This year, before official summer began, we went for a weekend road trip to Pangasinan. We visited Tambobong Beach in Dasol and Cabongaoan Beach including the infamous “Death Pool” in Burgos along with friends we’d met in our recent travel to Siargao.
Pangasinan is my mother’s hometown. As my memory serves me, it has ordinary beaches with cream or blackish sand. When I was a kid, we used to spend days on blackish-sand beaches getting lulled in waves in our lifebuoys. While the beaches here don’t meet the high standards of Calaguas or Boracay, this place is still ideal for family trips and barkada getaways especially for those living in Manila.
The same can be said for Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach.
Tambobong Beach, Dasol
From Manila, we drove for 5-6 hours to reach Tambobong Beach in Pangasinan. We stayed at R Paradise Resort, where we camped in tents while some of the women in our group opted to rent a room.
Tambobong Beach has a narrow shore and the beach is filled with seaweeds. While it isn’t grand, it’s ideal for family vacations. There are proper resort accommodations and restaurants in the area, and the calm beach makes it easy to look after kids.
In a way, that’s what I liked most about this weekend beach vacation — it was laid-back and brought memories of family trips in my childhood. Instead of ordering in the resort or asking for cooking services, we bought seafood and other meat from the market, and Peng, who is a great cook, managed to get all the cooking done. We grilled pork chops and bangus (milkfish) stuffed with tomatoes and onions. We made adobo with squids we’d bought in the market that morning.
On the same day, we island hopped to Colibra Island and Cabacungan Cave.
Similar to other beaches in Dasol, Colibra Island has a beach with yellow green-tinted water. The sand looks white in photos, but it’s actually more yellow-ish.
Most of the group stayed in the hut to eat and drink, while Hali and I dove into the water. The waves were strong so I was careful to not go far from the shore. Hali went snorkeling into the distance.
Cabacungan Cave, meanwhile, is a small cave filled with cool water. You can go through the narrow cave entrance or the exit, which goes straight out to sea.
The cliff on top of Cabacungan Cave has good views, so after visiting the cave we stayed there to take silly pictures.
Later that night, everybody had a great time having social drinks in the beach side. The view was beautiful, with the full moon illuminating the sea, which was then calm and in low tide. I loved how it was a perfect ending to a relaxing day.
Cabongaoan Beach and Death Pool, Burgos
Cabongaoan Beach is a decent beach with minimal crowd. This is perhaps its best selling point. During summer where every beach resort in the country seems to be visited by hundreds of families, you can be guaranteed more quiet in Cabongaoan Beach.
I liked it here better than Tambobong Beach in Dasol, although each has its own merits. We stayed for a day trip in Cabongaoan Beach in Roven’s Place. Roven’s Place enjoys a constant cool breeze, which is something to be grateful for in the pre-summer heat, and a good beach front. It’s not filled with seaweed unlike the rest of the length of Cabongaoan Beach.
About 30 minutes from the resort is the so-called “death pool.” The Death Pool in Burgos is basically a deep tidal pool beside the sea. I’m not sure if anybody has died here yet. It seems to be more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. When we first saw it from the cliff, we were disappointed by its small size and how people crowded around it. Once the people started going back to the beach area, however, we started to appreciate the pool.
It’s fun and scary taking photos in the pool because every now and then a huge wave will come crashing through and fill up the pool to the brim. The water ebbs and flows. If you’re swimming in the pool, you might get pushed against the rocks on the side by the raging waves. Perhaps that’s how it got its name from.
After having an afternoon swim, we’d left back to Manila.
Travel Guide to Tambobong Beach & Cabongaoan Beach
Here’s a DIY guide to visiting Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach. We opted to visit 2 beaches in a weekend, but this guide is still useful if you just want to visit either of them.
How to get here
Travel from Manila to Pangasinan takes about 5-6 hours.
- From Manila (Cubao, Pasay, Trinoma and Avenida), ride a bus to Alaminos or Bolinao and get off at Alaminos bus terminal (5 hours, P400 per person).
