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ultimate guide to dingalan aurora, tips and advices, what to see, and the budget

Dingalan Aurora: The Outcast Journey Experience and Travel Guide

This post was most recently updated on January 4th, 2018

The long walk and tiring climb really pay off when you see the view from the top, at least on my experience. This was the case of my recent trip to Dingalan, Aurora.

As much as I really want to try something different and special on my 24th birthday, I planned a trip that isn’t very far from Manila but would still allow me to escape the city stress even just for a day. Well, I am really a fond of just standing from the peak and overlooking the mountain ranges and a bonus view of the seas and oceans. This place was a perfect fit for this fascination, as I experienced a glimpse of what Batanes feels like, not a total disappointment.

After riding a bus very late on a Friday evening, and continuing the quick three-hour travel, we were about two hours ahead of our expected time of arrival, the start of our first day was spent sleeping and waiting before the van leaves in Cabanatuan terminal. Our “breakfast” (or was it even valid to call it one?) was just about a buy-1-take-1 burger from the burger joint in the area. It was around 4 am when the van was finally filled with passengers and was ready to depart.

Dingalan, Aurora Highlight

Reaching the top and looking over to see the cliffs and the hills that seem to roll forever was such a thrilling experience. One of the most beautiful, natural things I’ve ever seen; the place is truly a “paradise of the east”. When we talk about Aurora, the first thing that comes to our mind is the popular surfing spot, Baler. It’s also the first time I’ve heard about Dingalan, thanks to my social media friends who posted pictures of this. With so many places to visit within the vicinity, tiresome may be the reason of struggle at points but afterwards you will be rewarded with a very great view.

How to Get to Dingalan

The fastest way to reach the place, if not by a private car, is by bus. From Manila, ride a Five Star bus bound to Cabanatuan via SCTEX (You may place an online reservation here). With only three-hour travel time. Buses only stop at one point and for some instances none at all. For trip schedules, they have schedule 24/7 trips to Cabanatuan that leaves every hour. Once arrived in Cabanatuan terminal, ride a van that will take you to Dingalan proper. Total travel time from Manila is approximately 4-6 hours depending on the waiting time. For 20 pesos each, a trike is needed to get you to the feeder port where you have two options on how you’d like to get to the lighthouse and viewdeck; First is by trek for 45 minutes and your second option is to hire a boat for 10 minutes for 500 pesos roundtrip.

Tourism Information Desk of Dingalan
Tourism Information Desk of Dingalan. This is where you’ll register and pay for 50 pesos environmental fee.
Dingalan feeder port
Dingalan feeder port.
Municipal Ordinance of DIngalan
Municipal Ordinance of Dingalan.
tour guide jello barros in dingalan aurora
Our tour guide for the day. You can contact him through 09555617465. His name is Jello Barros.

 

Sample Itinerary to Dingalan, Aurora

Day 0
11pm – Meetup in Five Star Cubao terminal
11:30pm – ETD to Cabanatuan

Day 1
2:30am – ETA Cabanatuan terminal

Go directly to van terminal bound to Dingalan. We waited for the van to get full. At 4am it departed from Cabanatuan.

4am – ETD to Dingalan
5:30 am – ETA Dingalan. Van will drop you off the plaza. Ride a trike going to feeder port.
6am- Start of trek to White Beach
7am – ETA in White beach. Start hike for 30-45 mins to Lighthouse.
7:45 – ETA in Lighthouse. Picture taking and rest.
8:15 Start descend back to White beach.
8:30 Start hike going to viewdeck.
9:15 ETA in viewdeck. Picture taking.
9:45 Start descend back to White beach
10:00 Brunch and swimming.
11:30 Trek back to feeder port.
12:15 ETA feeder port. Ride a tricycle going to Tanawan falls.
12:30 ETA in Tanawan falls jump off point. Start trek going to falls.
1:00 ETA in Tanawan falls. Swimming and take pictures.
2:00 Take shower and pack up. Ask the trike driver/tour guide to drop you to plaza where vans going to Cabanatuan are waiting for passengers.

Note: bus going to Cabanatuan is only until 2:30 pm while vans last trip is only until 3 pm. 

3:30pm ETD to Cabanatuan
5:00pm ETA Cabanatuan terminal. Ride a bus going to Manila
5:30pm ETD to Manila
8:00pm ETA Manila

big rocks in the shore of dingalan aurora
During the trekking, you’ll encounter big chunks of rocks.
standing in the rock on the shore
Taking a break from the trek. It’s just sad that vandalism is also an issue in Dingalan.
path and trail going to white beach in dingalan
The only known path leading to White Beach/Lighthouse from the port in Dingalan if not taking a boat as a means.
tent pitching in white beach dingalan aurora
Tent pitching is also possible in the White Beach area.

White Beach, Lighthouse and Viewdeck

White Beach

We left Cabanatuan terminal around 4 am, and relying only to the buy-1-take-1 burger that we had for breakfast, it took us about an hour to reach the ‘plaza’ then rode a tricycle going to feeder point, where the registration and tourism desk is. It is where you can also hire a tour guide that will help you through-out your Dingalan tour. From feeder point, you have the options to trek or hire instead a boat going to the White Beach.

white beach resort in dingalan aurora
It was called White Beach because of its white sand, however, due to recent typhoons that caused soil erosion in the area the white sand turned beige.
boat to white beach area in dingalan from feeder port
Unspoiled White Beach in Dingalan, Aurora.
boat to white beach area in dingalan from feeder port
White Beach also serves as the drop off point of the tourists coming from the feeder port via boat.
dingalan mountain grassland slopes
A glimpse of the mountain slopes of Dingalan.
climbing and trekking up the mountain of dingalan
Climbing up the lighthouse. No need to worry cause there is a handle. Or you can just hold on to your crush. haha!

