Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pangasinan Tour: Hundred Islands in a Day

I thought that island hopping in Zambales  would be  our  last summer's hurrah.   Last  Tuesday,  we headed Pangasinan for another trip.   In an instant,  hundred islands out of  7,107 islands are now checked in my bucket list, as if I am going to hop all the islands in the Philippines. Whew.

I  must  agree when Joy posted  her blog entry about Pangasinan trip  with  "against all odds in the title."   With almost zero visibility caused by heavy rain  halfway   to Pangasinan,  one would consider  to make a u-turn and proceed to other  destination instead.  Not us.

Pangasinan  is the  gateway  to Baguio but I could only see the highway and some few stops on bus terminals.  Another thing  that I know  about  the province is  about their garlic longaniza,  a  frequent pasalubong from  friends who live in Tayug,  Pangasinan.   Hundred Island, though really beautiful in the post cards has not been attractive to me before.  Maybe because, I always thought that the place  just makes it extra ordinary because of the  many islands scattered  in one place. But as  we hopped from one island to another,  I discovered that  each of the islands  has each own beauty and totally different from  another.

Okey, enough for my wordy segue again.   It was almost 8pm when we reached Pangasinan.  We believed that  we  were bound to have a  wonderful  journey  that  day and did not worry at  all  even if we have no hotel booking.  I knew it.  The sign as we  approached  the province with no rain  gave us smooth and instant  itinerary for the whole trip.  Spontaneous that is!  Perfect weather and excellent accommodation  joined together to  welcome us  in the province of  wonderful beaches and coves.

We were able to book at   Ed Transient House      just  a few steps away from the harbor.    The owner was so warm and  made us feel safe and at home during our stay.

Before the sun was finally up at 6am the following day,   the boatman fetched us and we then headed to  register at the quay of  Hundred Islands,  the Lucas Wharf.   Tourists and guests are required to register at the port and pay a minimal fee of P20 per head.  After the registration,  off we went island hopping.

The view as we walked to the wharf.  What a beautiful morning, don't you agree?

What more could I say?   The view on the boat ride was overwhelming.  Seeing these wild ducks flew up in the sky was quite amazing.    We  just passed by at  some small and big islands as  there's no place to dock.  

Governor's Island

Our first stop was Governor's Island, the home  of Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition.  It is one of the most developed park  aside from Quezon and Children's Islands.

There is a view deck  where you can see a part of the   hundred islands but you need to do a little  trekking, around a hundred or more steps  to reach  the top.

An amazing sight awaits us on top of the view deck.  It was awesome.  A young couple  from UK that we've met said a lot of good things about the Philippines.  It's more fun in the Philippines, right?

A view on top of the deck,  part of  Hundred Islands. You can actually name the islands exactly  just by looking at the shape, big and small islands,  Turtle, Crocodile, Monkey, Paniqui  Islands,  oh well again, except  for some islands named after dynasty,  Marcos, Governor's, Imelda.. 

We stayed there for more than 30 minutes including the trekking up to the view deck and headed  to our next destination,  Marcos Island.   I  wanted to protest to  stay for a few  more minutes so at least we could  swim in the beautiful island with water and sand  so clear.   Little did I know that  more beautiful islands await us in our next stop, Marcos Island. 

Marcos Island

The clear water and fine white sand of Marcos  Island  was  overwhelming.  As soon as our boat landed,   I saw a  man afar coming from a cave swimming towards the open sea.  The boatman  said  that there is a cave diving  and we need to  hike a few steps up  to   reach  Imelda  Cave and experience diving  too.

At Imelda Cave

And this is the highlight of the trip!  I had initially decided against  cave diving, telling  myself  that  I cannot risk my life this time thinking I would do an exhilarating jump and plunge  myself into the deep.   It gave me a goosebump just seeing a high cliff of about five meters.    I was determined to just  take photos  of the kids but the thrill was calling me.   Joy's husband  was the first one to jump  and I witnessed  how he emerged from the water so quick.  I was totally amazed when  suddenly,   Juan, a seven-year old boy  jumped off  the cave after a minute.   So I thought,  I should do this too.  I secured my life vest and this time I was determined to jump off the cave.   We were then all five girls left,  my two children, Joy and Julia and me  all lined up in the cliff  finding the courage to jump.  John gave us more encouraging  words and said, "just do it.  you will emerge above  the water  and float  in   few seconds."    I was thinking I was too heavy for my weight  and it  would  cause me to submerge deeper.

After about ten minutes of  uncertainties whether to jump or not,   I asked Jomes, Joy's nephew,  who was already  waiting down at the cave  to get ready with  the camera as I will jump at  any moment.   I know that  if  I jump first,  I  would give enough courage to them  who  knew  about my  fear.   And there you go,  with closed eyes,   I    jumped.  I did not give myself  a chance to think twice again.  I just dived.  I was in disbelief  after a few minutes, oh,  not a few minutes,  a day,  a week and still thinking about it by this time.  Did I just do it?   

