The municipality of Dasol sits in the west-most part of Pangasinan and an almost six-hour trip from Manila. Based on the blog posts on how to get to Dasol, we took the 11:50pm bus to Alaminos from Victory Liner in Cubao, Quezon City. Although blog posts said that it will take us 5-6 hours to get to Alaminos, our trip to Alaminos only took us 3 and a half hours! We got to Alaminos at the bus terminal at 3:30am. From there, we waited for a bus that will take us to Burgos Market. After a while, an ordinary bus to Sta. Cruz arrived. We hopped on and rode the bus to Burgos Market.
Bus from Cubao to Alaminos: PhP394
Bus from Alaminos to Burgos Market: PhP30
Arriving Burgos Market at 4:30am is like arriving in a ghost town. We arrived so early that even the market is still closed, but there were tricycle drivers waiting at the waiting shed ready to take passengers to Tambobong Beach. We never asked for the price of their service though because one of my friends asked for the resort owner to pick us up at Burgos. We waited for a few minutes and the van arrived. Since it was still too early, the van took us to Ate Grace’s house, the owner of D’ Abella’s beach resort in Dasol. She was busy preparing for breakfast when we arrived. She was happy to accommodate us at such early in the day. As we ate, Ate Grace told us about the beach and the rest house-turned-resort where we would head next.
After breakfast, the van took us to Tambobong beach. It was an hour-long bumpy ride. It was a long dirt road among the hills and troughs with view of wide savannah on both sides of the road. At 45 minutes, we could already see the beach.
We arrived at D’Abella beach resort at quarter to 7AM and the fishermen were just pulling their banca to the beach after an overnight of fishing. The sight of the beach itself is just serene and lovely. From the road, which was a step away from the beach, I could already feel the powdery sand that has seemed to be naturally enveloped this small fishing community. I actually like it this way, having a fishing village at the beach, because I know that the beach is teeming with so much life and I know that they, the keepers of this beach, will take care of this beach.
Van from Burgos to Tambobong Beach: PhP600
We met Tito Boy, Ate Grace’s kin and resort owner and caretaker welcoming us into his humble abode. The place, I must say, is very homey. There were few rooms at the right side of the gate and a number of cottages on the left, and there in front of the gate is their huge rest house with a lot of rooms. There were two more huge houses inside the compound. We were taken to one of the huge rooms outside the main house where we would stay. It’s big enough for 9, I should say, with a wide loft made of bamboo. The room is complete with kitchen sink and a sofa.
Room rate: PhP3,500
The happiest part of our trip to Dasol was that we have the entire place for us because we were the only guests. Ate Beth, the caretaker of the house, told us that we were lucky because nobody was booked on that weekend. Apparently, they only take few guests to accommodate everyone and to keep the place peaceful. Because we were the only guests, we were available to use the facilities (except for the sleeping room, which was assigned to us), including their restrooms, the cottages, and dining room. They will also going to serve us our daily food for the next two days, which was a lovely idea since Ate Grace owns a catering service too. Little do we know that day that we are in for a wonderful everyday happy meal – probably one of the best meals I had on a vacation. And it’s lutong bahay (home-coooked)!
Budget for food per person: PhP500
We dropped our bags in the room and immediately prepared for island hopping so as not to waste time since it’s still early at 7am. After half an hour, we were already sailing to Colibra island, one of the two islands near Dasol.
Colibra was paradise. It is a small, uninhabited island 30 minutes away from Tambobong beach. The water is so clear that even at 10 feet, I could already see the bottom of the ocean. The island was so small too that one could go around the island in 10 minutes. It has different habitats too: there was part rocky, part cliffy, part, sandy, part grassy, part pebbly, but everything was just serene. According to stories, this island was teeming with sea snakes although it was pretty much uninhabited when we arrived. There were stories that sea snakes were nocturnal; thank God we were not staying overnight at the island. There were few people in the island too when we get there but the island is big enough for us that we were able to find our own piece of heaven. Be sure to bring your malong to enjoy that happy sunshine and grab that must-have tan for summer. The island does not have any shade though so bring some umbrellas and lots of drinking water and some food.
After Colibra, it took us another 15 minutes to Crocodile island. Unlike Colibra, Crocodile island is teeming with so much marine life! Our boat docked in an area less than 500 meters away from the shore because of the low tide so we had to walk towards the island. Water was below the knee and because it was clear, I could see all the sea urchins and starfishes loitering this entire part of the island (make sure to bring sandals or aqua shoes to avoid getting pricked). Up the small hill was a beautiful plateau with black corals, which I assumed has probably been there for ages. On the other side were a cave and huge rock formations sitting on another living shore facing South China Sea. There was nothing much to do in this part of the island unless you wanted to check the cave and the beach, but be careful of sea snakes! We saw one hiding in the rock formation.
Our third destination was a small cove off to the left of Tambobong beach. The cove was privately owned, given some cottages on the beach. There was a small family hanging out on the shore when we arrived. It was not as exciting as either Colibra and Crocodile because the beach grows a lot of seaweeds that are knee-high, but this was still interesting to visit. Sand are still as powdery as the other islands, and the coconut trees make for a good shade while enjoying the peacefulness of this place. After about 4 hours or so of island hopping around Dasol, we decided to head back Tambobong to have lunch.
Boat ride rental: PhP1,500
Ate Beth and her crew were so hospitable because when we got back, our lunch was already ready. Some of my friends decided to watch TV after lunch while some of us went for a siesta. The entire beach strip was so quiet and peaceful, and the weather that time was very cozy that it can actually make for a great serene vacation, away from the noise of the city. People at Dasol were very friendly too (they speak an Ilocano dialect from the sound of their speaking) and would welcome small talks and conversations about their lifeways. There were also dogs around the beach running here and there, but they were so tamed that when I had my yoga practice the following morning, there was this old dog (from the look of its face) who went to my mat and asked if I could scratch his back. What a sweet bitch.
Ate Beth also asked if we would want to setup bonfire but because it costs around PhP400 to build one, we changed our minds and decided to hang out in one of the cottages and bum. You can also borrow videoke but because the town was defeaningly quiet at 8pm, we decided otherwise and just enjoyed the peace of night. We just played our iPhones/iPads and catch up, which was a good choice. We turned in at 9:30pm.
I woke up at 5:30AM and started my day with meditation and yoga at the beachfront. Sunrise breaks on the left side of the beach but colors spread through the entire horizon that it was still a colorful sight to behold. After breakfast, Ate Beth took us to this beautiful rock formations far left that could only be seen at low tide. It was a five-minute walk and the sight was outstanding. There was a cave that has freshwater spring and huge rock formations that are climbable. Make sure to bring your camera!
We spent the rest of the day hanging out at Tambobong beach swimming and sunbathing. The water is crystal clear and the crystal-like powdery sand was very inviting. The shore was not deep, which was to my advantage because I could swim around. We went back to the resort at lunch and never forget our siesta after.
We left the following day at 9AM and arrived in Manila at 5PM. It was a less-stressful ride because luckily, the local transports that we needed to take were already there!
The day was really slow and steady, which made me appreciate this vacation like no other. Dasol is a perfect vacation spot for those who prefer non-populous beaches hidden within fishing communities that actually take care of their habitat. And with the hospitality of Ate Beth, Tito Boy and the rest of their staff, it’s worth coming back.
Total amount of expenses: Do the math.