When we hear of Aurora on top of our mind is Baler, famously known as the surfing capital of the Philippines. Little did people know that a beautiful place like Dingalan exists in Aurora. They call it the Batanes of the East. It is such an interesting thing to be compared to Batanes so due to my curiosity, I decided to explore the Dingalan, Aurora.
According to our local tour guide, Dingalan originated from a tale. Ding refers to a native person of the place and Ngalan means River which gives birth to Dingalan or simply Ding of the River. His another fascinating story is that 69% of Yamashita’s treasure was buried in the sea of Dingalan. Many treasure hunters visited the place, only a few succeeded and many failed. I don’t know how he came up with that percentage.
Dingalan, Aurora is located in the northeast part of Luzon facing the Pacific Ocean. It is often dubbed as the Batanes of the East because of their similarities. Batanes and Dingalan they said, have the same mountain landscapes and ocean sceneries. (So far in pictures, though, this is yet to be proven since I have never visited Batanes). Dingalan has clear and clean waters and the mountains are unspoiled. The spectacular ocean view from the green mountains will leave you in awe.
For those do not have the resources to go to Batanes, I suggest Dingalan be your budget Batanes trip, at least for now (Going to Batanes is actually not cheap, its price is equivalent to visiting 3 Asian countries).
I again joined a group event in Facebook and discovered the pristine beauty of Dingalan, Aurora. It is always a good thing to join a group to lessen your expenses, travel conveniently and of course, have a chance to meet other people along the trip. I have joined 3 groups so far this year and I enjoyed meeting all of them. Some of them are my Facebook friends now.
This trip is not a DIY trip since the organizer arranged everything for the group. All of us just paid a little extra, but still, it was inexpensive compared to other group tours I have inquired. Although this is not DIY, I will share with you a day tour budget travel guide to Dingalan, Aurora which you can do solo or with your friends and family. Take note that this is a mix of trekking, caving and swimming adventures so be physically prepared.
Places to Visit:
White beach (Black sand)
12:00 AM – ETD to Dingalan, Aurora
5:30 AM – ETA to Dingalan, Aurora
5:45 AM – Boat ride or trek (15 mins) to Isla Dinagat (White Beach)
6:00 AM – Breakfast (packed)
6:30 AM – Trek to Light House
7:00 AM – Light House; photo ops
7:30 AM – Descend to White Beach
8:00 AM – Swim!
8:30 AM – Trek to Viewing Deck
9:00 AM – View Point
9:30 AM – Back to White Beach
10:00 AM – Lunch; Boodle fight
11:00 AM – Boat ride to Cave
11:30 AM – Caving, swimming near Rock formation
12:30 PM – Boat to Feeder Port
1:00 PM – ETA to Feeder Port
2:00 PM – ETA at Tanawan falls
2:30 PM – Swimming
4:00 PM – back to van; wash up
4:30 PM – Photo-ops at I LOVE DINGALAN
5:00 PM – ETD back to Manila
7:00 PM – Dinner along the way
10:00 PM – ETA Manila
All boats to Isla Dinagat departs from Feeder Port. We dropped here just for registration. We opted to trek to Isla Dinagat.
Passing the river to Isla Dinagat.
While trekking to Isla Dinagat, we passed by these beautiful wild flowers.
White Beach (but with blacks sands)
The trail up to the lighthouse.
The view from the Lighthouse
From the Lighthouse, we descended to White Beach and started trail to the Viewing Deck and Mountain View.
At the viewing deck.
We had lunch and rest at the White Beach. We did a boodle fight and freshened up with Buko juice.
After lunch, we headed to the rock formation and Lamao Cave.
At the Rock Formation
This ocean view
From the Rock formation, we ride a boat going back to Feeder Port to go to Tanawan Falls.
Last stop was the I love Dingalan sign before going back to Manila.
HOW TO GOT THERE?
Bus ride from Cubao to Cabanatuan – Php185 one-way (Fivestar Bus)
Bus ride or van from Cabanatuan to Paltik – Php 50 one-way
Eco Fee -Php 50
Feeder Port to White Beach (Option of Boat ride or trek from Feeder Port to White Beach) – the boat is P800 for a group of 8-10 pax. The amount is inclusive of boat rides going to White Beach, Lamao Cave, rock formation area and back to Feeder Port.
Trek and tour guide fee – Php 400
Mountain View – Php 50
WHAT TO WEAR?
-Trek attire (recommended are quick-dry leggings/ shorts and top but cotton can also be worn since it is a short trek to the lighthouse and viewing deck)
-Wear trek sandals
WHAT TO BRING?
– Packed Breakfast and Lunch
– Water 2-3 Liters ( depends on your own consumption)
– Trail Foods (chocolates, biscuit, jelly ace, crackers)
– Extra Clothes + Swimming clothes
– Personal Hygiene and Toiletries
– ID with Emergency Contact
* Pack light as possible
* Always Prepare for the unexpected things.
* Leave no trace to the trail / avoid throwing anything/littering.