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History was written on a grand scale in this small but fiercely breathtaking region.  The Spaniard planted its roots here, in the strip of land along the Pacific coast hemmed by the towering Sierra Madre.  Today, the pristine seashores, and the forlorn green surroundings reach for the horizon.  From the marvelous beauty of the rugged coast to the history of its towns, the charm and handsome beaches and fishing villages, Aurora province is a land of enchantment, a trove of delight waiting to be explored.
When I visited the province seven years ago, I decided, on a whim, to plod around the shore of Baler.  I did not make it all the way, partly because there are too many marshes and other breaks in the seashore.  But I did retrace the journey that Fray Blas Palomino, OFM, made in 1609 along those stretch of land, and I imagined how things have changed since then.  I could understand why so many people are drawn, as he and his company were, to “the shore of the resounding sea, determined to get it into us.”   I could also imagine, to a greater or lesser degree, the problems that now beset the province¾over-logging, over-fishing, erosion, pollution, and moreover, the unconsciousness of the people towards the environment.  Nonetheless, Baler and Casiguran, in both its history and its geography, are too much a special case to stand for the whole Pacific shores of the province.  I decided, therefore, to have a look at the rest of the long coast from north to south.
This digest is a record of my findings and admiration to the province where I first see the light of day taken at different times.  It was the visionary description of the coast of Aurora from Umiray to Diapitan Bay.  I hope, it will make it easier to see the coast as a whole and to see how it is faring almost four centuries after the missionaries reported finding it.
It was not what some traveling salesman, misled by rumors had imagined¾ Aurora province is a land of plenty.  So powerful was that appeal that in course of time the province where to receive greatest migration in history.  For some years, Aurora has been interfacing with the new comers, starting place for new lives, new ventures, and new fortunes.
The historic role has not been fulfilled without damage to the province itself.  For so many years, before the coming of the new immigrants, native Aurorans had lived lightly on this land. They felled a few trees, cleared fields for their plantings, set weirs for fish.  They had not the means to leave much mark on the land, nor did they understand the doctrine, proclaimed in the book of revelation, that the earth and all its creatures had been created for the sole use and benefits of the human race.  Thus, at the beginning of the mid-19th century, the untouched land was impacted by the ax, the plow, the gun, and, in time the pile driver, the bulldozer, the concrete and bricks layer, the pesticides, etc.  In assessing the damage that the people have done to Aurora, mostly in the last fifty years, it is not easy to think of things that we have done to counterbalance the harm.  The best to be said is that we have stopped doing some of the worst things.  We have generally stopped destroying coastal wetlands and the rainforest.
The bright side of the picture is that, except for the marshes and the wetlands, the damage is not irreversible.   The fish will come back if over-fishing, dynamiting and poisoning them are stopped.  The shellfish will recover if the pollution is controlled.  Where the rainforest has been logged, the trees will grow again if they are planted and protected.
Some like to think that Juan de Salcedo, the Spanish conquistador, was the first voyager from New Spain (Mexico) to see the coast of Aurora province.  Very likely, the first were Fray Esteban Ortiz, with companion, Fray Juan de Porras, OFMs, but no one has placed them with certainty.  So Fray Blas Palomino, OFM, and seven of his Franciscan brothers goes the credit for its first authentication in 1609.
For more than a century since the shore of Aurora (Baler and Casiguran), were visited by the missionaries, it idled away its days in what it seemed¾ to the outside world, at least¾ content, nearly in unlived-in state.  In fact, none of the residents probably even noticed when Fray Esteban Ortiz and Fray Juan de Poras, OFMs, reconnoitered the area in 1578.  They continued their quiet existence until 1611, when the first missionary, Fray Juan Francisco de San Antonio arrived in Baler, built the church and introduced the teaching of Christ.       
