My memories of childhood are filled with selling rice cakes with my grandmother Loring in the town center of Burgos, Pangasinan. She wakes at dawn and prepares her goods for the day while I prepare myself to tag along. And because my grandmother is probably the friendliest in town (she stops and talks to every people she meets along the way), her puto and kutsinta are already half sold even before we arrive in the market.
For several years, this was the scenario. Burgos was my home. The home of my grandparents. Each year I go back, even when it has been long since they were gone.
Burgos is a town far northwest of Pangasinan. In the recent years, it has gained attraction for the fast-rising popularity of its best kept secret—the Cabongaoan Beach.
This was a place I have not seen since despite growing up in the area. My grandparents were not the wandering type, you see. The nearest beach I know was in Tobuan where my aunt resides and that was all it.
I never knew that there is a beach in the outskirts of the town, about 45-minute tricycle ride from where we reside until two years ago. With the trends of discovering new places in remote areas in the Philippines, I found out that a beach, with long stretch of seaside with sugary white sand, is located in my own hometown. I know, it’s funny how I only get to know about it in the internet.
Finally, I was able to see its stunning beauty for the first time early this year.
The best way to describe Cabongaoan Beach is that t is a mixture of laidback family beach getaway paired with a tinge of adventure and thrill.
It is a place frequented by the locals, and now, more and more tourist flock in the place because of two things–the sugary-white sand beach and the famed Death Pool.
Cabongaoan has a long stretch of beach. Swimming there is advisable in the morning up to lunch time when it is high tide. Just be careful though with the rocky seabed. The trick is to find it’s smooth spot.
In the afternoon when it’s low tide you can stroll by the beach and walk up to where you can. Low tide can clear the area, up to half kilometer from the beach side. This is the time kids can safely frolic. The rocky parts are visible too so you can avoid them.
Accommodation is not something to worry here. You can opt to rent rooms for overnight, nipa huts in different sizes, and benches ideal for day trips of families and groups.
If one wants to experience a more laidback experience, pitching tents in some parts of the beach side is optional too. You just need to pay for a pitching fee for overnight.
A trip to Cabongaoan beach will not be complete if you have not sighted the famous Depth Pool. This popular tourist site is located at the far right end of the beach. In going there, you need to pass by big rock formations and brave the rocky up and down the path.
But the Depth Pool should not really be a scary thing to try. Kids and other faint hearted can opt to just lounge by the mini pools hidden in big rock formations or just frolic in small natural pools near the area.
The thrill-seekers can take the challenge and plunge into the waters. Seeing it from the top view can give chills as the waves crash into the big hole, making swimmers look like they were being wipeout.
After spending a day in this place, it is not surprising to know why Burgos is slowly carving its name as one of the tourist spots in Pangasinan. It is now leveling with Alaminos’ Hundreds Islands and Bolinao’s Patar White Sand Beach. But here’s to hoping that the place’s beauty will still remain as it is, preserved and untouched, even when many visitors see its sight.
1. Always wear slippers (perfect for rock climbing) or protective footwear. The path to the depth pool can give you blisters and wounds when you try to walk to it barefooted. Believe me, it will be a torture to the feet.
2. To save up on food, buy your supplies either in Alaminos City market or in Burgos market. You can choose between cooking your own good or you can arrange with your resort owners if they can cook food for you. The former suggestion is better if you want to save up, just bring your own cook set.