Jewels of Dasol (Pangasinan, PH)

YESTERDAY: I wanted to live in total seclusion. I was in search of myself. I was in chase of those elusive ways of trying to mend the indemnity that have relentlessly smashed me to smithereens. I felt shattered into a thousand pieces. And I didn’t know where to start picking them up for me to be whole again. I didn’t even know what I was searching for myself. But I knew that I was searching for something. It was like dealing with the skeletons in my closet. I didn’t want to deal with them, but I had to… I had to save myself.colibra island (4)

Moments Between Yesterday and Today

It was a long weekend. A few people with whom I discern with had planned a few weeks ago to experience this summer’s sand, sea and sun in a place not frequented by many people. We wanted a real getaway from the hustle-bustle life of the city. I was personally into finding a place that will give me a sense of tranquility. And maybe, just maybe – give me some answers to yesterday’s cynicism and queries. So, off we went to this path less travelled. Off we went to the not so popular place called – Tambobong, Dasol.colibra island (1)

The view that welcomed us upon our arrival in Dasol. Tambobong is an outskirt, fishing village in Dasol, a town in the Western part of Pangasinan. It seems to be a world on its own, cutting you from the rest of the world and wrapping you in its own enchantment. Part of that enchantment perhaps owes to the idea that Tambobong seems to defy time and what it brings. balinmanok wreck

Our 3-day stay in Dasol necessitates “roughing it.” There are no resorts in Tambobong. (There’s this one resort found in Osmena, a neighboring barangay of Tambobong, but the entrance fee is just too much – Php250/person/night. So caution yourselves if you stumbled upon that resort). And so we decided to seek for a place to stay in Tambobong’s undeveloped areas. We don’t fancy resorts that much; we would rather rough it out. One has to fend for himself—bring tents to sleep in, bring food and water, improvise outhouses.

We found a very nice family who owns a store and offered the beachfront part of their house. (Thank you Ate Alma and family!!!) Surprisingly, the people in the neighborhood were all nice that every now and then, several persons would come by and offer us some things we might want to use. They asked us if we were okay and that in case it rains, we can invade their houses and stay there. They appeased the irregularity of this escapade. It felt peculiar, but great.

DAY 1 – Rocking Our Day with Vivid Sunset Our house in Dasol. Time to say “goodnight”.

Originally, the planned itinerary for the 1st day was a short boat trip to Colibra Island. But since we arrived pretty late and everyone seemed to be tired from that unexpected long drive to Tambobong, we decided to change what was in store for that day, and that is to visit the Rockwalls of Pedeg. So after pitching up our tents, cooked and ate our late lunch – we asked some locals to show us the way to the rockwalls.

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Manang Alma insisted though that someone will take us there so as not to get lost. That’s where we met Ben, and two of his friends who willingly showed us the way to Pedeg.

Pedeg is a sitio in Tambobong. It boasts off limestone like rocks. According to Ben, they call this place as “kanyon” (cannon). This is because; when the waves are strong one will be able to see the columns of sea water surging up hitting the rocks and producing a sound like that of cannon. balinmanok wreck (8)

We waited for the sunset at this part of Tambobong since this portion conveniently faces the southwest so one can glimpse beautiful sunsets every day. The place embodies the essence of the word tranquility as dusk falls. No distractions like ear-piercing karaoke, obtrusive lights, and peripatetic people. All one can hear is the gentle sound of the waves. All one can see is that picture-perfect sunset.

DAY 2 – Sand, Sea and Sun at the Islands!

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BALAKI ISLAND: This island is about an hour away from Tambobong. (Although Manong Marcing said that if one comes from Infanta, a neighboring town of Dasol, it would only take about 30 minutes boat ride). Upon reaching the island, we have discovered that there is a resort at the western tip which we bravely set our foot on. But, we were driven off by the owner (who said we have to “pass out” of his territory). It was private. And so we did not have much of a choice but to head for the emergent side. (Any way, as I have said earlier – “We don’t fancy resorts that much!” (Bitterness? Nah!)

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COLIBRA ISLAND: From Balaki, we then headed to another island – Colibra Island. It was a 30 – 40 minutes boat ride. (But if one is coming from Tambobong mainland, it would only take about 20 minutes. This island is also referred to as “Snake Island” by some because according to one of the locals, it used to be inhabited by a considerable population of sea snakes. Thank God there wasn’t a single reptile seen during the time we were there.  balaki-2

It is a small island, almost the same size of Potipot island in Candelaria, Zambales. Despite the small size, it is a very nice place to get stuck in (well at least for a day or two). The northwest side of the island seems to be the best place for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing. Just make sure that you are prepared to be auburn since the island offers very little shade. (There was only one shade in the island, and about 4 coconut trees). Nonetheless, all sides of the island present picturesque views. Our group says that this is a must-visit if you happen to ramble around the environs of Tambobong.balaki-4

In the afternoon, we were supposed to see the Kabakungan Cave, but then, we were not able to find it. So we decided to try our luck the following day.

We spent the rest of the day wandering along the shores of Tambobong, and from time to time, getting ourselves into the aquamarine and very calm waters. A family even offered their mini “bangka” for us to use. During the night time, we had our marshmallow moments, and socials. Some of the locals even joined us. Suddenly, it started to drizzle. Again, Manang Alma’s family came to offer us their house in case the rain pours heavily. Thank God it didn’t.

I even slept out at the hammock. It was during those times that I felt I was one with nature. It was there that I felt the tranquility of Tambobong.

