Beaches, Luzon

Hundred Islands: A Trip Back to Pangasinan

I could still remember the last time I traveled to Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos, Pangasinan.

I was a newbie TV producer then for a major network. I did a story about a coastal clean-up and mangrove planting in Alaminos, and we had a sidetrip to the Hundred Islands. It was my first time and I would love to enjoy the islands and the beach, but I was too focused with work. I had so many things to do and coordinate that I almost forgot the beauty that surrounded me.

Many are arguing that it is possible to work, travel and enjoy at the same time. For business travelers, that is possible, but not when you’re working for TV. I mean the segment producers, cameramen and those who do field work. For someone like me who was able to experience corporate job and TV work, I can say that it is possible to mix travel with work when it comes to business and corporate jobs, but definitely not when you’re working as a producer for TV.

That’s exactly what happened to me when I was in Hundred Islands that time. I was there with the islands and beach, but not actually present. So if I see a Facebook post of a former colleague in the media, sharing their photos in a destination, and that they’re there for a story or assignment. I am not quite impressed. I know that they won’t be able to enjoy there supposed “travel.” There’s just too much work for them.

Hundred Islands Alaminos Pangasinan

I directed the shoot with volunteers from a school there while they were planting mangroves on the wide shores of Alaminos. Interviewed people about the environment implications of the depleting mangroves in the area, and how the “planting” activity can help the community in the years to come. Honestly, I had that strange feeling that the story was just a show-off, I just hoped that the seedlings that we planted will really have a positive impact in the years to come, that the plants were nurtured and we genuinely instilled care for environment for the locals.

Later that night, I interviewed the Mayor of the town. He was very accommodating. I didn’t quite understand why we need to interview a politician for a mere story of mangrove planting. I just made the interview interesting. I tried hard to infuse some depth in the conversation like “What are their plans and projects to protect the environment, to protect Hundred Islands.

We had our dinner then traveled back to Manila. Upon arrival to the office, my team of cameramen went home to finally rest. While me, I still had to write the script and endure a non-stop 3 day of editing until the story is ready for airing.

Yes, I traveled to Hundred Islands that time, but I couldn’t remember any significant memories about the trip. I felt empty.

After a long time, probably about 8 years ago, I traveled back to Alaminos, Pangasinan.

Back to Hundred Islands

Hundred Islands Alaminos Pangasinan
Welcome!

The place looked better and more organized. Even the port itself, they also have a better system for boat queueing for the island hopping.  But the 50 pesos additional rental for the life jacket is funny though. They said, the life vest were free, but if you’re going to use it outside the boat to roam around the island, you need to pay rental fee of 50 pesos.

They also have this plastic floating bridge to make the boarding to the boat a little less stressful. A few minutes off the shore, I discovered that some islands have this same floating bridge. The place has really changed after all these years.

It has more than 123 islets but 4 are developed for tourists to enjoy namely Governors Island, Marcos Island, Children’s Island and Quezon Island. There are other islands that are starting to be developed but these 4 are the major attractions as of now.

Our first stop was the Governors Island, probably one of the largest islands in the national park. These are actually like two islands connected with a plastic floating bridge in orange color. Eloi and I crossed the bridge, took some photos and explored the beach on the other side of the island.

Hundred Islands Alaminos Pangasinan

We were back on the boat, and passed some of the famous islands like Romulo island, Turtle and Scout islands among others, until we stayed for a few minutes of swimming at Marcos Island.

Most of our travel buddies decided to explore the cave on the island, but us, maybe due to being a Tito and Tita of Manila, decided to chill at the beach.

Hundred Islands Alaminos Pangasinan

We just sat there, enjoying the place, talking about anything. Later that afternoon, we then transferred to Quezon island, to kill some time before going back to the mainland.

Quezon Island probably has the best sand among the islands there. It’s white and powdery. We went up to the third floor of one house there just to eat. There was no more option in terms of food, so I just bought some cup noodles.

We ate for a few more minutes and watched the sunset.

Hundred Islands Alaminos Pangasinan
Chill

It was nice feeling coming back to Hundred Islands. It brought back a lot of memories from my first visit, but still I was able to see the place in a new light, maybe because there are a lot of changes that happened in the course of more than 8 years.

We went back to the mainland and surprised by the awesome Christmas lights and decorations on the park. My travel friends were joking that we were in Disneyland. There were so much lights that it in a way uplifted our emotions. Traveling can sometimes be tiring but it recharges, reenergizes your soul to move forward. Whatever circumstances that you’re in, get up and explore further. 

 

Hundred Islands DIY Budget Itinerary 

Hundred Islands Alaminos Pangasinan
seksi 🙂

How to get to Hundred Islands

There are now so many options and bus companies that offer daily trips to Alaminos, but probably the most popular is Victory Liner in Cubao. This is where we usually ride the bus going north of the country, whether its Baguio or Pangasinan. Fare is about Php 400

Once you arrived in Alaminos, ask for the Lucap Terminal. That’s where you’ll find tricycles going to Lucap Wharf or now called Don Gonzalo Montemayor Wharf, which is the jump-off for island hopping. Fare is Php 15 per person, but it will not leave until its full. As an alternative, you may charter the tricycle for Php 100. Lucap Wharf has improved tremendously over the past years. The last time I was in Alaminos, this was just a usual port with the Hundred Islands structures and letters on it. Now it is filled with buildings and a Tourism Office.

Please be reminded that there is like an entrance fee of Php 300 each, and Environmental fees of Php 40 pesos for Day tour and Php 80 for overnight.

