Sometimes, you just have to go nature tripping with the family when life gets really monotonous due to the pandemic. And I’m so grateful that our province is nothing short of a nature retreat!

Just minutes from home is a mountainous area (although our place is already a mountain area that’s why it’s called San Jose del Monte), but what I’m referring to is a more mountainous neighboring town in Norzagaray, Bulacan.

Last December, we were actually about to revisit Hilltop View Deck as per our original plan. But we were surprised to know that it’s already closed since 2018 (which was a year after our last visit!). So the guard on duty redirected us to the new Ipo View Deck which we actually passed by along the way but didn’t notice because we were too early!

 

About Ipo View Deck

Ipo View Deck is the newest attraction that has been getting lots of social media attention the past months. It’s a cliffside site offering an unobstructed view of the Ipo Dam and the Sierra Madre mountain range at the backdrop. It also offers Bali-inspired IG-worthy photo-op spots!

Entrance Fee: 5 php. No joke! Some areas don’t even have fees, just donation.

 

Roadside sign. I’m glad it’s not tarpaulin!
Don’t know what this is, but I love how it came up like a picture frame
My youngest bro and sis-in-law with their baby Sabrina

 

It’s conveniently located on the road side so it’s impossible to miss (unless you’re too early like us). Expect an uphill, downhill, and zigzag path so you must ready your motion sickness medicines if you’re prone to dizziness. Our baby Sabrina (photo above with her parents) vomited several times 😢. So please be mindful if you’re bringing children.

When it comes to safety from covid, it’s generally safe since it’s an outdoor open space area where wind flows freely. Just make sure to keep a safe physical distance from other groups of visitors, and of course wear face masks (we only removed our masks when taking pictures).

 

My take on the man-made bird’s nest
Mom at something like a kubo nest
My brother and sis-in-law with their baby Rana. Gosh, they’re all having a baby. Am I being left behind? 😅
Me, annoyed with my baby hairs (at least I have “baby” 😂)
An elevated Kubo I don’t know how they call it
An eatery overlooking Ipo Dam and Sierra Madre
A cliffside tambayan
Fambam
Baby Rana’s asleep as always
Just me again

 

If you happen to have a sudden craving for Samgyupsal, there’s an eatery called “Samgyup sa View Deck” just along the roadside with other stores. We haven’t tried it though since it was so early in the morning and we also brought packed lunch.

And since we haven’t had our breakfast yet, the “Unli Lugaw” looked enticing to us. Just spend 25 php and you’ll have a happy tummy filled with hot rice porridge. What a steal!

 

Unli Lugaw for 25 php!
Unli lugaw with this view, please? Note: Eggs are separate orders
The lugaw fam 😁
Samgyup sa View Deck

 

Bitbit River

After having our breakfast, we drove right away to Bitbit River. It was a nice sunny morning, although the night before was super duper rainy. We were a bit disappointed because the river was unclear due to heavy rainfall last night. We still went down to the river anyway, to have picnic and grill some barbecue by the riverside.

 

It was sunny in the morning, but rained in the afternoon
Riverside picnic. The umbrella was our own (there’s no available for rent)
The boys grilling our chicken. I got stressed seeing my husband sitting on the ground with white shorts! Grrr…

 

Here are the fees we paid upon entry:

  • Parking Fee = 40 php
  • Cottage Rental = 300 php

It was uncrowded that time as it was off-peak season. There were only 2 groups (us included) during our trip. But this place gets really crowded during summer, and the river is clear perfect for swimming. But I guess if we are to visit again this summer, we will make sure it’s on weekdays.

We roamed around and looked for that certain spot that we frequented during our childhood years. It’s a shallow part of the river. Thankfully our mom still can remember so we followed her. Then poof! We found it!

 

A quite creepy spot that we passed by
Salbabida while walking, really?
We’re getting there
And we found it! It’s quite far from the cottages, but the effort was worth it!
Looks like someone’s living here alone
We frequented this certain shallow part because we were still little and our parents didn’t want us to drown
Quite nostalgic
I think my bro’s afraid of drowning in the rocks
Just pure nature

 

Then we went back to our cottage to rest. It also started drizzling and we didn’t bring an umbrella and our camera’s not waterproof so we really had to go back!

 

On our way back. Still pictures.
Climbing that big rock formation is prohibited. But we saw children climbing and then jumping to the river!
Sunny and drizzling at the same time. If only it didn’t rain, the water would be light emerald green in color.

 

I told my husband that he still didn’t see the true glorious shape of this place. Just like what I told him about Calaguas (I urged him to visit during summer and see what I saw!). So maybe, we’ll be back here this summer, or next summer. I want him to see it’s true color, and how refreshing it is to swim in this river!

Actually, there are many undesirable stories going around about this place like deaths and accidents. But really, that could happen anywhere, folks. Just be careful and responsible enough. Don’t drink and swim, don’t go far if you’re not a swimmer, etc. And of course, always pray for a hedge of God’s protection to you and your loved ones.

 

Location

Ipo View Deck and Bitbit River are just 3km apart (about 10-minute drive). They are both located at San Mateo, Norzagaray, Bulacan. You can refer to the map below.

 

 

Few more photos!

 

 

 

Dea Mariano

About Author

Hey there, I’m Dea! Filipina wanderer, 20-ish, observer, crazy, introverted. It’s quite hard to describe yourself when you know yourself too well that you don’t even know where to start 😅 In case you want to know more about me and this blog, feel free to go here.

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