While most people are getting crazy over beaches, which Batangas is quite known for, we chose otherwise. We were in the barrio of As-is in Bauan, our father’s native land, for the fiesta. We arrived a couple of days before the occasion and to try something worth our while, we agreed to my father’s suggestion. It was a spur of the moment decision to visit Abaksa River.
Apparently, my father has known and was able to go on a trip to Abaksa River several times with his “kababata” or childhood friends. Abaksa River lies between the barrios of Inicbulan and Manghinao also in the municipality of Bauan in Batangas just a few kilometers from Bauan Town Proper. However, it is within the territory of Inicbulan rather than Manghinao.
After packing our provisions, it was time to go. From As-is, it was a 10-minute ride more or less to Manghinao passing by the barrio of Balayong. Just before reaching the intersection of Bauan-Mabini Road, we turned right going to Grand Villa Subdivision. I thought we were going to a river, why did we enter a secured village? When we told the guard that we were off to the river, he let us pass. We were in the right place after all.
The village doesn’t have that many houses built yet. We went all the way to the back by the border of the village and we stopped in the middle of nowhere. There were trees and vegetation but I didn’t see any river somewhere nor can I hear its water flowing.
Abaksa River – Revealed
My father led the way and went beyond the borders, and to my surprise it was like entering a totally different world. From the modern vibe of the village, it shifted to a very rural feel. The footpath was paved no more. Tall bamboo trees gracefully swayed as the wind blew. We were shielded from the heat of the sun by the trees and lush greens around us. The river water was so tranquil.
There were a few rustic cottages for rent where visitors can leave their belongings. As well as a long bench made of bamboo where they can rest. Abaksa River has been enhanced but they made sure that the changes done still kept it as raw as it was. Instead of concrete barriers, sandbags were laid out at the northern end of the river to somehow create a reservoir and to maintain the water level at a minimum of 4 feet deep. It’s deepest part measures at 5 – 6 feet. The river’s clear and cold water is perfect for swimming and cooling off.
Foot spa, anyone? Find a spot and sit on its edges and the small fishes will nibble on your feet. If you don’t want to swim, why not go for a massage? As we know, rivers naturally flow until it reaches the ocean, sea, a lake or another river, and as an overflow of the improved pool, a mini waterfall was formed. Feeling the cascading waters on your back was like a therapeutic body massage courtesy of nature.
The owner of the land near Abaksa River have started developing it since 1999. By the following year, the enhancements have been completed but it did not open its doors to the public up until last year only (2016). According to Sir Edwin, the water level before it was developed was only up to knee-high. The water source that flows through the river is from the ground itself; from several natural springs under the river bed.
The best time to visit and enjoy Abaksa River is in the summer, from Mar – Jun. But just like any other destinations, it can get crowded during the weekends especially now that most students don’t have classes anymore. When it rains heavily or there’s a typhoon, the caretakers were taking out the sandbag barriers so it won’t be flushed away by the torrent.
Let’s Keep It Alive!
Visiting Abaksa River brought back childhood memories. When we were kids, we usually spend our summer breaks in Batangas and it was not complete without a trip to the beach or the river in the woods. We used to journey through the farmland into the woods just to get to the river. Unfortunately, the river that we used to visit eventually dried up.
Despite the rapid growth, the structural changes and fast-paced way of life in the municipality of Bauan, Batangas there are still some things that were kept simple but it is certainly some place worth visiting and protected from pollution. A river at this day would not be as clean as they were before, but I was wrong. We are blessed to have these natural marvels in our backyards. Let us all work together to take care of Abaksa River. Wouldn’t it be better for the future generations to enjoy it too for themselves and not just hear stories about it?
How to get to Abaksa River – Grand Villa route
From Manila, Take the bus from Cubao or LRT Buendia going to Batangas Pier for Php 165 or Php 157 respectively. Travel time: 2 and ½ to 3 hours depending on the traffic.
Then take a jeep from Grand terminal to Lemery, alight at Grand Villa, Manghinao in Bauan – A few kilometers from Bauan – Mabini intersection fare is Php 13. There are tricycles that you can take to get in to Grand Villa. Fare is Php 30 per way. Or you can just take a 15 – 20 minute walk all the way to the entrance of Abaksa River to save Php 30.
There are other routes to get to Abaksa River. One is via Barangay Sinala and another one through Tabok in Inicbulan. However, the one via Grand Villa was the easiest course as it is already cemented.
Entrance fee is Php 20.00, Tables can be rented for Php 100.00
Opening hours from 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM
It is not advisable to use sunblock or sunscreen lotion as it can leave chemical residues and pollute the water and can be harmful to other living organisms in the river.
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How about you? Have you been to Abaksa River or other rivers? How was your experience? Do you have any recommendations? Share your thoughts.