Day 2: Bolinao, Pangasinan
For the second part of our Pangasinan trip, we went to Bolinao which is just an hour away from Alaminos City if you’re traveling via a private vehicle.
I told my friends that by 9 AM we should already be at Villa Carolina Resort in Bolinao because we still have a day tour around the town. We agreed to wake up at 5:30 AM but as usual since I always experience “pamamahay” whenever I’m in a new place, I was already awake around 3:15 AM. By 5:20 AM, I was already at the inn’s balcony waiting for the sunrise. It was worth the wait since I got this awesome view.
We left the inn at exactly 6:45 AM. We passed by Nepo Market to buy puto Calasiao for pasalubong (which unfortunately didn’t made the trip all the way back to Manila). We then waited for the van going to Bolinao in front of the CSI supermarket but since it was a Sunday we had to wait for almost an hour for the van. It was already 8:00 AM when we left for Bolinao but we didn’t mind the wait since my friends loves to play cards anytime, anywhere.
We arrived at Bolinao at exactly 9:00 AM. We hailed two tricycles to take us to Villa Carolina which was situated in Ilog Malino, Bolinao. The drive took about 20 minutes and cost us a whopping 150.00/head or Php 150/tike. The fare is just the same with the price we paid for our ride from Alaminos to Bolinao!
Villa Carolina y Juan Resort
Upon arrival at the resort, we were informed by the Ma’am Carol, the owner of the resort, that our room was not yet available since check out time is at 11:00 AM. She agreed to place our things first on a vacant room. After a quick tour of the resort, we were informed that the resort car was ready for our Bolinao tour. Apart from our room which was priced at PhP 5,500, we paid an additional PhP 3,000 for the car. Not bad. It was aircon, comfy and hassle-free. Our driver was none other than the owner of the resort, Dutchman Yan.
We first dropped by the market to buy stuff for our dinner and breakfast. We also bought packed lunch at Adorra’s Restaurant. Wallet damage was Php 505.00 for our group of seven. From the market, we dropped off our stuff at the resort and then proceeded to Bolinao Falls.
Bolinao falls is about 30-40 minutes from the resort. The road was pretty bad and just as what Yan told us, it’s like you’re dancing boogie boogie. Upon arriving at the resort area, we looked first for a table where we can place our things and eat our lunch. Rent for the table was Php 50. After eating lunch, my friends except for Me-an and I waded in the water. I chose not to get wet since (1) I keep fidgeting about our stuff being left in the open, and (2): I can’t swim and cliff dive for the love of my life. Me-an and I agreed too (being the chemist that we are) that the water had too much suspended particles for our liking.
Bolinao falls also didn’t impress me that much. I don’t know if it’s because I couldn’t appreciate its beauty because of the amount of people that were there or simply because the falls in Mt. Isarog and Buhi in Camarines Sur (from where I come from) are simply amazing.
After staying in Bolinao falls for about 1.5 hours, we proceeded to our next stop: Wonderful cave. Yan discouraged us from going to Enchanted cave since according to him it’s already very commercialized and developed. We just agreed and I thought it was alright since it was already 2:15 PM. We still have several places to visit and we have to get back to Villa Carolina in time for the sunset.
Wonderful Cave is a private property so we had to pay Php 50/head for the entrance fee. There’s actually two caves: one “wet”, one “dry”. According to our guide, the dry cave used to be a hiding place for Japanese during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines. As opposed to the caves in the Hundred Islands, the caves in Bolinao are very rocky and low-hanging. I literally have to crawl and down my head just get inside the cave proper. The view inside was superb. The rocks are enormous and they glittered under the light.
The wet cave was called as such because it had a lagoon inside where one can swim. The depth of the lagoon ranged from three to six feet so Me-an and I jumped immediately. Finally we saw a body of water where can “stand” safely! We stayed there for almost an hour and if it weren’t for a lady (was she even one?) who kept shouting she peed twice, our entire stay would have been awesome.
From Wonderful Cave, we proceeded to Bolinao Lighthouse. According to Yan, it’s the second tallest lighthouse in the Philippines. True enough, it was really tall and I had a hard time finding the right angle so my camera could capture the entity of the lighthouse. It was also hard shooting around the area since the sun was still so high at 4:30 PM.
