Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hundred Islands of Alaminos, Pangasinan

It was a Good Friday of April 2009 when I took the family for a day tour at the famous Hundred Islands in Bgy. Lucap, Alaminos, Pangasinan after an overnight stay in a sister’s home in Bugallon, Pangasinan.

Upon parking at Lucap wharf by 9 am, we arranged for a motorboat to take us to a 3-island tour. Motorboat rental rates are posted on Tourist Kiosk, depending on boat size and destination.

Our boat has capacity of about 10 persons for P700 fee/boat for a preset 3-island tour. Boat rental fee will increase as its capacity increases and/or if passengers opt to tour more faraway islands. There is also a minimal environmental fee of around P20/tourist for the islands’ upkeep, like the men we saw collecting garbage on each island then disposing them on mainland. The place is very organized now, compared to about 15 years ago the last time I went there.

We checked first the Childrens, Governor, and Quezon islands, but they are too crowded with tourists as these islands have longer beaches with restroom and other facilities. In the boat trip, I saw a group of people entering a cave on one of the islands we passed. In between the last 2 islands we checked, I saw a less crowded island (I forgot the name) with smaller but white sand beach. I asked the boatman if we could stay there, and he said yes, although the island has no washroom, store, or tree shade.

Good thing that sister brought a tent, lunch food, and lots of cold drinks in a cooler to survive the summer heat until the afternoon. I noticed the envious look of other tourists when I gave our boatmen 2 ice cold drinks along with their lunch food, hehe.

The sand is very fine, like in Boracay, but more beige than white in color. The beach has some seaweeds, a few rocks on the right side, but overall its fine with the kids. After sunburns, sandcastles, and fill of beach life, we decided to head back home by 3 pm. 

Since there is no washroom at the island where we stayed, we showered at the Lucap wharf public washroom for P10/head. Before taking a shower, I bought a pair of cheap boardshorts in the stores along the wharf. There are many stores there selling souvenir items, food, etc. I think there are stalls there who also offer tents and snorkeling gears for rental.

Passing along Alaminos town proper, we stopped in a mall on the left side of the road to eat halo-halo in one of the local restaurants, since Chowking is full of people. On our way back, we passed thru Sual town’s seaside talipapa where we saw freshly-caught seafoods being sold by fishermen-vendors. Seafoods there are so fresh, as some fishes are still moving, and much cheaper than Manila prices. 

Afterwards, I dropped sister and her daughter at their Bugallon home, before we proceeded to the lovely Hotel Consuelo at Lingayen beach park.

How to get to Hundred Islands:

By Private Vehicle:

From Manila, take NLEX then SCTEX, exit at either Hacienda Luisita or La Paz exits. If you take Luisita exit, you will save about 9 km on travel distance, but you are more vulnerable to heavy traffic during rush hours on 4-lane highway to Tarlac City proper. La Paz exit has less vehicles traversing the 2-lane road, but must be avoided during All Saints Day and Holy Week due to presence of cemetery and religious activities.

Then proceed to the road and cross the bridge going to Camiling, Tarlac, passing the towns of Sta. Ignacia, Mangatarem, Aguilar, Bugallon, turn left at Socony, Bugallon, then pass Labrador, Sual with its zigzag road, then Alaminos. After passing Jollibee Alaminos, turn right to the second road leading to Lucap wharf. NLEX toll is P178, SCTEX from NLEX to Luisita exit is P61.

Travel time from Balintawak to Alaminos is around 4-5 hours, mostly on smooth and light traffic road conditions. Try to fill up gas on or before NLEX to avail of cheaper gasoline prices, as its very expensive from Tarlac City onwards. If you need to buy gasoline when going back to Manila, fill up in Alaminos (cheaper there than in Bugallon or Tarlac), enough to last until you reach Balintawak, where you could get another refill along NLEX.

By Public Transport:

Board the Alaminos-bound Victory Liner or Five Star buses in Pasay or Cubao terminals along EDSA. Upon arriving at Alaminos, take a tricycle to take you to Lucap wharf. I have no idea on the fares though.

Another interesting destination 45 minutes northwest of Alaminos is the town of Bolinao where you could see a cave, a lighthouse, and Patar beach. But that's another story, hehe.

To see more about Hundred Islands, visit their website here.

Enjoy your vacation!

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  1. Hmm...Nice beach!

  2. Do you also have instructions on how to get home?

  3. Depends on where your home is, hehe.

  4. Heard that there are plans to build a small airport and an underwater tunnel to connect the big islands. Palafox and Associates were tapped to study it. Is this true?

  5. Thank you for road guide. =)

  6. Cool photos and great bonding of your family.You will discover not just the beauty of the place but also different Philippines sailboat which will bring you to the different islands.