The weather in Metro Manila and all through Manila East Road was bright and sunny, but just as we got to the foot of the wind turbines in Pililla, Rizal, the rain started to pour. Howling wind sent small stones and gravel from the rocky terrain flying in the air, showing us just why this elevated spot was chosen to be the site of a wind farm project. But despite the threatening grey skies and rain, the windmills were impressive, towering over the rugged landscape. There were only three turbines standing during our exploratory bike ride last Valentine’s Day 2015.
Three weeks later, I went on a solo motorcycle ride to get better photos and was even more impressed. From the highway, I counted at least 10 visible turbines on the hills.
Just like the Bangui Wind Farm in Ilocos Norte that attracts tourists from all over the country and abroad, you can tell this spot is going to be very popular once it’s completed. When I got to the site, there was already a crowd of bikers and riders, all eager to get souvenir shots. Locals were hiking up the road, while tricycles were kicking up dust in the trails. A few came in private cars armed with their families and iPads.
Encountered the riding group Viajista while visiting the wind farm; they later went to Buruwisan Falls in Siniloan, Laguna
As of March 8, there were 12 wind turbine generators already standing out of the 27 to be constructed along the ridge of the mountainous Rizal province for the Pililla Wind Farm Power Project (PWFPP). Each turbine can produce 2 Megawatts each of renewable energy for a total of 54 MW. The wind farm, operated by Alternergy Wind One Corp., is expected to provide the additional energy needs of the Luzon grid.
According to news reports, the wind farm has already been successfully interconnected to Meralco’’s 115-kilovolt Malaya-Caliraya-Kalayaan transmission line.
Once completed, this will be the second wind power facility in the Philippines, aside from the one in Ilocos Province. Aside from harnessing alternative sources of energy, the wind farm project is also expected to boost tourism in the town.
According to the guard on duty during our first visit, they expect the windmills to be completed by April or May, but they’ve already been getting a steady stream of visitors from the metro, all eager to see the windmills up close. The windmills are already visible from Antipolo and from Laguna across Laguna Lake, so it’s pretty hard to miss.
Spotted this cool big bike on my way back to Manila
Pililla in Rizal has long been a popular destination for road cyclists and riders because of its smooth, paved roads and natural and historic spots nearby. The wind farm offers another unique destination relatively near the metro that you can easily visit during a half-day / day trip.
UPDATE: As of 6/7/15, all 27 wind turbines are up, though 6 more will be constructed. There are 3 main clusters of windmills, which you can reach via Manila East Road or Sampaloc. Unfortunately, you can only take photos by the entrance and you won’t be allowed to go through the road to make a loop (yet). According to the security guard on duty during my 3rd visit there, there will a Bulalohan restaurant put up this year near the Sampaloc cluster for visitors 🙂
UPDATE 2: As of September 2015, you can now enter to make a loop of the windmills! Check out new photos here.
Third visit (solo ride) in June 2015 to check out the alternative Sampaloc route. Very cloudy and overcast.
Fourth visit (with Outside Slacker to test out a Royal Enfield demo unit) in September 2015.
Check out my previous post on Where to Eat along Manila East Road.
OTHER AREAS OF INTEREST NEARBY:
HOW TO GET THERE:
Via private transportation:
Manila East Road:
- Follow the Manila East Road all the way to Pilillla. The Manila East Road passes through the towns of Taytay, Angono, Binangonan, Cardona, Morong, Baras and Tanay before Pililla.
- From Quezon City, we passed through Antipolo via Sumulong Highway to get to Manila East Road.
- When you reach a fork in the road, take the left fork going towards Mabitac, Famy & Real, not towards Jala-Jala.
- This is an uphill road. When you reach the overlooking point of Laguna Lake, you’re relatively near. You’ll pass a power plant.
- Turn left along the highway when you see a wide gravel area leading up to the windmill’s major construction site (there’ll be a guy flagging you).
- There’ll be a short stretch of mostly rough road. This is accessible to all types of vehicles including cars, tricycles, motorcycles and bicycles. Watch out for construction trucks.
Marilaque with shortcut through Sampaloc: (longer but more scenic route):
- By motorcycle, I prefer passing the Marilaque route that connects to Manila East Road.
- When you get to Pranjetto Hills, take the road on the right leading to Tanay.
- When you get to the intersection, go straight towards Regina Rica, Camp Capinpin & JE Camp (Erap’s Place).
- You will see Sampaloc Inn on the left. On the next small road after Sampaloc Inn, turn right on the corner with an Ynares Waiting Shed. (Note: “My Little Store Pasalubong Center and Coffee Shop” is no longer on the corner. If you reach JE Camp, lumampas ka na.)
- Turn left at the first corner and follow the small road.
- Some portions of the road are still unpaved, steep & narrow, but it’s accessible to motorcycles, bicycles, tricycles and 4 x 4 vehicles (only one vehicle can pass at a time in some portions). Be careful driving on the dirt road portions. WARNING: Can be hard to drive if the road is muddy.
Marilaque and Manila East Road: (joyride version)
Alternatively, you can also connect to Manila East Road via Marilaque, by turning right on the intersection towards Daranak Falls instead of going straight.
- Once you reach a gas station, turn left heading to Pililla. This is Manila East Road. You’ll pass by several restaurants along the road and can see the windmills along the highway.
- Take the left fork going towards Mabitac, Famy & Real and continue uphill until you reach the windmills.
- The road here is mostly paved except for the last portion near the entrance to the windmills. This is a better option for those with cars and sedans.
Photo from a fellow rider I met on the road. Thanks, Michael!
Via public transportation:
- From Starmall FX / Van Terminal in Shaw Boulevard or Araneta Center, Cubao, you can ride a jeep or van going to Tanay, Rizal. From Starmall, the vans GT-express fare is P70.
- Get down at the junction or the Tanay Public Market in Sampaloc. Travel time is about 2-3 hours depending on traffic.
- Hire a tricycle going to the Wind Farm. Rates are negotiable. It’s better if you’re in a group so you can split the costs.