Summer Lovin’ 2015; Bolinao Escapade

          Summer is everyone’s favorite season of the year. It is almost summer and the heat is on. A perfect time for outdoor activities. Most people spend their summer vacation in traveling, camping, trekking, road tripping, spelunking  and of course swimming at the beach. As for me, my travel adventure for 2015 starts now.

colorful flowers in one stem found in Bolinao

         Since March was my special day, I was so excited to spend my summer birthday blast somewhere I’ve been in touch with beach and nature. After a long searched, We finally decided to spend our ultimate summer adventure in Bolinao. It is the 1st class municipality in the province of Pangasinan. It is known for enchanted caves and pristine beaches, the most popular of which is Patar White beach situated on the western coastline of West Philippine Sea. Discover the hidden treasures of the town of Bolinao. An awesome journey to paradise.

Patar rock formation

HIT THE ROAD: Via public transportation:

1.  From Cubao / Pasay Terminal take a Victory Liner Bus with a direct route to Bolinao, Pangasinan which leaves every hour from 8:00AM to 10:40PM. The fare is only P459/person one way or you can opt to take a Five Star Bus from Cubao terminal to Bolinao which leaves every 2 hours from 12:00AM to 5:00PM for a fare of P459/person one way and Pasay terminal which leaves every hour from 12:00AM to 9:45PM for a fare P469/person one way. It takes only 6 hours travel.

  • Note: If you don’t have seat reservation, I suggest going early at the bus station at least one hour before the departure time since buses are always fully booked this summer. For seat reservation please contact no. (02) 727-4688  / (02) 410-8986 for Victory Liner Bus Cubao terminal or contact no. (02) 911-7359/ (02) 421-4716 for Five Star Bus Cubao Terminal.

2. Then, get off at Bolinao Town Proper in front of the municipal hall or at the bus terminal. Tricycles are the usual mode of transportation to go from one barangay to another. You can hail a tricycle to bring you to your resort/accommodation or hire for a day to bring you around the tourist destinations. Since tricycle drivers will definitely know you are tourists, they will charge you a flat rate ranges from P65-P85 to maximum P100 rather than the usual fare. We paid for P200/person back & forth.

  • Note: Some resorts/accommodations have their own tricycle service and will just pick you up at the terminal or city proper. Just text or call them your time of arrival. (Just what we did) The fare is 100/person one way. If you have advance booking in your resort, ask them beforehand how much is the usual fare from the city proper to their place and the acceptable tour rate for rental of a tricycle.

Via private transportation

1. Bolinao, Pangasinan is also accessible via car or private vehicle. Just take the SCTEX (Subic, Clack, Tarlac, Expressway) route. As you pass by Alaminos and Bani Pangasinan, the road to Bolinao starts to ascend through a zigzag road which will give you a scenic view of mountainous landscapes.

WHERE TO STAY:

          Bolinao, Pangasinan has many accommodations to offer. You will have the options to choose from budget hotels to high-end hotels and resorts. As for our summer adventure, We had an advanced reservation at Rock Garden Resort  located at Brgy. Arnedo, Bolinao with contact no. +639204139272 and Solomon’s Paradise Beach Resort  located at Abrac Patar Bolinao with contact no. +639206013543 or email add  at Solomonsparadise@gmail.com. Update as of 2017, Solomon’s Paradise Beach Resort was already closed.

Note: Just click Travelbook.ph for online bookings and reservation of accommodations for affordable and discounted prices.

Rock Garden Resort
Solomon’s Paradise Beach Resort
Kubo style room at Solomon’s Paradise Beach Resort

           Since we departed from Cubao bus terminal at 12:00AM, We arrived at Bolinao town proper at 6:00AM. Mang Celso, the driver and staff of Solomon’s Paradise Beach Resort fetched us via tricycle from the Bolinao bus terminal which was 30 mins travel to the resort. Even though we arrived early, we were allowed to check-in without extra charges on our first day at Solomon’s Paradise Beach Resort. When we got there, we were so impressed by the cleanliness and environmental-friendly ambiance of the resort. We felt the serenity of the place, it was liked we were on a private resort enjoying the peaceful nature and the sound of the waves coming from the beach. It only has five triple sharing fan rooms in a nipa hut style with common bathrooms and one concrete building in the middle which is the restaurant bar. It has nice manicured lawns, a volleyball court in the middle of their square, one large gazebo type cottage for the outdoor dining and one small cottage for lounging.

fan rooms in a nipa hut style
Clean manicured lawns
Restaurant bar
large gazebo type cottage

          What was nice about the resort was that, you could buy ingredients from the market and have them cook at their restaurant. Not only that, what we liked most in the resort was the breathtaking view of their beach front plus the picturesque rock formations where we climbed and watched the beautiful sunset of Bolinao. It was really a paradise.  Apart from it, we were also impressed by the friendliness and hospitality of the resort’s staffs. They were very nice, very accommodating and easy to deal with. So I recommend Solomon’s Paradise Beach Resort as a great accommodation to my fellow adventurers out there.

sunset by the beach
Patar rock formation at Solomon’s Paradise Beach Resort
beach front
“the view” with golden sand

         On Our second day, we stayed at Rock Garden Resort. The affordability was satisfactory since the area is just 10-15 minutes away from Bolinao town proper but quite far from the attractions of Bolinao. Standard check-in time is 2:00 pm but  we arrived late since we had our late lunch outside the area. The best thing about this place is their open food policy. We got to bring along prepared foods and other refreshments. The resort has fan and air-conditioned rooms with private and common bathrooms. It has a beach front but it is not located in Patar white beach. It has swimming pools for kids and adults with open cottages. A mini-zoo with various animals and exotic birds.  The place itself is pleasant and the staffs are well-informed and nice.