When they discovered the region, they reminisced the “Exploit of Esplandia,” an imaginary place somewhere along the scene¾ resembled Aurora.  The Spanish chart was imprecise¾ what they found is a strip of land along the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean that belongs to the Empire of Pampanga during the early years of its discovery. Indeed, the mid-eastern land that stretched the foothill of the Sierra Madre mountain range was a paradise, undeniably blessed.
Aurora took shape on the maps of Spanish chart makers, it was seen to be a coastline of geologic variety hardly matched anywhere else in the Philippine Archipelago.  The northern section, from the present Isabela border to the northern boundary of Quezon province, is a jagged front of promontories, inlets, and set off by hundreds cliffs.  The rest of the coast is the complicated work of volcanic upheaval broken by rocky headlands, marshes, and breathtaking beaches.  From Dilasag to Dingalan, the prevailing pattern is that of long, thin coastal barriers¾ some of them islets and some of them splits¾ backed by coves, sounds, and great inland reaching bays. 

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Aurora is unmatched in its abundance and diversity.  Its Central Valley is the most productive agricultural land in the entire province. The mist-covered jungles are home of the Dipterocarp unparalleled elsewhere in the world.  It is extravagantly lush, with ferns dangling overhead and mosses sheathing massive tree trunks like green velvet.  An emerald glow suffuses the air as sunlight filters through the canopy. This is the true rainforest¾ the largest one in northern Luzon.  In the interior part of the jungle, some trees developed interdependence with moss that envelope them.  Although some species of vine, fern, lichen, liverwurst, and other epiphytic plants use tree trunks and branches as an anchor, they derive their food from the air and rains.  The trees on the other hand, actually feed on their guest, extending small aerial roots into the moss to draw out nutrients. Some of these aerial plants are extra-ordinarily fragile and primitive.
Equally grand is Aurora’s 328 kilometer coastlines.  This dramatic rim of the province has been source of inspiration ever since the Spanish friars began building missions along this Pacific coast 388 years ago.  Today the roads that link Baler to the rest of the towns in the province closely follows and captures the splendor, the power of waves crashing against the coast, and twilight glows that transforms the evening sky into a palette of pastels.   It stretches along vast expanse of the ocean at the edge of Aurora.  Here, nature is in balance, as well as abundance.  Sky, sea and shore meet in unimaginable beauty that does indeed seem near to gods, or at least divinely inspired. A mere seven hours drive from Manila to the balmy beaches of Baler, the capital, is awesome.  The journey through Baler-Bongabong or Canili Pantabangan national roads is not for the fainthearted.   It winds through the Sierra Madre and subject to washouts and landslides with every torrential rainstorm.  During the dry season, it has a tendency to crumble away into nightmarish gorges.  Usually only logging trucks or dilapidated public buses or local jeepneys grind through the mountain, splashing through streams that tumble across the road from the heights and then drop into chasms, passing beneath giant ferns, towering trees, feathery pandanus pines that crowd the margins of the road.  The landscape is dominated by peak higher than thousand meters, which today remain unexplored.  Traveling by air the view of fog-stranded mountain is dazzling, but only at the ground level does one begin to appreciate their immensity.  No mortal can feel anything but insignificant and humble in those imposing surrounding.
What is it about Aurora province that makes it enhancing?  In reality, it had a strangely seductive out-of-time pace that proved a match for anyone dreamlike style.  And if there is a Philippine version of “La Dolce Vita”, you can find it along the shores of Aurora.  Its long and languorous expanse stretching from the grayish-white sandy beach of Dingalan Bay to the sandy cove of Dilasag are beauties to behold.   The vast Pacific brushes with its white foamy waves the shores along the rocky cliff blanketed by the blue-green vegetation.  Its sandy beach glitters like gold attracting developers to build lavish and fanciful resorts.
