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Monday, January 13, 2014

Camping Overnight in TONDOL BEACH Anda

I was so disappointed with Tondol on my last visit that I openly bashed the place in my blog. Last Christmas holiday, I was off from work for six days which meant I was able to do a lot of things in my hometown. Other than the yearly Noche Buena with family, reunion with mother-side relatives, wedding of a high school classmate, we were able to camp in, yes, Tondol beach. It's about time I give Tondol another chance or shall I say, myself an opportunity to fall in love with it.

Then I realized I have never camped overnight in Tondol before. Same with my wife. We are both locals and the countless trips to the beach never involved an overnight stay.

December is cool season in the Philippines so I thought the weather will be perfect for a beach visit. The date was set, December 27. Then on the 26th, it suddenly started becoming windy, cloudy and at times drizzly. What's wrong with this weather!

 Tondol Beach Anda

I was surprised when we got to Tondol the beach was full of black seaweeds. Yes, the notorious seaweeds I was complaining before, there were tons of them everywhere in the whole stretch of the beach. Darn! The winds from the North carried all of them to the beach. And there's no way to remove the at that point because the winds are still strong so there will be more to be carried ashore.


Even my plan of camping in Tandoyong Island which is a small landmass off the Eastern end of Tondol beach was impossible because of strong winds. We were also initially planned to camp with my brother and his fiancee but he had to go back to Bataan for work the next day so we ended up bringing a couple of kids with us---including our daughter, my cousins and nephews.

I took our old and dilapidated tricycle with us, drove from Sablig to Namagbagan and then Tondol. My cousin Elly decided to bring their tricycle as well coz there were seven of us all in all that we wouldn't fit in one tricycle. She and her husband ended up camping with us. All nine of us in three tents.

As I said, it was very windy that day that there were only a few people in the beach even in late afternoon when we arrived. By nighttime, we were the only group left for overnight stay.

We set up our tents the moment we arrived making sure they were strongly pegged so as not to be blown off by the winds. We also chose a location behind the cottages and near the mangroves so as to stay a little shielded from the winds.


My wife and I strolled by the beach before sunset while the kids started swimming despite the cool weather. We were too old for that.

Despite all the seaweeds taken ashore, I wasn't complaining. I came to accept that this is a daily reality in Tondol beach. Perhaps we can official call Tondol "the seaweed" beach? Haha. It actually gives the beach a unique feel. At some point, I felt like walking on a desert and not the beach. Oddly, it was a welcome sight.

The night comes early during this time of the year. An attendant from the beach entrance approached us to ask if we were to stay overnight as entrance rates are different for overnight.

Tondol Beach Entrance Fee: 5 pesos per head
Overnight Fee: 500 pesos

We were surprised when we were told that the 500 pesos fee is mandatory for overnight stay. Asked why mandatory, the attendant explained that we arr required to get a cottage as that cottage will be lighted for us for our security. They also assured us that somebody will be staying at the entrance outpost to look over us overnight for added security. Fair enough.

We asked if we could get a discount because we are locals. Me and my wife immediately shifted into speaking our native tongue (Bolinao) to prove that we are indeed from Anda. A little trivia, Bolinao is a dialect which is spoken only in two towns -Anda and Bolinao Pangasinan--and as a matter of fact, all Andanians speak Bolinao while half the people from Bolinao town couldn't speak it because of the mix of Ilocano and Pangasinense immigrants. Only Anda therefore is the only purely Bolinao speaking town. As I was saying, we did haggled for a discount and that we were granted. We paid 300 pesos instead of 500 plus 50 pesos for all ten of us who stayed overnight.

Entrance fee (10pax) --50 pesos
Overnight Fee (w/cottage)--300 pesos
TOTAL: 350 pesos.


Not bad! And that small fee is indeed a small price to pay. We were glad that one of the cottages has an electric bulb lit coz as I said, we were the only one in the beach that night. Sure, we set up a bonfire but it wasn't enough to lit the place especially because the kids were out until 12 midnight playing the the beach while we four adults were inside our tents snoring. The cottage and the light also proved very helpful when we had dinner.

