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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bolinao and Hundred Islands, wonders of Pangasinan

Everytime Lola Rhems (we’re used to calling her Lola for she’s the oldest among our group hehe <peace>) asked us when to revisit those places we’ve been to, Bolinao & Alaminos Pangasinan is always on the list. Who would not fell in love with this place home of the 2nd tallest lighthouse in the Philippines and home of the Hundred Islands?! Imagine, we explored 2 towns of Pangasinan with just 3 days & 2 nights last May 1-3 of year 2008. It’s been 3 years since we witnessed the beauty of Bolinao and the majestic isle and islets of Alaminos. We really enjoyed touring the place and it feels like two days are not enough. 

Way back our trip, we spend an overnight stay at Bolinao and spend the rest of the days in Alaminos. We chose Bolinao to be the first stop because it’s the farthest and so we can enjoy Hundred Islands for a longer time. From Manila you can reach Bolinao via land travel for almost 6 hours for bus and 1 hour for trike depending on the resort you prefer to stay. Victory Liner in Cubao has daily trips at 7am, 3:30pm, 6 & 9pm. Other buses with Bolinao route are Dagupan Bus lines and Five-star bus. Fare from Cubao to Bolinao costs P432 while from Cubao to Alaminos is P370. We arrived Bolinao lunch time and checked-in at Treasures of Bolinao (quite pricey here). We chose the coconut cottages which costs P3500 for 2 pax and P500 for additional pax. TOB is a very nice resort with complete facilities including restaurant, large swimming pool, and lot of trees and plants that make it more relaxing.  The best highlight of this resort that really caught our attention is their White Bridge with pavilion and huge rock formation on the side. It was so nice that you can roam around during sunset or just sit and relax.  You can visit their site here for more photos and rates.

 Other nearby resort is as follows:
  •     Puerto Del Sol                                                   +632 6378963, +632 6352547
  •     Punta Riviera                                                     +6375 6961350, +6375 6961274

Once in Bolinao you should visit the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse, 

Patar White beach which is just walking distance to TOB and 

Enchanted Cave. 

If you want to taste a peculiar and palatable dish, why not set your feet outside the resort (TOB) and head straight to the side street where you'll see a small Nipa house that sells Ilokano meals. Some of the dishes we've dared to munch on were Sinanglao, Eggplant and steamed Asian rice. You can also asked the stall for vans or trike to tour you around and by the way they also offer cooking services for whatever dish you want. But if you’re on a budget you can have "do-it-yourself" tour from Enchanted Cave all the way to Patar beach because most of the points of interest are along the way.

The following day we hit the road to Alaminos Pangasinan and checked-in at Hundred Islands Resort Hotel just near Lucap wharf where Hundred Island boats dock. We got a room with 5 beds for P2500 and they also provide you the boat/boatman for HI tour for P2000 which includes island hopping, snorkeling gears and life vest. Other accommodation near Lucap Wharf is as follows:

  • Maxine by the sea                                            +63 75 5512537, +63 9216428551      
  • Vista Delas Islas                                              +63 75 5512160      
  • Villa Antolin Hotel                                            +63 75 5513604     
  • The Last Resort                                                +63 75 5515651      
  • Ted's by the Sea                                               +63 75 5512160      

After a quick breakfast and some sort of market hopping for the food we will bring and cook to the island, we just walked towards Lucap wharf where our boat docked. In Hundred Islands there are only 3 developed islands where visitors can stay. First is the Children’s Island with bathroom, cottages, camping & sleeping areas. 2nd is the Governor’s Island where you need to climb a 100+ steps just to get to the viewing deck where you can see a 360-degree view of isle and islets. The scene is so breathtaking that can make you forget you’re tired after a long climb. After indulging with the view you can trek back down the island to the big brother house which our guide told us can be rented at 10k per night. Next is the most popular among the bunch, Quezon Island.  By the way before docking Quezon Island we got the chance to snorkel at the point where you can see giant clams and it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss. But if you’re ready for a great thrill, Marcos Island is certainly the place, for trekking and jumping on a 70-feet drop cave. Quezon Island has fine white sand and best for swimming, snorkeling and other water activities that my cousin Karl really enjoyed.  

Marcos Island

Big Brother house

Governor's Island 360 deg. view

Our Bolinao – Hundred Islands escapade was really a blast. Best vacation ever even with just 3 whole days! Bolinao is such a beautiful and relaxing place. Just staying under the bridge, play with the white sand or visit the coral reefs, or just simply staying with TOB’s pool while stargazing is so so relaxing, you tend to forget the hustle and bustle of city streets. While touring the majestic Hundred Islands is definitely the best experience especially if you’re a nature lover or a photographer where you can get loads of pictures. We feel very blessed, well loved and full of joy upon seeing those breathtaking sceneries, the clouds nearly touching the waters, the beach waves that tickle your ears, the inviting white sand that covers your feet and the heat of the sun that touches your skin. I'm just glad we’ve been there and done that. It’s the best Barkada moment that no one can replace.

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