I spent several minutes remembering the way the beautiful hues of the sky looked like as the sun started to set in; how the tones and colors intensified just before my very eyes. As I closed my eyes, the thought of the dazzling whiteness of the beaches in the islands we hopped on started to linger”. I knew I drifted to sleep with a beam on my face.

DAY 3 – Cave, Cove and Wreck

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CROCODILE ISLAND and the NALASIN ROCKS:

The official name of this island is Lagtaras but is frequently referred to by the locals as the Crocodile Island because it resembles like a crocodile from afar.

From afar, Lagtaras Island looks like a Crocodile. In between Lagtaras and Kabakungan are large, towering rocks called “Nalasin” Rocks. “Nalasin” is an Ilocano term which means separated. They appear to be fragments of rocks separated from mainland Lagtaras. Some of the locals even refer this as “Pugot-Ulo” since it appears to be a beheaded portion of the island.

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KABAKUNGAN CAVE: It is a cave within a cove. Kabakungan is a mini cove found in Cainan Point in the western portion of Tambobong. This is where one can find a cave with emerald green pool inside where one can take a dip or if you are that type of person who likes risks and adventure, then try taking a plunge by jumping off from this caves upper rocky portion.balaki-5

BALINMANOK WRECK @ OSMENA BEACH:

From the tip-most part of Tambobong, our boat took us to the tip-most portion of Osmena – Sitio Balinmmanok, known for a vessel/ship wreck. A serene beach front welcomed us in this area. Tucked in another small cove, it appears to be deserted most of the time according to Manong Willie, a local who warmly welcomed us. He shared us stories about as to why they called the place “Balinmanok”. It is because of the huge rocks near the beach area that looks like chicken (“manok” is the Tagalog term for chicken). He also shared the story about the wreck in the area. He said that several Hong Kong nationals were caught distributing illegal drugs in Western Pangasinan were arrested, leaving their vessel (a type of sea transportation) in the waters of Balinmanok.balaki

Now, the wreck serves as a home to thousands of marine animals; and is a good snorkeling site for ichthyologist wannabes. Of course we went to snorkel around the area. The sea was calm and the water was cool. It wasn’t too sun-drenched, but not too ominous either.

Its time to pack our things up. It was about 2 PM when we got back to our camp. We were dead-tired. We had yet another late  lunch, started to pack our things up; and bade goodbye to all the people who made our stay in Dasol warm and “at home”.balinmanok wreck (2)

On our way back to Baguio, I felt revitalized and cleansed. I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to get away to the beach and enjoy the beauty of the waters. The things about Tambobong and Dasol in general may sound exuberantly clichés.  But, again and again, the experience is something near perfection and paradisiacal — both factual and romanticized.

TODAY: Reminiscing the tranquility Tambobong made me experience, gave me some realizations with my sentiments days before the trip. The tranquility I have felt inspired me to be more optimistic in life. And the reason for this particular blog was to share the beautiful things I have experienced, that eventually brought about positive effects.

Things that could help me find the tranquility in my life.

Boating on calm waters took me back to the times that I have been too fury about a lot of things; making me realize the importance of being cool and still to have a smoother journey in life.

Sunrise greeting us with a hue of pink, orange and tangerine. The sunset’s vivid colors reminded me that goodbyes should not be perceived as something melancholic; that there is beauty in store when we say adieu.  While the sunrise marks a new day, and new hope, and perhaps – new life.

The sturdy rocks constantly being whipped by raging waters made me understand that we become stronger when we face and get ourselves used to the strains of life.

How to Go to Tambobong Beach  from Manila:

Ride a bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Zambales that passes through Alaminos, Pangasinan. Drop at Burgos Public Market (5-6 hours).

OR

Ride a bus bound to Alaminos, Anda or Bolinao. Drop at Alaminos (4-5 hours). In Alaminos, ride a bus bound to Sta. Cruz and drop at Burgos Public Market (less than an hour).

NOTE: You should drop at Burgos Public Market and not in Dasol town. Simple logic there is that, Dasol is farther than Burgos, and it will make your fare a bit more expensive. And it is still the same one hour from either Dasol or Burgos to Tambobong Beach.

If you are using a private car, the best route is via Burgos. If you are with a large group, it would be good to rent a Tambobong-based jeep. Pick up point is usually in Alaminos bus terminal. Jeep rental is Php 1,800 and good for 15 individuals. But, if you are going there in a small group (eg. 2-5), commute up to Dasol and then hire an outrigger boat that will pick you up in Dasol bridge. Travel time from Dasol to Tambobong via boat is about 45 minutes. OR Hire a trike and tell the driver to bring you to Tambobong Beach (1 hour).

How to go to Collibra Island/Balinmanok Cove/Crocodile Island: Hire a boat and tell the boatman to tour you to the different Dasol tourist spots.

Where To Stay:

Abella’s Resort – 0928 474 4988

Homestay at Nanay Precy’s Place – 0907-518-3062, 09236685401 or 09075183062

R Paradise Resort – 0908.820.2016

Tambobong White Beach Resort – 09105641382

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“Life is too short to wait on the highway… Hit the beach, explore the caves, climb the mountains, and discover the unpaved…”

To the following people: Sir Mak, kapatid na Jones and Cate, Waqs (aka Jayzel accdg to Cate nung laisng siya), Chester (aka as Cherry accdg ulit kay Cate nung lasing siya), Ches’ sister Lorraine, BFF’s – Hazel and Boni, and Monte — THANK YOU for making this escapade (I know this can be over-rated) very memorable and fun and indescribably wonderful. Til our next escapade..

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