travel

Discovering Pangasinan: Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3

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.

 

Getting There

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.

 

Bolinao Falls 1

Although I wanted to follow the itinerary I created, Kuya Rovic has advised us to go along with their tour route which was a standardized one. Admittedly, their route was more time and gas-efficient. The town proper is about 30 minutes away from our first destination, Bolinao Falls 1. Despite the bumpy dusty road, it was funny how my friends still managed to take a snooze.

The waterfalls were named based on a numbering system, probably because of their close proximity from one another. The Bolinao Falls 1 had a small yet deep catch basin that invites guests to go for a cliff dive.

 

Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3 Pangasinan

Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3 Pangasinan

 

We only stayed there for about 15 minutes, not even attempting to dip and dive. While the water looked refreshing, the crowd was pretty dense on a Saturday and we knew we can still enjoy the dip in a much bigger area. (Minus the people, this place could be a haven for amateur cliff divers.) With that, we proceeded to Bolinao Falls 2 which was not so far from the Bolinao Falls 1.

 

Bolinao Falls 2

The Bolinao Falls 2 is a series of shallow turquoise rockpools with waters flowing down from the smooth limestone formations. Even if its elevation isn’t towering like the first waterfalls, the Bolinao Falls 2 serves as a water park for families and kids given its wide-open space. It’s also a place for a medium-high cliff jump.

 

Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3 Pangasinan

Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3 Pangasinan

Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3 Pangasinan

Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3 Pangasinan

Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3 Pangasinan

 

The crowd was lesser in Bolinao Falls 2. Of all the three waterfalls, it was also the aptest for swimming. The extensive shade covers the guests from the intense sunrays since it is nestled in lush tropical surroundings. Without noticing it, we stayed for over an hour in Bolinao Falls 2, spending our time mostly swimming and rafting.

 

 

 

Bolinao Falls 3

Before reaching the third waterfalls, tourists will hike down a paved stairway for a bit. The third waterfalls had a combination of qualities from both Bolinao Falls 1 and 2. Bolinao Falls 3 was a great venue for adventure-seekers to go cliff jumping (although not as high as Bolinao Falls 1) and at the same time, it also had an open space for rafting and swimming like Bolinao Falls 2.

 

Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3 Pangasinan

Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3 Pangasinan

Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3 Pangasinan

Bolinao Falls 1, 2, 3 Pangasinan

 

For every waterfall, there is a minimal entrance fee of ₱20 per head.

 

 

Guide to Bolinao Falls

    • At the Bolinao town proper, you may use comfort room (to take #1 and #2) in Tiblon Resto Grill nearby the bus terminal. We gave ₱5 for use of the facility.
    • If you brought a private car, the parking fee for each waterfall area costs ₱50.
    • Go on a weekday so you can avoid the crowd.

 

How to get there

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.

 

Contact Person/s

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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2 Comments

  1. Hi Louise, thanks for your very good informations👍 I’m waiting for the Corona-end…
    Best greetings from Switzerland, Rolf

    1. Hey Rolf, hope life’s been well despite the pandemic! So many places waiting to be explored, after corona ♥

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