I made my mom cook for for us back home so as not to be inconvenienced by preparing the meal. We also bought all the necessary utensils with us so it was easy. All we did was to unpack our meal and we had a nice dinner by the beach on a windy night. It was fun.

We were not camped immediately next to the lighted cottage so back at our tents, the mood is still mute. That means retaining the feel of camping in nature while a few meter away is the assurance that there is a light source should we need one. It was very windy at night so the humming of the wind on the trees were somewhat relaxing inside the tents. Good thing my wife packed a carpet we were warm inside our tent. We had a soundtrip with my Nude Move S bluetooth speaker and we chatted for an hour or so while cocooned comfortably in the tent before we finally felt sleepy. We were snoring the night off as early as nine pm. The kids stayed out, built sand castles and played like there was no tomorrow. They got too noisy at some point that I was awakened before midnight. I made them go to their tents. Tired, they easily fell asleep.
We woke up the next day with a more sunny weather. Sure the winds were still quite strong but at least the sky was blue and clear. The other side of Tondol looked more clean. I noticed the tide was low thereby exposing the wide coastline. This is what I like about Tondol, it is perfect if you a group team building activities by the beach. You can plan, run, jump as freely as you can without bothering other beach goers. There, at least I said something positive about the place.

We didn't pack meals for breakfast. My original idea was to just go home early. But the kids starting hitting the beach again early in the morning. We didn't wanna ruin their enjoyment and we reckoned they will be hungry when they finish so my wife and I went around to find fish to cook.
I drove the tricycle and we went to the Eastern side to buy fish from fishermen. Dropped by this resort kn our way.
And saw the other side of Tondol facing mainland Pangasinan. The Hundred Islands and Sual Power Plant were all visible from this side.
The house we tried didn't have fish for sale because their fishermen didn't go to the sea the night before due to the strong winds. We were lucky a guy jn motorbike passed by so we were able to buy five small pieces of milkfish for ninety pesos. Bought a couple of tomatoes to go with the bangus grilled.

We had a hearty breakfast before leaving for home.

Tondol beach and this particular camping experience might not have been the way I imagined it to be but it turned out perfect. It was nice because we were relaxed. It was in the middle of a long break that I didn't even bother about the day and the time. I guess it is indeed a matter of mindset, of being away physically and mentally and freeing your mind of any worry or any need to hurry. We were there to simly enjoy things as they come. I love camping trips like this and I am glad we did camp in Tondol. It made me feel reconnected to the beach which I used to love.

ALSO Feel free to also read our overnight camping experience in
SEA CAVE Patar Bolinao
which is a property of Puerto del Sol Beach Resort




  1. Beach still looks pretty in your photos. Nakakasad nga yang seaweed :( Fave beach pa naman ni Luna!

  2. Matagal ko nang tinatarget na bisitahin ang Tondol Beach. Siguro matutuloy ko na this year :D

    And yes, buti naman not much complains itong blog post mo lol :P

  3. What's nice about camping experience is bonfire at night where you can either drink or share stories for a nice bonding experience.

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  5. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your blog?
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  6. I love camping, get back to nature. Check out some great spots in the Palawan area at http://www.islandhoppinginthephilippines.com/palawan/services/camping/. Half way between El Nido and Coron, clearest waters in the world, so excellent snorkeling, 52 islands in the area, most of which are deserted, so you can combine with local boat tour and sleep on your own island.

  7. Me and my partner were planning a trip this coming holyweek. Nag-inquire ako sa isang resort sa Bolinao, tent pitching because we'll bring our dog w/us to experience the sun,sand and sea. Wala kasi nun sa Manila. and to my surprise tent pitching is 500 per head. Nawalan ako ng gana. Ginto yata ang buhangin dun, then I found your blog. This helps a lot. One quick question may bathroom ba Tondol na pwedeng paliguan kapag nandoon ? 3D/2N kasi ang balak namin.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Yes, restrooms with shower are available. ^^


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