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WESTERN PANGASINAN SERIES
After haveing a blast in Alaminos and the Hundred Islands on the 1st day of the Westerrn Pangasinan Tour, we woke up early and left for Bolinao at around 7am. It was surprisingly a sunny morning, in direct contrast to the cloudy and humid weather in Manila. The bus ride from Alaminos to Bolinao town is only 45 minutes and costs 60 pesos. We got there at around 8:00 am where Mr. Nelson, the manager of Puerto del Sol Resort Bolinao was waiting for us. The 1st stop was at Saint James Catholic Church right at the center of town.
I missed this church. I heard that it was devastated from the strong typhoon which hit the province last month. Gld it has its roofs back. Although much stills needs to be done for full restoration, I love the wooden structure of the ceiling.
We then moved and and ate in a karinderya nearby. Its interesting to note that a few vendors to sell bamboo cake, locally known as binongey. Binoney is of Bolinao dialect in origin. For the knowledge of my readers, there are 3 dialects in Pangasinan---Pangasinense , Ilocano ang Bolinao. Pangasinense speakers could be found mostly in cetral Pangasinan, Ilocano speakers are mostly in the East and West while Bolinao speakers are limited to people from Anda and Bolinao. Being raised in Anda, I am a fluent Bolinao speaker. There!!!
There is an ongoing debate though about the origin of Binungey, Anda claims its from the island. They even have a yearly binungey festival there. But it's strange because you cannot find vendors in Anda's public market selling this rice cake during market days ( which is usually once or twice a week). We owe it to the folks of Bolinao and Alaminos then for making it commercialized. I am not going to play patriotic for my town then, seriously, I can say that binungey is something Western Pangasinan instead.
Enough for the binungey, off we go to the 1st tour of the day---BOLINAO Falls. Yes, they have waterfalls in Bolinao. More than 1 actually. They have Tara falls, which I have never seen before and the more famous Bolinao Falls. It's 30 minutes South of downtown, 10 minutes of which is through rough road. If you are planning of staying in Patar area where most of the resorts are, I would suggest you contact your resort prior to your arrival so that they could arrange a tour since its completely out of the way. This is the reason why Puerto del Sol---our accomodation in Bolinao took us here before going to the resort.
PUERTO DEL SOL
One of the biggest surprises of the tour. Seriously!!! I am sorry if I have taken Bolinao lightly. I feel guilty for thinking of Western Pangasinan as the wild wild west of the province. I never thought this part of town could have such luxury. Simply put, I thought this part of Pangasinan is poor. I was wrong. Puerto del Sol is a testament that things have changed. That Bolinao is ready to accommodate low end and high end travelers alike.Good thing Puerto del Sol is in town.
LUNCH at La Playa Restaurant in Puerto del Sol.
We checked in at around 1pm, took a few photos here and there, refreshed and we were off for a nice treat at la Playa Restaurant by thye beach. Delicious food + very good location + the sound of waves+ the soothing feel of the wind coming from South China sea + hospitable staff = a very memorable lunch with 10 other bloggers.
After lunch, we were given a quick tour of the resort. Can't wait to show you photos of the rooms, but I will keep you excited about that for the mean time. we rested for a few minutes then we were off again for the continuation of our tour around the area. First stop was the lighthouse of Patar.
I never thought this lighthouse could fascinate me. I have seen countless pictures of it before and nothing impressed me. I thought its just a dilapidated lighthouse build long time ago. But it is enchanting in real life. Situated in the hills of Patar, this lighthouse is more than 100 years old. It's no longer possible to climb up the deck but it didn't stop us to enjoy taking photos of the edifice and the surrounding area. There is ruined house near it destroyed by countless storms. Instead of serving as an eyesore, it complimented the lighthouse. This is the spot where Cai, darwin and most of us posed and pretended to be fashion models. hahaha
Again another surprise, the sand is good, not very white and fine as Boracay but good enough for me. The waves are a bit rough so I would suggest caution. The beach is always with people but now crowded. That's comfortable because you know somebody would save you when you get in trouble with the waves. lol
The living proof of how turbulent the waves of South China Sea could get during rainy season, this place is a photographers perfect spot. I would say, perfect for pre-nups or simply taking dramatic pictures with the barkada. It was almost sunset when we got here so the shades were really soft.
Another place of interest to look out for is the enchanted cave. It's a small cave but beautiful and photogenic. Too bad my camera already ran out of battery when we got there. I will share some photos here as soon as I could acquire one from Ada.
WE got back to Puerto del Sol before nighttime. Rested a bit and we were off for dinner by the beach together with the birthday boy ---Josh. Sir Alfred even sang a song for him in the accompaniment of guitar. We are very glad Josh decided to spend this very important day with us. ****insert happy birthday song here.D:
After dinner, we were still in for another treat at the pool bar. cocktail drinks were waiting for us. We celebrated the night with a lot of laughs and chats.
Before going back to Manila the next day, we got the chance to interview with Eugene Caacbay who is an expert scuba diver and instructor. He showed us around his shop and told us about the prospect of scuba diving in Bolinao and Anda. His company provides lessons to as far as the hundred islands. Too bad we didnt have much time to try it out ourselves. He promised to give us free lesson when we come back. yihhh!!!
Also experienced Tummy Teasers and its famous pasta. It's Italian flavor with barangen ( danggit) on the toppings. We had a chat with Sir Ron, the owner/manager of Tummy Teaser and he gave us a lot of insights about Bolinao, the NGO which is very active in the promotion and preservation of the local tourism industry as well as the plans they have for Bolinao. This is really surprising because he is not even a native of the town but his dedication to the cause is unparalleled. Its nice to know that there are people like sir Ron who have concern for Bolinao's Tourism development.
All my misconceptions of Bolinao completely evaporated. I am glad we picked Bolinao. I am not saying this because I am patriotic of this area. I have openly disclosed my cynicism of this place prior to our visit and its a shame I was judgmental. Every travelers should put Bolinao to their must see places. Puerto del Sol lived past my expectations. Many hotels have beautiful websites to start with but when you see them in person, they could disappoint you. Puerto del Sol is nice beyond what the website can show.
Pusangkalye highly recommends you plan for a WESTERN PANGASINAN tour. And if you have more time, you can even include Dasol and Anda among the stops. We only ahd 2 days so we missed on those spots. I will definitely be back next time to explore more of the secrets of Western Pangasinan.
TRAVEL TIP: Bring good company. The biggest difference during this trip was that I was around fun fun fun people. I already miss my new found friends.D:
please look for specific posts on
PUERTO del SOL
Patar Rock Formations