Further north of Aurora, Casapsapan lies hidden to the exploits of tourists and travellers in the town of Casiguran. The rough roads and underconstruction highway far outside Baler makes the way to Casiguran difficult and slow, but it keeps the beauty of Casapsapan beach unspoiled. I’d speak like I am anti-growth if I’d say, let it be this way to preserve this natural wonder from tourists’ wreckage.But its true, you’ll find a kilometer of highway paved, and another three kilometer rough, on your way up to the last town of Aurora which is Dilasag.
From a smooth drive along the coastal highway of Aurora, the bus climbs to the mountains and snakes between them, then go down in the middle of farmlands. Commuting to Casiguran is not easy, as there are few minibuses going there, and when they arrive in Baler from Catanduanes they are almost full. There are no airconditioned buses and the vans don’t have too. Casapsapan lies in the boundaries of Dilasag and Casiguran, while Dilasag serves as the wayfarers’ entry point to Palanan Isabela.
Excited, we squeezed ourselves in one of the minibus to Casiguran. I got a frontview of the road, as I sat on top of the bus engine. I got to sit on my slippers for some butt insulation. Really, that 5-hour trip cooked my balls, but I endured as I enjoyed what my eyes could behold on the road. Mountains, trees, skies, beaches, rice fields, coconut farms, and a lot of ravines.
It was still summer and it was humid, that morning trip would have really been infuriating to the impatient tourist. But, I knew I was a traveller, and I must endure like the locals do. We got to Casiguran at past two in the afternoon, and after some asking around, we took a tricycle to go to Casapsapan. The place is indeed isolated from the town, roughly 45 minutes to one-hour of drive over rough roads, fields, muds and thickly forested hills.
The only beach resort with rooms to stay, electricity at night, videoke, sari-sari store and place-your-order-earlier restuarant is Casapsapan Beach Resort, which was owned by the town’s mayor. The resort keeper was really accommodating, when he came he immediately talked to me as to what we need and informed me of the conditions in the resort.
Two nights in Casapsapan was worth it. There were only two groups of visitors when we came to the resort, the Mayor’s guest checked out that morning, so it was just us and the family from Leyte, whom we did not have much interaction with. From the resort, we had open access to all the Casiguran peninsula has to offer. More than five kilometers of white sand beach were there for us to stroll.
The resort has a vantage view of Casiguran Peninsula, mountains drape the south, while hills rumble to the north. They form like arms embracing the Pacific ocean. The western side of the resort is a thick forest, nearby just across a stream, is a fishing village in the outskirts of Dilasag. The water is calm at low tide and gets rough at high tide. From the beach, the sand stretches to the rocky side of the water.
A wide coral bed spans the beach front, from afar I imagine it to be a pearl sitting on half shell filled with clear blue water. For the beach bum, swimming and sitting there will be a great complement to a good read. For me and my friends, we could not just sit there as we explored Casapsapan to its edges. We trekked towards the river and sea meets. You have the option there to swim in the river’s deep and calm waters or nearer the beach where you could find yourself in whirlpool like being in washing machine.
We crossed the river and wandered the forested foot of the mountain. To our surprise there is an existing trail. We followed the trail and saw a handful of houses separated by patches of farmlands far from one another. We met this Austrian guy in his beautiful hacienda by the beach. We got to one side of the peninsula where mangroves grow naturally, and then stumbled into the rocky beach beside a cliff.
We wanted to see the waterfalls, the locals were so proud about. We were told of a shortcut through the forest, but that needed a local guide. Instead, we trekked the beach side. In between, I would dip in the water, in the stream, in the river and in the beach. Unfortunately, it was nearing dusk when we got to the rocky beach, and we had walked for two and half hours already. We decided to go back. The tide ebbed to a low and the powdery white sand of Casiguran sprawls up to where my eyes could lay upon.
Dinner was served to us, after a few hours. For the first time I feasted on adobong Octopus. It was a chewy jawbreaker one. We had the same for our pulutan as we drank the night away with Casapsapan’s Lambanog. After two nights of stay, we left for Quirino province, trying the road going to Dilasag where we waited for the bus from 8:00 AM which left at 12:00 noon.
Casapsapan is a gorgeous place. Its waters bend in alluring curves, and meets the skies from an unendless bounds. Its isolation whispers solitude and its winds chimes like the charming chirps of birds flying its forests. Its food is the rich catch from the sea, as fresh as its breeze.