October 20, 2008

One of the attractions in the town of Norzagaray in Bulacan is the huge formations of large limestone rocks found in Brgy Matictic. It is called Bakas, which literally translates to "marks", "traces" or "footprints".

The top of the large boulders offers a great vantage point to spot those interesting marks, supposedly left by the legendary giant known as Bernardio Carpio, and his pets. The other set of marks can be found in Wawa in Montalban, Rizal.

I biked there last weekend (an 81km loop, see related story here) but arrived when the river started to swell and its impossible to cross to the boulders without a raft. Bakas is downriver from two major dams: the Ipo and Angat dams and they release water from these dams usually at around 11 AM. By noon time the current's too strong that they would not even recommend swimming near the rocks.

If you fancy roughing it out here, the shores in front of the Bakas rocks are flat and wide enough to accommodate quite a good number of tents. There are also makeshift cottages (good enough shelter from the sweltering heat in the summer) that the caretaker is renting out for 200 pesos (overnight stay). Amenities: absolutely none!

There are a couple of nice swimming spots further upriver. But current's still a bit strong so its best to stay close to the shore.

Getting there:
The best way is to catch a bus or jeep going to Tungko from Philcoa in Quezon City. From Tungko there are many small buses and jeeps to Norzagaray town proper. Go to the town market and get a tricycle to Sitio Kanyakan where Bakas is. I have not noticed any jeeps going there so you may have to rent the tricycle also for the return trip.
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Photos by Allan Barredo unless stated otherwise. No photos or any part of this post may be downloaded and reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the owner. But feel free to share the link using any of the sharing buttons below.
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  1. i never tried exploring bulacan. wala kasi akong alam na magandang puntahan. at least ito parang ok na ring makita.

  2. ganda nito bai. i saw this in a tv show but your captures are really something else. nakaka-engganyo puntahan.

  3. @dom - recently ko lang din nalaman na ang dami palang eco and heritage destination ang bulacan. an daming caves, falls, rivers to explore dun. thanks bro!

    @oggie - salamat bai! ang ganda ng mga ilog dun sa bulacan, most are still in their pristine state.

  4. ganda ng mga kuha mo.. noo'y napasyal ako sa paanan ng bundok banahaw, sa kinabuhayan, dolores, quezon. meron ding tawag nila ay "bakas" (ni Bernardo Carpio). kahugis rin ito ng isang malaking yapak. ang sabi noo'y nasa arayat raw ang kabilang "bakas"; yun pala ay nasa garay, bulacan at meron rin pala kamo sa montalban. salamat sa impormasyon, allan. padayon

  5. @daxi - salamat bai! actually mas sikat ang wawa montalban as the site where you can find Bernardo Carpio's marks. Mas marami dun kasi dun sya supposedly natalo at na tambakan ng malalaking bato

  6. magkano yung rate nila pag morning and for few hours lng nman

  7. @Anonymous - the guides charge 200-300 per group for a short tour of the "marks"

  8. ganda talaga ng Norzagaray....
    I'm proud to be a Norzagarians....
    I love it so much....

    yasmin932 0:)

  9. This was where we spent our summer outings when I was younger (around 25 years ago). Our relatives are from Norzagaray. Resorts and theme parks were unheard of. We hire a jeep to take the whole clan if we all cannot fit in the car. Pay the entrance fees (because there were "harangs" where they raise a rope stretched from one side of the rough and rocky road to the other,and there are about 3 to 4 harangs along the stretch) then look for a vacant shed where a 20 pesos rental fee is paid (I don't clearly recall since only the adults take care of these matters. hehe). I remember a lot of people go there in the summer because resorts were unheard of. And yes, during those times, there were no amenities. People do their thing in the river so it was not surprising to find yourself shooing away floating stuff together with the occasional seaweed. Through rinsing can be done at home and endure the itchiness of not having a decent shower. There were tire interiors for rent as floaters,some of which were as big as 10-wheeler tires. In spite of all the rustic elements, I will remember my times in Bakas as the most unforgettable memories of my childhood.

  10. This is a good one... Bakas for me is one of many great places that we have in the philippines.. Once you get to the place im sure you will fall in love with the place....

  11. bulacan is really great.im not living there but my husband do.so i have been there so many times and i enjoy bulacan.=D

  12. wow nice shot.. i hope pati sa actual maganda siya. what do u think maganda kayang pumunta ngayong nov. sa bakas norzagaray for trip?

  13. we have celebrated mother's day at bakas. Maganda ung place,malinis at malinaw ang tubig. Nice shot nga pla, natakot lng ako kc ang lakas ng current ng tubig at inanod kmi pero masayang experience.Next time try nmin pumunta s mga bato,medyo mataas n kc ung tubig nung nandun kami, at nakakatawa p nun nawala ung susi ng van n dala nmin, ligtas nman kming naka-uwi. Salamat s prayer ng lahat.Nice experience tlg. :)