There is a hidden wonder that sits where the Magat River flows. The Magat River, the largest tributary of Cagayan River, spreads conveniently like God’s gift in that part of Luzon. To better benefit from it, the Magat Dam was constructed in 1984, funded by the World Bank, and becoming Southeast Asia’s first largest multipurpose dam: as a source of irrigation water for 85,000 hectares or agricultural lands – and as a peaking hydroelectric power plant (it only operates when there is a high demand for electricity in the Luzon power grid).
The dam itself is located on the river between the municipalities of Alfonso Lista in the province of Ifugao and Ramon in Isabela. Upstream from the dam is a 117 square kilometer reservoir. The reservoir has a normal level of 178.3 meters and a maximum of 193 meters. The critical value at which the water level at the reservoir is considered low is 160 meters. The dam is owned by the National Irrigation Authority while the Magat, which used to be managed by the National Power Corporation, is now owned by the private conglomerate of Aboitiz and a Norwegian power investment company. The dam was constructed to last for 50 years. I wonder what becomes after 50?
My visit to the Magat Dam was an unexpected treat on my way to Ilagan City. We drove through the town of Ramon in Isabela then turned at a curb where a guardhouse blocks the thoroughfare. With an earnest request and a smile, he allowed us to wander around for a few minutes. I doubt though if that was allowed. But the Magat Dam deserves to be opened to tourists to be appreciated, much like the Colorado River’s Hoover Dam, on the border between Colorado and Nevada.
WORLD'S LARGEST DAMS
Just for completion, Hoover Dam is just 35th of the world’s largest dams. The top 5 are as follows: Canada’s Syncrude Tailings in Alberta as number one, Argentina’s Chapeton Dam, Argentina’s Pati Dam, New Cornelia tailings from Arizona and, the fifth one is Pakistan’s Tarbela Dam.
Standing on the road, flocked by the river from each side, just takes my breath away. Everything was a color spectacle!
Hoover Dam located on the border between Colorado and Nevada (above). Photo above courtesy of Wikipedia.