We were checked into Ilog Malino Beach Resort for the entire duration of our stay in Bolinao. It is a beach front property, with basic rooms and amenities (no television, but there are air conditioning and a clean bathroom), and pretty cheap too.
Inside our room, I had a family of late risers and no service. I headed to the beach at 5 in the morning. The sand may not be white nor fine, but damn, that view is nice.
I found out I had mobile service whenever I venture out into the sea, so I roused the fambam. My brother decided to sleep in, though.
The water is clear, and you can see tufts of grass underneath.
The small speck you see in the middle of this photo is my sister and I. The water’s shallow enough to not reach my knees, but there’s a sudden drop about 500-750 meters off the shore.
My sister and I spent the entire morning treading on the ledge of the sudden drop. When I say sudden drop, it seriously is. One moment, you see the sea floor, and the next it’s just the deep blue sea. You cannot even estimate how deep it is because the depth of the sea obscures the view of the sea floor.
Cheers to the last of my 2014 travel posts! Next up will be my first out of town trip for 2015. Last year has been fantastic, but I just know this year will be so much better. 🙂
Our last stop was the Bolinao Falls. It’s a bit far from the rest of the tourist spots we went to, taking more than an hour of tricycle ride on a winding unpaved road. Unlike Kabigan Falls, the walk to the falls was a simple walk and not a trek.
There is an entrance fee of Php 40/person, regardless of whether you’re swimming or not.
There were a bunch of shallow pools (and a really deep one where you can actually climb a tree before jumping off it and into the pool). However, to cross these pools, you have to pass through slippery rocks. Upper left part of the photo below shows my sister literally dragging her butt across the rocks in order to not slip.
It doesn’t look high but trust me, when you’re jumping off it, it’s definitely high – and this is based on experience.
When planning to jump, just ensure you don’t jump into the rocks. You don’t want to injure yourself. My brother trekked down though and opted not to jump while my sister stayed at the shallow pool.
Not to float my own boat (hahaha), but I can honestly keep myself afloat for a while without having to put my head under the water. Funny thing is, it applies literally and metaphorically. I wanted my dad to take a photo of me in the middle of vast water but unfortunately, he misunderstood. Oh, and floating on 18-ft water is a bit freaky. Who knows what’s under you?!
I persuaded my little brother to swim across 18-ft water and I swam ahead to wait for him, only to swim back in the middle to grab him when he started shouting for me. The 1-3 minutes it took to swim with Tan clinging on my back, was literally the longest we have swum for our lives. Never ever putting my siblings into tricky situations again.
This was taken while I was swimming and prior to my brother almost drowning.
This was once my brother and I finally got to latch on to some rock. Whew!
We trekked back up instead of swimming across again because I was terrified my brother would die because of me! And this concludes our Bolinao day tour.
There are three different caves in Bolinao. However, since we were a bit short on time (we started the tour around 10 AM and spent a lot of our time swimming in Patar Beach), we just told the driver to bring us to the best one.
The entrance fee is Php 100/person but you have to pay Php 150 before being granted admission. You can reimburse the Php 50 at the entrance if you decide not to swim inside the cave. Here’s the entrance to the cave.
The stairs are narrow and slippery. I had a camera in my hand and was taking a video of our descent while trying so hard not to slip, hit my head and die.
When we went down, there was only one family swimming inside. The 7-feet water was clear.. and enchanting. See what I did there? Haha!We said goodbye to Php 200 and went swimming. There was another, albeit darker, cave where I and my brother went. We have no photos because kuya from the entrance had our camera, and the waterproof one had no flash so all our shots here were dark (again, see travel video). The sides of the cave have rope and rocks where you can stand.
The view at the rock formations seems to be something out of a movie.
However, even with the Php 50/person entrance fee, the caretaker needs to do a better job at cleaning the place up. There was trash and I feel like it defeats the purpose of paying up to take photos of a dirty place. Also, tourists can rent a table within the vicinity. Dear future tourists, please clean up! Adapt the “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footsteps..” motto so everyone can enjoy clean nature.
Anyone can scale the rocks but do be careful. Unlike Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, the rocks are not smooth. Trust me, I know (and my legs got covered in bruises from this Pangasinan trip).
My dad from the top! The camera was with him.. so we weren’t able to get his photo. Haha!
After swimming at the beach, we went to Cape Bolinao Lighthouse. Out of all the lighthouses I have been to, this was the easiest to access.
No steep stairs (the drive going the lighthouse was a bit steep, though), although you, unfortunately, cannot go upstairs.
The scenery surrounding lighthouses are always so peaceful. I guess the combination of the sea and the height makes for a nice view – unless you’re falling from a height into the sea, but that’s a bit morbid so let’s not get into that. The living quarters (I’m assuming) is also in pretty good shape – considering most of the places we’ve been to have been in ruins. Also, the ruins are not as creepy.
An hour away from Alaminos (where Hundred Islands are located) is Bolinao. Unlike Alaminos, you don’t need a boat or cross the sea to be able to visit all they have to offer. One of those glorious offerings is Patar White Beach. We rented a tricycle for Php 1,100 to tour us the entire day. If Boracay is too far (geographically or out of your budget), Patar White Beach is a nearer and cheaper alternative. There is also a crowd (but not as crowded), although most of them are families instead of friends who go pub crawling at night. The shoreline isn’t as long, but you don’t need it anyway because why stay at the beach, when the water is crystal clear?
The parts in the travel vlog where you can see my siblings and I swimming in clear water was taken on this beach. This was our first stop and we stayed for a bit. The temptation to swim in this beach the entire day was high.
We all had our swimwear on, and just took off our cover up when we needed to swim.
I am honestly not as thin as photos go.. as you can see in this never before seen photo. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a while to be as fit as I used to be (I was more active during college), and I have learned how to have my picture taken. Hahaha!
See the illusion? Haha! But it’s okay. I have quite the self-confidence. (at least most of the time)
My brother is muy guapo.
I sometimes feel bad that I have never really found myself enamored with beaches until last year. And to think that I have gone to Pagudpud, Palawan, etc before last year. I guess it has something to do with growing self-assured that I no longer fear to wear a swimsuit in public. How ironic that I was more insecure when I was thinner and had fewer pimples.
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. 🙂
Our family’s annual out of town trip found the four of us (mom stayed at home) in dad’s territory. Dad spent half of his life in Pangasinan and we went to explore the place. I made a short video (Disclaimer: music not mine) by throwing in all available footage we captured using our Nikon camera, the action camera I got from the office and our mobile phones. I swear, I wish I had a video of all the things I do not have a video of – the coral reef and the giant clams in Hundred Islands (our boat man decided to venture away from the rope and I wasn’t confident enough to have a camera in one hand while essentially free floating in the middle of the ocean, really), swimming in 18-ft deep water and jumping from Bolinao Falls and the clear water of Enchanted Cave. Oh well.