The road to the Dumagat tribe


A view going up to where the Dumagat’s school is located.

The first time I have heard or read of the Dumagat tribe was in my Facebook feed. Someone that I’m connected to went there to donate some slippers, another one went there to donate some school supplies. I started to wonder… maybe I can go and visit that place and hopefully give something to them that can help them in their everyday lives.

So I tried to do some research, apparently they are a nomadic tribe that lives in Gen. Nakar and some other places in Quezon, Rizal and Laguna. They rely on the mountains of Sierra Madre for their basic needs and are a bit shy when it comes to interacting with people from the city.

Gen. Nakar is one of the three places in Quezon that I haven’t explored, I thought why not look for them and explore the place at the same time. So off I went.

The usual route from the winding roads of Marilaque to the equally windy winding roads of Infanta you finally end up in road with three signs, one going to Infanta (town proper), another going to Real, and lastly Gen. Nakar. I was really excited as I have passed this place time and again always wondering… what is Gen. Nakar like? Today I get to find out.

Once you pass the ark where it says “Welcome to Gen. Nakar” you are then greeted to a dirt road. I was not sure where it’s going to take me but I decided to go in anyways. There are moments wherein the road gets divided into two, not knowing where to go, I just went on to follow my gut or my heart or whatever… (I’m starting to formulate this idea of travelling by heart). I’m almost always lost and most of the time I have no idea where I’m going when I travel, but I’m pretty sure of one thing, wherever I may end up it is going to be interesting.

There were no paved roads. All that there is are rough roads that just goes on and on some of them are flat while others are well… you have to focus a lot as you go through them. But I like it, not seeing paved roads feels like you’re really in an adventure. As I went deeper and deeper I saw some other roads that leads to rice fields and some of them even disappear into the mountains. I kept wondering where I would end up if I took that road or took the other one, or the other one. It made me smile as I was thinking that… For me it is an indication that I will surely come back to this place.

At some point I had to stop to take a rest and maybe ask for directions. Most of the time I stop on a stream or something that is a body of water, because then I can refresh myself with it and the sound of running water is always a good break from the constant engine hum.

The simple life. Gen. Nakar, Quezon

The simple life. Gen. Nakar, Quezon

One of the things that amazes when I travel to provinces would be the simplicity of life. (Although I do not advocate washing your clothes running water as it pollutes it… I still find it kind of simple)

I think I forgot to mention that I wasn’t travelling alone one this particular trip as one person who has the same bike as mine asked if he could come, he’s just starting out on riding motorcycles and this is probably his first long-ish ride. While I was resting I wasn’t aware that he went to look for some coconut juice for us to drink, he came back empty handed or so I thought.

He told me that he didn’t find any. But alas after like five minutes of telling me that, an old man with a machete came up to us along with his young grandson and asked. How many coconuts do you need and when do you need it? I was really surprised, he went out of his way to ask us and it seems he is still willing to go out of his way to get us some, and he has a really, really amazing smile.

The people on the provinces have this distinct smile, one that is really sincere and often with a slight touch of wonder.

Sincere smile with a touch of wonder Gen. Nakar Quezon

Sincere smile with a touch of wonder Gen. Nakar Quezon

He was really generous and was really willing to get coconuts for us. But I had to politely decline as it would mean that he would really have to go out of his way and with the little boy with him i’m pretty sure that he is on grand daddy duty. So I just asked him where to find the Dumagat tribe and he just told us to go on straight… but going there will be a challenge.

So I went on riding, it seems everything was just about going up and up and the roads were just getting worse and worse. It’s was a mix of loose rocks and dirt there was a point wherein the road is nothing but loose rocks. It went for 15 minutes until we finally found a place where there are some people residing on a concrete house.

I thought at first if that was the school that they told me about. A school that was built for the Dumagat Tribe. But it wasn’t, it was a day care. Usually people will start coming up to you when you look lost and ask you if your’e looking for something or someone. So that’s what they did.

I asked them if this was the school. They told me that it’s still about 3km’s away from there. I wanted to push through but since I was with someone I decided not to, because for sure we would be going back late to this dirt road and we wont have daylight to help us navigate. I just took note of everything the landmarks the people and that particular place. It’s a no brainer I will come back to this place.

After a 15 minute break I headed back, but it’s a bit to early to go home. I have this gut feeling that there is a beach here Gen. Nakar. So I went looking for it. Had to ask some locals for the direction and just like that, we got there. It’s a cove with very few people in it… it was an amazing find.

Sulok Beach, Gen. Nakar

Sulok Beach, Gen. Nakar

It’s called “Sulok” beach, in Filipino it means “corner” or in the “at the corner” and indeed the name is suitable for the location.

You might not arrive at your target destination, but often times you get to see a few gems and they always present themselves in various forms and those in itself is always worth while.


One response to “The road to the Dumagat tribe”

  1. […] I have been trying to look for them before. There’s actually a blog post that you can read here, about my first attempt to find them. I’ve met some during our outreach program but it was in […]

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