rss feeds: Posts | Comments

Sand and Stars Beach Resort in Dinadiawan, Aurora, Philippines

Comments Off on Sand and Stars Beach Resort in Dinadiawan, Aurora, Philippines

The Philippines, with its nearly 100 million population, 81 provinces, 144 cities, 1,491 municipalities, and 42,028 barangays (villages) — is now considered one of the top island destinations in the world. Aurora is a province in the Philippines located in the eastern part of Central Luzon region, facing the East Philippine Sea and Pacific Ocean, and is considered one among the greenest and most scenic places in the country.

 

Ken_main_photo_B

 

Aurora is a locality blessed with an abundance of tourist attractions. It has its share of historical sights such as the home and rest house of former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon. According to Aurora tourism website, the place also has several historical markers and beautiful Catholic churches. Its natural attractions include picturesque waterfalls, lush greenery on mountainsides and panoramic beaches. Surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, mountain climbing and trekking are only some of the activities a tourist can enjoy in Aurora.

 

Ken_Sand_stars-8

☆ Photo by: Kenneth de Guzman

 

Fast forward to Sand and Stars Beach Resort as our prime course, located in Barangay Dinadiawan in Dipaculao, Province of Aurora, 313 km north of Metro Manila, on about 7-9 hours land travel, is a hidden paradise which is just an hour-and-a-half away from Baler with its coarse, greyish white and pale yellow sand, this beach is perfect for relaxation! It is definitely a worthy travel for our pockets and an overnight stay to give yourself and your family and friends a relaxing retreat and escape from the busy and hustling city.

 

HOW TO GET TO DINADIAWAN (FROM MANILA) VIA LAND TRAVEL

According to Sand and Stars official Facebook page, travellers may take the bus going to Baler – either Genesis or Joy Bus Liners from Cubao terminal (this will take 4-6 hours). Bus fare ranges from PhP500 to PhP700+ depending on the type of bus you choose to ride.

 

Once you reached Baler town proper, take the tricycle going to the central market of the bus terminal for Casiguran (This will cost you 12 pesos). The ordinary bus will leave at 6:30am. But in case you miss the bus, you can always take the van going to Casiguran or Dipaculao, which will leave at approximately, 9:00am. Bus fare is 85 pesos, while Van is 200 pesos.

 

Tell the driver, to drop you off at Sand and Stars Beach Resort in Dinadiawan, which is just 1.5 hours away from Baler. GPS  with keywords: “Sand and Stars” would be very much helpful to find the beach resort’s exact location which is just along the highway. 

 

Ken_Sand-Stars_7

 

ALTERNATE ROUTES TO DINADIAWAN (FROM MANILA) VIA LAND TRAVEL

There might be some unfortunate times when you get to miss your booked flight or scheduled buses. Well, this often happens to me whenever I have to travel and it is pretty frustrating, but it is also fun, crazy and exciting. So, if in case you have no other choice but to take an alternative route to Sand and Stars, you may take these steps which I and my colleagues also took.

 

From Cubao in Manila, take the bus going to Cabanatuan Terminal, I recommend ES Transport (this will take 2-3 hours). Bus fare ranges from PhP 185+ only.

 

In Cabanatuan Terminal, take the van going to Central Market and Terminal in Baler Town Proper (this will take 1-2 hours). Van fare ranges from PhP 200+ only.

 

As soon as you reach Baler Town Proper. Finally, this goes similarly with my tip above. You can just take the van going to Casiguran or Dipaculao and tell the driver to drop you off at Sand and Stars Beach Resort in Dinadiawan. Van fare ranges from PhP 200+ only.

 

THE BEACH RESORT

They have beautiful, uncrowded, white sand and clean waters. These are what most beach travellers look for as most beaches in the country are a bit crowded and does not offer much relaxation anymore. The beach is long and wide, and the water stays shallow for quite a long way if you walk away from the shore. The sand and stars meet here (which explains the name of the resort). It is very peaceful, panoramic and impressive. It is like being in a private beach resort with no crowd, owning the ocean itself. Waves may not be for surfing, but the beach is perfect for relaxation if you are in need of a peaceful retreat.

 

There is no need to bring a snorkel and mask since there is not much to see in terms of sea life. (Perhaps a different story if there’s an available boat that would bring you to an area good for it.) The staff has advised that they are devising new itineraries for added fun like boating and snorkeling which comes up with rates, these are just some things that I look forward to my return.

 

BEACH STAFF

It’s a first for us in this resort and the place has never failed to make our experience worthwhile. The freshness, sanitation, controlled crowd and colorful shanties and shacks are what we love about this beach resort. The accommodation is good. The staff are friendly and courteous. Those whom I have met smile each time they see me. I always love the simplicity of their lives there. The way they smile makes me feel like it is truly a quick retreat away from stress and the city.