Some of the latest resort sprung overnight, and they continue to sprout, the hottest new spots are the beaches along the outer bank of Sabang, Labasin, Buton and the vicinity around the promontory of Ermita (Point Baja) all the way to the area of Puntian by the Rock of Dimadimalangat.  It resembles the resort in the islands of Bora Bora in French Polynesia.  The resort holds gracious undiscovered fishing areas where life center around the surf, tides, seasons and its mystical beauty.
You can come to this marvelous shoreline alone, with a lover, friend, or as a family.  You can come sport fish, to swim, to surf, or enjoy the nightlife.  Or simply relax in the finest beach in the area, to eat grilled fish (inihaw na isda) and drink cold San Miguel beer.  While the choices are limited nonetheless, its glamour, gracious and exotic, promising unimaginable satisfaction.
Some years ago, Duval and Sheen descended here to film the “Apocalypse Now.” Since then, Aurora has been a favorite haunt of the beautiful people, who consider it their own quaint playground.
My interest about Aurora had roots from the memories of my youthful days in Baler, plus the myths and legends recounted to me by my grandparents.  In addition, to the historical records I discovered from the Franciscan and Augustinian Recollect Archives in Spain.  All these fueled me to write about this province with nostalgic and historical yesteryears.  I am convinced that this historical facts will captivate future generations, and I would like to believe that this work, in addition to broadening interest in the topic, will contribute to a better understanding how the province of Aurora came into existence. 

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During the discovery of Baler and Casiguran, plus the two established missions: Mision San Jose de Casecnan/San Joseph (Maria Aurora) and Mision de San Miguel (Dipaculao) by the Franciscan friars, the region was part of the Empire of Pampanga ruled by Prince Malang Balagtas.  In 1591 when Tayabas was created into a province under Governor Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, Baler and Casiguran was obtained from the Empire of Pampanga and became a town of Tayabas including Nueva Ecija, which was then a military district of Pampanga established in 1701 by Governor Fausto Cruzat y Gongora.  Around 1778 the district Commander of Nueva Ecija, Colonel Manuel Monet with approval from the Governor repartitioned the military district under his jurisdiction.   The western part became the new military district of Tarlac and assigned to a new district commander.  The eastern part remained under him with Baler as its established capital.  
In 1785, the capital of Nueva Ecija was moved to Bongabong and later to Cabanatuan.  When Governor Rafael Maria de Aguilar took over as Governor of the Philippines, he decreed the separation of the military- district of Nueva Ecija from the province of Pampanga and became a regular province on 25 April 1801 including the town of Baler acquired from Tayabas.
During the ascension of Antonio de Urbiztondo y Equia as the new Governor of the Philippines in 1853, he created the towns of Nueva Ecija along the Pacific coasts to a new district of El Principe that included Baler, the capital; Casiguran, Mision de San Miguel (Dipaculao), Mision San Jose de Casignan (San Joseph/Maria Aurora).
At the conclusion of the Spanish-American War when Spain lost the Philippines to the United States, Tayabas province was assigned to the care of Colonel Cornelius Gardener as Military Governor on March 12,1901. He abolished the district of El Principe, and again incorporated Baler and Casiguran back to the province of Tayabas.  Mision San Jose de Casecnan/San Joseph (Maria Aurora) and Mision de San Miguel (Dipaculao) were absorbed by Baler as a barrio.  Thus, consolidated the town along the Pacific seaboard to a single province that extended from the boundary of Camarines Sur to the south, and north to the boundary of Isabela province.
Aurora is young compared to the other provinces that bordered it.  Its 21st anniversary was celebrated last August 13, 1997. However, the major towns (Baler and Casiguran) that represent it are as old as most towns in the entire island of Luzon.
