NUEVA ECIJA | A Cool Dip at Gabaldon’s Dupinga River

Sunday, April 08, 2012

A Cool Dip at Dupinga River in Gabaldon

I remember my grandfather bringing our papag or wooden bed at the stream at the back of our house in Cabanatuan City during Holy Week. He’d place it in the middle of the water, put up palm fronds as shades, and my aunts would bring in all sorts of dishes for lunch. We’d eat, swim, and eat again right in the middle of the stream. It was an annual thing back then; but as summers passed, the tradition somehow faded until it was totally forgotten. 
Family Bonding at Dupinga River in GabaldonYesterday, we got a chance to somehow relive that tradition as the whole clan rode for an hour and a half to the neighboring municipality of Gabaldon, a town east of Nueva Ecija. The original plan was to visit the Stone 8 resort in the area, but due to the massive influx of vacationeers, we had to settle for the Dupinga River instead.

Nipa Huts Along Dupinga River in GabaldonTourism in Dupinga River started at around 2004 as the Dumagats living in the area started building makeshift huts along the river, a reaction to four massive typhoons hitting the province one after another. People eventually found out about the place through word of mouth, until it became a favorite spot for Novo Ecijanos.

Summertime at Dupinga River in GabaldonI don’t doubt the popularity of Dupinga River. As soon as we alighted from our ride, I saw the multitudes already crowding the green waters of the river. The huts were filled to brimming, the inevitable annoying videoke music blaring and barbeque smoke rising to the blue sky above.

But I really don’t blame these people though; with the season’s scorching weather, its ice cold water is really irresistible.
Green Waters of Dupinga River in GabaldonDupinga River is very picturesque, with verdant green mountains flanking both sides of its banks. Its water comes straight from the mountains of the Sierra Madre which sandwiches the area. The river bottom is gravelly on the shallower parts, but gets finer as it gets deeper. Interesting rock formations become diving boards for daredevils, hurling themselves into the deeper parts of the river.
Summer at Dupinga River in GabaldonA word of caution though, the current is quite strong and can pull anyone with little effort. There’s little danger of drowning though, since it would in all probability, just drag you to its shallow parts. Getting scraped by rocks is definitely no fun though.
The Dupinga Rapids in GabaldonI can imagine how this place would fare as an eco-tourism site. White water rafting can be done during the rainy seasons; the rapids here are incredible and it’s not even raining yet. There’s also the Sierra Madre for hiking; I saw a few adventurous souls climbing up the steep slope of the mountain. And I heard there are five known waterfalls not far from the area. Not bad, yeah?Hikers Along the Sierra Madre at Dupinga River in GabaldonTourism in Dupinga though is still at its infancy. The place is still not as organized; there’s litter all over the place, due probably to the absence of garbage bins. In fairness to the local Dumagat tribesmen manning the place, I saw them cleaning up after the mess of tourists after they leave. But really, that should not be the case; the visitors here should be responsible for their own garbage.

Establishments selling food are also virtually non-existent. Not really a major problem for locals visiting, as they bring their own food for cooking. But for passing visitors, this can be a problem.
Raging Waters at the Dupinga Dam in GabaldonMost say that the Dupinga River in Gabaldon is quickly gaining reputation as one of the best tourist spots in Nueva Ecija, and I do agree. Let’s just hope that proper maintenance will sustain it as the place is really beautiful and is just perfect for those looking for an inexpensive way to have fun with family and friends.

A Relaxing Sunset Along the Huts at Dupinga River in Gabaldon

    Dupinga River
    Brgy. Dupinga, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija 
    GPS Coordinates: 15.505875,121.325111 | Click to view location on Google Maps

Entrance - Free
    Parking – Php 30.00
    Cottage Rental – Php 300.00 to 2,500.00
    How to get to Dupinga River in Gabaldon:
    There are buses leaving at Cabanatuan City that passes through the area.

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  1. i remember visiting this years back. nicely captured speciallly those sun rays shots. happy easter sir Christian!

  2. ikaw lang ang alam kong nagko-cobalt blue sky christian! LOL
    pero sensya. pag nakikita ko ang river, naiisip ko ano kaya pag umulan nang malakas. lumaki kaya sya? baka maanod kayo! tsaka di nga nakakalunod pero internal hemorrhage ang kalabasan pag naumpog ka sa mga bato. nyahaha
    as always, the best pa rin ang mga pics mo! favorite ko ang last photo, pati na rin ang 1st and 2nd and 4th, 5th...hmmm. sge na nga. sila nalang lahat! nyahaha ^_^

  3. these photos are soooo inviting, i'd like to dive right in!
    gorgeous, gorgeous photos!

  4. Interesting post about Nueva Ecija. There are childhood memories/traditions that are fading in the rush to modernity, hope these can be revived and sustained. I hope that the tourism in Dupinga will be sustainable. These photos are truly alive! Thanks for sharing this promising spot in Nueva Ecija. May God bless you always Christian!

  5. Love these photos! It's so nice that your family has a tradition. I wish we had one (outing-related) in the family too.

  6. Matagal na akong naghahanap ng malapit-lapit sa Manila na ganyan kagandang languyan na fresh water. That reminds me of the brook that I went to with friends outside the city of Baguio years ago, the brook I swam in as a child with cousins at Iba, Zambales years ago and my own hometown's brook. The place looks so nice. Siguro kapag hindi summer eh kaunti lang ang tao d'yan 'no?

  7. crazy cool place to hangout! thanks for sharing this! :D

  8. Great photos! I love them all.

  9. sometimes I prefer rivers than seas, freshwater kasi unlike the salty and grainy feeling after swimming sa beach

  10. Dong Ho
    Oo nga Dom, nakita ko post nyo ni atty :)

    Thanks Joan!

    Haha sige next time cerulian blue sky naman! Oo pag umulan, umaabot sa huts yung tubig at malakas talaga sya, pwede pang white water rafting!

    Thanks Luna! The water's really inviting, ang lamig pa!

    Wandering Caloy
    I hope so too, a few trash cans in the right place can do the job

    Sumi Go
    You can start one Sumi :)

    I think konti lang pag hindi peak season :)

    Crazy place indeed Rian hehe

    Thanks Justin!

    Ako basta water, wag lang swimming pool, okay sakin :)

  11. hi can i barrow your pictures for my thesis? and also i would like to mention some of the things that you've mentioned in your blog... im currently doing a fesibility for developing it into an eco tourism park...thank you...

  12. Replies
    1. Wow, lucky you! You have a beautiful hometown :)