Friday, February 10, 2012

Roadtrip to Pangasinan

A quite unplanned weekend getaway with kaladkarins.  It all started when one of our friends sent FB message asking for our next getaway.  It has been more than 6 months since our last trip.  In an instant, we decided to set a weekend trip, just in time for the long weekend ahead.  Since its only a weekend, it must be somewhere in Luzon.  I suggested Pangasinan since I've never been here.  Besides, I've already researched Alaminos and Bolinao trips which will be really helpful with our only almost a week of planning.  We decided to skip Alaminos and spend the weekend in Bolinao instead.  Alaminos is about an hour and a half away to Bolinao.  And from research, there's more tours to visit in Bolinao than in Alaminos (correct me if I'm wrong).  And so it's set.  Kaladkarins off to Bolinao, Pangasinan.

We left Manila at around 4.30am.  Our very reliable map helped us our way to Bolinao.  Our map with pictures of road signs is courtesy of Puerto Del Sol.  We didn't get any accommodation there as it is quite expensive.  We opt to stay in Treasures of Bolinao as it is much cheaper.  We arrived at the city of Bolinao, Pangasinan by 10:30am.  This already includes 3 stop overs.  We headed to Adora's Restaurant to have our brunch and later talked to locals about the distances of the places we want to visit and maybe convince them to tour us.  Based from research, tricycle drivers can tour you in the following places: caves (Enchanted, Wonderful or Cindy's), Bolinao falls, Bolinao Lighthouse and Patar Beach.  The tricycle driver charged us Php 1,000 to do everything.  Quite expensive as we thought it is only Php 300 based from our research.  Well maybe because Bolinao Falls is farthest among these destinations.

We just then decided to visit the tourist spots on our own since we brought our own vehicle.  Aside from the info given by the tricycle driver, we also asked staff from Adora's and from Treasures of Bolinao.

Adora's Restaurant
Based from research, this is one of the restaurants you can visit that is open 24 hours.  So if you're riding the bus (with fixed schedule) and arrived in Bolinao at a very early morning, you can dine in here.  This is not a fancy restaurant, it is carinderia but with edible foods.  They have lots of viands to choose from.  And like any typical carideria, the viands are single serving.  We ordered, pork barbeque (huge serving per stick), chopsuey, kare-kare, sisig, and a fish dish.  Since I'm watching what I eat because of allergy, I only ate chopsuey and barbeque.  The chopsuey tastes good with crunchy vegetables.  The barbeque is ok, more meat than fats.  My friends say that the sisig taste good.

with owner, Aling Adora
 St. James The Great Church
After eating at Adora's Restaurant, we decided to proceed to St. James The Great Church, which is just beside the restaurant.  According to research, this is one of the oldest church in the Philippines.  The church is undergoing construction that's why we didn't stay long there due to the smell of paint inside the church.

Treasures of Bolinao
Treasures of Bolinao is located in the municipality of Patar, where famous golden sand beach can be found.  The resort is very near to the Patar beach and Bolinao Lighthouse.  It is the farthest among the famous resort in Patar.  Going here, you will pass by the resorts like Punta Riviera, Puerto del Sol, Bing's Beach Resort (one of the cheapest resort), Solomon's Beach and many others.  There are a lot of resorts alongside of the road which I think you can just walk-in in case you don't have any accommodation yet.  You will also pass by restaurants like Bolinao Seafood Grill atbp. and Tummy Teasers.  We only get to try the Bolinao Seafood Grill.  The road also leads to the caves namely Enchanted Cave, Wonderful Cave and Cindy's Cave, in order of sight.  After the caves, you will pass by the Rock Formations with an available accommodation called Rock View Resort.  The road leading to Treasures is quite rocky on some part.  There are also mini mart and sari-sari store alongside in case you needed to buy additional essentials like water.  It is really far going to Treasures of Bolinao, about 20 kilometers or more.  I could just imagine the pain in your butt and the thick dust you will encounter when riding the tricycle.

View of Treasures of Bolinao from Patar Beach

Open cottages with damaged bridge (due to typhoon)

We got a room in their newly constructed New Villa Building, good for 4 persons but can accommodate up to 6 persons.  The room is quite spacious with veranda.  There is no hot shower and we experienced clogging in the shower area.  The air conditioning is ok but some may feel that it isn't cool enough.  The resort occupies a huge land area but I wasn't able to go on tour around it.  The wifi is only available in the Main House.  Globe and Sun signal is very weak in our area (I'm not sure in the Main House) and only Smart signal is strong.  Their open cottages is picture perfect.  I love playing with my camera on that location.  Too bad I wasn't able to get another picture perfect in their bridge area.

Our spacious room with 2 extra bed/mattress provided

Enchanted Cave
After resting at Treasures of Bolinao, we decided to visit the caves.  Since its already afternoon (we got so tired that we slept first in our rooms), about past 3pm, we decided to just visit 1 cave so we can still catch the sunset in the lighthouse.  We've researched that among the 3 caves, Enchanted Cave was the most visited and liked.  And so due to time constraints, this is the only cave we've visited.  Entrance to the cave is Php 50 per head.  If you want to go swimming, you will pay additional Php 20 per head.  Parking fee is Php 25.  According to our guide, Enchanted cave has the biggest swim area than Wonderful and Cindy's cave which makes it more ideal to swim.  The waters are very clear and not so cold.  It is a surprise that the rocks don't get algae and moss despite having soaked in water for so long.  The guide also explained where the water is coming from.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to hear it.

