I finally finally got around to writing about our trip to Pangasinan last month! Our family goes out of town (or out of the country) at least once a year. However, since 2014 wasn’t really the best year for our family, given that my mother was diagnosed with cancer, our family wasn’t particularly in a traveling mood (albeit me, who try to go as much and as far away as I can – call it my coping mechanism). Hence, mom had to force the four of us out of the house and go to Dad’s hometown, Pangasinan.
We went on a whim and wasn’t able to make reservations prior to arriving. Fortunately, we had the contact number of Villa Antolin Hotel and Restaurant from their website and they opened their doors for us at 3:00 in the morning.
My dad was born and raised in Pangasinan and has spent nearly three decades either in said province or Baguio, but he has never been to the Hundred Islands. Hence, we went to Alaminos to find out for ourselves what the fuss is about. We rented the boat for Php 1300. I don’t know how much it usually costs but I do think it’s cheap considering it’s bigger than the boat C and I rented in Pagbilao (which was more expensive) and we can use it the entire day.
I did not expect to visit all of the islands, and it’s a reasonable expectation given there are 124 islands in total. The boatmen did point out the islands that had an interesting structure.
Our first stop is Governor’s Island. This is one of the more commercialized islands, having its own guest house and all.
They also have a viewing deck, which you can reach after climbing up the steep stairs. Please don’t wear a maxi skirt, because I have had to hold it the entire time to keep myself from tripping and falling to my death. The climb up seriously left me catching my breath. I am so unfit. The view was worth it, though!
Since we climbed down using another set of stairs, we had to go around the island to get back to our boat. I like simple things like this. It makes me feel like I’m at least a little adventurous. 😀
One of the things in my To Do in Pangasinan list (such list exists, even if it’s non-corporeal) is to go snorkeling! I have heard from friends who have been here that one is able to see the giant clams via snorkeling in this area. So off we went snorkeling. There was a long rope you can hold on to while snorkeling, but one of our boatmen has daredevil tendencies. He exclaimed that there is a better coral reef beyond the limit of the rope, with a better view. So we took a cue from Elsa, let it go, and went with the flow (huh?). He wasn’t lying, though, and the coral reef was truly better and WE SAW ‘EM GIANT CLAMS. Unfortunately, none of us remembered to use the waterproof camera, so it wasn’t included in the travel video I made.
After snorkeling, we got tired and decided to eat at the next island we stopped on. With that in mind, the boatmen brought us to Quezon Island, which was another commercialized island. It was commercialized enough to have a zip line. Yes, THAT commercialized. It was crowded and noisy, and I think whoever maintains this is also having a hard time keeping it clean. I swear tourists should go by the “leave nothing but footprints…” motto.
This cost Php 100/person. There was a queue for this, and since I am not a fan of long lines, I opted to stay behind in our rented table.
We opted to simply go to the islands where it wasn’t that crowded.. and the boatmen passed on a lot of islands. We did go to Cuenca Island, though. Apparently, even if they had cottages and a cave to go through, it didn’t have an actual beach to lounge on. The water surrounding this island was deep enough to not be kid-friendly.
Kuya (one of the boatmen) informed me I can jump into the water. It was more than a 5-feet drop and the water would be at least 12-feet deep. Since the water is clear, I had no qualms on jumping off. Not to brag, but I can swim to keep myself afloat for a while. It turned out to be a good thing because a boat was parked, blocking the ladder, and I had to wait in the water.
After I jumped in, a crowd started to form (from the outer tourists lounging in the cottages) because I had convinced my sister to jump with me and we were gearing up towards jumping (again). Fortunately, this was caught on video.
For my brother to be included in swimming, we went to a secluded island. Not really that hard to find since there were only about a hundred islands to choose from. Haha!
After spending the rest of the afternoon swimming around, and once a group of nuns arrived at the island (taking turns in glaring at my barely clad form – I’m in a beach okay), we left and headed back.
So there goes my first Pangasinan post! All of the rest will be posted throughout the month and will consist of the time we spent in Bolinao. 🙂