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 far as I know, it doesn’t have white-sand blue beaches. I remember going to black-sand beaches as a kid on family trips and having fun as waves lull me back and forth in my lifebuoy. Just the same, these beaches do not meet the high bar set we’ve set for other beaches like Calaguas or Boracay. The sand is your usual color and the water isn’t the bluest or clearest we’ve seen.
Still, Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach are ideal for short barkada getaways or even family trips especially on weekends.
Tambobong Beach, Dasol
Tambobong Beach is about 5-6 hours away from Metro Manila. 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 small shore and the beach is filled with seaweeds. As I said earlier, it isn’t grand but seems to be 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’s 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 milkfish filled with tomatoes and onions. We made adobo from squids we’d bought in the market that morning.
On the same day, we island hopped to Colibra Island and Cabacungan Cave. The beaches in Dasol seem to have a yellow-green color, and that holds true for Colibra Island as well. 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 + 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 and Cabongaoan Beach, Pangasinan
We opted to visit 2 beaches on a weekend, and of course there’s no problem if you want to just go in one of them.
How to get to Tambobong or Cabongaoan Beach
Travel from Manila to Pangasinan takes about 5-6 hours. Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach are about 20-30 minutes away from each other. You can go to either resort via commute, but it’s easier to bring a private car especially considering there are rough roads to Cabongaoan Beach.
To commute: Take a bus from Metro Manila to Alaminos, Pangasinan (P400). You can take a bus in the following terminals: Cubao, Pasay, Trinoma and Avenida. From there, take another bus en route to Sta. Cruz, Zambales, and get off at Burgos, Pangasinan (P30). In Burgos, you can charter a tricycle to either Tambobong or Cabongaoan Beach (P300-350 one way).
It’s better if you’d get the contact number of your tricycle driver to fetch you the next day.
Weekend itinerary to Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach
Early morning meetup in Metro Manila (1AM-3AM)
Have breakfast and buy food in the market in Dasol
Arrive in resort in Tambobong Beach, cook lunch
Island hop (Colibra Island, Cabacungan Cave)
Early morning travel to Cabongaoan Beach
Explore Death Pool
Leave at late afternoon, back to Manila
We weren’t able to visit Cacupangan Cave in Mabini because we didn’t know about it then. Apparently it offers 2 hours of spelunking adventure. You can visit Cacupangan Cave as a side trip to Cabongaoan Beach.
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.
Other things to note:
As in most provinces, seafood is cheap in Pangasinan. In Dasol, we were able to buy squids for P120 per kilo. Meanwhile, in Burgos, there are streetside vendors on the road to Cabongaoan Beach that sell lobsters for P300 per kilo. You should be able to buy some if you get there early in the morning and if they have catch for that day.
Unlike R Paradise Resort in Dasol, Roven’s Place in Burgos doesn’t provide food services, so you have to bring your own food.
Costs and expenses
The rate for island hopping in Dasol is P800 for 9 people, plus an additional P100 docking fee per boat in Colibra Island.
Rooms at R Paradise Resort cost P2600 for 6 people, while camping fee is P200 per person. Meanwhile, in Roven’s Place, a huge cottage for a day tour costs P400-500.
We were in a group and we spent about P2000-2500 each.
Here are the contact details for the accommodations we’d booked and van service to Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach.
- R Paradise Resort, Facebook page
- Roven’s Place, Cabongaoan Beach – Facebook page/0995 336 8553, 0927 995 7606
- Kuya Carlos, van service – Facebook page
For other accommodations, you can search for resorts in Pangasinan here.
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?
P.S. You might also be interested in these:
If you’re looking for a summer destination near Manila, here are other places you can check out: