Lukang Cove & Kwebang Lampas (Pagbilao, Quezon, PH)

I never found a companion as companionable as solitude. – Henry David Thoreau

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Almost every Philippine province is sprinkled with a number of beaches. Fact That is most likely the reason why a growing number of travellers are almost getting away from the mainstream beaches. With this seemingly endless options, an off-the beaten destination is way more pleasant as a getaway for relaxation and solitude.

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A not so mercantile spot in the province of Quezon is Lukang Cove or more commonly referred to by people as “Puting Buhangin” Beach. It is a secluded area in Pagbilao town with off-white sand delimited by sheer limestone cliffs. Though it isn’t actually an island (as what most people think of), it is primarily reachable by boat or by trekking from the other side of the land.

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When I set my foot in this place wayback 2008, the beach depicts serenity in its full glory. Lukang Beach may not boast off powdery, white sand present in more known beach destinations; nonetheless, it offers invaluable moments with nature. No hotels. No resorts No ear-piercing nightlife crowd. Only a small family that watches over the property and is kind enough to allow guests for a nippy restroom breaks.

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The beach offers another attraction called Kwebang Lampas, an undersized cave at the edge of the cove. One may swim to the other side of the cliff through this cave. This cave provides a shelter from the burning heat of the sun if you decide to swim during mid-day.

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We spent our day bumming around the area. The beach’s seashore is clean and the water is so crystal clear that you can see even the small fishes swimming with you. It is one beach destination I want to be virtually unknown. However, as of the moment, I’ve heard that there are already cottages in the area. Well, development is inevitable but I hope they get to maintain the cleanliness of the place.

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How to Get to Lukang Cove& Kuwebang Lampas:

Take a bus bound for Lucena City.From Manila, the travel time is about 3 hours. Alight at Lucena Grand Terminal, the, ride another bus to Unisan. This time, travel time would be around 1& a half hours.Tell the conductor/driver to drop you off at the QCRB Bank (Padre Burgos town). Take a tricycle to Aplaya. Tell the driver you intend to go to Borawan.From Aplaya, there are boats for rent. These boats can take you on an island-hopping tour with stops in Puting Buhangin (Pagbilao), Dampalitan Island and Borawan Island.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebriwan.

Exquisite Baler (Aurora, PH)

Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination. – Drake

Have you watched the 1979 movie Apocalypse Now? (I wasn’t even born then, hahaha. But I did watch it on DVD)… I asked because a piece of the movie was shot in the Philippines. Some scenes were actually filmed in Baler, a second-class municipality in Aurora Province. It is one of the Philippines ‘prime surfing spot. It is host to stunning geographic formations and is situated on an immense plain at the south end of Baler Bay which is an adjacent segment of the Pacific Ocean.

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The once quaint town is now one of the Philippines top destinations. Visitors flock their way to Baler to experience the sea, the sand, the sun, and of course – surfing!

 HOW TO REACH BALER?

 The most common way to reach Baler is by way of riding a bus. The Genesis Transport Terminal located in Cubao offers a bus directly bound for Baler. One may choose between the Joy Bus (a deluxe, non-stop bus) and the regular aircon bus.

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Joy Bus: Schedule: 12MN and 4:30AM; The travel time is about 4 hrs and 30 minutes. Cost is Php690.00. Reservations may be done.

Regular Aircon Bus: Schedule: 1AM, 2AM, 4:30AM, 5:30AM, 6:30AM and 7:30AM; the travel time is around 6 hours. Cost is around Php450.00

As an alternative, one may take their buses going to Casiguran (a northern town of Aurora). Schedule: 1AM and 3AM

If and if buses plying to Baler are full, or if you want to do a day trip – you may take a bus going to Cabanatuan then ride a van/bus to Baler, Aurora. Travel time from Cubao to Cabanatuan is around 3 hours. Cost of fare is around Php190 (one-way).