Hundred Islands Alaminos Pangasinan

Going to Hundred Islands by Car?

Road trips by having your own car or a rented van is definitely much better than public transport right? Going to Pangasinan is a lot easier these days because of SCTEX, then take the Luisita, Tarlac Exit and go for the route to Camiling. From Camiling, you will pass through the towns of San Clemente, Mangatarem, Aguilar, Bugallon, Labrador and Sual before finally arriving in Alaminos. By the way, Waze is also helpful.

There are also some Tour Companies that offer travels to hundred islands, just check events on Facebook and check their itinerary.

 

From Clark, Pampanga to Alaminos, Pangasinan

From Clark International Airport, take a jeepney going to Dau Central Bus Terminal. Then ride a bus going to Alaminos.

 

From Manaog to Hundred Islands in Alaminos

You have the option of either riding a van or bus going to Dagupan. Once you’re in Dagupan, ride another PUV to Alaminos. Then another tricycle to the Lucap Wharf as jump-off to Hundred Islands.

 

From Dagupan to Hundred Islands

Going to Alaminos from Daguan is roughly about more than hour of bus ride. You can also ride a van. Once in Alaminos, it’s just a tricycle away to Lucap Wharf.

 

From Baguio to Hundred Islands

Baguio as a highly-urbanized city has more options going to Alaminos, either bus or van. Once you arrive in Alaminos, you know what to do. Ride a tricycle to Lucap Wharf.

 

Where to stay in Hundred Islands

More and more travelers are opting for an overnight stay in Hundred Islands, camping style! But for some especially if you travel with kids, it is recommended to just do a day tour and stay at some hotels and accommodation in Alaminos.

There are more accommodation in Alaminos, for the best and cheapest hotels click here.

The most popular option is Island Tropic Island located near the wharf.

Island Tropic Hotel and Restaurant
Hundred Islands Alaminos PangasinanBoulevard Street, Alaminos City, Pangasinan

(CHECK RATES HERE )

Hundred Islands Alaminos Pangasinan
Pa kyut lang. Hahaha!

Hundred Islands Travel Tips

  • Once you arrived there, the first thing that you have to do is go straight to the Tourism Office to assist you properly and also to ensure that you are transacting with the right people. There is a standard fee for all island hopping tours and other services, so it is better to coordinate with them.
  • Where to eat in Hundred islands? Nothing to worry. Now, the place has enough carinderias and restaurants to choose from. If you want more choices, you can go to the town proper, you can find fast food chains there.
  • You know the drill for DIY. It is better to travel at night to avoid crowd and traffic. Go to the bus terminal and catch the earliest trip.
  • The best time to travel to Hundred Islands is during summer. But of course, starting November or December is fine, just check the weather and make sure there’s no typhoon.
  • During island hopping, make sure you have enough water, and food also.
  • For rates for other water activities, please also coordinate with the Tourism Office.
  • If you have enough time, you can do a sidetrip to Cabongaoan Beach in Burgos, Pangasinan or in Bolinao. To maximize your time, it is better to leave Manila as early as 1AM to arrive in Alaminos early morning.
  • You can buy souvenirs in the nearby stores around the Wharf or go directly to the Tourism Office.
  • Day tour starts at 6:00AM until 5:30AM only. If you wish to stay overnight in the islands, you’re only allowed to leave Lucap Wharf until 6:30PM only. Camping fee is Php 200 per night. You can bring your own tent, but if you don’t have, you can rent for Php 400. The main camping site is Quezon island.
  • Always be a responsible traveler. Leave no trace always. Bring all your garbage back to the mainland and do a proper disposal.

 

Hundred Islands Budget and Fees

Below are the Rates and Fees in the Hundred Islands National Park do you can plan beforehand and adjust your budget.

Motor Boat Rates

Small Boat (5 Passengers maximum)

  • One-Day Tour with Service Boat: Php 1,400.00
  • Two-Day Tour with Service Boat: Php 3,000.00

Medium Boat (10 Passengers maximum)

  • One-Day Tour with Service Boat: Php 1,800.00
  • Two-Day Tour with Service Boat: Php 3,800.00

Large Boat (15 Passengers maximum)

  • One-Day Tour with Service Boat: Php 2,000.00
  • Two-Day Tour with Service Boat: Php 4,500.00

Water Activities

Governor Island Zip-line (546m): Php 250.00/jump
Quezon Island Zip-line (120m ): Php 100.00/jump
Wall Climbing: Php 50.00/pax
Rappelling: Php 50.00/pax
Helmet Diving: Php 400.00/dive (15 mins.)
Banana Boat Ride (max 7pax): Php 250.00/pax
Kayaking (max 2pax): Php 250.00/hour
Snorkeling: Php 250.00 (set gear rental: mask,snorkel, aqua shoes, and life vest)
Jet Ski: Php 1,000.00/15 mins and Php 2,000.00/30 mins
Parasailing: Php 2,000.00/Solo ride  and Php 3,000.00/2 person

*As of year 2017. Checked with Alaminos Tourism Office. Source is AsensoPangasinan.

If you have further questions and if you need to contact the Tourism Office, please refer to below:
Alaminos City Tourism Office (24/7 in service)
Globe landline: (075)205-0917
Smart: 09209004470 / 09282449011 / 0939332411
Email: alaminoscitytourism@gmail.com

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed reading my personal story about Hundred Islands, from my first visit more than 8 years ago until my recent travel, plus the Travel Guide and Tips!

 

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