Last Wednesday I went to Pangasinan for a family trip with some friends, it was a treat of a family friend and since I haven’t been to Hundred Islands I was so excited to go. Wednesday night when we came to mum’s friend’s house in Pangasinan but it was not the day we went to the islands because of Don Ramon’s (Family Friend’s Forster family) birthday. We stayed a night at his traditional house which you have to take a boat going there and his simple house is just at the middle of his 16 hectares of fish ponds (yes, with big and small ponds to complete the 16 hectares).
Being on the boat that night going to Don Ramon’s farm reminded me of the documentary I saw from Discovery Channel about the Amazon Rain forest, the area looks the same at night cruising with that banca (boat). I enjoyed the view of the clear skies that night, making me a weirdo to my family members and friends as I went up the balcony and laid on the wide cement to star gaze. I enjoyed it a lot, having my last star gazing experience was back in the year 1998 when we had an academic tour at the UP Diliman Astrology Department together with the other members of The Science Club ( I know I was a geek :P). Although the view at daylight is different. It is not a forested as it seems at night but the bird species you can see flying were awesome, plus the fact that we cruise again before sunset to drop off some friends at the Pier back to their place, it was an amazing view my bad camera went really bad (Oh I badly need a new one)!
Hundred Islands Tour
Friday morning when everyone decided to go to the Hundred Islands. There were more than 40 people distributed in 3 boats. A boat costs Php1,500 ($30USD) (15pax maximum)to hire for 6-8 hours, you can start your tour in the morning so you can do more. We thought we already saved money with that rate but since the negotiating person is from abroad, I reckon they would believe everything (like I did before). Until I found this information a day after the trip; From Lucap Wharf you can hire a banca, the size depends how many are you in a group.
For day tour with 20 pesos entrance fee per head, boat fee are as follow.
Small Boat (1 to 5 persons) – 800
Medium Boat (6 to 10 persons) – 1000
Big Boat (11 to 15 persons) – 1100
For overnight with 40 pesos entrance fee per head, boat fee are as follow.
Small Boat (1 to 5 persons) – 1400
Medium Boat (6 to 10 persons) – 1800
Big Boat (11 to 15 persons) – 2000
TIP: For backpackers, make sure to share with fellow backpackers on the boat (do not share with families) if you wish to share and save money for the boat. You can do island hopping and swim a little bit on each islands(other islands have a lot to offer like cave and relax/quiet view) that you will not be able to do if you share with families who would rather stay in one crowded island the whole day.
Although there was only one island where you can stay and cook your own food (which where we stayed most of the time) which is the Quezon Island. You have to pay Php50($1 USD) for the entrance fee (which I don’t know for what) and shed/cottage which is Php 200 ($4) for the whole day and Php300 ($6) for over night, tent site for over night is Php300 as well.
(Clearest water I have seen so far)
You can do cliff diving (they made a ledge for diving which makes cliff diving less of a thrill) if its high tide. Some islands are connected with bridges, some by sand banks, some are swimmable ( I know its my new term!). By the way, if you are as weird as me that swims sea water with eyes open without goggles, you will enjoy the water here, very clear and different beautiful species of fish are everywhere!
Even though there are a lot of things to do at the islands like rock climbing, spelunking, para sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, cliff diving, etc. I didn’t get to do most of the things I want to do because we were with other families. Also, daring to do some climbing from the water and back up the shed where we were (which was at a very low cliff) was not possible around my mum and my protective younger brother! All worried and paranoid of how crazy it was (what?!). Not to mention that I wanted to swim at the middle of another island that has a raft that you can stop by to regain your strength did not happen because my brother was so full of whatever. That moment, I realize I should not travel to do or even try to do some adventurous (its not even adventurous what I’m trying to do) with my family (except maybe with my sister who is more of a dare devil than I am! She should have come!).
The drive from Manila to Hundred Islands (Pangasinan) is more or less 6 hours. Public air-con buses from Php 335 – 380 (around $6.75) depending on the bus company you would go for. Most of the bus stations to Pangasinan are in Cubao, Q.C.
- Dagupan Bus Line (Quezon City to Dagupan) New York St., Cubao Tel # 929-6123, 727-2330
- Victory Liner* (Quezon City to Dagupan & Alaminos) Cubao, Q.C. Tel # 727-4688, 727-4534
- Five Star Bus Line (Pasay City to Dagupan & Bolinao) Tel # 833 8339, 833 3009
- City Trans (Manila to Dagupan & Bolinao)
- Philippine Rabbit* (Quezon City to Dagupan & Bolinao) EDSA, Q.C. Tel # 734-9838, 734-9836
- Philippine Rapid (Manila to Dagupan & Bolinao)
From Alaminos, Pangasinan you will have to take a tricycle to Lucap which will cost from Php40-80 (around $2), try to haggle.
TIP: I know you are confused with the location of Hundred Islands with so many names of the place. It is located at Alaminos, Pangasinan. If you must ask the bus driver, be sure it’s going to Alaminos, Pangasinan (NOTE:Do not confuse this to Alaminos, Laguna as the previous is up North and the latter is down South).
I will surely go back there, and the next time I’m back at the Hundred Islands I can report more awesome fun and activities we can do there. In the meantime, just hang on or just discover it yourself ahead of me.
*Recommended from the company’s reputation of bringing out clean, safe, and efficient service to passengers.