Dingalan, Aurora, Philippines

DINGALAN, AURORA TRAVEL GUIDE (DIY ITINERARY + BUDGET)

7/03/2018



Escape to Dingalan, Aurora


Dingalan: Province in Aurora

Coordinates: 15.4000° N, 121.3780° E 
What to do/see: beach, waterfalls, lighthouse
Ideal time to visit: Ideal time to visit is during summer season (Mar-May) since this tour includes pump boat rides. Although you can plan it anytime of the year as long as the weather isn't harsh.


See complete itinerary below.


1:00AM
The trip to Dingalan was spontaneous, unprepared and quick-- mainly because it was a tour by a travel agency. The destination would be one van-ride away and there were no worries of bus and boat transportation, local fees, and delays. Every once in a while, I prefer to book tours just because of the hassle-free commute and fixed prices. The only thing we prayed for was a good weather ahead.


4:30AM
Since we were on tour, it was a quick trip to Dingalan. Our driver, Kuya Jim, turned a 6-hour drive into 3.5 hours (another perk of tours). There were no stopping for passengers and it was a comfy sleep to our destination. We arrived at the town center with the moon still up in the sky. Just to kill time, we decided to have our breakfast before heading to the Dingalan Feeder Port.

It was a bright sunny day with the ocean calm as it can be. We had a good feeling that it would be a perfect day for exploring. We rode a pump boat for 15 minutes going to White Beach, the first stop on our itinerary. It would be the jump-off point going to the light house.



The trek to the lighthouse was roughly 20 minutes from gradual ascend to continuous assault on a steady pace. Once we passed through the forest and out onto the grassland, we can see the view of the ocean which was formed into a cove by the island shore of Dingalan.


After a few short minutes, we finally saw the light house. On the contrary, it wasn't the first thing that caught our eyes. The continuous rolling hills in front of us  were a picturesque view of what could be something you can see if ever you're in New Zealand or in Iceland. A view you can compare to Batanes. A view pictures can't capture its true beauty. We had even more luck when the coast guards opened the lighthouse again to the public. (The light house was recently closed because tourists climb onto the solar panels) Although, not long enough, they closed it again because the first batch of tourists before disobeyed the rule again.



The lighthouse was the main attraction in Dingalan. A lot of people think it resembles Batanes's rolling terrain. 

We had a quick descent down the hill so we had to wait for our boatmen to return. White beach is the prime beach of the barangay. Ever since tourists learned about Dingalan's famous light house, it has been on the top list of the local tourism scene.


Our pump boat took us around the perimeter of Dingalan and along the entrance of Lamao Caves. Although during low tide, a few more caves shows up and are open for exploration. it is also a perfect spot for snorkeling and diving.

We headed back to the feeder port to have lunch. Our last destination for the day was the hike to Tanawan falls, which was 30 mins away from the port.






1:00PM
We reached the jump off point. it wasn't hard for us to determine the road because it has a developed trail which can fit two cars. Getting lost was not the problem, it was scorching hot and the mid-day wind brings nothing but humid air. There was nothing but grass and no tree was in sight. Although, the view going up was encouraging, we made an assumption that maybe the falls was hidden inside those mountains-- way, way up. Just when we finally want to give up, there was a right turn heading into a trail filled with trees. Finally, shade!


Trees were a good sign that we were getting close. Same thing with the mud and puddles along the trail. A body of water is near! Our exhaustion was replaced with excitement. It was a long time since I hiked and went waterfall chasing.

Not long enough, we reached the falls.



Tanawan Falls is one of the nature spots hidden in Dingalan. it is a two-storey falls with two levels cascading through the rocks. Its catch basin has mostly shallow parts, bu to ensure safety, the local have provided a rope along the deep areas of the falls. What fascinated me was the children jumping off the edge of the topmost part, some even sliding down the falls. Looks like this falls is a playground for these children.

We spent an hour in the falls. From a 30-minute ascent, it only took us 15 minutes to go back.



Aside from White Beach, Lamao Caes and Tanawan Falls, Dupinga and Bato Peri River and Tanawan View Deck were also included in the tour. The view deck is on the mian road just before turning left for Tanawan Falls. You'll pass by Dupinga and Bato Peri rivers once leaving Aurora.

We left Aurora at 4 in the afternoon and had dinner in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. After 6 hours, we made it back to Manila. It was definitely a jam-packed day.


ITINERARY & BUDGET:

We booked a tour with Columbus Travel and Tours.
However, it is still possible to do it diy. 
Cubao to Cabanatuan: 5 hours via bus | 185PHP | Ride a bus at 5 Star Terminal in Cubao
Cabanatuan to Dingalan: 2 hours via van | 100PHP
Dingalan to Feeder Port: 15-20 minutes via tricycle | 20PHP
Feeder Port to White Beach: 30 minutes via pump boat | 700-1000PHP | The boat costs 1000PHP, but try to bargain with the boatman to give you a discount. White beach is the jump-off point to the light house.
White beach to Lighthouse: 30 minutes walk
↠ Lunch: prices ranges from 50-150PHP
--
Feeder Port to Dingalan: 15-20 minutes via tricycle | 20PHP | There are tricycles waiting along the market in front of the port.
Dingalan to Cabanatuan: 2 hours via van | 100PHP | Last trip to Cabanatuan is at 3-4PM 
Cabanatuan to Cubao: 5 hours via bus | 185PHP

TOTAL: Solo-travel: 1760PHP Group travel of 4: 980PHP


*Note: You can save more when you travel by group. This would lessen the guide fee.
*Prices may change and travel time may vary.

Footnotes:
Photos taken using a phone camera: Samsung S3 GT-19300 | Dingalan, Aurora | June 2016 | Updated July 2018


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