Since I was a grade school kid —- Sierra Madre Mountain Range has always a reserved page in our “HEKASI / KASAYSAYAN” books. Still wondering if myths and majestic folklores really incumbents the Sierra Madre geology. Here I am, after almost a decade still craving for a sap of learnings, history and culture transcending from generations to generations. Well, I think its my own choice for adapting the roar of greenery forest and counter clockwise movement of nature and feeling the chill of my dipped-soaked feet in the water bending waterfalls. I do believe that were created to find ourselves by any means. Find our own passion and motivating ourselves that we can moved a mountains by our own confidence and talents.
Back to the original tube, Sierra Madre plays a pivotal role in my vision to travel and leap island to island. I truly loved history. I loved crossing the street and reading what’s written in a old-rocks and stone. There, I could always see the dates and year, people, places and story behind that scenic views and the progress it contributes to a certain places.
Quezon National Park in Atimonan, Quezon was opened to public; local tourist and foreigners. Local Government Unit strengthen their tourism as a paradigm of improving and preserving the natural identity of the province. Illegal loggings were bold amongts forest of Quezon, thus goverment began their own way to abolish this kind of nature-attack.
“The more animals, natural formations and scenic views placed on the tip of our nose. The more we abuse them.” Well, I strongly disagree with this. I believe by educating and immersing ourselves on the miraculous-solemnity-gracious embrace of the forest, the more we exercise our concern and protection with them.
Our group came from Metro Manila, and as far as our itinerary dictates we will be able to conjoined with the first stop —Mt. PINAGBANDERAHAN by dropping off to the Atimonan Park. Our stomach twisted when the vehicle kissed the “zigzag road” (natives named it as “Bitukang Manok” ). Roads that cuts through forest, shields from sun raging heat makes the road trip accessible and convenient. The Forest Park is one of the oldest protected areas in the Philippines.
Our main goal is to witness the emerging sunrise on top of the Mt. Pinagbanderahan. So, we headed for a 1-2 hours climb up the trail of cemented stairs at exactly 5:00 am. At 366 MASL, the climb is an easy one especially for novice hikers. It is generally a warm up, however you can also encounter a drift ascend (90 degrees) once you are approaching at the peak.
Mt. Pinagbanderahan is a historical site which literally means ” where the flag was hoisted”. It is a significant place in Philippine history because from that standpoint itself, the Philippine flag was raised during the Philippine Revolution. The elated stay of Philippine flag was bombarded when the raging American and Japanese conquerors occupied our teritority. They raised their own country’s flag as a sign that Filipinos were under their custody and governance. However, Philippine flag reclaimed its proper place in 1946.
The vegetation and lowland rainforest always attracts environmentalist and biologist for further study and researches. The place is a great example of a natural habitat and points out a balance of nature. The city’s noise has no place, you can realized this once your ears were sticked at the sounds of crockets, birds, monkeys and other animals observing visitor’s presence.
The peak is a perfect view point of Mt. Banahaw (west) , the island of Marinduque and mindoro (south), as well as the major towns of Quezon, Lucena, Pagbilao and Tayabas.
Once you descend, you will be able blend with Atimonan cuisine and native food delicacies. From the park itself, eatery stalls and suovenir stores where waiting for tourist. There, you can find trinkets, small tokens and souvenirs as well as food items, good for pasalubong.
BANTAKAY FALLS and BANTAKAY CAVE are hidden treasures that abode the forestry of Quezon Province. You can easily find its jump-off because its known to people and there’s a number of tourist guide who awaits you at the borderline and feet of Mt. Pinagbanderahan.
If your that kind of person who dreamed to be a mermaid or diwata…well never missed this out. The place offers an awesome slice of paradise and refreshments. From almost a half day of trekking , you shall quench your thirst. Kablaaammm! Bantakay Falls here you go!
The trek is generally downhill with cemented stairs for the firts 2 kilometers of the walk. Your knees will untimately be fierced! It will took 1-2 hours to finish the entire trek. What is exciting during the trek is that you will be able to see and feel the falls itself because of the “mini-river” along the way. Cool and breezy perfect for the summer heat.
The frozen droplets of water will boost your eagerness to climb at the top . For tropical country like the Philippines, waterfalls will serves as the “oasis”. They are our saviour during that time. Quenching the thirst and heat.
You should never missed out visiting the Bantakay Cave. Since we’ve already took our lunch while dipping at the cold-fresh water, we headed at the cave. Interestingly, we had climbed at the very peak of the Bantakay falls, and walked right downhill to be able to step at the facade of the Cave. It will also took 45 minutes of your travelling time.
It’s my first time to enter a Cave, we’ll a wish list has been realized! Based on my stock knowledge during our Science class, commonly these rocks are sedimentary in forms. Here, we have a chance to meet and greet with a century-old rock formations.
Based on my research, chemical changes is massive inside a cave because of the slow-running water. Therefore, minerals were hardened inside the cave resulting in the formation of deposits. There are two classification of rocks; Stalactites (which hang from the ceiling) and Stalagmites (which rise up from the ground). Haha! These two always confused me since I was a kid. Well atleast we have now our indicator. StalaCtites (Ceiling) and StalaGmites (Ground).
I know, we’ve only visited and crossed a little radius of Quezon Province. There’s still a huge flatforms of natural scenes needs to be discovered and protected. But, the memories, history and culture will remains as a mark that somehow we climbed the mountain, kissed the waterfalls and embraced by the cave. It is a trail of experiences which will never be stolen on us. Happy trip!