Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pangasinan: The Bolinao Tricycle Tour Experience

Bolinao is a third class municipality situated in the northwestern tip of Pangasinan, Province. While the Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos City is undoubtedly the province's most popular attraction, Bolinao is slowly emerging as a tourist draw, owing to its beautiful beaches, waterfalls, caves, lighthouse and an old church.

I visited Bolinao on a solo backpacking trip and discovered its many wonders. Since the tourist spots are located far away from each other, the most convenient option is to hire a tricycle to visit these attractions all in one day. Hereunder are the places I explored during my Tricycle Tour in Bolinao, Pangasinan.

St. James the Great Parish Church

I actually visited this church the day before my tricycle tour. Since I stayed at the town proper, I went to the church late in the afternoon. This Spanish colonial church is actually made of black coral stones in High Renaissance style. In the photo below, the facade looked yellow as it was taken during sunset.

This 400-year old church stood just across the town hall. It was first built by the Augustinians in 1609 and has undergone several renovations due to natural and man-made calamities over the years.


Outside St. James the Parish Church are vendors selling Binunguey or Bamboo Cake. Binunguey is probably Bolinao's most popular "kakanin" or delicacy. However, it is far different from the usual cake but more like "suman" made of sticky rice, cooked inside a bamboo and sealed with banana leaf.

Binunguey has a sticky texture, tastes like suman with hints of bamboo flavor and is really filling. It served as our snack during the tricycle tour.

Bolinao Falls 1

Bolinao Falls 1 is the most popular among Bolinao's three waterfalls. It is about 45 minutes tricycle ride from the town proper. Entrance fee is 20 pesos per person. From the parking area, you need to descend through a series of man-made steps to get to the falls. There are cottages for rent and life vests are also available.

Bolinao Falls 1 has a a height of about 20 feet and a wide basin. The volume of water cascading was less during my visit and I believe it would have been more beautiful if I went there during the rainy season. The falls was teeming with tourists and I was able to see two daredevils jumped from the top of the falls down to its deep basin.

Bolinao Falls 2

Just a few minutes from Falls # 1 is Bolinao Falls 2. It has shorter cascades but was also crowded like the first one we visited. It was very tempting to take a dip on its turquoise waters but since we still have other places to visit, I decided to skip it.

Bolinao Falls 3

This is my favorite among Bolinao's three waterfalls. It is only a few minutes away from Falls # 2 is less-visited as it is not that popular yet.

The falls has several short cascades and scrambling through the rocks, I was able to climbed to the top where the view was very relaxing. I spent longer time here and cooled off by taking a dip on the shallow part of its basin.

Patar Rock Formation

We skipped the Wonderful Cave and Enchanted Cave due to too many tourists waiting in line. We then proceeded to Patar Rock Formation. This is a privately-owned beach with an entrance fee of 75 pesos. Yes, it was a bit overpriced but then this it was also the most picturesque spot I visited in Bolinao.

With rocky outcrops hugging it coastline and constantly battered by rolling waves, it is a haven for photography enthusiasts. One has to be careful though in getting through the rocks as these are very sharp. The view here is really breathtaking and I see it as an awesome spot for photoshoot sessions.

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse

Standing on top of Punta Piedra Point at 351 feet above sea level is the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse. This lighthouse has a height of 101 feet and was built by the Americans in 1903. It is the second tallest lighthouse in the Philippines next to Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Ilocos Norte.

Ruins of the tower's administration building stood at the back of the lighthouse. It was probably poor maintenance and neglect which lead to its dilapidation.

A refreshing panoramic view of the ocean and beaches can be seen at the base of the lighthouse.

Patar White Beach

I first went to Patar White Beach the day before and got disappointed with it being overcrowded (READ HERE). Since we're already at the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse and beach is just nearby, I decided to visit it once again during the tricycle tour.

There were still lots of tourists frolicking at the beach but still I took the opportunity to take a dip. The beach would have been more beautiful minus the crowd but I also understood that I came here at the peak of summer season.

Overall Impression

My most favorite spots are Bolinao Falls No. 3 and Patar Rock Formation. I highly recommend that you include these places in your Bolinao Tour itinerary. On the other hand, Patar White Beach is best visited during lean season to thoroughly appreciate its beauty.

 How to Get There:

1. Victory Liner, FiveStar Bus Line and Dagupan Bus Line have daily trips from Manila to Bolinao, Pangasinan. Check out their website or FB pages for schedule and fare. Travel time is about 5-6 hours.

2. At the bus terminal of Bolinao, there are plenty of tricycle drivers offering tour services. Since I traveled solo, I paid Php1,000 for a tricycle which can fit 2-3 persons (the driver claimed it can carry up to 5 persons).

3. The tour could take one whole day. Don't forget to bring food and drinks for you and the driver.

4. You may contact in advance the driver I hired: Jerry Comilang at 09089215971.

1 comment :

  1. Nice! Thanks for sharig your experience. Planning to go here tom. Whats the best itinerary for us to save time and visit the best places? Will be leaving manila 11pm tonight. Thanks in advance!


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