Bulacan has always been a destination that I would want to explore because of the many good attractions and learning sites that the province has, both natural and historical. My first visit in this province was way back 2008 during an immersion tour in Angat Dam in the town of Bustos as part of our workshop sites for the National Arts Workshop.
Last June 6 I revisited Bulacan together with my colleagues in the workplace to conduct benchmarking tour to several important watershed reservation areas in Luzon. Fortunately Angat Dam Rainforest Ecopark was included in the itinerary. The first order of the day was to examine the mechanism on watershed conservation and protection in Angat Dam as a main source of potable water supply in Metro Manila. The Angat Watershed Forest Reserve covers approximately 6,000 hectares adjoining the municipalities of San Jose Del Monte, Norzagaray and Rodriguez. It is also a support system to the Ipo Dam.
Our 4-hour travel from Manila to Norzagaray was spoiled by the information that we could not enter the forest reservation area and view deck due to the landslide brought recently by a typhoon in Luzon. We were instead just entertained by some personnel at the main gate and were given short time to observe the facade of the forested site and the more popular Bitbit River. As a major river system of the Angat Forest Reserve, Bitbit River is a natural water park being developed as domestic ecotourism attraction in Norzagaray. There are small open cottages in the downstream portion of the river. The cold flowing water hosts several community members as a cooling place, while the upstream part is a stretch of blue waters being bounded by green tree canopy.
It was a quick stopover in Bitbit River and we directly travelled back to Bustos for our lunch. The group decided to drive all the way to Malolos to visit two interesting historical sites, the Barasoain Church and Museum of Philippine Political History. Officially called Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Barasoain Church is dubbed as the most important building in the Philippines being the site of the First Philippine Republic. From it hails the first revolutionary congress where the first Philippine Constitution was officially declared. It is also the very place where President Emilio Aguinaldo was inaugurated as first president of the Philippine Republic. Century of years later, President Estrada took his oath as the 13th Philippine President in Barsaoain Church. With all these historical significance of Barasoain Church it is referred to as the “Cradle of Democracy in the East.”
Walking distance from Barasoain Church is another important historical attraction in Malolos, the Museum of Philippine Political History. It is located within the Paseo del Congreso, Plaza Rizal in Malolos City. Presently it is operated by the National Historical Commission under the Office of the President. The main entrance of the museum presents a beautiful standing frame of Baybayin Fonts, the old writing system of the Filipino commonly called Alibata. The entire coverage of the museum raises awareness about the country’s government system in the past, as well as a defining site for the Philippine Political History. There are two content in the museum that are truly impressive to me personally, the Writ of Japanese Surrender where an inscription on how the Japanese atrocities ended at the hands of the American was framed in a glass platform; and the other one the Interactive Multimedia equipment wherein a virtual tour can be done by just merely pressing the screen monitor.
Norzagaray and Malolos, two beautiful localities in Bulacan that boosts of two opposite selling points, are definitely good places to visit in Luzon.