Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Following Liw-liwa, is Alaminos Pangasinan, which is the second stop of my solo backpacking trip. From San Felipe, Zambales, I boarded a bus going to Sta. Cruz, Zambales. I then boarded a bus from Sta. Cruz, Zambales heading to Dagupan. I told the conductor to drop me off at the town of Alaminos. The total travel time from Zambales was around six hours.

I arrived at Alaminos, Pangasinan around 7pm. From the town proper, I rode a tricycle that took me directly to Treasure Isle Guest House, where I stayed. Before settling in, the trike driver kindly offered to take me to Lucap Wharf just for me to look at the place. Since it was already dark, there was nothing much to see at Lucap Wharf so I didn't stay long. I returned shortly to where I was staying and made sure to get a good night's sleep to be all pumped up for the next day's adventures.
Lucap Wharf Lighthouse

I woke up early the next day, all energized and ready for some island hopping. I rode a trike that will dropped me off at Lucap Wharf, where the tourism office was located. From there, one would need to pay the environmental fees and make arrangements for a boat tour at the Hundred Islands National Park. Since I was traveling alone, I rented a small boat all to myself and off we went on the tour.

While the Hundred Islands National Park actually has more than a hundred islands, you can only visit a few of them since these few islands are the only ones with beaches where boats can dock. The rest, like the ones above, are untouched beauties that one can only look at.

First stop is the Governor's Island which is made up of two islands. Apart from swimming on the beach, there are a few activities that one can do at Governor's Island: explore some caves, go up to the viewing deck, zip-line from one island to the other, and cross the floating bridge connecting the two islands.
This is the view from the viewing deck, which you can only reach by going up 150 steps.

The Hundred Islands National Park is definitely a beautiful place. I love how the waters are in this gorgeous shade of turquoise, that you won't be able to resist diving in. There is a spot for snorkeling where you can see lush marine life with a wide variety of fish and lots of giant clams. Too bad I didn't have an underwater camera with me because the sights were amazing. 

Because it is always bustling with lots of tourists, Quezon Island is easily the most popular island. It's the main stop during the tour. It has a restaurant that serves snacks and rice meals. At the island, tourists can swim on the beach and go on the zip-line. If you're planning to go on an overnight tour to Hundred Islands, Quezon Island is also where tourists can stay because it has accommodations. Tourists can also opt to rent and pitch a tent for a fee.

Another island where boats can dock is Cuenco Island. It has a nice little beach for swimming, a huge cave that one can explore, and a spot for cliff diving that's about 10-feet high going into waters around 15-feet deep.
I had to climb up some rocks just to have this photo taken.
 Of course I had to jump off the cliff.

The day tour is good until 5pm, but can take half a day if you won't stay long on the islands. Apart from the Hundred Islands National Park, there are other attractions in Pangasinan like the Bolo Beach in Alaminos and Patar Beach in Bolinao, which is an hour away from Alaminos. I've seen photos of Patar Beach and it is absolutely beautiful. You can visit these other spots if you're not pressed for time. Which only gives me more reason to return to Pangasinan.

Travel Notes:

How to get there:
  • From Manila, you can board a bus going to Dagupan and ask the conductor to drop you off at Alaminos. Victory Liner terminals in Pasay and Cubao both have regular trips going to Dagupan. Travel time from Manila ranges from 6 to 7 hours depending on the traffic. From the drop-off point, ride a tricycle that will take you to Lucap Wharf.
Where to stay:
  • If your only itinerary is the Hundred Islands National Park, you can actually just go on a day tour. But if you opt to stay in Alaminos, you can book a small room in Treasure Isle Guest House through Agoda, for less than Php500. 
  • Accommodations are also available at Lucap Wharf. I remember seeing a few hotels and transient houses in the Lucap Wharf area, across the tourism office.
Expenses:
  • Bus fare - Php400 (x2 for roundtrip)
  • Tricycle - Php60 (per ride)
  • Hundred Islands boat tour and guide - Php1400 for (1-5 persons), Php1800 (6-10 persons), Php2000 (11-15 persons)
  • Registration and environmental fees - Php80
  • Rental of snorkeling gear - Php200
  • Zip-line - Php100
  • Accommodations at Treasure Isle Guest House - Php450
  • Food - meals range from Php100 to Php200

I definitely enjoyed this part of my trip. I got to tick Hundred Islands off my list of places to see in the Philippines. I also had a couple of firsts: first time to try the zip-line (am I such a loser or what?) and first time to jump off a cliff, which made my Alaminos trip all the more memorable.

Up next is one of my favorite places in the Philippines: Benguet. :)
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