“I’m coming home 1st week of April, where is our next adventure?”, I asked the “Beach Bums”. That’s what we call ourselves or atleast that’s what Shyne named the chat group in FB when it was created. Either way, I think it’s a fitting name for our group. A few places were suggested: Hundred Islands (again?), San Juan in La Union (too commercialized now but with a “great view” as per Jiesan and Benj) and few other beaches. As it is, I’d go anywhere with this group just as long as we go there with great food and get rewarded with a great view; but when Jiesan mentioned Colibra Island in Dasol, Pangasinan there was an immediate collective “yes!” among the other members. Curiously, since I haven’t heard about Colibra Island yet, I did a quick Google search of the place. Quickly convinced after seeing some pictures of the place, I voted in my most resounding “YES!” a few seconds later. So, Colibra Island it is.
On a Pangasinan declared public holiday, we started off early as usual from San Carlos City. After a 2 hour drive we reached the road leading to Tambobong beach. From Alaminos, the Bobonot-Tambobong road entrance was about a kilometer away before the town proper of Dasol. If you’re coming from Zambales, you’ll need to pass through the town proper and Dasol River; the road entrance will be to your left. Either way, there is a prominent signage by the side of the main road stating where to go so you won’t get lost. The place is also accessible if you intend to commute. There are buses (Victory Liner – Dagupan/Alaminos, Pangasinan to Sta. Cruz, Zambales) plying the Zambales-Pangasinan road, just ask the conductor to drop you off the road leading to Tambobong beach. From there, you can take a tricyle going to Tambobong beach (fare around 300-400 PHP ).
The 20-minute travel going to Tambobong beach is an adventure itself (no kidding). The concrete-paved, snaking road will give Kennon road a run for its money. Other than the narrow roads, there were a lot of roller coaster-like crest and trough stages on the road which would be fun for some but would be a bane for those who are prone to motion sickness. One thing worth mentioning is that there were appropriate safety signs along the roadway (quite uncommon for rural roads) so kudos to the local government for making sure that the road leading to the beach was safe. I guess they were anticipating a lot of travelers using the road in the near future.
Halfway through the trip, we were compelled to stop on top of a hill overlooking Dasol bay as we were enamoured by the view of the coastline of West Pangasinan, Zambales and Bataan. I’d say it’s worth your time to stop and just take some photo as it gives you a majestic view of the coastline and some nearby island (including Colibra Island).
As we continued our journey, we made our way to the near end of Tambobong beach and were greeted by a cool breeze, clean white sand beach and a very accommodating local resort owners. We rented out a cottage hut by the beach (around 400PHP for a whole day stay) and ate a “not so typical” heavy Ilocano/Pangasinense brunch – Binagoongan baboy, Pigar-pigar, Kilawen kambing, Sinampalokang kambing and green mango with bagoong-ala Benj (did I mention that we love to eat?).
Tambobong beach itself was great and the surrounding beach area has comfortable cabins or rooms for rent if you plan to stay overnight but that was not what we came for. So, after the sumptuous brunch, we rented out a boat that took us to Colibra Island (roundtrip boat rental was around 1200PHP for 6 persons). After a 15 minute boat ride, we reached our main destination which was utterly breathtaking to say the least.
Colibra island, also known as Camaso island, which is located just off the coast of Tambobong, Dasol, Pangasinan was as good as advertised. I heard from my companions that it has already been featured on a mainstream media travel program and was recently visited by some local celebrities as well. The island is managed by a friendly caretaker who keeps the island as pristine looking as possible for tourist. The side of the island beach where we were dropped off was laden with pure white sand and decorated accordingly with stone sculptures and coloured flags. They also put up a beach volleyball court as an additional activity for guests. It also has huts where you can rest and eat (fee is around 200PHP per table). Now, had we known that there were covered huts, we should have gone directly to the island instead of staying at Tambobong beach to eat first. Well, now we know. For those of you who wants to stay overnight, you’ll be able to do so for a fee of 1500PHP for 10 persons but you’ll have to bring your own tents, sleeping gears and other essentials. There is an available toilet on the premises and you can also buy provisions from the caretaker albeit in limited quantity only.
The island surrounding is predominantly rocky but can still be traversed without any much difficulty. As always, explore with caution. As the saying goes, safety is paramount above all else.
The only regret I had was that I wasn’t able to see the sunset from the island. I can imagine just sitting down on the rocky west side of the island and just staring at the sunset. That would have been a great way to end the day and great way to cap off a wonderful trip. But it was not meant to be as we had to go back to Tambobong beach as it would have been difficult for the bangkero’s to bring us back after night falls. Oh well, safety first.
Other than that, it was another unforgettable experience. As it always is if you have great company to share the experience with.