 

Ken_Sand-Stars_5

 

ACCOMMODATION

So if you are traveling during the peak tourist season from March to June, it is best to book accommodation in advance. However, if you are travelling during off-peak season, then it is easier to find accommodation once you arrive, as various accommodation are available to cover some peak and price ranges.

 

What I like the most is that Sand and Stars management practices crowd control. This means that booking in advance is a must. Their policy of “crowd control” assures that patrons enjoy the best of sweet solitude in the beach. I mean, who wants to relax in a beach that is overcrowded? That is stressful, not relaxing. Thus the “crowd control” policy here will protect your sanity. 

How about walk-in patrons of the resort? Are they still accepted on the last minute? Yes and no. If there is still a vacant space, then they are accepted. However, if the head count exceeds the maximum number of guests, then walk-ins will have to find another resort.

Glamorous Camping #GlamPing

The resort’s best feature is their glamping tents. The word “glamping” is derived from the root words “Glamorous” + “Camping” = “GlamPing”. This kind of camping is becoming rampant and famous but there are only few beaches up until now where you can have this nice experience under the stars. Well, when you peak inside the tents, you could see how glamorous and beautiful it is.

 

Ken_GlamPing1_C

 

Rental Glamping tent ranges from:

  • PhP 1,500 – 2 pax
  • PhP 1,700 – 3 pax
  • PhP 1,900 – 4 pax

 

This is good for an overnight stay with breakfast, drinks and use of grill some cooking utensils. Rechargeable fans are also provided so need not to worry of the sun’s heat if you are inside.

 

Collage_Ken_Sand-Stars_1_B

 

Air Conditioned Kubo / Nipa Huts

(“Kubo” or Nipa huts refer to small native houses made of light materials like dried nipa leaves with bamboo frames for a strong framework.)

Rooms are equipped with queen sized or double decked beds, desks, open cabinets, air-conditioning and a private comfort room with heater and shower. Fire extinguishers are also placed for safety.

  • Rate is at PhP 2,500.00 – 4 pax plus PhP 50.00 for additional pax.

Hut is limited for up to 6 pax only. So initially with 4 pax wherein you could only add two more friends inside.

 

Ken_sand-stars-2

☆ Photo by: Kenneth de Guzman

 

Cottage Tip: There are 8 cottages in Sand and Stars, but try booking cottage numbers 1-4, these are very close to the shore. Once you come out, you’ll be delighted by the perfect and iconic beach view.

Additionals:

  • Mattress: PhP 150.00
  • Grill: PhP 50.00

#CampSawi

This is inspired by the 2016 Filipino comedy-drama film “Camp Sawi”. The management of Sand and Stars had also built their own free cottage with colorful couches, pillows and cradle. Taking selfies and groupies here with your partner or friends would certainly be alluring and beautiful.

 

COOKING BY THE BEACH

The Management highly encourages guests to cook their own food in the resort. From my experience, since we stopped at Baler Central Market and Terminal before we went to the resort, we took the chance to buy some fresh veggies, fish, condiments and a lot more. Well, it is definitely cheaper than buying meals in Dinadiawan which are just too pricey. And of course, it is also fun and lively to cook with your friends.

 

Ken_Sand-Stars_Food_By_The_Beach

 

Behind the cottages is an open kitchen. Utensils are already provided so it is very advantageous for travellers from Manila, no need for us to bring our own cooking pans, ladle, plates etc.

 

SOUVENIR Shopping

In front of the Beach Resort entrance is a sari-sari store. They have gallons of water, softdrinks, coffee, alcoholic beverages and of course, t-shirts and souvenirs. It’s a monopolized store there, so you’ll only have one choice. Good thing is that they’re complete with our daily needs.

 


 

 

For inquiries and reservation, contact their Facebook page here or call and text Ms. Merly at 09178057082.

 

You may also message by following these instructions: <type of accommodation> <name>, <location>, <contact number>, <preferred date>, <number of pax> to both 09178057082 and 09956242280. And wait for the confirmation, which might take a while.

 

So overall, we truly loved our stay. It was restful, quiet, gave exactly the big dose of beach & sky we needed. Definitely, a great option if you just need a quick retreat from the city.

 

Video:

 

 

Author: Kenneth de Guzman
=====
Photo source:
All photos – courtesy of the author for Expatch

References:
https:/ /www.facebook.com/sandandstarsdinadiawan
http:/ /www.aurora.ph/tourist-info

 

 

Share

 



click_box_b
 

Comments are closed.