Sunday, 11 May 2014

Summer Sunshine in Bolinao

Hey there!
What's new with you? :)

Anyhow, this travel post is actually from last year. Why only now? Well, aside from the fact that I only started this blog last December, this trip is actually what inspired me to go backpacking. Don't worry, I had friends with me. ^__^

It all started with me resigning from my previous work. My close friends there and I do meet up from time to time but we realized that we haven't traveled out of town together. We all pitch in on which places to go and what to do. Either it was too far, too expensive or the place has already been visited by one of us. Out of desperation, we randomly picked a place from a website. So off to Bolinao we went.

That was all we had. Just a place. We haven't booked a hotel or lodging or no plans of what to do once we get there. Crazy, right? Lol.

Anyway, Bolinao is a municipality in the province of Pangasinan.Travel time is between four to five hours from Manila on a regular air-conditioned bus. We left the Victory Liner terminal in Pasay at about one thirty in the afternoon. The bus ride has three stopovers and we arrived at Bolinao at about quarter to five. 

Sights Guide at the Bus Terminal
We had no bloody idea what to do next when we alighted the bus. Luckily, there were tricycles parked just outside the bus terminal. Kuya Ton was the first to approach us. He asked if we wanted to go to our lodging. When we told him that we don't have any lodgings yet, he suggested the Rock Garden Resort (his wife works there). It was the summer holidays which means it was peak season which also means lodgings can cost an arm and a leg. While we checked the rooms being offered, my friend, Joey, called other lodgings in the area. The ones near the beach can cost Php 3,000 a night while the Rock Garden only costs half of that. After much deliberation, we checked in. The Rock Garden Resort was nice. It has its own aviary and own swimming pool. It's in front of the beach but not sandy but rocky, thus their choice of resort name. We got an airconditioned room for Php 1,600 per night. The room has 2 beds and very spacious good for at least 5 people. With only 3 of us, there was plenty of room to roll around on the bed. Haha! There's also a large dresser/cabinet that you can use to store your things. The bathroom is big and very clean (thumbs up!). The room also has its own balcony where you can have a view of the ocean. They have room service so we ordered our dinner and decided to start our adventure the next day.

Meet Joey and Jo-e!
The next day, Kuya Ton picked us up at 8am sharp. Our first destination was the Enchanted Cave. There is an entrance fee of Php 50.00 plus 20.00 if you decided to take a swim. There's also a parking fee of Php 15.00 for the tricycle. On the way to the cave, we saw fossilized clams and coral reefs. Kuya Ton said that Bolinao was submerged underwater a long time ago. The Enchanted Cave is actually an underground cave so you have to climb down a flight of stairs. The water was crystal blue and very cold. We had to be careful of the rocks below because some of them were sharp. We had fun splashing around!

Enchanted Cave

Our next stop was the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse. Overlooking the South China Sea, the lighthouse was built by Filipino, British and American engineers to guide boats to the shore. They said that it's the 2nd tallest lighthouse in the Philippines. Unfortunately, it was closed when we went there. Nonetheless, we had fun taking pictures and running around like kids. We enjoyed the breathtaking view of the ocean from the platform located at the back of the lighthouse too!

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse
Our next stop was the beach. Yay! Due to the summer holidays plus it was close to lunchtime, there were a lot of people there. We picked a spot close to the beach. Patar White Beach is a long stretch of powdery white sand and clear blue waters. We laid there for a while, soaking up the warm sunshine and the smell of the ocean. Then we ate at one of the local eatery located just in front of the beach. We asked Kuya Ton to join us since he was kind enough to wait for us. He told us that people in the area spoke Tagalog but they have their own dialect in Bolinao as well. At about 3pm we decided to go back to Rock Garden to have a bit of rest. Rock Garden is also famous for their own home made pizza so we decided to give a try. We had three rounds! (It was that good!)

Patar White Beach
The next day, we headed out to see Bolinao Falls. It's a bit of trip since it was far from the highway and the town center. There's an entrance fee of Php 20.00. We didn't go for a swim because there were already a lot of people there but it was still worth to see the beauty of Bolinao falls. If only whe had brought life vests we could have done some cliff/falls diving (huhu...). Kuya Ton said t's actually more beautiful if there were a lot less people there because we can admire the emerald waters. The only thing is that the road to the falls are still rough. The tricycle had a hard time going up and down.We actually busted a tire on our way back. Oh well, that's another adventure in itself, haha!

Bolinao Falls
Then we went back to Patar Beach again. There were a few people this time! We had an awesome time playing around the beach. We swam and swam until we were sneezing sea water from our noses! Haha! Our last stop was the St James Parish Church. It was built in 1609. The church is actually made of black coral stones (how cool is that?) They said that its bell tower was once the tallest in the whole of Luzon. It had also served as a fortress against pirate attacks. 

St James Parish Church
Before heading home, we did a bit of souvenir shopping and bought some "Binungoy" or "Binungey". Binungoy is a Bolinao delicacy and a variation of rice cake or suman that is mixed with coconut milk and salt,  wrapped inside banana leaves and cooked inside a bamboo. Yummy! ♥

Thank You Bolinao!
Given that we only had a place in mind but no plan, our Bolinao trip was still an awesome adventure!

Bus Fare to Bolinao = Php 450.00
Lodging = Php 3,200 (3D2N divided by 3)
Tricycle Tour = Php 800.00 (divided by 3)
Enchanted Cave = Php 70/person
Bolinao Falls = Php 20.00
Food = 500/person (Covers the 3D2N stay)
Bus Fare to Manila = Php 450.00



No comments:

Post a Comment