Glamping in Dinadiawan Beach

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Glamping or glamorous camping has indeed caught the travel scene by storm — from Batangas to Tagaytay and Bataan to Zambales. Glam camps are becoming more and more popular, especially to weekend travelers, as they come already with a pre-pitched tent that feature airbeds or foam/cushion mattresses (with beddings) and basic amenities to make your camping more comfortable, eliminating the hassle of packing heavy camping gear.

Although a relative newcomer in the glamping universe, Sand and Stars Beach Camp — nestled in the fine-sand beach of Dinadiawan in Dipaculao — has caught the interest of many because of its close proximity to Baler, one of the country’s prime surfing destination. It offers various-sized glamping tents that can accommodate from four (Vega, Mars, Sirius, Rigel, Beta) to eight people (Supernova). Each glam tent comes with foam mattresses with beddings, a rechargeable fan and lamp, sockets for charging your gadgets, as well as a spacious “anteroom”, complete with throw pillows and a small table.

A couple of communal T&B are also available.

Published check in time is 0100PM and check out is 1100AM; however, depending on the availability of accommodations and volume of guests, management may allow early check in or late check out.

For rates and availability of rooms/tents, visit Sand and Stars Online Booking. For other inquiries, check out their FB page.

Suggested itinerary for a 3D/2N trip

Day 0
1200MN: Depart for Baler, Aurora via JoyBus*

Day 1
0500AM: ETA Baler
0630AM: Depart for Dinadiawan via D’Liner Bus**
0900AM: ETA Sand and Stars Beach Camp
1000AM: Buy supplies at Dinadiawan Market
0100PM: Check in / Free time

Day 2
You can opt to explore “Dinadiawan” Falls and Pamwasan Cove

Day 3
1000AM: Check out / Depart for Baler***
1200NN: ETA Baler
0100PM: Depart for Manila

TRAVEL NOTES
*   JoyBus is highly recommended for its comfort and prompt arrival in Baler, the jumpoff point to Dinadiawan. Make sure to get your tickets ahead of time. You can book online at iWantSeats Online Booking. Fare is P730 per pax, which includes snacks onboard. Travel time is 5hrs.

DSC_7973**   D’Liner Bus (at Baler Bus Terminal, near the public market and a short walk from Genesis/Joy Bus Terminal) has two trips in the morning (6AM and 9AM) and one trip in the afternoon bound for Casiguran, which passes by Dinadiawan. Just tell the conductor that you’re getting off at Sand and Stars Beach Camp. Fare is P85 per pax. Travel time is 1.5hrs to 2 hrs. Several vans also ply the same route at P200 per pax.

***   You may opt to check out early if you want to catch the 0900AM D’Liner Bus to Baler. If not, you can take the shuttle provided by the resort. Make sure that you inform Ate Merly, the person in charge of the resort, the night before departure. Fare is P200 per pax. The last trip for both Genesis and JoyBus is 0330PM.

Onok Island: Nature’s gift to man

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If you are the techie-savvy, GPS-toting traveler, you won’t find “Onok” on the map; instead, you’ll find “Roughton Island”.

That is because Roughton Island is the “official name” of Onok, the latter being a local nickname for this wonderful piece of real estate right in the middle of nowhere.

Fronting the main beach of Onok island is a massive reef, rife with a variety of soft and colorful corals that extend towards a sheer drop of about 80 feet, where large pelagic fish swim about — on occasion, you’ll be lucky to encounter a school of yellow fins! The surroundings of this small island is also home to “taklobos” or giant sea clams, and of course, sea turtles! Never have I seen sea turtles — oblivious to our presence — in such quantity!

If I were to go back to Balabac, this is where I would stay longer.

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P.S.

Thank you SB Toto for the hospitality and these mouth-watering dishes!

Notes:
  • The best time to visit Onok and the other islands in the municipality of Balabac is during the summer months of March, April and May, as the waters in and around the islands can be treacherous and rough.
  • Prior arrangements should be made before visiting some islands, particularly Punta Sibaring in Bugsuk Island and Onok Island.
  • Balabac is accessible via 4-hour motorized boat ride from Rio Tuba. There are commuter vans and buses plying the Puerto Prinsesa-Rio Tuba route, which is a 5-hour travel time.
  • A PhP5,000 fee is now collected from each visitor to Onok. This covers the entrance fee, boat transfers from and to  Balabac proper, and meals while on the island. NOTE: There are many boat operators offering Onok trips; however, only a select few are allowed to bring in guests. You may contact SB Toto Astami, Onok administrator, for access to the island and/or to verify if the boatman you hired has permission to enter Onok.
  • IMPORTANT: Waterproof your bags.
  • For a hassle-free Balabac experience, contact +63998 944 7242.

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