|That's me! Photo taken at Quezon Island, Hundred Islands, Alaminos City, Pangasinan.|
My Aunt and sister have been planning to have a vacation since February. The initial plan was to go to Hong Kong with the kids but we could not find airplane seats for the dates that we wanted so we decided it would be better if we just go to some province in the Philippines. And so we decided to go to see the Hundred Islands in Alaminos City, Pangasinan. Perfect!
After too many weeks of planning, it ended up with just me and a friend having a vacation. It was so frustrating that they were not able to join me despite all my efforts. Anyway, at least I was able to have a vacation.
It was my friend's first time to drive there so it took us eight long hours of land travel to go to Alaminos City, Pangasinan.
First things first, we need a place to spend the night. We went to Brgy. Lucap, the closest place to the Hundred Islands and the one with the most number of hotels to choose from. I was expecting we would have a hard time finding a room because it is still summer but we did not.
|The hotel front.|
We stayed at Vista de las Islas Resort Hotel. The receptionist priced us with Php2,000 a night without breakfast. The receptionist sensed that I am hesitant so she gave me Php1,500 a night for their Deluxe Room that can accommodate at most five persons.
|The Deluxe Room that we rented for 3 days and 2 nights.|
The room is air conditioned, has cable television and personal ref. The bathroom is decent enough. You cannot bring food inside the hotel (boo!) but if you get hungry, their restaurant on the first floor is open from 6AM until 10PM. They also have a convenience store and souvenir shop. Oh, and they have a WiFi connection so that you can immediately upload your photos and update your Facebook status.
If you plan to take a swim in the evening, they also have a pool. But, I was turned off by the color of the pool water. Maybe next time when I finally see the bottom of the pool.
We rented a boat that will take us to the Hundred Islands for Php1,500. It is a fee for the whole day tour, exclusive of the things that you will need to fully enjoy the trip... ergo... snorkel and kayak. We paid Php100 per snorkel and my friend rented the kayak for Php150 for 30 minutes.
TIP: Before checking in at hotels, visit first the Hundred Islands National Park Tourism Office in Lucap Wharf. You can find great deals for tours, hotel rates and just about anything you need to know about the Hundred Islands. They regulate the prices for day tours and if anyone offers you a higher price than the prescribed, you can report it to their office. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
|The pier where boats are on stand by for tours at the Hundred Islands.|
The boat was supposed to sail at 7AM but we got up really late so we began our tour at 8:30AM. It took us 45 minutes to get to the first island.
|The Governor's Island. The gateway to the Hundred Islands.|
Our island hopping adventure began in Governor's Island. It is one of the largest islands with white sand beach and the entry point for the island hopping adventure. You have to pay Php20 per head as entrance fee. There are convenience stores on the island so you don't have to worry if you did not bring any food or water... but expect that prices are doubled. Anyone can also stay on the island for Php10,000 a night. There is no power line on the island but they have a generator... whew!
What can you expect at Governor's Island? The view of the entire Hundred Islands! You just have to be patient in going up almost a hundred steps to see the 360 degrees magnificent view.
The Hundred Islands also has diving and snorkeling sites. Behind those two islands is where tourists can have a close encounter with different colorful fishes and giant clams. I enjoyed this activity the most because it was my first time and I got to see a parrot fish in the wild!
|The dock of Quezon Island.|
Our next stop was Quezon Island. It also has a beach and cottages where tourists can really spend the day swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. Giant clams can also be viewed on the island. They also have convenience stores.
|The Quezon Island with a bridge connecting to another island.|
What I like about the Governor's Island is the bridge that connects it to another island. Hopefully you'd get to meet Apl De Ap's look alike who sells fresh cold coconut juice... I seriously wanted to have a photo with him. We stayed on the island for an hour. My friend had his first kayak ride... he was good in rowing that he'd pass on as a double for the remake of an actor's famous clothing brand commercial. Haha!
|The Children's Island.|
My favorite island of them all is the Children's Island. It was named such because sea level is only at waist level during low tide and chest level when high tide... the perfect water levels for children. Anyone who is not a good swimmer, like me, would enjoy swimming on the shallow water. Snorkeling on the island is fun, too.
|The shallow water on the island is perfect for non-swimmers.|
Tourists can also spend the night on the island. My friend and I did not bother checking the island because we were too busy enjoying the water and chatting on the beach.
Manong Danny, our tour guide, also showed us a cave that passes through the other part of the island. Our day tour ended with a closer look of the Paniqui Island that is a home to hundreds of huge bats. He said that those bats were once a delicacy in Pangasinan.
The Hundred Islands is considered as a world heritage site. It is believed that the islands were more than two thousand years old and were once corals that were slowly formed by the changing tides.
My experience has changed me to become a better Filipino. It made me proud to have an access to such a magnificent place. It made me want to find more time exploring other wonders of my country before finding time exploring the rest of the world.