Shipwreck in Pangasinan
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Balinmanok Cove: Home of a Shipwreck in Pangasinan

After soaking in some morning sun and enjoying a hearty breakfast at Cabongaoan beach in Burgos, we found ourselves wobbling on our seats as we drive on a long and narrow dirt road to some place else. It’s not that Cabo didn’t satisfy our yearning for a beach getaway. As freedivers, we could not just draw a line between a laid-back beach trip and a dive especially when an open water sits right in front of us. We are always curious about what’s underneath those glistening sheets. Since the beach rangers wouldn’t allow us to go far and deep at Cabongaoan, we searched for the nearest dive sites. That’s when we found about this shipwreck in Pangasinan.

Shipwreck in Pangasinan

Every shipwreck has a story to tell and the unnamed one in Balinmanok Cove, Dasol, Pangasinan has, I must say, an tragic ending to an illegal shenanigan. Locals say that several years ago, this Chinese vessel carried about hundreds of Kilograms of illegal drugs. As it sails by the Philippine waters amidst the tempest, its anchor accidentally fell into the waters. The crew managed to take 250 Kilograms of it out of the ship but the authorities got them arrested around the town of Infanta. Unfortunately, the rest of the illegal drugs, together with some of the people behind it, disappeared. Long after the incident, it was dragged all the way from Hermana Mayor, Sta. Cruz, Zambales to where it is now. Instantly, it has become an interesting attraction at the beach.

The Location

The said shipwreck is seated at about several meters across the shore of Recudo 2, Balinmanok Cove, Dasol, Pangasinan. The floating cottage or balsa and the make-shift buoy are the markers. It used to be partially submerged few years ago with its stern protruding at the surface. Now, the whole of it has sank in the waters about three meters deep. Its parts, especially the timber, have totally fallen off yet a few remained intact. Presently, it is now a home to fishes and thriving corals that we can all enjoy as we snorkel or dive in the area.

Aerial shot of the shipwreck
Aerial shot of the shipwreck

We actually did not have any ideas to where the ship wreck is located. Gladly, Christian and Neil brought their drones with them. They took turns in flying their drones to search the area. Good thing the wreck is seated in a shallow part and the water is clear that day making it easy for us to find it.

How to Get There

By Land

If you opt to visit Balinmanok Cove and travel by land, you have to endure driving on a narrow dirt road. In our case, we drove from Cabongaoan Beach to Dasol in an ordinary sedan for more or less thirty minutes. An off-road vehicle or SUV would be more convenient, though. You can either drive there via Sapa (which is farther and more confusing); or via the narrow road by the Tourist Assistance Desk of Cabongoan Beach, on the other side of the road. Just pin “Villa Balinmanok (bmk) Private Beach Resorts” on your maps.

By Boat

One of the fastest and most convenient ways to get to Balinmanok Cove is through a boat. If you’re staying at Tambobong or Cabongaoan beach, you may ask an assistance from your hotel or resort’s front desk regarding boat rental. Rate starts at Php 1,500.00 depending on your destinations. Apart from Balinmanok Cove, you also visit the other nearby islands including Colibra (Culebra), Cabacungan and Crocodile Islands.

Where to Stay: Villa Balinmanok

Villa Balinmanok is the only beach resort that offers accommodation at the cove. It is actually a line of private resorts in a stretch of creamy white sand beach. We stayed at Recudo 1 during our visit. What I loved about it is that, it is less crowded compared to Cabongaoan beach. The water is shallow but clearer and undisturbed.

The beach is also good for kids as it is indeed shallow even from several meters away from the shore. However, don’t forget to wear aqua shoes since there are sea urchins around, too.

Aerial view of Balinmanok Cove
The calm beach of Balinmanok Cove in Recudo I

We stayed there for a day because we only wanted to dive as were curious about that shipwreck in Pangasinan. We paid Php 1,000.00 for a small pavilion for the four of us.

Important Fees and Rates

Villa Balinmanok Recudo 1 Rates

  1. Beach bed with umbrella – Php 500.00
  2. Small pavilion with table (day trip) – Php 1,000.00
  3. Big pavilion with table (day trip) – Php 1,500.00
  4. Kayak – Php 300.00 per hour
  5. Island hopping to Colibra Island
    1. Small boat for six persons – Php 1,500.00
    2. Big boat for fifteen persons – Php 3,750.00

For overnight stays and room rates, you may contact them for inquiries and reservation through their Facebook account: Villa Balinmanok Recudo I

Dasol and Villa Balinmanok Fees

  1. Dasol Environmental Fee – Php 20.00
  2. Balinmanok Gate Entrance Fee – Php 50.00

Where to Eat

It is advisable that you bring your own food when visiting Villa Balinmanok. There are no nearby restaurants nor convenience stores at the cove. If you are only staying for a day, make sure that you have enough food with you.

Travel Tips and Reminders when Visiting Villa Balinmanok

  1. Bring aqua shoes and reef-friendly sunscreen.
  2. Bring food and drinks good enough for the duration of your stay.
  3. An ordinary 4-door sedan could drive through the dirt road but an off-road or SUV would be better. Still, the easiest and fastest way to get there and around is by boat.
  4. Establish contact with and inform the management as much as possible prior to your visit.
  5. Bring picnic mats. It’s quite relaxing to be lying around the beach without worrying about sand mites.
  6. Hire a boat so you can also visit Cabacungan, Crocodile and Colibra Islands for a day.

COVID-19 Update: Pangasinan Travel Requirements 2022

As of January 2022, the following are the requirements that you need to prepare shall you decide to visit the province of Pangasinan:

  1. Register at Tara Na! Website at least a week ahead your desired travel dates.
  2. Approved S-pass application at least a week ahead of your travel dates.
  3. Valid ID
  4. Confirm hotel/ resort accommodation booking
  5. LGU-issued COVID-19 vaccination card or vaccination certificate which should at least be dated and completed two weeks before your departure for your trip.

Anne Elizabeth Gumiran, also known as Queenie, is a 20-something, full-time public school teacher, a part-time travel blogger and a freediver. She started putting her stories of adventures and misadventures into words and pictures in 2017 and continues to do so as she shares her advocacy, Sustainable Traveling.

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