 It would be  something  very ordinary  to others  who love adventure,  who know how to swim and love diving, but  for someone   who has   fear and doesn't know how to swim,   this kind of adventure is  extraordinary!

This is my daughter's second cave diving.  Because, we were not able to document her first try,  she did it again  to capture the adventure. There you go.

And the next thing that happened  was a big splash!

Cool eh?! 

One must swim out of the cave to go back to the sea.  It's about 12 feet deep and about  30 meters  away from the  sea as  I assumed  because the  trail  going to the cave takes about the same distance away.

This is the view on top of Imelda Cave.

There are no cottages or store  at  Marcos Cave.  You can just  play with the sand and swim  with the clear water.  Among   the hundred islands, this one is the coolest.  This is where my heart jumped off  first and  I felt  the ultimate adrenalin rush.

You can use the shaded part to keep yourself from the sun  like these flip flops.  Sure thing,  they won't get burned.

Another photo op before leaving Marcos Island. I got hundreds of photos again in my camera and island hopping  just began in this trip. The place is very picturesque and  not photogenic.  It's  more  beautiful when you're actually there.  

Coral Island

After  Marcos Island,  we passed by more islands but we did not dock as there's no shoreline.   After a few minutes,   our  boat stopped in the middle of  the sea  where a floating flat  form awaits  the   snorkelers.

From the boat, you could actually  see  abundant  fishes as we fed them with bread.  There are no corals but  you'll be amazed with colorful marine life  underneath.

After a few minutes  of snorkeling  with my other hands holding on the boat, the fear took over me again when  I asked the boatman how deep the water is  and said that  it's about 20 feet.  I  immediately went up at the raft and  decided to just stay on the  boat.  I  could still feel   the  intense of  my cave diving  and  snorkeling  in  20ft  deep  would  be adrenalin overload.   Geesh.   Joy and her family  proceeded into deep and snorkel where giant clams can  be viewed.

Quezon Island

This is the most developed island where guests can do kayaking, boating, swimming and rent a cottage.  There is a small store  in the island.  This is  so far the island with the  biggest number of  people  swimming.  You can do other activities here as the water is not to so deep and you'll  go along far to reach the deep.

Paniqui Island/ 
Bat Island

It is impossible to land here because there is no shoreline. Would you even dare to land in this  island with all the bats hanging on the trees?   I assume they were all sleeping and it was noon time when we passed by.   Bats were hanging  and the trees look like  abundant of  black fruits ready to harvest. They're actually fruit bats.

You could  smell stinky odor  when you pass by  at   the island. It is just amazing to see  these rock formations and how these bats isolated themselves in this area,  wonderful!

The view from afar.  We just passed by encircling slowly to  the Bat Island and headed to our next destination,  Children's Island.

Children's Island

This is far the cleanest of all the islands and most ideal place to swim.  One can go to another  island by swimming or just walking  into the water.  Well, I guess if you're higher  than  my height or during low tide.
There are few cottages available for rent,  day or night tour.

I was left at the picnic hut  and took this shot as  they crossed to   the next island.  I asked my older  daughter if it's deeper than her height and she said yes but  she was able to reach the  island with no life vest.

Cuenco Island/
Cuenco Tunnel

And this is our last stop before we headed back to the mainland. We crossed the tunnel and reached the shoreline on the  other side.

We only  landed to  five islands.  Other islands have no shoreline but  I've  done visiting 100 islands in a day. Hurray!   We finished island hopping by 1pm, stayed for about 20 minutes or more in every islands,  except for  Marcos Island where we stayed longer   for  our light snacking and cave diving.

Things to remember when you visit Hundred Islands.

Register  at Lucas Wharf  before you proceed to Hundred Island Park.  A minimal fee of P20 for day tour and P40 for overnight is charged per head.

Bring a garbage bag  and  take the garbage with you as you leave the island. 

You can do a day tour  at the Hundred Islands.  If you are going on a group, check   transient homes or budget hotel nearby.   I recommend Ed Transient Homes  for overnight stay.  There are rooms available good  for 5, 10  people or more. I will provide the link of Ed Transients Home when I'm done with my post.

Accommodation at the Hundred Islands  starts at   P200 for tent  and  P2,500 for cottage.
Snorkel gears and Kayak are available for rent.  You can bring your own snorkel gears if you want. Kayak rent  is available for  P250/hour and  snorkel gear at P100/hour.

Only  developed islands have CR.  You need to pay  P5 for the comfort room.

You can set up  tenta only at undeveloped islands.

There are no fast food, so bring your own baon.  You can buy food at Alaminos  town or  at  Lucas Wharf  food store.

Please check this out  or visit   website for more info.


(63-75) 552-7777

1 comment:

  1. This is one of those trips (in life) where and when I fall in love more to John. Di sumusuko sa mga unos ng buhay at paglalakbay. Kung ako lang ang nasunod ay di tayo natuloy sa Pangasinan.


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