By Marjorie Gorospe
GABALDON, NUEVA ECIJA – In 2004, the province of Nueva Ecija was swept by four typhoons causing massive landslides and overflowing of the Dupinga River, affecting the lives of the Dumagat tribesmen and locals living near the river.
The river is now visited by tourists who enjoy the river’s cold and refreshing water.
According to Val Sabado, one of the locals and owners of the cottages along Dupinga River, life became very difficult soon after the typhoons hit their hometown.
“We started building huts. Soon after, Dupinga became popular through word of mouth. And now, we primarily get our earnings from these rented nipa huts and cottages.”
Val says there are over 100 locals, among them indigenous Dumagat tribesmen, who own the cottages. There are videoke machines available for rental to visitors.
A cottage can be rented for P150 during lean seasons and P300 during peak season, which starts April. Visitors can rent the videoke machine and the cottage for P700.
There are sari-sari stores but tourists still need to bring their own food because there no nearby cafeteria or eateries.
Visitors often find the cold water of the Dupinga River hard to resist for that quick soak or refreshing dip.
Val says swimming in the river requires safety precautions because the river is rocky and the rapids can be quite strong. He laments that some visitors sometimes show no concern in keeping the water clean.
“I just hope that they put their trashes into proper places because we want this place to be always clean,” he says, adding that each cottage has a sack or a big plastic bag where visitors can put their thrash.
Val shares that the local government is looking to step in and develop the place further as a tourist spot – a cause of worry for locals like him.
“We just hope that no locals will be left out if the local government develops the area,” he says.
Gabaldon is the easternmost town of Nueva Ecija and borders Dingalan in Aurora. If you wish to get there, there is only one highway passing through this town coming from Laur, Nueva Ecija and ending in Dingalan, Aurora.
Commuters can take the available daily trips from Cabanatuan City passing by Gabaldon.
Get more information about Dupinga River cottage rentals
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