Biak-na-Bato National Park is a protected area of the Philippines located almost entirely within Barangay Biak-na-Bato in San Miguel, Bulacan from where it derives its name. The park also extends to the nearby municipalities of San Ildefonso and Doña Remedios Trinidad covering a total area of 2,117 hectares. It was declared a national park in 1937 by President Manuel Luis Quezon by virtue of its association with the history and site of the Biak-na-Bato Republic. The park consists of a cave network and a system of rivers and trails of both historical and ecological importance. Situated only 80 kilometers northeast from Manila, it is fast becoming a popular weekend eco-adventure destination for the city dwellers.

Apparently, this is the place to visit for childless couples, singles looking for soulmates and farmers praying for a bountiful harvest.

Biak na Bato National Park is one of the country’s ecological and historical treasures encompassing the southern edge of the Sierra Madre range situated a few kilometers from San Miguel Bulacan. Its name literally translates as “split boulders” taken from its unique rocky environment and caves.

The 2,100 hectare national park offers various ecological attractions including winding streams, waterfalls, thick forests and hundreds of caves which made it a suitable hideout for General Emilio Aguinaldo and other revolutionary fighters during the Spanish War.

Today Biak na Bato National Park has become a popular tourist destination attracting families who are looking for a refreshing summer retreat as well as busloads of students getting hands-on lessons on Philippine history.

The park also offers some pleasant hiking trails, waterfalls and hundreds of caves to explore – more than enough to satisfy a day’s worth of exploration for those with an adventurous spirit. There are some interesting rock formations, trails leading to small rivers, green forests and hanging bridges (which were used by young daredevils as platform for jumping into the water during our visit).

The park has somewhat lost some its wilderness feel – the once impregnable natural fortress that provided refuge to our freedom fighters is now quite accessible from the main town of San Miguel. In fact it has become a bit too touristy for the tastes of my two travel buddies, who shun away from guided tours unless really necessary.

There were rows of souvenir shops, food stalls and street vendors fronting the entrance of the park. But it was more the various fees they charge that kind of overwhelmed them before they could even enter the park. There’s parking fee of course, a toilet fee every time you go (different for number 1 and 2) and a compulsory guide fee.

I could imagine it would be more fun exploring further away from the crowd and checking out the network of caves. It doubles your chances of seeing endemic species like cloud rat, wild pigs, bats and other endangered fauna. On a less busier times, a visit to Biak na Bato National Park would probably be more pleasant and relaxing.

How to Get to Biak na Bato

Take the bus from SM North in Quezon City en route to San Miguel Bulacan and ask the driver to let you off at the park entrance. You may also rent a private van or FX from here and be prepared to pay up to P2000.