There’s a viewing deck near the lighthouse which offers a super superb view of the South China sea. If we arrived there on a later time, it would have been the perfect place to watch the sunset. Nevertheless, we took our time in the deck since the scene was incomparable.
We also had fun taking pictures at a nearby house ruins. We shot a teleserye but I realized we didn’t settle for a title yet.
Patar Beach and Rock Formations
We left the lighthouse area at around 5:00 PM and proceeded to Patar Beach. Villa Carolina is situated in Ilog Manilao, a few barangays away from Patar, so we decided to take a glimpse of Patar’s famous white beach.
The sand at Patar beach is a bit courser and more yellowish than the sand at Ilog Malino but nonetheless equally stunning. I was hoping to take a closer look of the rock formations but it was quite far from where we were standing. I also didn’t realize earlier that the formations were part of the Treasures of Bolinao itself, a private resort in the area.
We only stayed in Patar Beach for about 30 minutes. We hurried back to the resort since we agreed we would just watch the sunset from there. Upon arriving, I talked to the Manang chief cook to just grill the pork chop and fry the chicken we bought for dinner.
We then marched to beach and waited for the marvelous sun to set. The view was indescribable. It was of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. It was low tide that time so the effect of the orange light on the almost waterless tidal flat was magnificent.
At around 7:30 PM, Manang called us for dinner. The food she prepared was great. No need for soy sauce and catsup for seasoning. After eating dinner, we proceeded to the videoke area and sang our hearts out. For two hours, it seemed we reviewed the songs we enjoyed during our high school years!
At around 10:00 PM we stopped singing already and went back to beach to set up a bonfire. We bought marshmallows earlier in the market so we ate smores by the beach! Bonfire + smores + Tanduay Ice (for some) + lying on the sand + stargazing + supermoon = what more can I ask for?
It started raining at around 12:00 MN so we hurried back to pool area to continue our happy time. We stayed on the pool until 2:00 AM. We just swam, floated, laughed our hearts out, and recalled the 11 years we’ve been friends with one another. It was almost 3:00 AM when we slept.
On our last day in Pangasinan, we just enjoyed our stay in the resort. I was supposed to wake up at 5:30 AM to catch the sunrise but since we slept very late, we already woke up at around 8 am . After eating our breakfast which consisted of sunny side up and luncheon meat, we hurried back to the beach area to savor the remaining hours of our vacation. Conney, Thomas and Me-an went to the water first while Abi, Cez, Nikki and I “played” volleyball. Thomas later joined us. It’s been a while since I touched a volley ball. I realized that if I considered learning it seriously back in high school, I could have been a good player. Wasted chances. Tsk.
Nikki, Ces, and I then joined the others in the water and enjoyed the time of our life. At around 10:30 AM, we went back to our room, took a bath, and packed our bags. We checked out at around 12:30 PM.
We made just in time for the 2:00 PM aircon trip of Five Star back to Manila. Since we didn’t ate lunch yet, Nikki, Ces, Me-an and I passed by Adorra’s Restaurant again and bought our lunch. We also dropped by Bolinao’s church, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and it is said that the first mass was actually held in this church.
At exactly 2:10 PM, we departed Bolinao, leaving behind only our footprints in its sand, our laughter in its air and taking only memories and pictures as proof of the great time we had there.
As my friends have said, we experienced many firsts in Pangasinan. It’s also rare that you get to see the beach, pool, cave, etc. in a single place so it was truly a memorable trip. We had so much fun and based from my friends’ feedback, this will definitely be the start of more exciting trips.
Personally, I still can’t find the proper words to describe what I feel. Months before I spent hours on the net researching on the sites on we can visit, on accommodations that would not make our pockets bleed and on every possible option that would make my friends comfortable during our trip. There are several times when I asked myself why I took on the responsibility of solely organizing the trip? Was it because I so badly want to travel? Was it because I want to show that I can do it? Just like my friends, I am also working and I have a very hectic schedule so what made me do it? Simple. If I will not take the initiative, it will never happen. Or maybe someone will the initiative but the question is when. One cannot experience a place by simply looking at pictures. One has to be physically at the place. So I realized and decided, if there’s a place that interests me, I will go there. It doesn’t matter when, where and when, I will make it happen. Traveling with friends comes as a bonus because I get to share the wonderful memories with them.