I have been hooked lately with discovering off-beat Philippine destinations. I find it interesting because you tend to discover unspoiled and not-so-commercialized tourist spots giving you that first hand glimpse of the place’s natural beauty. On the side, it also gives you that opportunity to start orienting locals about how they can actively participate in developing a sustainable tourism plan for their area
Interestingly, these summer months had me going out and about discovering destinations from the east in Cagbalete to the west in Silanguin Cove. I have also gone down south to explore Marinduque’s rustic charm so heading up north was next on my list but deciding where north, was the question.
Then there was Dasol.
Uneventful Morning Land Trip
After three attempts to board a bus bound for Bolinao, I was already ready to quit and just got home. It was almost 4am and my knee-jerk decision to just head off somewhere “summer” brought me to a crowded bus station in Cubao. I did not know where exactly to go so I decided to just go for the more popular destination – Bolinao.
And then it hit me, Dasol was one destination that was waiting to be discovered in Pangasinan. It was a destination that I once had a discussion with my fellow travelers. It got me interested enough that I did a few research about the place. It is said to be one of Pangasinan’s best kept secret so I made a quick look into the possibility of checking out its shores. A couple of researches convinced me enough to go down in Alaminos and change course.
Located along the western coast of Pangasinan, Dasol is popular for the commercial production of salt. The bay along the municipality’s coastline feeds saltwater into ponds where water evaporates leaving the salt to be harvested. But more than the salt production industry, Dasol has a number of destinations that has been under the radar of Philippine tourism. These spots are great locations to enjoy the sun, sand, and solitary moments.
Tambobong Beach: A Laid Back Abode
After about an hour of scenic travel, aboard a tricycle, we finally arrived at Tambobong Beach. I did not expect that the transit to the place was going to be that long but the great things about it are the paved and scenic roads that I did not mind the cramped space. There are no other mode of public transportation to Tambobong Beach so make sure that you book your driver for your intended return to the town proper.
Tambobong is a strip of white sand beach along the coastal town of Dasol. The place is very laid back despite the increased awareness of its beauty. Interestingly, there is quite a number of visitors in the area as the few resorts and homestays are fully booked at the time of my visit, considering that very minimal public transport ply the route to Tambobong Beach. It is a public beach so you can readily pitch a tent by the beach if you are on a tight budget.
The best way to enjoy Tambobong Beach is to walk its shores. The white sand beach and the serene atmosphere of Tambobong is a perfect setting to commune with nature. You will get to enjoy watching locals and tourists enjoying a lazy afternoon by the beach, enjoying an ice cold drink, belting their favorite tune over the videoke, or just simply taking a dip in its cool waters.
On the far side of the beach is a small isolated cove. I did try to explore the area. But take extra caution when exploring the place as the rock formation are made of clay-like soil that can get slippery when wet. I struggled a bit getting around the cove but it does give a spectacular view of Tambobong Beach.
I also suggest that you take the time to get to know the locals over barbecue and cold drinks. They can really give you the simple life in Dasol, Pangasinan and how they are trying to cope up with the attention that their place is receiving from travelers and tourists.
Although Tambobong Beach may not give you a gorgeous view of the sunset, it compensates by giving you a beautiful sunrise. Watching the sun rise is starting to kick in me that I no longer fuss over waking up early in the morning just to catch it. Tambobong Beach offers a different sunrise experience. I was lucky to have caught the red-orange sun rising on the horizon and watched it “explode” in a bright light.
It was my cue that it was time to explore more of Dasol’s wonder.
One thing that I discovered with my travels is that white sand beaches are not solely confined in specific areas or islands. In the same way that powdery white sand are not solely confined to Boracay Island. You will be surprised where you can find unassuming paradise in the Philippines and Dasol is not an exception.
Just a few minute boat ride from Dasol is an island popular among locals because of its white sand shores. The view of Colibra Island’s white sand glows with the sun as it greets you as you make your approach. Colibra Island, also known as Camaso Island, is a small remote island that sits facing the West Philippine Sea. Remote and not commercialized like its counterparts, the beach boasts strips of white sand shores and rock formations around it.
