Right after spending our night in Bolinao, we headed back to Alaminos via the commuter vans that are situated at the basketball court near the St. James the Great Parish Church. We arrived at Alaminos after an hour of travel passing through Bani, Pangasinan.
A Hundred Reasons to Visit
After a quick supply run, we hailed a tricycle that will take us to Bolo Beach, an alternative to the Lucap Wharf jump-off. The wharf has been the gateway to the Hundred Islands ever since, but boat ride is much farther to the islands than the Bolo Beach. The Lucap Wharf attracts more crowd during peak season, while the latter is not much known.
We arrived by 9am and filled out the required manifestos and permits then paid for the corresponding fees. A small boat will be enough for a group of 5 people. It took us less than 15 minutes before we arrived on our first island.
Commonly called as Kapulo-Puloan or Taytay-Bakes by the people of Pangasinan. The Hundred Islands National Park covers an area of 18.44 square kilometers and became a protected area through the Presidential Proclamation No. 667, signed by Pres. Manuel Quezon on January 18, 1940. There are a total of 123 islets in the park with Cabarruyan Island, located northwest as the largest and referred to as the mother island. There are sure a hundred reasons to visit this gem and count it down as we explore the pride of Pangasinan.
The quick boat ride from Bolo Beach gave us a good view of what the south western part of the Lingayen Gulf has to offer. Truly, the islands are small and are composed of hard rocks bases covered with thick vegetation on top. First on the list of the three major islands of the national park is the Governor’s Island. Popularized by a reality show, the island is the only one that offers accomodations with electricity and food services.
One can also rent tables and cottages around the area before taking the 123 steps the leads to the viewdeck that gives a panoramic look of the numerous islets of the Hundred Islands. One can also try camping out on its shores if renting a lodge is too expensive.
One can also try the zipline ride that crosses from the Governor’s Island going to the Virgin Island.
A tidal bridge connects the Governor’s to the Virgin Island, as a replacement to the once existing sandbar between the two islands. According to the locals, it was named as such due to the resemblance of the island to the figure of a woman from afar although I can’t picture it even from afar. Braganza Island and Marcos Island will be seen from Virgin Island.
Off to our next island is the Marcos Island, named after the late President Ferdinand Marcos. But before anything else, we had a stop over at one of the diving spots of the park near the Quezon Island that boasts of the large Clams or Taclobo.
Variety of fishes awaits at the shallow area where the clams are viewable through its vibrant marine ecosystem. The snorkelling activity is part of the standard boat rate services, but goggles are for rent and costs 200php/pax.
We spent a good 30 minutes snorkelling around the area. We then proceeded to the Marcos island that has very fine light brown sand that feels good to the feet. Then from the shore we then visited one of the famous attractions in the park: the Imelda Cave.
Named after the wife of the late president, the Imelda Cave is reachable via a short trek up the stone pathway that leads to a passage that opens up to a large natural swimming pool made up of clear sea water. Bats are present on the cave ceiling.
The cliff jump spot is not very high, and the water depends on the tide. After the jump a tunnel will open up to the sea where you will have to swim back to the shore where your boat docked. We did it again for three consecutive times.
After the series of cliff dive, we decided to take it slow and have a little snack at one of the family friendly spots in the park, the Quezon Island. Named after the late Pres. Manuel Quezon, the park is also developed with a boardwalk on the shore that has zipline rides as well as a three-storey restaurant and function hall. The top of the island has statues of Andres Bonifacio and of the late president where the island is named from.
This is the most convenient place for people to set up camp since it has the basic facilities for visitors.
Wait, There’s More
● Aside from the three major islands. There is also the Children’s Island, the alternative to Quezon Island
● Scout and Lopez Island as camping sites if the Quezon and Virgin are already full of campers
● Bat Island, with you got it, full of bats on its cave interiors, and also Monkey Island, named after its inhabitants
● There’s also the catchy ones like the Kissing and Devil’s Island
● The Romulo Island which is underdeveloped but has the most finest and finest sand in the park, it is said that the Dyesebel Movie once had its movie production in it
● Cuenco Island and its tunnel like limestone caves and rugged beach terrain
The day went faster than it should be. We packed up by 3:10pm and arrived back after twenty minutes. We then headed to Dagupan via commuter vans at Alaminos and arrived by 6:00pm for dinner, then by 6:40pm we rode Manaoag bound jeepneys to catch a glimpse of the Our Lady of Manaoag on our way back to Manila.
BUDGET AND ITINERARY
Bolinao-Alaminos, Pangasinan 2D1N
0730 – Fivestar Bus Cubao to Alaminos (400php), alternatively take Bolinao bound buses (470php)
1200 – Arrival at Alaminos, lunch, take commuter van or mini bus to Bolinao (45php via Bolinao Express)
1300 – Arrival at Bolinao, Pangasinan
1315 – Take tricycle to Bolinao Falls 1 (tricycle tour depends on your haggling skills)
1350 – Bolinao Falls 1 (ef 50php, pf 20php)
1445 – Bolinao Falls 2 (ef 50php, pf 20php)
1500 – ETD Patar Rock Beach
1530 – Patar Rock Beach (ef 75php)
1630 – Enchanted Cave (150php, 50php pf)
1800 – Patar White Beach (100php, pitching fee)
1815 – Set camp Patar White Beach (20php reg)
0430 – Wake up, breakfast, break camp
0600 – Tricycle back to Bolinao town, sidetrip to Cape Bolinao Lighthouse (150php/trip)
0730 – ETA at Bolinao Town, ride van back to Alaminos (50php)
0830 – Arrival at Alaminos, trike to Bolo Beach (100php/trip)
0900 – Arrival at Bolo Beach tourism booth, 20php reg, (1400php/5pax) boat ride for day trip
0920 – start island hopping
1530 – Back at Bolo Beach tourism center
1615 -Tricycle back to Alaminos
1700 – Travel to Dagupan via commuter vans
1810 Dagupan Downtown, Dinner
1840 ETD to Manaoag (21php/jeep at downtown)
1940 Our Lady of Manaoag
2030 Take Bus back to Manila (400php)
Total Damage: 1800php (Safe Budget: 2000php/pax/ group of 3)
● Hundred Islands National Park is reachable via Alaminos Pangasinan Buses in Cubao, Five Star buses plies the Alaminos route daily and costs 400php/way. Travel time is 5-7hours depending on the time of the day. It is best to travel by midnight to avoid traffic
● Upon arrival at Alaminos, you have two options:
– 1st, take tricycles bound for Lucap Wharf, the commonly taken route to the tourist center, standard rate is 60php
-2nd, take tricycles bound for Bolo Beach where an annex tourism booth is located by the shore and takes less time in traveling but same rates as the of Lucap
● There are several hostels near the Lucap Wharf if planning to spend the night in Alaminos
● These are the standard rates of the Hundred Islands National Park:
● Camping is allowed at all the islands but only during the night, from 5pm to 6am the following day, some islands doesn’t have basic facilities for visitors, and is advisable to camp on the three major islands, pitching fee is 200php/tent
● Bring enough food and water provisions upon visiting, rates are much higher in the islands
● Bathrooms are available at the Wharf and Bolo Beach, fee of 20php/pax is charged
We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open
Go, Carve That Niche,