Very clear and clean waters

Rock Formation
I've read that the rock formations here is similar to Batanes.  Well, I haven't been to Batanes so I can't make any comparison.  The area is picture perfect, especially when the sun is setting.  The rays of light gives the rocks a red orange color.  The huge waves splashing onto the rocks is also another picture perfect sight.  There is a small area with golden sand but I'm not sure if swimming here is allowed.  Entrance here is Php 15 per head.

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse
The lighthouse is said to be the second tallest lighthouse next to Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Ilocos Norte.  Both lighthouses are picturesque but in my opinion, the lighthouse in Ilocos can be more antique looking with sepia setting in your camera (I don't have that kind of setting though before in my camera).  I think this is one tourist spot we've visited that we didn't pay any fees.

Bolinao Waterfalls
Accoriding to research, there are 2 waterfalls in Bolinao.  One is called Tara Falls and this is the other one.  Since the most visited is Bolinao Falls, we skipped the Tara Falls.  I'm not sure how far it is from each other but it is located in a different town.  Bolinao Falls is approximately 1 hour away from Treasures of Bolinao.  If you're coming from the city of Bolinao, it is located before the town of Anda.  You will see a not so big signage leading you towards the way of Bolinao Falls.  The road going to Bolinao Falls is quite far.  It is accessible by car but the tricycle drivers advised us to be very careful in driving as it is steep and rocky.  We've asked about 3-4 people along the way just to make sure we're headed to the right track.  It was a surprise that 2 of those people asked us if we were looking for Bolinao Falls 1 or 2.  We didn't get the chance to see the Bolinao Falls 1 but surprisingly there is another Bolinao Falls 1-1/2 which we were able to visit.  With its name, it is a very small and short waterfall.  The waters are clear and its not quite deep.  There are a few cottages but I'm not sure if there's a fee for using it.  Entrance and parking here is for free.

Bolinao Falls 1-1/2

Arriving at Bolinao Falls 2, we have to pay Php 20 parking fee for car (Php 15 for tricycle) and Php 100 for cottage rental.  Swimming is free.  This falls have a wide swimming area with again very clear waters and some shallow and deep areas.  The water is not so cold unlike in other falls I've visited.  We were the first group to arrive at around 9.30am.  After a few minutes, more people arrived and some took a swim.  According to the guide, Bolinao Falls 1 is more of the "washing area" of the locals where they wash their clothes and the "shower area" of their carabaos.  It is not preferred as tourist destination especially if you would prefer swimming.  That is why Bolinao Falls 2 is more ideal tourist spot.

Bolinao Falls 2

Bolinao Seafood Grill atbp.
We had our brunch here.  I was quite hesitant since most of the foods to be served are seafoods which I am trying to avoid because of my allergies.  But nevertheless we ordered grilled squid, sinigang na hipon, grilled milkfish, another grilled fish (I forgot the name), and crispy pata.  I tasted and ate everything that is served!  Bahala na kung magka-allergy.  All of us consumed at least 2 cups of rice.  Either the food was great or we're just really hungry.  True enough, come night time, allergies are all over my thighs and arms.  So now I don't know which of those foods I ate causes my allergic reaction.


Patar White Beach
Even if Patar White Beach is accessible from Treasures of Bolinao, we still try to visit the beach, which they claimed to be the Boracay of Pangasinan.  It doesn't have white powdery sand like Boracay but the beach is also a wonderful beach destination.  It has golden sand with very clear waters.  At that time, there are waves on the beach.  I'm not sure if there are waves all the time or it just depends on the season.  There are a lot of cottages available and there are also stalls for shopping/souvenir buying.  For me, it reminds me of Puerto Galera white beach minus the party crowd.  There are videoke in the cottages and lots of people are having their picnic.  There is no entrance fee but the parking fee is Php 25.  I'm not sure how much rent or even if there's any fee for the cottages.  I guess bringing of food is allowed.  Besides it is a public beach.

Overall, I spent about Php 2,300 for this weekend getaway.  This includes overnight accommodation, tours, food, transportation and toll fees.  Not bad.  Our bringing of car and touring all by ourselves seems to be a wise decision.  Everything falls into place and we didn't get lost along the way.  It maybe a long 7 hour drive to and fro (inclusive of stop overs) but it was indeed a wonderful experience.  I'd like to explore more of Bolinao and other parts of Pangasinan.  We haven't tasted their specialty yet.  Well, I may not be able to do that since I'm having skin allergies to foods which I haven't quite identify which ones.


  1. Looks fun! I can't wait to see Bolinao this summer!
    Saan po banda yung Bolinao seafood grill atbp? malapit lang po ba sa St. James Church?

    1. Hi Sashi,

      Hindi po malapit ang Bolinao Seafood Grill atbp sa St. James Church. Sa ibang municipality pa yung church while yung seafood grill, sa may bandang papuntang treasures of bolinao and patar beach na 'to (long road leading to the lighthouse where you will find various resorts along the way).

      Thanks for visiting my blog :)


Thanks for visiting my blog. Feel free to give comments and feedbacks but no spamming/advertising please.