As early as January this year, I was already on planning on a place where I could invite my high school friends for a quick getaway. Last year we went to Subic so for this year I wanted somewhere farther but still easily accessible by land. I settled for Pangasinan since it’s just 5-6 hours from Metro Manila but is still seeming of tourist spots.
Last Friday my planning finally came to fruition as I and six of my friends flanked our a**es of to Alaminos City and Bolinao, Pangasinan.
First Stop: Alaminos City
Prior to the trip, we already reserved for our tickets going to Alaminos. It was a good decision since it was pretty chaotic at the Victory Liner Cubao terminal on Friday. The bus was supposed to leave at 11:55 PM but we ended up leaving at 12:10 AM.
At around 4:00 AM, we were already in the town of Labrador so I texted Kuya Marco (owner of the Kylah Transient Inn where we stayed) that we were arriving earlier than expected. Thank goodness when we arrived around 4: 40 am in the terminal, our tricycle sundo arranged by Kuya Marco was already waiting for us. Lucap Wharf (the jumpoff point if you’re going to Hundred Islands) is about 20 minutes from the town proper so it was quite a super cold and windy ride in the trike.
After settling in our rooms, we decided to sleep first before we proceed to island hopping in Hundred Islands. We woke up around 7:00 AM and the proceeded to the wharf to eat breakfast and buy our lunch. There are several karinderya around Lucap Wharf. It is advisable to bring food and drinks during the island since decent food in the islands is sparse. The price per dish ranges from PhP 50-65.00 and it doesn’t include rice yet. For our group of seven, seven cups of rice and four to five dishes cost us around PhP 500.00
Before touring Hundred Islands, we had to register our names at the park’s information desk. Registration fee is Php 20/head. It’s logical since accidents may happen. There were also several boatmen hovering around me asking if our group needs a boat. Thankfully, Kuya Marco has a resident boatman contact. The inn also owns life vests and snorkeling gear so we didn’t have to bother renting from another person anymore. We paid Php 1,800 for the medium sized boat which can accommodate 6-10 people and Php 500 for seven life vests and three snorkeling gears.
Our first stop was Governor’s Island. The island has a viewing deck where the view of the islands was pretty awesome. But before that we had to climb 100+ steps which left us wagging our tongues from sheer exhaustion. However, the tiredness went away once I saw the astounding view at the top.
From Governor’s island, Kuya Romy (our boatman) took us to Marcos Island. The island has an underwater cave where one can dive and swim. Since I can’t swim, I just took pictures of my friends who went diving. There’s also a less developed viewing deck in Marcos Island. The view was astounding as well. We had an unfortunate encounter before we left Marcos Island since some frat boys (?) dumped sand on the side of the boat. And yes, I chose to mention this because they were so eager in teaching what “proper decorum” means.
After Marcos Island, we proceeded to the snorkeling site where one can take a glimpse of Alaminos’ giant clams. Again, it was only Thomas, Ces, Nikki and Conney who jumped into the water since I, Abi and Me-an can’t swim.
It was already noontime when my friends finished snorkeling so we were already very hungry. Kuya Romy took us to Quezon Island since there are tables which we can rent for PhP 100. Unfortunately, the island was packed with people so we just bought buko juice from a vendor who was posing as Apl de Ap of Black Eyed Peas. Cool, huh? We then proceeded to Children Island hoping we would find a decent spot to eat but again the island was teeming with people so we just stopped for a bit and proceeded to another island.
Kuya Romy then took us to this island-cave. I forgot the name of the island but the cave was called Cuenco cave. There were hardly any people there so we ate peacefully in the boat prior to exploring the cave. Of the islands we’ve visited, this was my favorite since it was the least developed and explored. The cave also goes through the length of the island so it had two openings.
On our way back, we passed by Bat Island. The island is literally home to hundreds of bats. I wonder how they got there.
It was already 2:00 PM when we finished island hopping. We proceeded to the main land, shopped and ate halo halo. We then slept for a bit since most of us hardly slept the night before. We woke around 5:35 PM just time for the sunset. We also tried the street food around the wharf: hash browns, kwek kwek and fishball. Dangerous but delicious stuff. Lucap wharf also has a small lighthouse. Despite its size, I found it interesting since I rarely get to see a lighthouse.
After watching sunset, we ate again. Yes, again but this is dinner this time. We contemplated if we’re going to eat at Maxine by the Sea but since most of use have varying allergies to seafood so we settled on eating on the wharf’s foodcourt again. Recalling memories of our high school years while eating is always a good habit. Afterwards, we want back to the inn and played cards until the wee hours of the night. I learned a new game from Nikki called “Go-fish”. And yeah, I suck at it.
So there goes my first day in Pangasinan! It was a good first day. Several firsts for me: island hopping, exploring a cave, etc. I also realized that I’m such a loser because I started traveling late. There’s so much to see about the Philippines and the world and I haven’t even see a tiny bit of it. But as they say, it’s never too late. Hopefully, this marks the beginning of several good trips. Cheers to that!
The Bolinao part of our trip will be discussed on another post!