Bolinao is a first class municipality in the province of Pangasinan and is fast rising as a new summer destination in the region. Despite the fame of its neighboring town, Alaminos, the humble municipality of Bolinao can still capture the hearts of tourists with its multitude of cascading waterfalls, century-old lighthouse, mystical caves and other wow-ing attractions.
Summertime is not exactly my preferred period to go out and travel especially when everyone is on their vacation breaks. I believe a congested paradise, no matter how beautiful, could turn into a tragedy. But again, it is inevitable during the peak season so my friends and I decided to brave a 6-hour travel to Pangasinan in hopes of a crowd-free getaway. Bolinao was the right decision.
April 14, 2018 — One of the exciting things to look forward to when traveling with a group is the opportunity of meeting new people. In this instance, my heart was thrilled for my high school best friend to mingle with my buddies from the church. The small talk among the newly introduced acquaintances kept us busy while waiting for the arrival of the Bolinao-bound airconditioned bus at the Fivestar Terminal in Pasay. However, two hours have gone by so quickly and there was still no update regarding the whereabouts of the Fivestar bus. Out of tiredness and time practicality, we decided to take the Alaminos-bound Mhel Bhen airconditioned bus that took a brief stop in front of the Fivestar terminal.
After multiple bus stops and shallow naps, we finally arrived at the Alaminos town proper at 7 in the morning. We easily spotted a non-airconditioned bus bound to Bolinao and took the windy ride while basking in the good view of the fields. By 8:30 am, the group reached the Bolinao town proper and immediately searched for a decent eatery where we had breakfast. (The tasty tortang talong I ate worked magic in me!) It didn’t take long before we found a tour operator; we talked to one of the tricycle drivers named Kuya Rovic and agreed to his arranged day tour for ₱1,000; the tour includes Bolinao Falls 1-2-3, Patar Beach, Patar Rock Formation, Enchanted Cave and Cape Bolinao Lighthouse. Since we were 5 in the group, we decided to hire two tricycles to take us around Bolinao.
Patar Rock Formation
The star of the Patar rock formation is the stretch of huge coral cliffs where waves from the ocean break. Indeed, the view was spectacular but for an entrance fee of ₱75 per head, it’s pricey for the activities you’ll do here. It’s not the best place to take a swim and definitely not the best place for cliff jumping. My friends and I took a rest on one of the cottages instead while the sound of crashing waves plays in the background.
For someone who has been to Boracay Island, the Patar Beach will give the tourists that same vibe. There are rows of cottages, series of dining establishments and an energetic crowd on the fine sandy coast of Patar. (It’s not white sand!) On a weekend afternoon, the beach was obviously filled with beachgoers. My group and I didn’t stay for long in the area since we were already beaten from the day’s tour. If given the chance though, we would’ve come here on a weekday and just bathe under the sun.
Guide to Patar Beach and Patar Rock Formation
- According to reviews online, the Patar beach is filled with noise at night due to videoke.
- Be careful when swimming in Patar Beach because there are sea urchins in the waters. Aquashoes is recommended.
- There are toilets and showers in Patar Beach for guests with a minimal fee of ₱10 per use.
- The public beach gets crowded especially in April and May.
- Camping is allowed at Patar Beach.
How to get there
- Ride an aircon bus from Cubao to Bolinao via Victory Liner for ₱459. If you’re coming from Pasay, you may also opt to ride an aircon bus via Five Star Bus for ₱469. (Or take the bus to Alaminos (₱400). After arriving at Alaminos, take the Fivestar non-aircon bus to Bolinao.)
- At Bolinao bus terminal, hire a tricycle to take you to your hotel or tour you around the area. One tricycle is good for 3-4 pax, the average price of ₱1,000 that covers the major attractions.
Bolinao Tour Operator (Tricycle)
Contact Person: Kuya Rovic Ongkit
Mobile Number: (0946) 055-6784
Itinerary and Budget
|April 14, 2018||1:45 AM||Rode Mhel Bhen bus to Alaminos from Fivestar Pasay Terminal||₱400/head (bus fare)|
|7:00 AM||ETA Alaminos, rode Fivestar non-aircon bus to Bolinao||₱51/head (bus fare)|
|8:30 AM||ETA Bolinao town proper, breakfast at Tiblon Grill, arrange tour with tricycle drivers|
|9:30 AM||ETD Bolinao Falls 1|
|10:00 AM||ETA Bolinao Falls 1||₱20/head (entrance fee); ₱20/tricycle (parking fee)|
|10:15 AM||ETD to Bolinao Falls 2|
|10:20 AM||ETA Bolinao Falls 2, swim||₱20/head (entrance fee); ₱20/tricycle (parking fee)|
|11:30 AM||ETD to Bolinao Falls 3|
|11:35 AM||ETA Bolinao Falls 3, swim||₱20/head (entrance fee); ₱20/tricycle (parking fee)|
|12:25 PM||Went back to Registration area to rest, eat halo-halo an Binungay||₱20/halo-halo; ₱50/Binungay|
|12:50 PM||ETD to Enchanted Cave|
|1:40 PM||ETA Enchanted Cave, swim and caving||₱200/head (entrance fee)|
|2:30 PM||ETD to Patar Rock Formation|
|2:40 PM||ETA Patar Rock Formation||₱75/head (entrance fee)|
|3:45 PM||ETD to Cape Bolinao Lighthouse|
|3:55 PM||ETA Cape Bolinao Lighthouse, take photos|
|4:30 PM||ETD to Patar Beach|
|4:45 PM||ETA Patar Beach, eat late lunch, swim, wash up|
|6:15 PM||ETD to Bolinao town proper, settle tour fee||₱1000/tricycle|
|6:50 PM||ETA Bolinao town proper, ride bus to Alaminos|
|7:20 PM||ETD to Alaminos town proper via non-aircon Bus||₱66/head (bus fare)|
|9:00 PM||ETA Alaminos town proper, check-in at Danna’s Inn, dinner||₱1,650/room (good for 5)|
|April 15, 2018||4:15 AM||Wake-up, prepare|
|4:50 AM||Ride Cisco bus to Sta. Cruz, Zambales||₱30/head (bus fare)|
|5:20 AM||ETA Burgos, breakfast in Burgos market (with takeout for lunch), arrange tricycle service to Cabongaoan Beach|
|6:15 AM||ETD to Cabongaoan Beach||₱350/tricycle (supposedly ₱250 only)|
|7:00 AM||ETA Cabongaoan Beach, rent cottage, swim||₱500/cottage|
|7:30 AM||Boat to Cabongaoan Death Pool||₱50/head (boat ride back-n-forth)|
|7:35 AM||ETA Cabongaoan Death Pool|
|8:40 PM||Ride boat back to cottage|
|8:45 PM||ETA cottage, swim|
|10:00 AM||Prepare food, wash up|
|11:15 AM||ETD to Burgos via tricycle||₱350/tricycle (supposedly ₱250 only)|
|12:15 PM||ETA Burgos town proper|
|12:20 PM||ETD to Alaminos town proper||₱25/head (jeepney)|
|12:50 PM||ETA Alaminos town proper, ride Victory Bus Liner to Cubao||₱393/head (bus fare)|
|1:25 PM||ETD to Manila|
|8:00 PM||ETA North EDSA, Quezon City|
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