A random thought that popped into my mind, a week of full of stress and work and adulting things and all. I caught myself booking for 1 pax in a joiner van tour in a place not too far from Manila – Dingalan, Aurora. When you actually thought that there’s only Baler in Aurora, there is still another gem waiting to be seen and discovered.
The spontaneity comes from the idea when I felt l I needed the ocean, I needed some fresh air and random people to travel and talk with, but more than anything, I needed a time with myself. I decided to go alone once again, having no energy at all to ask anyone to come with me, nor organize a trip that would work for both of our schedule. I just literally wanted a quick breather.
Related : My first solo travel experience, also read : My first solo travel in El Nido, Palawan for 5D / 4N (full itinerary, budget, and tips)
____________________________________________________________________________________________Coming from my Wedding Hosting that night, I only literally removed by make-up over my face, my hair still curled and the marks of my black eyeliner is still visible – but then, who cares right? Hahaha!
It was a quick day trip but full of exciting memories and scenery that would leave you in awe and speechless. I was never a fan of travel agencies or joiner trip within Manila, I’d always want to do it the DIY style as I get to manage my time, my demands and anything in between. But there’s always a first time right? And then I dwell into this idea.
I booked thru Escape Travel and Tours from Facebook, and paid a deposit of P500.00 prior the trip. The whole package is only worth P999!!! It was totally cheap and includes the following already : Van Transfer from Manila to Dingalan, Boat Transfers, Environmental Fees, Service of the Local Tour Guide, of the Coordinator and the entire Dingalan Tour.
So what to expect with this trip? — Read on…
1AM || Rode the van service from the closest pick-up from my home; in Balintawak. It was roughly 4 hours travel time all the way to Dingalan, Aurora
5PM || We had 1 stopover in the morning just to grab and have some breakfast, you may also buy some food for you to keep and make sure to bring water as well to keep you hydrated.
630AM || After the breakfast, we head to Dingalan Port; it is where we start our boat ride. Make sure you wear your proper swimming outfit already, just bring a small bag with you. Our big bags is still at the van where all our toiletries is left.
The itinerary actually changes from time to time depending on the coordinator and guide on the day. We should be starting the boat ride by 630 to be at the View Deck in no time, however – the tour waited for another private van tour to arrive and be part of our tour as well (*things you hate on group tours – delays and the waiting game, but good thing it still turns out well)
If you are a group of 4 or 5 or more and preferred to visit Dingalan, you may do it so as well. The private boat which could accommodate up to 10 – 12 is only P1,000 – P1,500 you have to be with the Local Guide as well to join you in the trip.
8:00 || Cave and Rock Formations
Then our sea trip officially started, with almost a 20 – 25 minutes boat ride, we landed at the Cave and Rock Formations.
It was surprisingly super windy and it was cold as well. You may roam around this rock formations, photo all around. There is an entrance fee of P50 per pax on this. And this rock formations might not be available on your visit due to big waves and extreme high tide.
We had struggle going back to our boat for this, due to big waves and there were also many tourists as well since it is a weekend.
10:00AM || White Beach
We then proceed at the White Beach, it is filled with white sand beach area – perfect for swimming. There are cottages on the side which is part of the package already as we settle our things and wait for the cue from our guide as we start for our quick trek on to the Mountain View Deck.
Mountain View Deck
It was roughly 20 – 30 minutes trekking all the way up to the Mountain view deck, make sure you are OOTD ready and in comfortable shoes and footwear. Well, I was wearing a flipflops the entire time and it was also just okay as well.
Better not to bring anything with you but yourself, cellphone or camera. It was stiff and somehow really high.
Do not also forget to try out the “May Forever Ice Candy” they are selling at the middle of the trek. Trust me, that it is really delicious and it is only P10.00 (*me, having a sensitive stomach was super worried at first, not sure if it was made from a mineral water – but then I really wanted to taste it as well hahaha!! Good thing!! No stomachache!!!)
After the trek, see this beautiful scenery at the Mountain View Deck.
