Every time I hear about Pangasinan, I instantly associate it with the famous hundred islands of Alaminos City. When I was younger, I didn’t know any other travel destination I can visit in Pangasinan. Most of the time, the hundred islands is the only thing I hear from school and people. Today, I am writing about a place in Pangasinan which I visited last year and nope, it’s not in Alaminos. I’m so happy that the Philippine Tourism is getting better and bigger as time goes by. People are now being exposed and can already appreciate most underrated beauties that our country has. Just like BOLINAO, PANGASINAN.
Places to visit
Cape Bolinao lighthouse
Cape Beach rd. Bolionao, Pangasinan
Built in 1905, the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse is standing atop the Punta Piedra Point Rocky Hill. The land elevation is 250 feet while the structure itself is 101 feet. It is a major light house in the country and the second tallest lighthouse, next to Cape Bojeador in Ilocos Norte. It has become a prominent landmark that tourists usually visit. The uppermost portion of the light house can be reached through a 140-step stairwell but unfortunately visitors don’t have access inside. You can visit and take photos of the light house for free. At the bottom of the hill, you can find locals who are selling souvenir items like shirts, refrigerator magnets, etc.
When I ask my friends where to find white sand beaches somewhere North, they would always recommend this one. On a closer look, I think the sand is not as white but more like golden brown. Not a problem though! The thing about nature, it does not need any vsco or Instagram filter. Like this one! Amazing.
Patar Rd, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Entrance Fee: 150 PHP
The name speaks for itself. They call it Enchanted cave for a very good reason. The highlight of the place is the underground river with natural spring water which is amazingly pure, clean and fresh. It almost felt like my soul has been rejuvenated as soon I dipped myself into the water. For me, this was the most stress-relieving activity we have done while in Bolinao. We were not able to capture the authentic beauty of the river using our phone camera because it was kind of dark inside.
Other things to expect in the Enchanted cave are sea rocks/coral reefs in their natural forms since discovered, a mini forest with hammocks under the trees and a kiddie pool. Now take my advice: This is one place you shouldn’t miss if you are going to Bolinao. The Enchanted Cave is indeed enchanting!
Tip: Bring extra clothes. Or maybe don’t.
Now this is what I call Life
Samang Norte, Bolinao Trail, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Entrance Fee: 20 PHP
Another side trip you can add to your Bolinao itinerary is the majestic waterfalls. It feels great to wash up after all the dirt and heat your body contracted from the walking and hiking. People are allowed to go at the top where the water is coming and do some diving, for as long as you can ensure your own safety.
There are times when the current of waterfalls is strong but sometimes you’ll see that only small amount of water is coming from the top like the one in my photo. But for me, it is still worth seeing.
Try scuba diving or fishing here since surrounding waters are rich in natural resources. Actually, the province is blessed for being abundant with milk fish or bangus. The island is also a sanctuary for migratory birds. Santiago Island is located off the Northern coast of Pangasinan which is accessible from the mainland by boat or ferry.
Where to eat?
Sungayan Floating Restaurant
Balingasay, Bolinao, Pangasinan
This floating restaurant is a great option when you are traveling with your buddies especially because they offer a boodle fight type of dining. Since Pangasinan is naturally rich in seafood resources, you should already know the kind of food listed in the menu. Mostly grilled seafood. But of course, vegetables like eggplant and okra are available as well, together with our favorite sawsawan (dip/sauce), bagoong! I swear, I’m salivating while doing this portion of the blog. What I liked about this restaurant are the freshness of the food they serve and how they deliciously cook it. Another feature that makes the overall experience even more special is the view. Price of the food is not that expensive especially for platters. My tip is to consider going here early because the cooking and serving time might take longer than expected. If you arrive between 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., there’s a big chance that you would start eating at 2 p.m. which is already way too late. But overall, I am recommending Sungayan Floating Restaurant.
Where to stay?
Sundowners Vacation Villas
Luciente 1, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Some people call the place as the Santorini of the Philippines. For obvious reasons, it is Instagram-friendly. But more than that, it is a great place to relax. If you feel like having fun but still want privacy, then this must be a good place for you to stay at. It would be nice if you are going to buy raw materials or ingredients from the market and cook something for lunch or dinner since most of the villas have kitchen equipped with materials. When you place your reservation, you can check if your desired villa has kitchen. I think there is at least one villa with no kitchen.
Planning to book a night or two in one of the villas at Sundowners? I suggest you do it as early as you can because most of the time, villas are unavailable due to prior reservations, especially during summer and holidays.
For reservations, you may directly contact them:(0977) 859 7299
(0998) 544 8070
(02) 964 5108
How to go to Bolinao from Manila?
Aside from using private cars, other option you could take is commuting via bus. There are direct trips to Bolinao from Cubao and/or Pasay.
Victory Liner (Cubao only)
Address: 683 EDSA, Cubao, Quezon City
Fare: 459 PHP
Check schedule here
Five Star (Cubao and Pasay)
Address 1: Epifanio de los Santos Ave, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Address 2: 2240 Aurora Blvd, Malibay, Pasay, Metro Manila
Fare: 459 PHP if from Cubao and 469 PHP if from Pasay Terminal
Check schedule here
From the bus terminal of Bolinao, you can take a tricycle ride going to different tourist spots.
Is it just me or summer came early this year? Maybe you should start planning your next summer outing soon and you may want to include Pangasinan on the list of destinations that you should visit.
What are you waiting for? It’s BOLINAO OR NEVER!
Kevin Bascao / The Gypsy Life of Kevin
Disclaimer: Not all photos are mine.