Travel

A quickie ride to Bitbit River in Bulacan

gasgonia2AFTER regretfully postponing my ride for a day due to bad weather, I finally hit the road and head off to my target destination this month: Bitbit River.

Bitbit River is a watercourse quietly nestled in the Sierra Mountain range near the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa Dam system, which supplies water to Metro Manila. It’s located in Norzagaray, Bulacan; some 46 kilometers from Metro Manila. It is, however, just over 32 kilometers away from home so the trip was quite a short one for me.

The river is a popular spot among trekkers, mountain bikers and mountaineers who want to practice their rappelling skills on the 100-foot Bitbit Bridge.

Recently, it has also become a haven for riders looking for a quick swim after going through the sweet twisties leading to the river.

Bitbit River, Norzagaray, Bulacan
Bitbit River, Norzagaray, Bulacan

Finding Bitbit River through Google Maps wasn’t easy, though. To get there, I need to locate Ipo Dam first.

According to the map, I have to turn right to Del Monte Road after San Jose Del Monte City. After a short drizzle, I accidentally veer off course and took the road heading to Bagong Buhay Avenue in Sapang Palay. I asked for directions from the locals who advised me to head to Minuyan, then Bigte so I could reach Norzagaray.

After that, I had an easy time locating the river. Getting there though was quite a challenge because of the road made slippery by the rains. I also had to go through several twists and turns so takbong pogi lang ako.

Then I reached a fork in the road; one is connected to the Bitbit Bridge leading to the dam, the other is a rough road that circles under the bridge and to the river. It turns out the area covering the river ways is privately owned so I had to fork over P20 (about US $0.43) to the caretaker for entrance.

Well, it was worth all the trouble. The spot was gifted with a scenic view complete with a great big rock at the river side.

The water is cool, clear and so inviting, you’d surely go for a dip.

There are also makeshift cottages for those who want to picnic under the shade. The renting cost of each each cottage is P250. I chose a spot near the Balete tree at the hillside where the wind is cool and refreshing.

No tsinelas just my boots
No tsinelas just my boots

Too bad, I forgot to bring my tsinelas (flip flops). I was forced to walk around in my riding boots while sporting my swim gear. The locals were amused.

I spent a few hours of alone time then went on snapping photos. I saw some kids climbing the big rock from where they’d jump into the river for a huge splash.

Afterwards, I dressed up, zipped my riding jacket and headed home for lunch. This time, I used an easier route that brought me to Tungkong Mangga Road, to Barangay Muzon then home.

All in all, it was a positive experience (every ride is). But next time, I’ll be bringing along my rider friends for a swim, maybe we’d cook fresh tilapia by the riverside.

For sure, I’ll bring my tsinelas.

Dennis Gasgonia
Dennis is a veteran newsman who has written for the Philippine based Daily Tribune, The Standard and The Manila Times. Dennis currently works for ABS-CBN. He is also the publisher of motopilipinas.com

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