The postwar years found that Baler and Casiguran (northern Quezon Province) were languishing due to its extreme isolation from the neighboring provinces and cities.  The late Aurora A. Quezon, wife of the late President Quezon, worked for the appointment of Pedro V. Guerrero as mayor of Baler, and Antonio A. Angara as mayor of Casiguran.       Agitated by the difficulty to journey to Lucena, the capital of the province to transact official business, the late Mayor Pedro V. Guerrero and Mayor Antonio A. Angara, innovatively and inceptively sought the creation of a Sub-Province of Aurora to ease the burden of traveling over a narrow and rugged Sierra Madre road, through the fringes of the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Rizal, the City of Manila, Laguna, and Batangas.  Moreover, to create a sub-province to materialize, creations of more municipalities are necessary.
Before 1901, the capital of Kalilayan (Tayabas) now, Quezon province was the town of Tayabas.  However, after the defeat of the Iberian sovereignty and pacification of the Filipino insurgents, the capital of Quezon was relocated to Lucena in 1901 by the American regime.  Lucena during the early period was mere sitio of Buenavista, later renamed Oroquieta.  On 5 November 1879, Oroquieta was adopted the name Lucena in honor of Fray Mariano Granja, who was from Lucena in Andalucia, Spain and responsible for its development.  On 1 June 1882, Lucena became a municipality.      
On 21 July 1949, San Jose de Casecnan/San Joseph was created as a municipality.  During its creation, a new name (Maria Aurora) was given, to honor the death of Maria Aurora (Baby) A. Quezon, daughter of the late commonwealth first lady, Mrs. Aurora A. Quezon who died with her in an ambush on 28 April 1949.   It was followed by Mision de San Miguel (Dipaculao) on 27 November 1950. With the addition of the two municipalities, the late Congressman Honorable Gaudencio Vera of the Second District of Quezon submitted a bill creating the subprovince of Aurora.  The bill was subsequently passed and approved by the Congress on 14 June 1951, known as Republic Act 648.  President Elpidio Quirino appointed Mayor Pedro V. Guerrero as the first Lieutenant Governor.   On 16 June 1959, San Luis became a municipality followed by Dingalan on 16 June 1962.  Seven years later on 21 June 1969 Dilasag followed, and subsequently Dinalungan as a municipal district.     

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Congressman Moises Escueta submitted a bill creating the Province of Aurora.  The House of Representative passed it, but slaughtered in the Senate.   Attempts to convince the Senate of making Aurora an independent province did not prevail, until the imposition of Martial Law by President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Lieutenant Governor Luis S. Etcubañez, in 1978, sensing the right time has finally arrive for him to act because of his political affiliation with the 21 Assemblymen of Region IV, requested their assistance to co-sponsor a Parliamentary Bill for the establishment of Aurora as an independent province.  The bill was passed overwhelmingly.  Moreover, the approval of the people is required to know if they are really determined to be an independent province separated from Quezon.  The plebiscite of May 1979 was held with flying colors.  By virtue of Batas Pambansa Blg. 7, Aurora province was born and officially declared and signed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos as the seventy-third province of the Philippines, on 13 August 1979, making the town of Baler as its Capital.
On the occasion of 19 August 1979, the town fiesta, Atty Luis S. Etcubañez was appointed and sworned-in by the President as Governor of Aurora.  He was the first governor and the last Lieutenant Governor of the subprovince of Aurora. 
Aurora showcases one of the most spectacular arrays of beauties found anywhere in the Philippines.  One need only swim a few meters to see some of the 400 species of coral found here.  Dropping down in the crystal clear water, you can be greeted by these huge, colorful colonies that rise to just below the ocean’s surface.  Although they appear massive and indestructible, coral reefs are extremely delicate, and the living organisms that create them must be protected from human touch.
Throughout the province coastal swamps, estuaries, and saltwater marshes are dominated by mangrove forest, which create inviting environments for crabs, clams, and turritella snails.  Fertile shoals yield shrimps and lobsters.  Offshore offer some of the world best deep-sea fishing.
Although geologically similar to other reef systems in the Indo-Pacific Basin, the shoreline of Aurora province differs in one important way¾its biological diversity is extremely pronounced.  The invertebrates found in these waters are too divers to catalog, and fish populations are among the world’s most varied.