Most of the boats dock on the white sand beach which I presume is the main beach of the island. You can either choose to find your own spot by the different beach spots in the island or rent a picnic hut by the main beach area. I chose to find my own spot which can be a challenge as the island does not have any tree cover, except for a single coconut tree at the middle that can shield you from the searing heat of the summer sun.
The island has a good mix of both rock formations and pockets of white sand shores. You can easily go around the island within 15 minutes, searching for your spot. I did find a good spot where I also got to enjoy the clear waters of Dasol Bay. Do not miss out on the fossilized shells that you will find along the “rockies” of Colibra Island.
Just a few minutes across Colibra Island is a rocky cove that is a complete opposite. It is known for its rock formations and rocky shoreline dotted by cream colored sand. Cabacungan Cove is known for its rocky shores and its rust colored rock formations. On one side is a small cave that you can check out and, for those who want an adrenaline rush, you can also attempt to jump off on its cliff.
The waves were friendly at the time of our visit and it allowed our boat to dock just right by the reef, in front of the cove. From the drop off point, we had to walk onto the reef to get to the shore so take extra caution. You can find your own shaded spot along the shore and expect that it is going to be a challenge.
A small opening on the side of the cove will lead you to the Cabacungan Cave. The cave was once the home of sea snakes but because of the intrusion of tourists visiting the cove and the cave, the snakes have left the area already. The cave is a swim through cave that allows you access at one end and exit by swimming to other end, towards the sea. I was apprehensive initially to jump into the water but after the prodding and support of a group of young travelers, I jumped into the pool to show them that it was safe.
You can also try to explore the cove. Heading up to the top of the cove, you would be treated with a great overhead view of Cabacungan Cove. This is where you could see the beauty of the rocky cove and its shores. This is also the jump off point for those who want the adrenaline rush of cliff jumping.
Heading back to Tambobong Beach, we passed by a rock formation that they called Crocodile Island. The place, although is not an island geographically, derived its name because it is shaped like a crocodile head from a distance. The “crocodile head” juts out towards the West Philippine Sea as if guarding the mainland from intruders.
The rocky surface of the land formation make it difficult for boats to dock near it. It also poses as a huge challenge for visitors to climb onto the top so viewing Crocodile Island is best done from the waters surrounding it, aboard a boat or while swimming. I was really amazed by the rugged terrain of the area and the small lagoon behind it. Too bad though that I was not able to explore the lagoon.
But the clear waters surrounding the formation was a good way to end my stay in Dasol.
Post Travel Notes
The great thing about checking out off-beat destinations is that it allows you to enjoy the place that is unspoiled and still free from too much commercialization. You get to enjoy its natural beauty before the onset of travelers spark rapid commercialization in the area.
I guess that was the good thing about my trip to Dasol. I saw its natural beauty while it was still free from full commercialization. The place is very serene that I highly recommend it to people who are looking for a great location for soul searching. The community is humble and unassuming that they are very accommodating and hospitable to their visitors. The natural beauty of Dasol and the hospitality of its locals make it a great destination for travel.
Dasol really holds a huge potential in tourism and the local government really needs to prepare the community to the attention that their place can receive once regular travelers pick up on its beauty. I would have to agree that Dasol is one of Pangasinan’s secret hideaway and its own charm is worthy of a place in the Philippine tourism map.
Getting there : One can take a Victory Liner / Solid North / Five Star Bus to Alaminos or Bolinao. You go down in Alaminos where you take a jeep headed to Dasol. The jeepney station is near the Banco de Oro along the Olongapo-Bugallon Road. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Burgos Public Market where you can take a tricycle to Tambobong Beach. Fare is at Php300 one way. Make sure that you ask the tricycle driver to pick you up on your intended return.
There are a number of resorts and homestays along the coast of Tambobong Beach.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.