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 rather ordinary beaches. When I was a kid, we used to spend days on blackish-sand beaches, where we’d spend afternoons riding the waves on our lifebuoys. While the beaches here don’t meet the high standards of Calaguas or Boracay, this place is still ideal for family or barkada trips.
Our weekend trip to Pangasinan
From Manila, we drove for 5-6 hours to reach Tambobong Beach in Pangasinan. We stopped at a market to buy food and then checked in at R Paradise Resort. Hali and I camped tents in the beachfront while some girls in our group rented a room in the resort.
Tambobong features a narrow shore and the beach is filled with seaweeds. While it isn’t grand, it’s a decent choice for families. There are a number of resorts and restaurants in the area and the calm beach makes it easy to look after kids.
In a way, it’s what I liked about this trip. It was laid-back and it brought memories of my family trips in my childhood.
Once we were settled, we island hopped to Colibra Island and Cabacungan Cave.
Similar to other beaches in Dasol, Colibra Island features a beach with yellow-ish sand, although it looks white in photos. The water has a distinct yellow-green tint as well.
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 not to venture far from the shore. Hali went snorkeling in the distance.
After that, we went to Cabacungan Cave. Cabacungan Cave is a small cave with a narrow entrance. Inside there is a refreshing pool that leads straight out to the sea.
I stayed inside the cave while Hali swam through the tunnel.
Afterwards, we went to the cliff on top of the Cabacungan Cave. This area has a nice view so we took silly pictures.
Once we got back to the resort, we went straight to cooking. We’d brought seafood and meat from the market earlier. Our organizer Peng, who is a great cook, managed to get all the cooking done. Hali and I helped a bit. We had grilled pork chops and stuffed bangus (milk fish) and squid adobo.
We had a social night later that night. The view was beautiful with the full moon illuminating the sea, which was low and calm. I loved how it was a perfect ending to a relaxing day.
Cabongaoan Beach and Death Pool
The next day, we packed up and went to Cabongaoan Beach in Burgos.
Cabongaoan Beach is a regular beach — it’s best selling point is its minimal crowd. 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.
We bookoed a cottage in Roven’s Place. This resort has a nice beachfront. The shore is not filled with seaweed unlike the rest. There was also a constant cool breeze, which we were grateful to have in the pre-summer heat.
I liked it here better than Tambobong 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. We went closer once the people started going back to the beach area and found that it wasn’t so bad after all.
It was fun and scary at the same time taking photos in the pool because every now and then a huge wave would crash through and fill the pool up to the brim. The water would ebb and flow. I think it’s not safe to swim in the pool itself because you might get push against the rocks by the waves.
Hali and I spent the rest of our time swimming back on our beachfront. After that, we changed clothes and traveled back to Manila.
How to get to Cabongaoan Beach or Tambobong Beach
You can visit both of these beaches in a weekend. The direction is the same for either beach, since they are only several minutes apart.
Travel from Manila to Pangasinan takes about 5-7 hours.
- From Manila (Cubao, Pasay, Trinoma or Avenida), ride a bus bound for Alaminos or Bolinao. Get off at Alaminos bus terminal (5 hours, P400 per person).
- From there, ride a bound for Sta. Cruz, Zambales. 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).
Tambobong Beach is located in Dasol, while Cabongaoan Beach is in Burgos. They are about 20-30 minutes from each other.
You can transfer to either resort via commute.
- Option 1: Charter a tricycle. Rate is around 250-350 per way. It’s better if you’d get the contact number of your tricycle driver to fetch you the next day.
- Option 2: Charter a boat. Rate is P1000 per way. If you plan on island hopping in Dasol, you can just ask your boat operator to take you to Cabongaoan Beach as well for an additional fee.
I recommend bringing a car especially as there are rough roads in-between these two places.
Where to stay
There are various resorts in Dasol and Burgos, Pangasinan. I’ve listed a few of them here. Take note that the resorts here are mostly casual.
If you want a more comfortable resort, you may want to go instead to other places in Pangasinan, such as Bolinao.
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 Cabongaoan Beach and Tambobong Beach
Here’s a sample 2 days itinerary to Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach in Pangasinan.
|Day 1||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)
|Day 2||7AM – 7:30AM Travel to Cabongaoan Beach|
7:30AM – 12PM Swimming time at Cabongaoan Beach and Death Pool
1PM – 7PM Travel back to Manila
From Cabongaoan Beach, you may visit Cacupangan Cave in Mabini where you can go on a 2-hour cave tour.
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). You need to add a small fee to go to Crocodile Island and Balinmanok Cove as well.
- 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 so I recommend buying here. 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.
- In my opinion, Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach are just your regular beaches. There may be too much hype in social media, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
- 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!
Have you been to either of these? What do you think about Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach in Pangasinan?
What to read next:
Looking for fun, affordable summer getaways near Manila? Check these out:
- Alibijaban Island and Burias Island (Quezon & Masbate)
- Jomalig Island (Quezon)
- Maniwaya Island (Marinduque)
- Bulalacao (Oriental Mindoro)
- Tambobong Beach and Cabongaoan Beach (Pangasinan)
Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).