It was midday when we arrived in Dapya River. The road going to this popular riverside destination in Cabangan, Zambales isn’t exactly made for Sunday driving, in fact, the paved road literally disappeared about halfway to our destination.
|EN ROUTE TO DAPYA RIVER IN CABANGAN|
This was one of those trips where we actually planned in advance. Well, okay, the original plan was to visit Agbobotilya, also a river destination in Cabangan. It’s sort of like a Minalungao National Park in Nueva Ecija—with rock formations and emerald green waters—but on a smaller scale.
►SEE: NUEVA ECIJA TRAVEL GUIDE
|A LOCAL KID RUNNING ALONG THE DIRT ROAD OF BARANGAY CADMANG|
The problem was, getting there requires an hour plus of hiking. The trail, our nephew said, is relatively flat and fairly easy even for non-hikers like us. But add a two year-old kid with patience as thin as a McDonald’s burger patty to the mix, and it can go hairy really fast.
WIth Agbobotilya out of the story, he recommended a place that’s more accessible but no less enticing—Dapya River.
►SEE: CABANGAN TRAVEL GUIDE
|DAPYA RIVER, A PICTURE IN CALMNESS|
|KIDS PLAYING ALONG THE RIVER|
Located in Sitio Maporac in Barangay New San Juan, Dapya River actually shares the same waters as Agbobotilya. In fact, the name is a misnomer since they’re both parts of the Binaong River. Agbobotilya is an hour’s walk away, while Dapya is zero walk away—you can actually bring your car and its right there as you open your doors. You’ll know you’re there once you reach the end of the navigable dirt road that leads to the area.
|A STONY BANK ON ONE SIDE, A MOUNTAIN ON THE OTHER|
Dapya is a local term for a brook or creek in Cabangan. And indeed, it isn’t that wide for it to be called a river. From its gravelly bank, it stretches to about twelve meters to its mountainous side. Stony bank on one side, an almost five hundred-meter mountain carpeted by dry grass and dotted by hardy trees on the other side.
|HARDY TREES GROWING ALONG THE MOUNTAIN BESIDE THE RIVER|
The river, or err… brook itself, has an almost non-existent current—a total opposite to the raging waves of Cabangan Beach—with a bottom filled with smooth stones about the size of an egg to a small sofa. The water is extremely clear with a just-right temperature—refreshing without being too cold.
|CLIFF JUMPING AT DAPYA RIVER|
Water depth range from ankle deep to about five feet—perfect for any swimming skill level and for kids. Still, I recommended adult supervision—you can never be too sure about these kinds of rough places. On the mountain-side, there’s also an area where you can climb and do some mini cliff-jumping activity ala-Siquijor to the deeper parts of Dapya River.
►CHECK OUT: SIQUIJOR TRAVEL GUIDE
|A ROW OF RENTABLE HUTS AT DAPYA RIVER|
There are absolutely no resorts here, but for day trippers and overnighters, there are rentable huts a few meters from the water. We availed of one, and it was here where we set up our lunch, afternoon snacks, and drink of choice for that day—gin gimlet or uhmmm, quatro kantos plus lime in local vernacular, lol. These huts have no electricity but one of us brought a portable generator-level powerbank for our videoke needs.
To assuage those who loathe these singing machines, we’re the only guests when we went. I assure you, no humans were harmed during our afternoon singing.
|THIS PLACE IS PERFECT FOR FAMILY PICNICS|
|NO SHADE, NO PROBLEM. THE WATERS OF DAPYA RIVER IS VERY REFRESHING|
And with that, I recommend going here on weekdays to have the whole Dapya River to yourself. One of the caretakers told us that it does get pretty crowded during the weekends.
|EXTREMELY CLEAR WATERS OF DAPYA RIVER|
All in all, we did have a very enjoyable stay at Dapya River—good, clean, old-school provincial fun, if I may say so myself. Clear waters, beautiful view, good food, excellent company, non-stop singing, just the right amount of buzz, and more importantly, no hiking.
Address: Sitio Maporac, New San Juan, Cabangan, Zambales
Opening Hours: 6:00AM to 6:00PM, Daily
Entrance Fee: ₱20.00
Hut Fee: ₱300.00 to ₱500.00
GPS Coordinates Map: 15.148603, 120.076819