There was barely a slit in the eastern sky that the sun can peek through as dark rain clouds paraded that morning. I was hoping the rain gods would get their business over with quickly and relinquish the sky , but no, they had too much fun taunting us, occasionally sending a brief shower to get you guessing whether to pack your gear or stick it out.
But it looked like the sun’s not giving up without a fight and was desperately trying to get itself seen. So as not to waste its effort, a few of us [ fellow outdoor photography enthusiasts I met the previous day] picked our gear up and did what we went there to do.
Dingalan's rustic beauty
Dingalan’s beautiful coastline has attracted photographers from all around. The tide lands at Matawe particularly, is where most flock at sunrise. Low tide can be a surreal scene.
It's rugged coastline faces the Pacific Ocean and offers some of the best sunrise views. Combine that with large swells and unpredictable moods and you got something a landscape photographer cannot resist.
Its gray-sand and coral beaches, rustic and raw. And that's probably what attracted people to come here.
Commuting to DingalanGetting to Dingalan from Metro Manila, particularly to Matawe, can be convenient by private car. Leave after midnight, be there at sunrise, and be back at Manila before lunch time. Commuting is very doable as well, but will take more time. Here’s how you can get to Dingalan:
- Take any bus heading to Cabanatuan City. There are several bus lines in Cubao including Five Star and Baliwag Transit. You can take the first morning trip, usually at 2AM. Bus ride takes more or less 3 hours so you will be in Cabanatuan City by 5AM. Bus fare is Php 280-300.
- From Cabanatuan, there are vans and buses heading to Dingalan. However its best to take the bus heading to Umiray, which will pass by the town center, then head south to Umiray, passing by Matawe (aka Brgy. Cabug) on its way there. The first trip is 7AM. Bus fare is 80 pesos up to Matawe.
Travel time to Matawe is a tricky thing. The bus will stop to pick up passengers, livestock, farm produce, etc as long as there are few square inches of space left on the bus. It will stop every few hundred meters if needed and will probably pick up a cow if it can fit in the bus. In short, travel time can vary. For this particular trip, it took 3.5 hours to cover the 60-70 km from Cabanatuan to Dingalan.