Luna: Discover Darigayos Cove
Ever since the flock discovered the Balaoan-Luna route going north, the journey for us it not complete without passing by here. This part of the route is quiet, full of trees and scenic, especially during sunset. And we stop only in Darigayos, the perfect place for those who just want to take a rest from a long journey, to have a quick dip in the waters, stare at the sunset or to pay tribute to the heroes memorialized in a small shrine here.
The 800-meter beachline of this cove is filled with white, fine sand, compared to the other coastlines of Luna where they are filled with pebbles. It is located in barangay Darigayos, 34 kilometers from the city of San Fernando. This is the first barangay to be passed when taking the Balaoan-Luna Road if coming from San Fernando.
Like most coastlines, the primary source of income of the residents is from fishing. Along the road, you can see vendors selling their new catch. And because this place is popular especially during summer, some locals built cottages for the visitors as their additional income.
During September to November, this cove is also an alternative place for surfing. From San Juan, surfers are visiting this place due to the waves being higher in this particular season. Like the beaches of San Juan, waves are pretty strong and you might be pulled away if you’re not careful enough. But during its calmer times, its clear waters are very enticing for swimming.
There are several beach resorts along this cove, like Noble Tower, Navalta Beach Resort, and Coral Island that offers comfortable accommodation and overnight stay. There are also cottages being rented for PhP250 up to PhP500 depending on its size. There is also a Coast Guard substation here, so there’s no worry about the security.
USAFIP NL MILITARY SHRINE
It is in 2008 when the flock visited here for the first time. During that time, a memorial hall and a monument with an inscription were still here. We’re dismayed on how it was seemingly abandoned. But after the years, it has been turned into a Military Shrine and Park.
The park is developed through the Proclamation 590 signed by President Fidel Ramos on June 1, 1995. At its center is a monument, written on it are the words “We Remained, at USAFIPNL (United States Armed Forces in the Philippines North Luzon)”. It is flanked on both sides by two large black slabs, carved on it are the names of those who died during the war. The places of origin are also written on each of the respective names. Also inscribed at the back of the monument is a short story about the landing of the USS SS GAR.
This site has been used as one of the coastal landing sites of the Allied forces during the Second World War and is one of the sites where vital war supplies coming from the South West Pacific area were shipped to aid the operation to liberate Luzon from the Japanese.
This place also became the general headquarters of the American forces named Camp Spencer and became their base of operations for the remainder of the war. The camp was deactivated by the order of the Philippine Army in 1946.
Named in honor of Private Grafton Spencer, Aus. Killed in action early 1943. This camp in Darigayos, site of the GHQ was center and base of operations of the USAFIP. NL. During the liberation campaign of Luzon, from January to September 1945 when 52033 enemy troops were killed and 32,001 captured. This camp was deactivated on orders of the Philippine Army, December 1946.
Darigayos cove was the scene of American submarine landings for vital war material and supplies from the South-West Pacific Area, command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, late 1944.
-Inscription from Philippine Historical Committee, 1953
On December 11, 1944, USS SS GAR (a US Navy Submarine) made a successful night landing at Darigayos Cove and delivered almost 35 tons of arms, ammunition, medical and C-ration supplies to awaiting bolomen in bancas and carried up to the hilly, snake like-trail to a mountain town of San Gabriel, La Union.
These military weapons and supplies tremendously bolstered the fighting capability of the USAFIP, NL.
Source: USS SS GAR marker Inscription
Option 1: From San Fernando, take a jeep going to Darigayos. There are trips going this route every hour. The fare is PhP45.
Option 2: Go to the town of Bacnotan, from here take the jeep going to Luna and alight at Darigayos.
Take the road going to Bacnotan. Upon reaching the town proper, take the Bacnotan-Luna-Balaon Road. Along the route is the quarry of Holcim Cement, Barangay Paraoir and Barangay Almeda, and following it is Darigayos.
Military Shrine: Free
Beach Cottages: 250-500