Discovering Montalban

wawaAs the title shows, I cannot help but use the old name of this town. No offense meant to those who may have worked hard to have the name changed but maybe it's just me. I like the ring of the old name as it conjures images of drama, history, maybe even romance. So please excuse my  romanticism if it is a bit out of place in a modern time like this.


We moved to this town last October 2005 from Quezon City. And just like many people today who have never visited this town, the name Montalban simply means that far away place in Rizal that nobody wants to visit for what is there to visit anyway. So it may come as a bit of a surprize for many that there is indeed something to visit in Montalban. So let me highlight a few things here that may change a would-be visitor's mind and to make the local residents take a second look and be proud of our town.




The first thing that attracted me to visiting Montalban was the opening of the Eastwood subdivision. Located at the foot of the mountain range that effectively shields the town from the blast of the recent super typhoons, Eastwood has attracted many young families looking for affordable yet modern and beautiful-looking houses. Every visit to this place makes me remember to bring my digital cam for some snaps of the nearby fast-growing community with the beautiful mountains as the backdrop.


My favorite spot to take those pictures is no less than the clubhouse which is situated in an elevated portion of the subdivision and has a commanding view of all the several phases of the community. From that vantage point, all the glory of the surrounding mountains are within clear view. Best time to take the picture is in late afternoon when the sun is well to the west as it effectively highlights the contours of the mountainsides.


Wawa Dam 

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Butwawa river the most known natural attraction of  Montalban as far as nature lovers go is the Wawa dam located about five kilometers in the Eastern end of the town. The dam itself looks like it had seen its better days and has fallen into neglect. But the overall grandeur of the towering mountain wall is still a nature-lover's treat. In summer, some families still find the dam a good place to cool off by bathing on its overflowing water. Mountain climbers are also frequent visitors in this area.

The next picture is a shot of the river in the direction of the water flow. Nature lovers consider this river as still one of the better rivers to trek along. Yes, there are people whose hobby is to trek along rivers.



Spiritual Retreat



During the Thanksgiving program, I curiously asked one of the parent of our students what's that tiny speck of a structure that looked like a church far in the mountainside to the east of the Eastwood clubhouse. He informed me that it's a mountain retreat of some sort. It immediately triggered some discovery juices in me. A few days later, I was driving some narrow roads trying to find the place which I later discovered to be a prayer mountain developed by a missionary from Korea. I was awed by the place not really for its beauty but with the feeling that in this place which is designed for personal divine communion, heaven is just a whisper away.

The building above is called Mission House and can be rented if one is inclined to spend the night. There is a chapel farther up the mountainside property that can accommodate a hundred worshippers very easily. This was the building I saw from the Eastwood Clubhouse.


At night, the view of the Montalban town from the site was marvelous. Beholding the glimmering lights from a distance and in the stillness of the mountains, one may feel peace is almost easy to achieve, even just for a brief moment.


Avilon Zoo

avilonAlthough I haven't been there as of this writing, but I feel compelled to write also about one attraction to our town - the Avilon Zoo. Incidentally, it is one of the favorite destinations of most school field trips. This zoo is 7.5 hectares wide and has lots of activities being offered aside from just watching the animals. Fishing and boating for example are available for guests. A bird show is a daily  routine and for those who want to get up-close and personal with the creeping kind, they may touch a python there. Since I lack the first hand experience, I'll just give the testimony of one visitor here. He said: It’s awesome! I can compare it to Featherdale and Sea World in Sydney Australia, compare it to Underwater World in Singapore and Ocean Park in Subic and I can say Avilon Zoo is world-class!

You may read a first-hand account of a visitor  here .