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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Aurora Province | Dingalan Fun Hike with Tripkada


Arms outstretched channeling Edmond Dant├Ęs staring at freedom following his escape from his dungeon, I regaled at the sight of the Philippine Sea – while listening to its crashing waves mimicking a melodic environment symphony. In this southernmost tip of Aurora Province, I stood awestruck on a rock fronting a stunning landscape of rolling terrain fringed with cliff-side hills. I wanted to scream but instead, I reckoned the hissing winds sounded better in lieu of a yell of exuberance.


A Chill and Scenic Trek

The town of Dingalan boast of a number of many natural attractions such as white sandy beaches, waterfalls and caves. Arriving at this coastal municipality aboard a motorized boat after lunch, we headed straight atop the hill.


After a relaxed and steady trek, we reached the naturel view-deck where we spun around to a magnificent 360 degree view of the sea and the nearby Sierra Madre mountain range. I heard murmurs of Batanes comparisons – while I am not high on comparing destinations, I can see the similarities.

The cool winds of February felt like miniscule flurries of a hurricane from the top. I felt my face being massaged by the relentless gusts as I inch towards the outer rock, where I ended up positioning myself for a few minutes.


This is front row seat” I told myself akin to watching a pricey musical show complete with a spectacular stage production. Only this time, the theater actors were composed of the blue skies, the azure-colored seas and the wavy green grasses, trees and the jagged cliffs.

Fun Trip with Tripkada

When I don’t participate in media trips or get sent to a travel writing assignment, I normally do solo backpacking trips. This time though, I opted to join a group of hikers via the mobile app Tripkada.


TripKada is a mobile app that provides travel junkies a platform where they can easily join planned travels. Founder April Cuenca describes how the app works:

“Tripkada is a mobile app where travelers can join trips organized by fellow travelers. Think uber-pooling for trips = trip-pooling. Instead of paying for an entire package, users can simply book a slot on a trip and join other travelers, split the bill, meet new friends, and tick things off their bucket list for less”


When we started off our trip from Cubao at 3am, I have April as the only person I knew in the group. By the time we were all enjoying our time at Dingalan, I have been introduced to almost a dozen kindred souls who were equally passionate about traveling.

To the Lighthouse and the Beach

While we weren't able to visit the waterfalls and the caves, we made the most of our time just hanging out at the hilltop. Adjacent to the view deck where we first went, is another peak where an operating lighthouse rests.


A short hike away and we reached the grassy area where the swaying greeneries creates an ideal spot to lay under the bright sun. Leaving my pack at the beach and with nothing on my hand, I laid down on my back with the flattened grasses serving as my soft pillows. I listened to the gusting sounds of the wind, as I watched the white clouds casting shadows slowly drifting away on top of me.


I wish I could have stayed longer and camped for the night. As momentary was our visit to the crests of Dingalan, it has gifted me with another memorable journey and a day well spent. From my secluded thoughts while seated inside a van full of strangers to the afternoon – just as the sun was about to set, when our whole group started sharing laughter together.


As the dusk skies starts to cover the horizon and the hills of Dingalan slowly disappear from our sight, an instant of silence reigned on our motorized boat. As if all of us are fleetingly left speechless in admiring the beautiful piece of Mother Nature that exist and seen from the hills of Dingalan. T'was a wonderful day indeed. 

* Unfortunately, sometime last year, Mommy Grace - as the group fondly calls her because she was like a mother to most, especially to the ones she frequently travels with, passed away. May she rest in peace. 

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