- Ride another bus bound for Sta. Cruz, Zambales, and get off at Burgos, Pangasinan (1 hour, P30 per person).
- At the town proper, charter a tricycle to either Tambobong or Cabongaoan Beach (P350 one way, 45 minutes to 1 hour).
It’s better if you’d get the contact number of your tricycle driver to fetch you the next day.
Tambobong Beach to Caboangaoan Beach (or vice versa)
Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach are about 20-30 minutes away from each other.
You can go to either resort via commute: you can charter a tricycle for P250-350 per way. I recommend bringing a car especially as there are rough roads in-between these two places.
You may also charter a boat for about P1000 one-way. If you plan on island hopping in Dasol, just add an additional fee on top of the regular island hopping rate for the boat operator to take you to Caboangan Beach.
Where to stay
There are various resorts in Dasol and Burgos, Pangasinan. The resorts are relatively simple. If you want a more comfortable resort, you may want to visit Bolinao in Pangasinan instead.
We stayed at R Paradise Resort. The staff/owners are very friendly and we had everything we need for our trip. The resort also helped arrange our island hopping tour.
- R Paradise Resort: Facebook | Camping fee – P200 per person, room – P2600 (good up to 6 people)
- Rain’s White Beach Resort: Facebook
Roven’s Place is the most popular choice among backpackers on a day tour. We have added other resorts as well for reference.
- Roven’s Place: Facebook or 09279957606 | Cottage for day tour – P500, rooms – P2000-3000
- Amayaj Bora Beach Resort: Facebook
- Cabo Beach Resort: Facebook
- Viva La Vida / Villa Toledo Cabongaoan Beach Resort: Facebook
2 Days itinerary to Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach
Here’s a sample 2 days itinerary to Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach in Pangasinan.
3AM ETD Manila to Pangasinan
8AM ETA Dasol / breakfast and buy food in the market
9AM Check in at resort in Tambobong Beach
9:30 – 1PM Free time
1PM – 5PM Island hop (Colibra Island, Cabacungan Cave)
7AM – 7:30AM Travel to Cabongoan Beach
7:30AM – 12PM Swimming time at Cabonganaon Beach and Death Pool
1PM – 7PM Travel back to Manila
Optional side trips
From Cabongaoan Beach, you may visit Cacupangan Cave in Mabini where you can go caving for 2 hours. We didn’t visit it since we weren’t aware of it at the time of our trip.
If you still have ample time, you can also visit the newly opened sunflower maze farm in Tayug, although this will take hours of detour from either beaches.
Budget and expenses
Here are the current rates you should note (updated as of 2019):
- Island hopping in Dasol: P1500 (Colibra Island and Cabacungan Cove) + additional fee for other stops (Crocodile Island and Balinmanok Cove)
- Colibra Island docking fee: P100 per boat
If you’re in a group, a safe budget would be P2500-3000 per person.
Reminders and tips
- As in most provinces, seafood is cheap in Pangasinan. If you’re going to cook, you can buy seafood at Burgos Market. Occasionally, there are also streetside vendors near Cabongaoan Beach that sells lobsters for only P300+ per kilo. Just be sure to get there early.
- If you’re going to commute, make sure to get the number of your tricycle driver for your return trip.
Here are the contact details for the accommodations we’d booked and van service to Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach.
- Kuya Carlos, van service – Facebook
Kuya Carlos is a personal friend and highly recommended for van and tour services. He’s based here in Metro Manila and can take you to out-of-town trips. 🙂 Please say hello to him from us!
Before we go, here are photos of the peeps in this Pangasinan trip:
Have you been to either of these? What do you think about Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach in Pangasinan?
What to read next:
Here are popular destinations for the summer:
- Alibijaban Island (Quezon) and Burias Island (Masbate)
- Jomalig Island in Quezon
- Maniwaya Island in Marinduque
- Bulalacao in Oriental Mindoro
- Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach (Pangasinan)