Bolinao: Exploring the Edge

My good friend Alma prided the beautiful beaches in her hometown in Bolinao, the third class municipality in the province of Pangasinan. Looking at the map, my hubby calculated the time.  From there, it will take us six to seven hours going back to Manila. Since we wanted to enjoy fully Paolo’s 13th birthday celebration in Hundred Islands in Alaminos, all voted in to stay for one night in Bolinao.

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water is clear and shallow, so safe for the kids to swim

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Hundred Islands: Visited at Last!

Hundred Islands is a protected national park and is the prime attraction of Pangasinan. It is located in the city of Alaminos. Of the 124 islands only three were developed, Quezon Island, Lopez Island and Governor’s Island.

100 islands web size

We’ve been to different beaches, but lesser our plans of going North. For Paolo’s 12th birthday, I sweetly coerced my hubby to celebrate our son’s birthday in Hundred Islands.  To my delight, he immediately said YES! This is one thing I’m so grateful with my husband; he is willing to spend money if it involves family celebration and he loves to go places just like me. And with this, the whole family head off.

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the breathtaking view from the cliff at Marcos Island

We left Pasay at 3 am passing the new SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway). We brought lots of food and snorkel gears. We arrived by 7 am at Alaminos market to buy fruits for our desert. It was almost 8 am when we reached Lucap Port.

We hired a boat for one day tour (P1,800), quite expensive ha. Fortunately, we have a local guide, Kuya Ato, a family friend of Lyn who was living near the port. We were so thankful to him for giving us fresh crabs and shrimps to be cooked in the island. He felt irritated when he learned that we were charged P1,800 for the boat. We told him that it’s okay since we were issued a receipt already. If he arrive earlier he could get us a boat for P1,000 only.  In return, he urged the boatman to bring us to Lopez Island and Cuenco Cave so we could enjoy our island hopping to the max.

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our adventure started here

QUEZON ISLAND.   I was overwhelmed seeing islets along the way. Sun was beaming into the horizon and the sea was calm.  There was a little bumpy movement as we were approaching our first destination, the Quezon Island. I was worried because my mother might get scared because she has this fear of the sea. But thank God, this lasted for few minutes only. Travel time- 25 minutes.

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clear waters of Quezon Island

I was amazed looking at the creamy white sand which was so fine.  The water was so clear. The island has good facilities such as picnic pavilion with four rectangular tables (P200 per table), comfort rooms, grilling area and small sari sari store. There were colorful kayaks for water activity. Indeed, the island is good for family get together, office outing and even for campers who starve for adventure.

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mama and the yummy crabs

Sand bar was wonderful, water was shallow and so calm. It is safe for the kids to swim. There was a clam garden near the pavilion where we enjoyed counting the giant clams and so with the star fish.  To the other side, there was a crocodile-shaped islet and surprisingly the water was much clearer.  See?

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the crocodile-shaped islet

The kids enjoyed much their swim and we, the adults enjoyed our lunch. Our little Shen didn’t want to leave the island with her cousins Magnus and Ax for they really enjoyed a lot. Same with Pao, Miko and Isha. But we have to move on to our next stop, the Lopez Island.

LOPEZ ISLAND. This island is good for sunbathing. There are no huts or trees to hide from the sun. No basic facilities to cater the needs of visitors.  Barely, it is the sun and the sand thing. The covered limestone can’t give even a hint of shade to visitors. But the creamy white sand is finer than Quezon Island.

It is less visited; you can almost have it all by yourselves. You can snorkel with friends then later camp at night and stargaze.

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the stunning and unspoiled Lopez Island

My buddies preferred to stay on the boat but Shen and I hopped out and we explored, searched for a good spot, and took my very good shot!  What a wonderful island!

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delightful island

MARCOS ISLAND. This island was named after the late president, Ferdinand Marcos and the cave after his better half, Imelda Marcos.  The island is a perfect spot for swimming. Sand was near white and very fine. But what thrilled us much was the adventure into the cave. The scorching hit of the sun didn’t hinder us from trekking the jagged hill just to see this wonder. It was a ten-minute walk though a clear pathway and stoned ladder.  Indeed, it was so accessible to reach.

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walkway to Imelda’s Cave

The cathedral-shaped cave has an amazing enclosed pool with clear waters and with a chamber that leads to the open sea. There with thin ladders to help lessen the height of jumping. And there were bats hanging on rocks. Kuya Ato was willing to accompany us to jump into the water. Pao and Miko were so excited for the adventure. But since they were only two and most of us didn’t dare, we ended up just viewing the cave.

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the clear water with chamber leading to the open sea

On our way back to the boat, I was in awe as I saw the breathtaking view of the islands, the sparkling blue water and the glistening shoreline. I was left behind, and didn’t want to move away from the cliff. I still wanted to savor the moment with nature. But the call from my buddies forced me to walk back into the shore.

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it is easy to get out from the chamber on low tide

CHILDREN’S ISLAND. Now I know why Children’s Island got its name. It was shallow and safe for the kids. You can swim farther without worrying of drowning. You can leave your children in the water while sitting on the sand.

The kids enjoyed every minute of their swim, in fact all of us did!

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the shallow waters of Children’s Island

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taking a little rest from a refreshing swim

We took some rest by sitting on the sand. I lay my back and watched those leaves hovering in the sky. It was a perfect day to enjoy the summer heat.

The island is also good for family get together. There were cottages, picnic sheds, cooking and dining areas and tent rentals.

GOVERNOR’S ISLAND.  Pinoy Big Brother House was on shoot in the island and so visitors were prohibited from going there. We had no choice but to proceed to our last destination.

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visitors are not allowed to hop because of ongoing shooting of PBB

CUENCO CAVE. This was our last drop-off spot. Cuenco Cave nestled in Cuenco Island. We were excited when we jumped out from the boat. There was a small strip of sand for swimming activity. Kuya Ato led us inside the cave through walking in a rock ladder. We found out that there was another opening that leads to another sea. The cave was small but it’s so nice to sit on little rocks, take some rest and swim at the other side. Getting there was kinda wonderful.

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entrance to Cuenco Cave

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this is another opening at the other end of the cave

Surprisingly, all of us were still active when we went back to the port. It was again another wonderful adventure for the whole family. At last, we already visited Hundred Islands. Thank you so much Kuya Ato for being our guide and for the delicious sea foods that you cooked for us.

Note: There are comfort rooms and shower rooms at the port for P10. Parking is free and safe.

Next stop, another swimming activity in Bolinao, still in the province of Pangasinan.