Super windy, too beautiful, too relaxing and you’d see why they call it the Batanes of the East.
There is also another photo spot to check out where you need to line up to get your spot. And yeah, that’s how the photographer does it hahaha!
Adjacent to the Mountain View Deck is the Light house where you need to trek all the way up to it as well.
Though no one is allowed to climb up the Light house, still tourists pay a visit for this site as well. I decided to skip this part, and went all the way down the White Beach after the View Deck — coz, we were super hungry also!! hahaha!
12:30PM || Boodle Lunch
Part of the offering from the Travel Group is the Boodle Lunch where you only pay additional P150.00 per pax. Best way to spend this luncheon with the rest of the joiners also part of the tour. It was really fun!! And imagine being close and binded with the rest of team.
All smiles and everyone so full after it! So happy for this. After an hour, while you may want to hit the beach and swim all you can, or like what I did — rest for a while and appreciate the scenery instead 😀
We headed back to Dingalan Port then back to our van service.
2:30PM || Tanawan Falls
After around 30 minutes of travel time, we headed to Tanawan Falls.
Don’t be deceived and take note of the following :
- The van service can only reach a certain spot and park in the area
- You would have 2 option to head to Tanawan Falls; (1) you may walk and trek the trail up; or (2) you ride a tricycle where it cost P40 per person per way (consider it P80 back and forth for 1 pax)
- As you reach Tanawan Falls entry point, you would be asked to present the receipt where it should be settled in the area where the vans were parked
- We initially had problem on this, as our guide did not instruct that we needed to present something beforehand, it took us 15 – 20 minutes before it was settled and we were allowed to enter the falls.
- There are life jacket for rent for those who cannot swim; it cost P20 pesos from the entry point of the falls, while it cost P25.00 from the van parking space area (*weird huh? And see the 5 pesos difference. oh well)
- Honestly, if you know how to swim, you definitely does not need a life jacket for this.
Initially, when I saw the falls – I was little disappointed, there were so many people. The falls wasn’t really what I expected it to be. It was really small and there is definitely no enough space to swim around.
You may also do cliff diving but only when the area is cleared to avoid injury, so the rest of the crowd was literally looking at you as you jump of the cliff hahahah!!
My favorite falls for swimming to date; also read : Bolinao Pangasinan Itinerary for 2D / 1N : DIY Trip, Guide and Tips
I didn’t mind swimming in the falls, I just looked at it. Try to roam around then I head back in tricycle back to the van service area.
I took a shower thru the shower rooms around – there is a payment of P20.00 for it.
Emerging within the parking space, is this Sunflower Garden around – though it was sad to see that it isn’t maintained, still you may take a photo of it and look around it.
4:30PM || I Love Dingalan Mark
When everyone is ready, then off we go to our last part of the itinerary for the day. Quick photo op with the Dingalan mark, before we headed back to Manila.
A stopover around Cabanatuan, where we took our dinner as well. And back to Manila by 11PM.
Everyone was literally super tired, and everyone is sleeping the entire time hahahah!! It was only a day trip, but we were spending our time together for more than 24 hours still. It does not feel a day tour after all hahaha!!
- As a whole, my favorite part would still and would be the Mountain View Deck, I could skip the rest of the sites but not this. I could have also spent the rest of the afternoon at the White Beach since the beach was also really nice still.
- You may opt not to visit Tanawan Falls most likely if you’d want to swim around the fresh water? I kinda’ feel that everything is with additional charges and I hate the feeling of paying something not worth it from the first place.
- I realized that van trip isn’t really for me – and I’ll continue to do my DIY Trip Travels as it is always much much better. But considering how cheap this trip could be, this is really something you can check out for a quick out of town escapade.
- Budget wise — for the entire trip I only spent less than P1,500 pesos
Well, special shoutout to my new found friend Richard and his best friend! Also part of the same trip. For my nice photos and great company for a short while hahaha!!
See what best interests you and plan your itinerary well!!!
Hope this helps you too.
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*All photos were all originals from the blogger @nathaliecsalcedo