Dingalan is a town in Aurora known as the Batanes of the East. It has landscapes that mimic the rolling hills and blue waters of the islands of Batanes. Located at the Eastern part of the country, it showcases a view of the majestic Pacific Ocean.
Dingalan is just a few kilometers from Nueva Ecija, so there’s no problem having it as a side trip. We visited Dingalan after our climb of Mt. Sawi in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. It was almost night when we left Barangay Malinao. Fortunately, there was still a bus going there. We asked locals for things we need to be concerned about, especially, a place to stay for the night. We’ve researched before but just to have options we’ve asked anyway. Beside me is a teacher and she told me that there are accommodations near the port. She told the conductor of the bus to drop us at the tricycle terminal. Another man who was also asked by my friends and has the same drop point as ours told the tricycle driver to bring us to the accommodations they know. What I like about traveling in the provinces is the kindness of the locals, they always give you a smile, advise you about the things about the locality, and welcome you with open arms.
DINGALAN TOWN PROPER
To our surprise, it started to rain and we still didn’t have a place to stay in. Another kindness from a local, a woman who let us stay at their house until the rain stopped. After a few minutes, we left her house and walked a few meters to find Shalom Guesthouse and Resto Bar which was the accommodation I’ve researched a year ago. Finally, after long hours of travel and exhaustion, we were able to fill our stomachs and rest our aching bodies.
To my surprise, I didn’t expect that the port will be just in front of us. The next day, we went straight to the port and looked for the tourism office. We met a couple from Bulacan who also wanted to see what Dingalan has to offer. We grouped together and secured our guide and boat.
THE LIGHTHOUSE AND THE VIEW DECK
The lighthouse is located in the easternmost part of the town. It can be reached by walking along the shoreline or by boat. We chose the latter, to save energy and time and as tourists, the tourism office required us to have a guide and a boat. It started raining again when we left the port. We were soaking wet when we reached White Beach. The rain stopped as soon as we landed but the rain clouds were still showing signs of a possible pour later. White Beach is a simple beach resort where there are cottages that locals and tourists can enjoy while taking a plunge into the sea.
We have to walk inland until we reach the fork that leads both to the lighthouse and the view deck. We chose the lighthouse to visit first. There are no stairs going there so everyone needs to take the trail up, which was steep, muddy, and slippery. On our way up, one of my slippers snapped and left me walking barefoot. It was muddy but I was more comfortable and able to move freely.
After an hour of climbing, we finally reached the lighthouse and saw the magnificent view in front of us. The blue ocean and rolling slopes of the mountains. Fortunately, the rainclouds went away and the sun started to show. There were strong winds blowing around us. I can’t describe the feeling, it was refreshing and fulfilling to see and feel it all.
The lighthouse and the view deck are two vantage points that let you see the same view but with different perspectives. The view deck has a wide standing field and showed us Lamao Caves and a 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean.
WINDOW TO THE PACIFIC
Dingalan deserves to be named as its own. Batanes is Batanes and Dingalan is Dingalan. Both have identities of their own and something to show and be proud of. I want to call it the “Window to the Pacific” as it is at the edge of the Philippines and shows a magnificent view of the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
- Aurora Province, Philippines
HOW TO GET THERE:
- Private Vehicle:
- Drive to NLEX and exit to Mabalacat
- Enter SCTEX and Exit to Tarlac City
- Take Santa Rosa – Tarlac Road and continue to Dingalan – Gabaldon Rd/Palayan – Gabaldon – Dingalan Rd until you reach the town of Dingalan.
- Public Transportation:
- Take a bus going to Cabanatuan City and drop at Cabanatuan City Central Transport Terminal (Travel Time = 3 Hours, Fare = P202).
- From there, ride a van going to Dingalan, Aurora (Travel Time = 1 Hour, Fare = P100/person).
- Take a tricycle going to Dingalan Feeder Port (Travel Time = 10 Minutes, Fare = P20/person).
- Private Vehicle:
PLACES OF INTEREST IN DINGALAN:
- Dingalan Lighthouse
- Dingalan View Deck
- Lamao Caves
- White Beach
- Tanawan Falls
- Strong, flexible Footwear (hiking shoes or sandals)
- 2-3 Liters of water
- Arm sleeves
- Ecological Fee: ₱50/Person
- Boat Fare (Maximum Passenger of 15 Persons): ₱800/Boat
- Tour Guide Fee (Day Trip)(Maximum of 15 Persons): ₱200/Destination
- Tour Guide Fee (Overnight): ₱200 Additional
- Contact Number (Mobile): 0908-894-4414 (SMART) and 0917-327-5780 (GLOBE)
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook Page: Turismo Dingalan
- From Barangay Malinao (Mt. Sawi jump-off), you can ride a van or bus going to Dingalan.
- Make sure to wear strong and comfortable footwear. The trail going to the lighthouse and view deck can be muddy and slippery.
- The Dingalan Tourism Office is located at the Dingalan Feeder Port.
- There is a bus going straight to Metro Manila, just consider the travel time as this has many stops.
- To reach Tanawan Falls, you can hire a tricycle or a habal-habal in the town.
- Leave No Trace. Keep your trash with you. Let’s keep Dingalan clean and natural.