beach front
Entrance gate at Rock Garden Resort

The Resort’s ambiance
bungalow Cottages
playground with small nipa huts

Other places of accommodations:

   Budget Hotels and Resorts

  • Rock View Beach Resort – Contact no. +639198966907  (Room starts at P300/night per person) great place to stay located in Patar, also recommended for accommodation.
  • Benjie’s Kubo and Cottages – Contact no. +63910 836 6257 (Room starts at P800/night good for 4 persons) located in Patar.
  • SCL Garden Paradise Resort – Contact no. +639214117938  (Room starts at P1,000/night good for 2 persons)
  • Ilog Malino Beach Resort – Contact no. +639396073001 (Room starts at P1,200/night good for 2 persons)
  • Villa Carolina Beach Resort – Contact no. +639216983340  (Room starts at P2,000/night good for 4 persons)
  • Villa Soledad Beach Resort – Contact no.+639209092768 (Room starts at P2,000/night good for 4 persons)
  • Coco’s Beach Resort – Contact no. +639196914206 (Room starts at P800/night good for 4 persons)
  • Bing’s Beach Resort – Contact no. +639282477501 (Room starts at P1,000/night good for 4 persons) located in Patar.

   ♥ High-End Hotels and Resorts

EXPLORE BOLINAO:

          Upon arrival at the resort, we just fixed our things and relaxed for a while. At 9:00AM, we started our Bolinao adventure trip. We rented a tricycle for a whole day tour around tourist destinations with Mang Celso, who was our driver and tour guide at the same time. The tour rate only costs P350 for the following attractions:

(1st) First stop, Cape Bolinao Lighthouse is 10 mins drive from our resort. It is the second tallest lighthouse in the Philippines which provides a panoramic view of the 1,269 hectare Cape Bolinao Dendro Thermal Ipil-Ipil Plantation. According to the Bureau of Geodetic Surveys, the lighthouse structure itself is 101 feet high with land elevation of 250 feet. A nice view of the sea once we got there.

The tower “Cape Bolinao Lighthouse”
The view from the road
concrete building beside the tower

(2nd) Second stop, Enchanted cave with natural underground pool is a must-see spot in Bolinao. The fresh and crystal clear water of the cave  is worth P150 entrance fee with swimming and P100 without swimming  plus P50 parking fee.The rock formation and coral reef was astonishing surrounded by green trees.  Did you know that, according to our tourist guide the place was a seabed estimated to be over 10 million years ago. If you are a nature lover, enchanted cave is a must visit place.

Enchanted Cave Arch
nipa hut cottage
Going down the stairs
natural underground pool
scenic ambiance
there are coral rocks and giant clams, proof that the cave once part of the sea over 10 million years ago
outside mini pool for swimming
souvenir shop

(3rd) Third stop, Patar White Beach is 11 mins drive from the enchanted cave. It is a public beach with lovely golden sand and majestic deep blue sea. The sand beneath my feet glittered brightly in the sunlight and the crystal clear water with gentle waves  reflected the color of the  sand indicated that it was almost summer. Patar White Beach is a good place for swimming with several nipa huts and eateries along the shore.

Patar White Beach
shimmering golden sand along the shore
crystal blue water of the sea
golden sand with scattered seaweeds
foot prints in the sand

(4th) Fourth stop, The Patar Rock formation was no longer included in our tour rate since it was situated  just in front of Solomon’s Paradise Beach Resort where we stayed. We enjoyed taking photographs to the fullest since it has a picturesque landscapes and scenic views. It was liked we were in a paradise with awesome coral rock formations, green trees, golden sand and crystal blue sea. A perfect spot to watch sunset.

Patar Rock formation
other side of the resort
majestic view of Bolinao
perfect for summer
just like livin’ in paradise
other side of the resort

 

(5th) Fifth and last stop, Before going home, we decided to roam around Bolinao town proper and visited the Saint James the Great Parish Church. It is a Spanish colonial church made out of black coral stones and  commonly known as Bolinao Church. It is one of the Pangasinan’s major landmark and one of the Miniland models featured at Legoland Malaysia Resort. It was the only Philippine town featured at the said park.

St. James the great parish church
view of the altar
The cross outside the church
“The capitol” town proper
“The municipal hall” town proper
  • Note: There are more several attractions in Bolinao that we have not visited. Like the three waterfalls (Bolinao Falls 1&2 and Tara Falls) with 36 mins drive from Patar White Beach, two other caves (wonderful cave & cindy’s cave) near enchanted cave, Bolinao Marine Lab and Bolinao museum. If you want to opt for the whole attractions it will cost you around P800 – P1,000 for the whole day land tour. Tricycles are available 24 hours in the Town Proper

EAT & DINE:

1. Bicol Express Restaurant

 A beach front restaurant owned and managed by Benjie’s Kubo & Cottages. It was located at Patar white beach, Bolinao.  

Crispy pata and ginataang mix vegetables with mini crabs

2. Bolinao Sungayan Grill

A floating restaurant located at Balingasay, Bolinao Pangasinan with excellent seafood cuisine and great ambiance. A Newly refurbished restaurant with very good prices and friendly staff.

Bilao 1 good for 2-3 persons

3. Solomon’s Paradise Beach Resort Restaurant Bar

A beach resort and accommodation with complimentary set breakfast. It is located at Abrac, Patar Bolinao beach front where Patar rock formations could be found. They served good food with environmetal-friendly ambiance.

steamed rice and fried dried fish with sunny side up egg.. Perfect for special breakfast day!

For more details and reservations about the must-try foods and restaurants, please refer to my food blog “Foodelicious summer at Bolinao Pangasinan.”

 “Every summer has it’s own story and it always ends with good memories.”

   Enjoy your summer my fellow adventurist… =)

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