All those who visit Aurora province come away inspired.  Travelers take home stories of Sierra Madre’s greenery.  Alone or shared, these visionary moments may be purely sensory or passionately philosophical, but rarely slip away.  They tend to have lasting effect and even change lives.       
Meditate along the shore with the morning mist drifted and rose, sunlight spread the waves with silver.  Boundless shores, edged by steep sand dunes, stretched north and south to the horizon, with sandpipers glide at the surfs surface without a care what happen on the world next.  This is Aurora province a quiet Eden where tranquility resigns.  It’s an ultimate fantasy where time sifts slowly through dull-gray sand beaches and where moment can be spend in romantic rapture.  It’s a place to behold.

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The early Spanish missionaries of two different religious groups were the pioneer builders of the town of Baler.   “They were the Franciscan and the Augustinian Recollect, men of God, imbued with the gallant courage of crusaders, the fervent faith of martyrs, and noble virtues of saints.  Without arms, but their crucifixes and rosaries, they penetrated unexplored jungles and crossed uncharted mountains to bring the gospel of Christ to the people into the region; so doing, they suffered untold misery, even untimely death.”
Upon their arrival into the Philippines, missionaries of different denominations were organized according to the provinces they were to evangelize.  For the Franciscans, OFM (Order of Minor Friar), their organization was known as Province of Saint Gregory the Great (Provincia de San Gregorio Magno) and Augustinian Recollects, AR (Augustinian Recollects), their organization was known as Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine (Provincia de San Nicolas de Tolentino). The first unofficial incursion into the land that is now Baler was the arrival of missionaries Fray Esteban Ortiz, and Fray Juan de Porras, OFMs, on June 1578.  Consequently, due to the shortage of church representative their stay was short-lived.  They were recalled for a more important mission elsewhere. Thirty-one years hence, on July 1609, Fray Blas Palomino, OFM, and six of his Franciscans brothers undaunted by the uncertainty that awaits them, trekked through the jungles of eastern Caraballo and western Sierra Madre mountain ranges and discovered the hamlet of Baler at Kinagunasan (Wash-away). It was situated to the right of San Jose (Aguang) River that flows to the Bay that bears the same name two years after the English established Jamestown as its first settlement in America.  

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Baler Bay was formed from the headland of Point Encanto (Pokpok na Bundok) south through northeast to Point Dinadyawan.  Accessed only by sea it was extremely difficult during the monsoon season, while certain time of the year almost impossible.
After Fray Blas Palomino, OFM discovered Baler he did not remain there.  He continued his journey northward.
On 24 October 1611, Fray Juan Francisco de San Antonio arrived in Baler as its first assigned missionary.  Upon arrival he constructed the church and began spread the gospel of Christ among the people.  He stayed in Baler through May 1, 1613, and relieved by Fray Miguel Soriano, OFM.
On 31 August 1658, because of shortages of the Franciscan missionaries, the Vicar General, Fray Francisco de Ribera, OFM relinquished the management of the Baler parish to the Augustinian Recollect.  The transfer took effect on 1 September 1658.  Fray  Francisco Perez, OFM the last Franciscan, was relieved by the first Augustinian Recollect, Padre Agustin de Santa Monica, AR.  The Franciscan regained the ministry of Baler forty-five years later on 7 May 1703.  It was handed over by Padre Francisco de la Madre de Dios, AR, to Fray Juan de la Torre, OFM. 
The date of 27 December 1735 was a devastating event in the history of Baler.  Around two o’clock in the morning while the people were on their sleep, an uncanny phenomenon occurred.  A tidal wave of tremendous velocity engulfed the town with no warning and within an hour it was gone.   One of survivors were Fray Jose de San Rafael, OFM, a missionary from Casiguran who was at Baler for a visit, plus a handful of families that included: the Angara, Bihasa, Bitong, Carrasco, Lumasac, the Poblete (tell tale), who managed to swim to the nearby hill of Point Baja.   The phenomenon was weird because it happened so suddenly.  There was no manifestation of bad weather and the night was starry and bright.  The nearby town of Casiguran, Mision de San Miguel (Dipaculao) and the village of Dingalan were not touched by the devastating tidal waves, despite the fact that they were situated on the same coastal area.