The following buses are Cabanatuan bound:

  • ES Transport – Schedule: 24 hours available
  • Five Star Bus- Schedule: 24 hours available
  • Baliwag Transit – 1st trip is at 2AM

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Once in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija ride a bus bound for Casiguran, Aurora that will drop by Baler: D-Liner Buses are non-air-conditioned buses.
Schedule: 2AM, 5AM and 7AM; this schedules are quite uncertain as it may be dependent on the volume of passengers.
Fare to Baler: Php180/person/one-way; Travel Time to Baler is 4 hours

Another means of transportation from Cabanatuan to Baler is riding a Van: These vans in Cabanatuan are available 24 hours. You’ll see them lined up at Cabanatuan Central Terminal. Fare: Php220/person/one-way; the travel time is around 4 hours.

Once in Baler, take a tricycle to your destination of choice/s:

WHAT TO DO? WHAT TO SEE?

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Based on the Local Tourism of Aurora, these are the places one can visit together with the standard prices for the tricycle tours:

1. History Trail & Eco Strip

Price: Php500/Tricycle – halfday
Max no. of pax per tricycle: 3 pax
Places to visit: History Trail (Baler Church, Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon, Museo de Baler and Quezon Park) and Eco Strip (Ermita Hill, Diguisit Beach and Añao Islet)

*** You can visit Dicasalarin and PAGASA weather station but you have to walk up a steep hill for about 30 minutes for PAGASA weather station and another 30 minutes for Dicasalarin. You may also hop on a habal-habal(single motorcycle and pay 150 per person/way).

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One may also visit other towns of Aurora that are in close proximity to Baler. This includes Dipaculao (Ampere and Dinadiawan Beaches); Maria Aurora (for its Millenium Tree); and San Luis for its waterfalls like Ditumabo and Caunayan).

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2. History Trail, Eco Strip, Ditumabo Falls & Balete Tree

Price: Php800/Tricycle – wholeday
Max no. of pax per tricycle: 3 pax
Places to visit: History trail (Baler church, Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon, Museo de Baler and Quezon Park) and Eco Strip (Ermita Hill, Diguisit Beach and Añao Islet) Ditumabo falls and Balete Tree.
Note: To reach the falls, one will have to trek for about 30-45 minutes .

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3.  Ampere Beach (for sunrise viewing), Dipaculao (if you wish to go to Dinadiawan Beach, it may cost higher since it is farther than Ampere) Price: Php300/Tricycle; Max no. of pax per tricycle: 3 pax

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  1. Surfing in Baler: If your resort is not within Sabang (the surfing spot in Baler), you can ride a tricycle. From town center to Sabang, fare is Php 15/person. Once in Sabang, a lot of the resorts offer surf lessons. Surfing fee is usually Php350.00/hour/person. It goes with a surf instructor.

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BALER ACCOMMODATION:

Within Sabang:

Aliya Surf & Dive Resort – 0929-758-6005

Amihan Aplaya Lodge – 0918-693-5904 / 0918-632-8566

AMCO Beach Resort – 0921-411-7671; (044) 552-4209

Bahia de Baler Garden Resort & Restaurant I – 0908-732-0672

Bahia de Baler II – 0908-732-0672

Bay’s Inn – 0918-926-6697, 0908-982-3509

Bay-Ler View Hotel – 0927-366-8735 / 0919-286-3105

Cocohut Lodge – (042) 209 4341

Costa Pacifica – 0917-844-8371

Desiree’s Lodge & Transient House – 0920-480-0978 / 0921-751-8490

DSB Lodge – 0919-235-2435

Isla Virginia Resort – 0920-755-0467

Jamjem’s – 0921-598-3588 / 0916-200-1731

Kahea’s Lodge – 0915-748-0759

Kamagong Lodge – (42) 209-4301/0920-911-1413

Little Girl’s Surfer Lodge – 0927-395-5689

Mel-Nest Lodge – 0920-632-3043

MM Lodge – 0919-537-9405

Pacific Waves – 0917-8950-276

Sea Breeze Lodge – 0908-207-5364 / 0938-539-7344

Smart Beach House – 0928-507-6551

Surfer’s Inn – 0920-591-4962

Trezzo Inn – 0929-822-1992 / 0916-255-6025

Homestay in Sabang, Baler:

