Ready for a quick and easy motorcycle ride near Manila? You’ll get a splendid view and a breath of fresh air here at Angat Dam View Deck in Bulacan.
Professionally and geographically, I was always drawn to riding to Angat Dam View Deck.
As someone living in the north of Manila, such as Quezon City and Valenzuela, most of the quick road trips near Manila point to Bulacan. Its accessibility and proximity to Manila make it attractive to bikers and riders like us.
And as someone who works for a water company, I’ve grown quite familiar with La Mesa Reservoir and Ipo Watershed. Angat Dam is the source of life that runs on 90% of Metro Manila’s taps and the mother of the capital’s water resource is. Riding here was not only easy but also filled with a sense of mission.
So why not take a half-day off and visit it for yourself?
How to go to Angat Dam View Deck, Bulacan
Since you’ll be riding on major roads going to North Luzon, which simply spells in-city traffic no matter which route you take. There’s just no escaping it!
You’ll be riding alongside buses, jeeps, tricycles, private vehicles, and trucks until the point you reach Del-Monte Norzagaray Road. At the popular point called Hilltop, diverting from the cement quarries, you’ll mostly ride alongside mountain bikes and fellow motorcycles.
There are two main routes going to Angat Dam View Deck:
Via Commonwealth Avenue. Despite its traffic especially upon the construction face of MRT 7 lines, I still prefer Commonwealth Avenue going to Bulacan because of the wider roads with less wayside residential areas. It is, however, a road where many trucks pass by and there have been many road accidents, earning it the title of a “killer highway”. Your best bet would be to leave before the truck ban lifts and before commuters fill the roads with public vehicles. Try to make use of the Motorcycle Lane as much as possible.
Via Quirino Highway. A close alternative to Commonwealth Ave. is Quirino Highway, especially if you’re coming from the West, such as Manila, North EDSA, Malabon, and Valenzuela. However, I find the road a bit too narrow, bumpily, crowded, and heavy with vehicles and pedestrians.
Other roads going to Norzagaray are via Bigte-San Mateo Road Norzagaray and M. Villarica Road from Marilao. These are great if you’re coming from Bulacan, but you do have to pass by many smaller towns which entails more traffic and a longer route.
In terms of road quality, I can always vouch for Commonwealth Avenue. The more difficult parts are going to Norzagaray Road where there is the construction of MRT 7 stations, some water pipelaying, and cement-loaded trucks.
Meanwhile, the road to Angat Rainforest and Eco-park (AREP) is mostly paved, but towards the end is a steep and winding road that might be dangerous from overtakers and bikes in poor conditions. Overall, it’s all good and less adventurous, given enough driving with caution.
Feeling more adventurous? Try the 5-hour ride to Real, Quezon!
Sample itinerary for Angat Dam View Deck Ride
What I love about this Bulacan road trip is that it’s highly doable half-day. No need to wait for long weekends and holidays! Two hours of riding is also manageable for first-time motorcycle riders. The fact also that it’s near Manila means you’ll have the amenities and conveniences of urban living whilst enjoying superb views.
Plus points for having really good nearby side trips such as the La Mesa Nature Reserve (popular with mountain bikers and runners) and La Mesa Eco-park (a bit too crowded, but okay great for family trips). Some nearby malls include SM Fairview and Fairview Terraces in case you want a bit of cold air after the ride.
Here’s a sample itinerary for Angat Dam ride:
|6AM – 7AM||Travel along Commonwealth Avenue|
|7:30AM – 8AM||Breakfast along the road|
|8AM – 9AM||Travel along Quirino Highway to Angat Dam (rest as needed)|
|9AM – 10:30AM||Hang out at the View Deck, do some sightseeing, hiking, picnic|
|10:30AM – 11:30AM||Optional: Ride to La Mesa Eco-park|
|11:30AM – 1PM||Lunch and hang out at La Mesa Eco-park|
|1PM – 2PM||Ride back to Manila|
At Bitbit Bridge, famous for rappeling activities
Side trips from Angat Dam View Deck
Aside from Angat Dam View Deck, you may opt to visit other attractions in Bulacan that are popular for mountain bikers, motorcycle riders, and mountaineers alike. If you’re traveling with kids or the family on a private vehicle, it would be a great idea to go to these side trips:
La Mesa Eco-Park. A public park for Filipino families, La Mesa Eco-Park has something to offer for all ages. Some activities that can be done here are horseback riding, fishing, zip-lining, and swimming. You can find an eco-trail and orchidarium, too. There are many vendors here that will also allow you to paint or practice archery. However, I find La Mesa Eco-park too crowded to my taste.
