Angat is not just about the dam

gasgonia2WHEN I think about dams, the first thing that comes into mind is this gigantic concrete structure holding huge volume of water. Dams weren’t that interesting to me.

This thinking changed when I went to Angat Dam for a short ride. Angat Dam is a concrete water reservoir embankment that supplies 90 percent of the water we use in Metro Manila. It also irrigates close to 28,000 hectares of farmland in the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga.

What I didn’t know is that the dam is now part of the Angat Rainforest and Ecological Park (AREP), which serves as a home to 66 species of vertebrates and 43 species of birds. It also houses at least 290 endemic species of non-woody and woody plants including bagtikan, tanguile and yakal that have already disappeared from other forests in the country.

AREP also serves as a home to the Dumagat tribe, whose culture is being carefully preserved by AREP officials.

The trees, the animals and the atmosphere make up a wonderful scenery for a Manila boy like me.

 AREP is roughly 60 kilometers away (that’s around three hours) from Manila. To get there, one needs to take Commonwealth Avenue before making a right turn to Quirino Avenue. This route should lead you to San Jose del Monte in Bulacan. Continue riding up to Norzagaray road, past the Rotunda, until you reach the fork. Take the left road where there is a sign that says Angat Dam (the other road leads to Ipo Dam). Just continue throttling until you reach the Bitbit Bridge over Norzagaray River and you will find the AREP entrance at the end of the bridge.

You’ll be needing to show your driver’s license and register at the gate. The guard will give you a piece of paper which you’ll have to present to the entrance. There you’ll have to leave an ID card and pay the P25 entrance fee. There are lots of twists and turns inside the complex, which would be appealing to riders. But the roads are narrow so you guys better watch the throttle for your own safety.

Among the interesting stops were the AREP View Deck and Ecological Center, the Angat Dam Spillway, the down trail leading to the Angat Reservoir, and the Angat Dam itself. When we get our knobby tires on, we’ll visit the AREP Tarictic Fun Trail next time.

It wasn’t a planned trip actually, but I’m glad to have visited Angat.

By the way, I am sharing with you some of the pictures I took:











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

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