Sometime after the deluge, a new town was constructed on a land belonging to sitio Zabali, located 15°45’ latitude on a hilly terrain about 8 kilometers west of Baler Bay.  It borders 15 kilometers northeast, with Mision de San Miguel (Dipaculao), 15 kilometers northwest, with Mision of San Jose de Casecnan/San Joseph (Maria Aurora), 62 kilometers southwest, the District of Pantabangan, 52 kilometers to the north, the town of Casiguran, 97 kilometers south, the town of the District of Infanta, and 99 kilometers west, the town of Bongabong.  Casiguran and Infanta were accessible only by sea. 
No one gets to Casiguran by accident.  And even if one were to do so, he would be fortunate to reach the town after traversing either the Sierra Madre mountain or sail through the Pacific Ocean. And what a town it is!  Casiguran is desolately located shimmering along the eastern coast of Casiguran Sound.  It is a veritable utopia of mountainous scenery, unspoiled beaches, and some of the most exotic plant and animal life can be found.  So it is not difficult to imagine why people all over the country chose this town as his own place of recluse.
Casiguran was discovered six months after Baler by the same Franciscan, Fray Blas Palomino, OFM, in 1609.  The first missionary assigned was Fray Pascual Serrano, OFM, in 1616.  Like Baler, it was taken over by the Augustinian Recollects in 1658 and returned to the Franciscans in 1703.   The church is dedicated to the patron saint, San Antonio de Padua.

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It is comforting to know that in the hustle and bustle of Everyday life, there still exists a serene setting as pristine and unspoiled as nature intended¾and one of the last destinations free from commercialism.  Dilasag, the town that became a municipality on 21 June 1969 complement the sub-province, with the possibility of becoming a regular province, and it did ten years later. 
The town of Dilasag in and around has a certain “feel” that separates it from other beautiful beaches.  Here, the wilderness is divided by  a river that is surrounded by both steep mountains and open flood plains.  It and other smaller streams flow through shadowy gorges with crafty vertical cliffs rising besides the seashore.  Even where there are no rocks in sight the land seems usually rugged; and its history, both real and legendary, is colorful to match. 
Amidst its landscape of scattered islets, crushing surf, rainforest and sand beach, the senses awaken.  Here you perceive the world in all its elaborate splendors.   Now, inspired by the signature flower of the Pacific, the orchids at Dilasag rainforest graces the landscape in a myriad of colors.   Canawer Beach where Katagman river flows meet the ocean¾these are but a few of Dilasag sophisticated pleasure.  You can go the life of your own pace, where eating is a function of desire, not the ticking of a clock. You can stroll down on shimmering white sandy shores, skin dive and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the ocean and
Breathtaking landscapes, for it is here you can relax both body and soul.  When it’s over, just close your eyes and savor the dream of this paradise.   It’s a hideaway for those who prefer to leave the maddening crowds behind and get back in touch with nature.  It is a sanctuary for man and nature, an area rich in blessing, land abundance and much of it is sacred.
Dinalugan's destiny has been molded by water.  Located at the rim of the vast Pacific, southwest of Casiguran.  A ribbon of dunes, san-bars, and coral reefs dotted with deep lagoons (lamaw) festoons the coast.  It’s abounds with coral reefs, and the water so clear that skin-divers can at times see 60 feet away.   It’s endless stretches of sandy beach hilly dunes and marshy meadows remain virtually undeveloped.  You’ll want to kick off your shoes and walk along to take in the spectacular vista.  It’s youngest town in the province.  The nation’s lawmakers granted its township on 16 June 1966.