- Hours open: 8AM – 5PM
- Entrance fee: PHP 50 ordinary fee, PHP 40 for Quezon City residents with ID, PHP 20 for students with ID, free for kids and senior citizens
La Mesa Nature Reserve. Thick with trees and with plenty of opportunities for adventure, La Mesa Nature Reserve is a better choice for young and physically fit travelers. You can trek, hike, bike, trail run, and bird watch here. Just make sure you bring your own bike or binoculars as needed. Bring food too, as there are no eateries inside.
- Hours open: 6AM – 5PM daily except holidays
- Entrance fee: PHP 200 per adult group of five, PHP 1,000 per group, free for kids
Bitbit Bridge. When I once joined a rescue team, I’ve known the 100-feet Bitbit Bridge as a famous spot for rappelling for mountaineers, adventurers, and rescuers alike. Along Bitbit River is also a place to enjoy with the family, with huts for river-side picnics and rocks to climb on and jump from.
Pinagrealan Cave. If you’re interested in quite a bit of history, try visiting this nearby cave connection where the Katipuneros once took refuge. Unfortunately, its tandem destination of a rock formation, Lioness Rock has been rumored to be blown off by quarrying plants.
Things to know about Angat Dam Ride
- Best time to travel. But because of Norzagaray, Bulacan’s proximity to Manila, you don’t need to be an early riser! Still, to avoid the heat of the sun and heavy traffic, try doing your ride early in the morning. Summer in March and April is always a good time to avoid slippery roads and accidents.
- Total ride time. Bulacan is great for quick motorcycle rides near Manila because the total ride time is only around 2 hours and in one full tank roundtrip. Time may vary depending on quick stopovers in some popular attractions or for gas, air, food, and restroom.
- Road weather. It’s typically sunny and hot in Bulacan, cold and damp at Hilltop, and cool and clear right at Angat Dam View Deck. Trust me, it’s perfect.
- Gas, air, and toilet stop. Commonwealth Avenue and Quirino Highway are lined with gas stations where you can refuel, inflate tires, and use the toilet. However, be done with your business before you start the uphill ride to Angat Dam View Deck where you’ll mostly find residential areas selling bottled fuel. As a safety precaution, we only buy fuel from gas stations.
- Where to eat. You’ll have no problem finding restaurants along Commonwealth Ave. and Quirino Hway such as fast food and karinderia (eateries). Plus, there are many food parks along the way for your more fancy taste buds.
- What to wear. Wear helmets and protective gears that cover most of your skin. I found that jackets, scarves, sunglasses, closed shoes, and track pants or cargo pants are good combinations. Be sure to have a smaller bag where your gadgets can be accessed easily (in case you’ll have a need for Waze!) and water. Since this is just a day trip, no need to bring extra clothes. P.S. I’m wearing scarfies from the HeadWare!
- Things to bring. Bring your Driver’s License, as you will not be allowed to enter without it. For other attractions, bring available student IDs or residential IDs. Sunny day gears are most handy — sunblocks, umbrellas, caps, and sunnies. Bring your own water for hydration and to save money.
- Entrance Fee. For Angat Dam View Deck, you need only to pay PHP 25 per head.
- Things to do in Angat Dam View Deck. Savor the view, breathe in the fresh air, and go on mini-hikes in the forest.
Hope you enjoyed this quick ride to Angat Dam View Deck! I truly enjoyed my brief stay and would definitely go back to other attractions in Bulacan. Maybe someday I can mountain bike or trail run at La Mesa Nature Reserve, too, like a proper adventurer. :p
Did you recently go to Angat Dam View Deck? Share your experiences or updates!