My wife comes from the province of Bulacan, a place that is close to the congested city of Manila and much of the province is pretty polluted and chaotic, particularly the towns and villages that are situated along the National Highway that leads to Isabela.
Yet, from my wife’s barangay I could spot mountains in the distance and, by looking at the map, I found out that those mountains (known as Sierra Madre Ranges) are rather uncharted and largely unexplored. In fact, by closely looking at the map I could not see any roads that connect the province of Bulacan to the Pacific coast.
So, since I had come to terms with the fact that my wife would hardly move from Bulacan (as I said in some of my previous posts when Filipinos go home they completely focus on spending time with their family and it isn’t easy for their Western marriage mate to get them to travel) I decided to go for the uncharted and unexplored mountains that are situated only 30 km or so from my wife’s barangay.
Although I didn’t really get to hike in the middle of the thick jungle, I managed to get my wife’s uncle to take me to the edge of it, as far as we could get by driving in a jeep on very rough roads.
I got to explore hidden rivers, waterfalls and even an underground river (in a place called Bulusukan, near barangay Akle).
The bottom line is that, although I had visited the Philippines with the idea that Bulacan was just my wife’s birthplace, and therefore, a place where I would stay as little as possible, I ended up falling in love with it because of the endless possibilities that the remotest parts of the province offer to experience amazing adventure.
Obviously I was able to get to those areas only because I’ve got connections there and I know people who can take me there safely.
I guess that those areas, which are known as the hiding place of the NPA, are not the safest possible for a tourist who wants to go off on his own.
Yet, if your wife is Bulaquenya or from a nearby province, and your local relatives are willing to take you to the remotest parts of the Sierra Madre I recommend that you go for it. Don’t just bypass Bulacan.
I am not saying these things because I am trying to advertise my wife’s province. What I am saying is that the Philippines have much more to offer than just Boracay, Palawan and other world class tourist spots.
As for me, the next time I visit the Philippines, I will definitely stay in Bulacan and explore as much as I can in the mountain area known as Sierra Madre.