Drifting along is Dinalungan River that slice through limestone clay bluff amid timberland, and farmland, and out to the Pacifictranquility and remoteness which seem inherent to this verdant town.   Ghostly mist hovering an eerie landscape encrusted in white fog.  Dinalugan is better known for its natural beauty than its history.  It remains one of the most unspoiled sections of the province.
Tucked in the tip of southern Aurora province are the incredible town of Dingalan¾visitors will find its natural treasure¾the verdant hillsides, golden reefs, rosy sunsets and the friendly residents.
If you want to visit a world where no one even heard of, journey to the town of Dingalan.  It’s a quintessential mid-eastern Pacific town that succumbed to the beauty of the bay, the surrounding landscape, and graciousness of its residents.   Under a full moon, it is irresistible.   It gives you breathtaking luxury and peaceful seclusion while offering the most activities.
From the hill surrounding the town, convocation of unseen hornbill interrupts the midmorning silence, disputing raucously in the dense forest.  They pause momentarily then resume their trilling, cackling, nagging, argumentative chorus.  Above, the sun glints through the canopy of giant trees.  This is Dingalan where beauty glimmers.
Like San Jose de Casecnan/San Joseph (Maria Aurora), Mision de San Miguel (Dipaculao) was established by Fray Sebastian de la Madre de Dios in 1719, Thirty-two years prior San Jose de Casecnan. Both missions were under the jurisdiction of Baler Parish and established to perpetuate the gospel of Christ.
Dipaculao is hemmed by mountain visible in almost every direction, dark-blue and hump-backed, foggy and darkly polished at dusk.  No one but geologist would know by their appearance that they are mostly marble, the roads glitters with it, and you start to notice that almost everything else is, too¾there is quiet luster to the town.  Visiting it is like going back in time to a more innocent mission, slower-phased, immune to the daily pressures of survival.
In Amper Beach some few kilometers northeast of the town is enticing and undeniably beautiful.  It is endowed with grayish-black granite rocks formation, silts and marbles, miniature cave, and hill of waves that is far excellent for surfing.  Combined with the cool airflow from the Sierra Madre and the warm breeze of the Pacific, it’s a utopia for romance.
Maria Aurora
Mystical, mesmerizing fog¾a morning blanket so characteristic of this town.  Maria Aurora that used to be, Mision de San Jose de Casecnan as better known during the early years of the Spanish domination, and San Joseph as popularly known during the early years of my childhood, was established by Fray Manuel de Olivencia, OFM, on 1753. However, due to the shortage of church clergies, assigned priest did not make it there until eight years later, and the honor went to Fray Francisco Ferreras, OFM.  From this small mission, he spread the gospel of Christ among the non-Christian.
During the time of its establishment, San Jose de Casecnan was populated by Ilongots.  As years drags on, people all over the Archipelago migrated to San Jose de Casecnan as land prospectors forcing the Ilongot to vacate the mission.  They moved further in land avoiding the interference of outsiders to their primitive way of life.  They settled on the foothill of the Sierra Madre known today as Kadayakan.  Moreover, twenty-two years prior to the enactment of the Philippine Commonwealth, Governor Cameron William Forbes, on 21 August 1912 declared this land area as reservation for non-Christians.  Likewise, Dibut in San Luis, Ditale in Dipaculao, Calabgan in Casiguran, and Umiray in Dingalan.

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San Luis
Every waterfalls flow into the sea.  But Cunayan Falls in San Luis flows into your heart.  It’s a waterfall of pure, undiluted love.  Where laughter and color splash together with joyfulness.  Get caught up in the ebb and flow.   For this waterfall together with Disalet river will instill in you unforgettable memories.
San Luis, one of the most under-visited town in the province at present, is also one of the most beautiful.   You can snorkel through the kaleidoscope river of Disalet or gaze at the green valley surrounding it.  It’s a town to behold.

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