Road Trip to Ipo and Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan

Norzagaray , Bulacan province-Philippines

After the tour of Pinagrealan Cave system , Our group headed for two of the most important dams which supply water and vital electricity for Metro Manila , Bulacan and nearby provinces.  The Nissan Urvan that we rode along the way is very comfortable and the van owner is also a member of the Nissan Urvan Club . They would have regular road trips to different tourist spots . We need to move around the road side to take a clear photo of the dam .  Unfortunately,  we saw some trash uncollected along the roadside , They are not noticeable to passing motorist since tall cogon grass cover the trash.

Ipo Dam ( photo by the author) 

 The dam is located about 7.5 kilometers downstream of the Angat Dam in Norzagaray  Bulacan province. It was a part of the Angat -Ipo and La Mesa ( Fairview/ Novaliches) water system. Its normal level is 101 m.

L-R Mr. Roy Vincent Santigao , Mr. Rence Chan , Mr. Jam Ki , Mr. Allan Martinez , Ms. Maria Rona Beltran , Mr. Gilbert Dino , Mr. Ruben Bala and Mr. Dennis Dy Kho  (photo courtesy of  Mr. Jam Ki ) 

Much of the surrounding hills are colored brown , There are also disturbances in the land . On the viewing decks ( view deck)   , There are few mature trees which covers the slope.

There are some rustic bamboo waiting shed in which an ideal place to take photos of the nearby dam. There are also makeshift vendors near the waiting shed selling buko juice and other snacks items from passing motorists , tourists, bike groups and road trippers .

Some of the bamboo waiting shed were project of the municipal government of Norzagaray . This is to provide an ideal resting and picturesque place for all passing motorists.

Ipo dam ( Photo courtesy of Mr. Ruben Bala Jr. )

The watershed has an area of about 70 square kilometers and receives an average annual rainfall of 3,500 millimeters. Tributaries to the Angat River at this section include the Ipo, Sapa Pako and Sapa Anginon Rivers. These tributaries drain into the Angat River from the eastern section of the watershed.  You should have  prior arrangements before the Ipo Dam management will allow entry to their facilities .

Bitbit River ( photo courtesy : Mr. Ruben Bala Jr.)

We took several souvenir photos before we headed to the famed Bitbit River nearby , The place is ideal spot for nature photography , bird watching, rappelling, bungee jumping bridge free fall and nature trail walk.

Unfortunately , We were not able to meet the people who had proper equipment. Our group were just contented to see the sight of the river from the bridge. Perhaps some other time . We also saw several makeshift river huts good for camping and picnic .

Bitbit Bridge ( photo courtesy : Mr. Ruben Bala Jr.)

Bitbit Bridge with its panoramic view of the surrounding mountains , river  , coupled with the wonderful view of nature in full circle are the reasons why it is a favorite among thrill seekers.  Our group decided to go meet the Barangay Chairman of Barangay San Lorenzo , Norzagaray .

National Power Corporation main gate ( photo by the author)

After making a courtesy call to the barangay chairman of the place , We made an unplanned tour of Angat Dam.  For those planning to visit the place, There are strict security protocols and briefing .  Each of the visitors must logged-in their names at the security office and small piece of note is handed to every security check-point within the dam premises. There is a small fee of Php25.00 which goes to the upkeep of the viewing deck and maintenance of the ecological office.

Angat reservoir with hydroelectric power plant ( photo by the author) 

For larger group ( around 30 or more ) a written permit or an appointment must be made prior to the date of the tour. NAPOCOR will  require a short briefing and a guide for the group. Since our visit was coordinated with the barangay and local government of Norzagaray (  Kuya Roy Santiago -our guide knows his way around the facility ) Hence our small group  did not undergo a rigid briefing . According to Kuya Roy , There was a viewing deck which was funded by the local government of Norzagaray .

Angat Hydroelectric Power Plant ( photo courtesy : Mr. Ruben Bala Jr.)

Angat Dam

The reservoir supplies about 90 percent of raw water requirements for Metro Manila through the facilities of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System  and it irrigates about 28,000 hectares of farmland in the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga.

Angat Dam is located in Barangay San Lorenzo (Hilltop), Norzagaray, Bulacan. It supplies potable water to Metro Manila and powers a hydro-electric power plant. The dam is 131 meters high and impounds water from the Angat River that subsequently created the Angat Lake.

It has three gates opening a total of 1.5 meters to gradually release water that had accumulated due to incessant rains during typhoons.

AREP Ecology Center

Not all areas are  accessible to photography , Angat Dam spillway is off limits to photography and  thus only limited at the viewing deck and outer perimeter gate ( security protocol ) . There were several  2 to 3 more security sentry gate before we reach the viewing deck .

small landscaped garden with concrete tables and chairs

The construction of the dam started on November 1961 and finished on October 16, 1967 spanning almost 6 years . The watershed encompasses portions of the towns of Norzagaray , Doña Remedios Trinidad ( DRT ),  San Jose Del Monte  in Bulacan.  Total land area is 62,309 hectares.

viewing deck

group photo by Mr. Allan Pardilla Martinez

After the group photo , we decided to explore the lower parts of the dam where we saw a thriving community of Dumagats and bought some snacks at the nearby sari-sari store

Dumagat children ( photo courtesy : Mr. Ruben Bala Jr.) 

There are also several communities of Dumagats and locals which lived within the Angat watershed areas. They are living there even before the dam was constructed and the Dumagats consider the place as their ancestral domain.

native pig

They used to be semi-nomadic, putting up temporary homes wherever they could find sustenance from hunting, fishing and from crops, fruits and other products from the forest. We also saw a native pig with litters, the moment they saw our group the litter began hiding .

Dumagat communities

There were between 500 to 800 plus Dumagats tribes living within the site. Some had intermarried local people.

boats

Some of the tribes have small rafts and boats which they use to cross the dam. They also harvest bamboo , root crops or vegetables which they sell to locals downstream .

Angat Rainforest and Eco Park

Dike Elementary School

One of the projects of the local government ( office of the Mayor)  is installation of solar panel and electricity within the community . There are several more living on the other side of the dam.

Travel Organizer:
 Lakad Pamana  is a a local travel and advocacy organizer which promotes the local tour of Norzagaray and Bulacan province .
The whole day tour includes well-known Local restaurants, Pinagrealan cave, Angat Dam , Ipo Dam ,  Punduhan sa mga Dumagats , Bato sa Bitbit trekking .  ( itinerary may vary and can be customized upon request of the group).
There will be an organized tour scheduled on May 1, 2016 .
Note: There is a minimum number of participants of 12 people per van for those planning to book a whole day tour.

For Booking & Inquiries:

Globe – 0975 733 6464
Sun – 0923 346 7575
Viber – (+63) 975 733 6464

Contact Person :GILBERT S. DINO

Email – lakad_pamana@yahoo.com.ph

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