In these pandemic times, many of us bemoan the strict (but necessary) limitations on domestic and international travel. But, within reason, we can still enjoy road trips as long as we follow safety precautions. We took a short-but-sweet day trip to Bokod, Benguet to check out Ambuklao Dam and the attached reservoir.
Ambuklao Dam is about an hour and a half drive from Baguio via Nueva Vizcaya Road. Be prepared for a winding scenic path as you leave the city and make your way towards Agno River in the east. On the way, you’ll pass by Agno River Viewing Spot where you can pull over, stretch, and take photos.
One popular stop-over spot for people passing through is Lolo Cancio’s Inn and Restaurant. You can enjoy a quick meal at this karinderya or some snacks and coffee, all while taking in a gorgeous view of the reservoir. They don’t take reservations, so it’s a good idea to show up early to be sure you get a table by the railings. Also keep in mind that they only accept cash – no credit card, debit card, GCash or other digital payments. They’re open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Check out their Facebook page for more photos and information.
Right beside Lolo Cancio’s is Inidian View Deck, where you can enjoy a panorama of the reservoir and take a breather on the benches. There is no entrance fee, but they do accept donations, all of which go to the maintenance of the view deck.
If you want to take a closer look at the water, you can head over to the 75-megawatt Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant. The facility has a long history. It was constructed in the 1950s, one of the first large hydroelectric power plants established by the National Power Corporation. In the 1990 earthquake, the plant suffered some long-lasting damage and would be shut down in 1999. Nine years later, SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet or SNAP-Benguet acquired the plant along with Binga hydroelectic power plant in Itogon and began rehabilitation work on both.
There isn’t much to do in the area, so if you’re looking to go somewhere with plenty of attractions and activities, Bokod might not be your speed. For a road trip ending in awesome views and fresh air, though, it’s a great option for breaking up the post-lockdown monotony without the risk and cost of getting on an airplane.
Before traveling, always remember to check for the latest announcements from your LGU and the LGU of your destination for travel requirements and restrictions. Regardless of local policies, it’s always best to wear a mask in public places. Stay home if you’re feeling sick. Travel is not a right; it’s a privilege you earn by being considerate and responsible, and by helping stop the spread of the virus.