Edith S. Buluag (Homestay) – 0921-751-8490 / 0920-480-0928

June B. Samano (Homestay) – 0939-500-0803

Lanie Downing (Homestay) – 0919-458-6657

Margery Paug (Homestay) – 0939-356-7025

Tony Sinsay (Homestay) – 0920-275-9116 / 0921-450-3282

Other Accommodations in Baler (Outside Sabang area):

Azbahaen Leisure Farm and Resort – 0912-208-3588 / 0918-917-7784

Carlito’s Inn – 0908-872-0816

Dela Torre Beach Resort – 0920-509-6849 / 0949-608-7053

Eltrophine Lodge – 0919-373-7575

Kristines Villa Haus – 0928-242-6286

Moreno Lodge & Restaurant – 0918-451-4124 / 0928-505-9354

RAS Garden and Restaurant – 0918-539-3870

Sanchez Inn – 0920-812-9998

XTJR Traveller’s Inn – 0919-950-8554 / 0908-712-0883/0919-879-7447

***It is best to make reservations as the number of visitors can sometimes be unpredictable specially during the summer season.

 

Dicasalarin Cove (Baler, Aurora, PH)

“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful — an endless prospect of magic and wonder.” — Ansel Adams

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In the Philippines, it has become a tradition to head to the beach during the summer season. Being blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and choosing which coastlines to bum around is a delight to any sand-sun-sea lovers.

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However, the popular beach destinations usually become stuffed with packs of beachcombers. Being avid fans of off beaten paths, my friends and I decided to go to Baler, Aurora one weekend. Most people, who frequent this surfing haven at the northeastern side of Luzon in the Philippines, would have a taste of surf, sand and sea at Sabang Beach. However, my wandering soul wanted a more serene place so off we went to a cove tucked away from the busy Baler town.

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Dicasalarin Cove is still almost unheard of, making it one of baler’s best kept secrets. It is a secluded cove with a white sandy beach, a unique lighthouse atop a hill, a piece of the Sierra Madre’s lovely mountainscape and a seemingly endless, spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. So if you desire serenity at its finest, then a visit to this cove is a must when you are in Baler.

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Most Baler tour offered online, does not include a trip to Dicasalarin Cove. For one, the cove is pretty isolated. Moreover, the way to the cove is steep and can pose danger when one isn’t very versed in maneuvering its way to the area. If one decides to walk his or her way to the cove, make sure to be physically fit since going up and downhill may require patience and stamina. Nonetheless, the view along the way is way too scenic that one’s tired body may not notice.

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Dicasalarin Cove is a private area that is owned by the Angara Family. The entrance fee costs Php 300 per person. I know it could be a bit pricey. Maybe this is another reason why people do not consider coming to the area. But then again, the beauty of the place would make you forget you shelled out 300 bucks. The place is open only for day tour, from 8 am to 6pm.

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How to Reach Dicasalarin Cove from Baler:

You can hire a tryke that will take you all the way to the Digisit. The jump-off point is a n ascending concrete road to the PAG-ASA weather station The tricycle cannot make it up steep road so either you hike your way or hire a “habal-habal” or a single motorcycle that can take you upto the cove. (Php 75 one-way).

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Private cars may be used, but then again, make sure that the driver is capable of maneuvering such steep road.

Alternatively, one may charter a Bangka (an outrigger boat) from Sabang to take you to Dicasalarin Cove. However, this could be a very nauseating considering the strong waves of the Pacific Ocean.

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What You Can See in Dicasalarin:

  • A cove with white, sandy beach.
  • Beautifully scattered rocks.
  • A lighthouse perched atop a cliff. (One has to climb 170 steps to reach the top where the view is beyond words).

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  • A verdant view of the Sierra Madre.
  • A seemingly endless view of the cerulean Pacific Ocean.
  • An artist village.
  • A small river that empties out into the ocean.

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