The San Mateo area is rich with trails. Taking the trail via Wawa Dam gives you a feel-good trail that is relatively flat and has a lot of river crossings. It gives you a scenic view of the mountains of the Sierra Madre region and really a fun time exploring the rivers.
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Wawa Dam is a popular tourist attraction. It’s perfect for a good swim and a great family time. It’s also a trail entry point to the Inigan and Casile area. I was able to find a time on a weekend to explore this trails with Jazzrunner Rene Villarta. The good part about this trail is that it’s connected to other trail areas in the Casile. It’s connected to the New Casile area which was the place for the race of Rizal Mountain Run and the Casile and Mount Sinai area for the upcoming Soleus Cross Country Challenge. It’s also gives you a different view of the trail with the rivers and the Sierra Madre Area.
The route starts at the Wawa Dam entry point in Casile Area. It’s a straight course that goes over the Marikina River all the way straight to the Casile area at around the 6.5k kilometer mark and goes back to the start area for the full loop.
Trekking the Wawa Trail
It’s been hot in the Philippine area so we started to trek early for this one. We met at around 4:30 am in QC and arrived San Mateo, Rizal around 5:30 am. We started our trek even before 6 am at Wawa Dam. The Wawa Dam is really a beautiful tourist spot. It was great that we were there early in the morning since it was not yet crowded. There are bamboo rafts and huts for tourists near the dam.
Walk a little farther and you get a viewing deck and see a lot more floating huts. It does give you a feel of the floating villages in Vietnam. The area is a perfect family bonding place complete with the picnic tables and even videoke machines. There are also some stores where you can buy your trail supplies.
After about a kilometer worth of floating huts, you finally get to enter the trail area. It’s a mix of light residential area and an overlooking view of the Marikina river. Since it’s a relatively flat course, it’s run-able and not too exhausting. It was a bit cooler at the start since it was still early in the morning.
After going over some single track trails, we then shift to the river area. There will be several river crossings as we would be shifting from one side of the Marikina River to the other. The river area starts with some with dirt grounds and stony terrain surrounded by some vegetation.
The good thing about a view at this vantage point is that it shows you the different mountain ranges that surrounds. It’s a bit intimidating to be surrounded with such beauty. At the same time, you get to appreciate that the views. A scenery like this don’t always come with those lung busting climbs. It’s a feel good trail and it can give you a good workout.
We switched to an interval pace with several runs and then recovery walks. Running on trails is so much fun as its softer on the knees and more visually enticing for the eyes. We then asked how far would the Casile area be. The answer came in number of river crossings at 5-6 instead of the usual kilometers. Enter #hugot line, “kahit ilong ilog tatawirin ko, marating ka lamang.”
I opted for my Brooks Pure Grit 4 since its been time tested on river crossing and it has already been through a lot of trail condition. I really enjoy river crossings and it really brings out the child in me so I always end up running the shallower part of the rivers.
After each river crossing comes the dust and the dirt so expect your shoes to be dirty. Don’t bother cleaning it up as you’ll have your next river shortly. We went back on the usual run-walk sets that we’ve been used to doing the trails. The place had a lot of leg room to move but you’ll just have to follow the main trail so you won’t be sidetracked.
It may be messy on the shoes but I love the softer surface here that makes you love the feel of running. We went on for several more river crossings. It was easy finding the trails but there are route alternatives too but as long as you follow the river, you’ll be fine.
I always get overwhelmed by the beauty that surrounds me. Being at a much lower vantage point has its advantage as you get to see all that surrounds you. You’re just a tiny speckle in a much bigger picture. The more important thing is that it makes you feel good. You feel good about the beauty and you feel good about the trail.
We barely noticed the distance as we’ve already hit about 5 kilometers without even noticing it. We took a short snack break at Inigan area, which is just 2 water crossings away from the Casile area. The Inigan area was one of my favorite spots during the trail. It is surrounded by the river and the mountains. There are deep parts of the river, if you want to have a good swim.
The surface shifted back to mix of sands and stones. It’s about a kilometers stretch to the next river. There were also some animals in the area. After this stretch, we were in Casile area already and crossing our last river. They are constructing a hanging bridge in the area which would really ease the load of the people here especially on times that the river would go high.
We were now in the Casile area and took the short route where the Casile area intersects with the New Casile area which was the main road during the Rizal Mountain Run. This is also the same road to and from Camp Sinai, which would be the start area in Soleus Cross Country Challenge. San Mateo is really rich in trail areas and you can really do your own course here depending on the distance you would be covering.
After a short snack break at Casile, we were on the way back. We took an alternative trail at Inigan area but a cow was blocking the route so we had to go back. It was then that we saw a different view of Inigan area and it was beautiful. This would also be the u-turn slot for the 12 K distance for the Soleus Cross Country Challenge.
We then went back to start. It’s a bit more challenging because of the warmer weather. We brisked walked our way to start. Going back, we can see nearby mountains which also has an entry point near the Wawa area. After a swift return we were on our way back home and looking forward to another trail adventure.
Outfit Of The Trail
- Top: Adidas Climachill with #TaleOfTheTrail design by Breakout Design
- Shorts, calf sleeves, arms sleeves, cap and hydration bag – Under Armour
- Shoes: Brooks Pure Grit 4
- Socks: Ahon
- Eyewear: Oakley