybody took turns jumping into the clear waters from the surrounding rocks.We headed back towards our campsite at dusk.

One of the team brought his uncle along who expertly caught some small crabs(talangka) and fresh water fish which we cooked for dinner.
We talked with the family who made the shed we were using that night during dinner. We learned that this whole area was covered with huge narra and mulawin trees not long ago. Rampant logging reduced it to pitiful coverings of bamboo and small bushes. I also learned that this was still going on. People hire some kids in wawa to bring the logs downstream, a work that I surmise is very hard as they have little to eat, always wet so fungus grows on their feet, and always tired as they often have to lift some portions over the obstacles in the river.
(photos, upper right:fishes caught ready to be cleaned, upper left: me waiting for dinner while plucking a few songs, lower right: dinner's almost ready, all photos taken by FrancisAtendido 2006/04/22)

Besides being an illegal trade, these kids are taken advantage of and paid a pittance. It bothers me that just a week ago, according to our guest, a congressman with his ever present aides has just been there hunting deer. They had caught 2 and gave some of the meat away. All these people do is take take take from nature and never a thought to giving back. I find it good to learn all these things from people who actually see it. Often times I, like most of manila's work force, tend to see only whats in front of me like horses with covers beside their eyes. We awoke early the next day to a lot of birds chirping and diving around. Hundreds of them catching insects! The sight was truly majical, like a national geographic or a BBC documentary right before our eyes!
(photo, left: campsite at dawn, lower left:horsing around, taken by FrancisAtendido 2006/04/23)

Alas, It was time to packup and leave for manila. However, the waters enticed us to stay a bit longer than what our food supply allowed so thats just what we did and ate the leftover from breakfast and some fruits just to enjoy the waters for a bit longer. We brought snorkling gear and used it to watch the fish underwater. Everyone was enjoying themselves so much that time quickly passed and it was past noon before we could regain our senses and packup our stuff in preparation for the trek back to civilization. This adventure to Stampang Bato was definitely worth the effort. I will definitely go back there next summer. Hopefully we'll be better prepared to stay longer then.
(photos , upper right: George, Neil and Owen in a light moment taken by Francis Atendido 2006/04/22, left: road towards Kasili, then to Pintong Bokawe and home taken by AllanBarredo 2006/04/22)


IMANGLakbay said...

sir may IT at budget breakdown ka ba dito? many thanks

IMANGLakbay said...

sir may IT at budget breakdown ka ba dito? many thanks