Lighthouse

The jump off point to the lighthouse is in the White Beach area, which was another half an hour of climb. So all said and done, it was 7:45 am before we reached the lighthouse. We stopped for 30 minutes for photos because it’s not every day you can see a masterpiece, after all—and then headed back down again to the White beach.

beautiful scenery of Dingalan, Aurora
There it is! The beautiful scenery of Dingalan, Aurora.

Lighthouse in Dingalan, Aurora
Lighthouse in Dingalan, Aurora.
dingalan aurora
It’s a good venue to just reflect on life.
magical dingalan aurora
“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” – J.K. Rowling
mountain grassland slopes in dingalan aurora
“Believe in your dreams. They were given to you for a reason.” – Katrina Meyer
mountain grassland slopes in dingalan aurora
Celebrating 24th birthday in the mountains of Dingalan.

mountain grassland slopes in dingalan aurora

mountain grassland slopes in dingalan aurora
My hiking buddies, Sam and Raymart. Thanks for always accompanying me to wherever I want to go.

mountain grassland slopes in dingalan aurora

Viewdeck

On the other side, we wanted to check the viewdeck. It was a different trail and took us the same time hiking up, although, the scenery just kept getting better. Once at the top, you could stand on the cliff giving you a fascinating view of the blue ocean and the green hills of Dingalan. I wish we’d had more time to linger, as I would have loved to soak up the scenery for as long as possible. It felt like a big painting right in front of me and this was my most favorite place here.

climbing mountain grassland slopes in dingalan aurora
Any age can climb the mountain. It’s easy as abc.
trail going to view deck in dingalan aurora
Now taking the trail to the view deck.
platform made out of woods in dingalan
Platform made out of woods. However, going up is one at a time as a precautionary measure.

platform made out of woods in dingalan

paradise view in dingalan aurora view deck
View from the view deck is simply amazing. This gives you a closer picture of paradise.
sitting on the cliff of the view deck in dingalan aurora and dingalan bay
Soaking into the scenery of grassland slope and Dingalan bay.
sitting on the cliff of the view deck in dingalan aurora and dingalan bay
Sitting on the cliff of the view deck.

sitting on the cliff of the view deck in dingalan aurora and dingalan bay

standing on the cliff of the view deck in dingalan aurora and dingalan bay
Just no pushing.

standing on the cliff of the view deck in dingalan aurora and dingalan bay

trekking down to white beach in dingalan
Going back to the jump off point in White Beach.
lost in the woods of dingalan aurora
Lost in the woods. The Outcast Journey way.
nipa hut and coconut trees in white beach resort in dingalan aurora
Reward yourself with a fresh coconut.

Tanawan Falls

This may not be as grand as compared with other falls, Tanawan Falls should still be included in your Dingalan itinerary. After a very tiring trek and hike, a dip into the waters of Tanawan Falls makes it a perfect combination. Besides the cold water, the other great thing about Tanawan Falls is that it’s super accessible from the main road; about 20 minutes of trek. Make sure also to head to Tanawan viewdeck which gives you a panoramic view of Sierra Madre and Dingalan town. After taking a couple of photos and swimming, we proceeded to call it a day as we wrapped up, showered, to make it to the last trip of vans going back to Cabanatuan.

tanawan fall signage in dingalan
Tanawan Falls signage.
trail going to tanawan falls in dingalan aurora
Another round of trekking.

trail going to tanawan falls in dingalan aurora

tanawan falls signage watch your steps
Some warning signages that we need to follow.
Welcome to Tanawan Falls in dingalan aurora
Welcome to Tanawan Falls.
photo on the bamboo bridge in tanawan falls
Some ‘bridge over water’ shot.
People enjoying their swim in the fresh and cold waters from Tanawan Falls
People enjoying their swim in the fresh and cold waters from Tanawan Falls.
tanawan falls swimming into fresh and cold water in dingalan
Small yet strong Tanawan Falls.

people enjoying their swim in the fresh and cold waters from Tanawan Falls

People enjoying their swim in the fresh and cold waters from Tanawan Falls

panoramic view of dingalan town from view deck in tanawan falls
This is what you can see from standing on the view deck in Tanawan Falls.

Big rock in tanawan Falls that serves as the view deck

panoramic view of dingalan town from view deck in tanawan falls

panoramic view of dingalan town from view deck in tanawan falls
Panoramic view of the town on Dingalan.
panoramic view of dingalan town from view deck in tanawan falls
Give me your best shot.

panoramic view of dingalan town from view deck in tanawan falls

panoramic view of dingalan town from view deck in tanawan falls

panoramic view of dingalan town from view deck in tanawan falls

panoramic view of dingalan town from view deck in tanawan falls

Big rock in tanawan Falls that serves as the view deck
Big rock in tanawan Falls that serves as the view deck.

Big rock in tanawan Falls that serves as the view deck

Dingalan Budget and Expenses

I was really surprised knowing that for a thousand peso, you could already experience a Batanes-like getaway. I suggest that you also bring packed food since it’s hard to find a place to eat there. But if not possible, you may ask the resort in the White Beach to cook for you for a very reasonable price. Below is the list of our expenses. Hope it could be of help to your trip!

budget and expenses for a day tour in dingalan aurora
Note: Foods are not included here.

Watch the video!

Kevin del Prado

Kevin is currently working as a Business Analyst. Interests also include traveling, watching movies, outdoor activities, and photography. He graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering.

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