Every time I hear the province of Aurora being said, I always associate it with its provincial capital, Baler. Baler is a haven for surfers due to its gigantic waves that can go up as high as nine feet. However, this time, I want to share with you one great travel destination in the province of Aurora that is not named Baler. It is called Dingalan and you can go here without spending too much. Let’s start and get to know Dingalan!
Dingalan is a municipality located in the southeastern portion of the province of Aurora. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, it has a land area of 304.55 km2 constituting 9.68% of the total area of Aurora. It is home to beautiful caves, beaches and waterfalls not yet explored by many.
Back in June, I haven’t had a solo travel yet for the year. I decided to go here in Dingalan because it isn’t very far from the metro and also, because I became interested to explore it when I saw beautiful pictures online depicting the place. I only had two days (Thursday and Friday) for this trip but it was enough for me to have a wonderful experience in Dingalan.
Here is my itinerary for the whole trip:
I went to Cubao at around 5 AM to ride a bus going to Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. There are several bus terminals there with the Cabanatuan route (Victory Liner, Baliwag, Five Star) but I chose Five Star Bus Terminal. Fee is P185, one way. Personnel in the said terminal said that there’s a trip every hour.
After about three (3) hours of travel, I have reached the so-called grand terminal in Cabantuan. There, I rode a van going to Dingalan, costing me P135 one way. It should be noted that vans are limited so if you could go there earlier, the better. It is said that there are also buses going to Dingalan but they aren’t always available and that their trips take longer compared to vans.
After about two (2) hours of travel time, I have finally reached Dingalan! The van stopped in Dingalan Market. Next thing I did, I rode a tricycle and asked the driver to go to feeder port. Fare is about P20. Upon reaching the feeder port, I registered in the tourism office. Now, time to explore the place!
DINGALAN’S WHITE BEACH
First stop in Dingalan would be the WHITE BEACH. You have two options of going there: (1) walk for about an hour or (2) rent a boat for P500. You can haggle to lower the price and you may just get a deal for P400 if you are going solo. I chose to ride the boat since I was already hungry and tired and I’d need it again when I return to the feeder port the following day.
When I have reached White Beach, I looked for cottages and eventually decided to stay in Kuya Buboy’s Cottage (contact number: 09185036080). They offered me a fee of P500 for an overnight stay (bedroom, washroom, toilet). They have a store where one can buy food like canned goods, chips, among others but in understandably more expensive prices. It would be better if you’d bring your own food to save up money. I settled down for a while, ate my lunch that I brought and observed the surroundings. Dingalan is such a beauty.
You won’t go to Dingalan without going to their lighthouse that offers and awesome view of that side of Luzon that meets the Pacific Ocean. I believe that the scenery you’d be seeing atop the lighthouse is the reason why Dingalan is dubbed by some people as the “Batanes of the East.” It may be reminiscent of the beauty that is seen in the province of Batanes. Anyway, you’d need a guide when going to the lighthouse (fee is P200). The trek to the top would only take about 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on how fast you walk. When you finally reach the lighthouse, relax, enjoy the view and take awesome pictures!Did you see the lighthouse up there? Yes, that’s the Dingalan Lighthouse!
Aside from the White Beach and the Dingalan Lighthouse, other places to visit include the following:
You’d rent a boat for this. I was thankful I got to join some other travelers who were also in Dingalan at the time I went there. We divided the cost of the boat ride.
You’d rent a tricycle to go waterfalls chasing. Fee is about P200.
The way going back to Manila is opposite of going to Dingalan. Go back to the feeder port via boat (remember that the P500-rent you’d be paying going to the White Beach is already two-way) or walk for about an hour. Ride a tricycle and go to Dingalan Market. Ride the van going to Cabanatuan (this might take a while due to limited number of vans and/or passengers). Then, from Cabanatuan, ride the bus in the grand terminal to go back to Cubao, Quezon City.
Here’s a review of my expenses in this travel:
|P185||Bus ride from Cubao, Quezon City to Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija|
|P130||Van ride from Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija to Dingalan, Aurora|
|P20||Tricycle ride from Dingalan Market to Feeder Port|
|P500||Boat going to (and from) White Beach|
|P200||Boat ride towards the caves including Lamao Caves|
|P320||Cottage (I shared with my fellow travelers that’s why the rent went from P500 to P320)|
|P50||Lighthouse (we were four when we went up; P200 lighthouse fee divided into four)|
|P200||Tricycle rent for waterfalls chasing|
|P130||Van ride from Dingalan to Cabanatuan|
|P185||Bus ride from Cabanatuan to Cubao|