It would be impossible to wander the whole 7,107 islands of the Philippines at the same time. But seeing 100 islands of those 7,107 is an opportunity I will surely wouldn’t miss. So when I crave to explore a nearby province in Luzon with friends, I immediately thought of exploring one of the region’s famed destination in the north – The Hundred Islands of Pangasinan.
Pangasinan is located on the west central and peripheral area of the island of Luzon along the Lingayen Gulf. The name Pangasinan means "land of salt" or "place of salt-making"; it is derived from the words "Pang", meaning for and "asin", meaning salt, or "For Salt" in the Pangasinan language and other related languages, owing to the rich and fine salt beds which were the prime source of livelihood for the province’s coastal towns. The province of Pangasinan is composed of 44 municipalities, 4 cities and 1,364 barangays.
The jumping point is Alaminos City – home of the Hundred Islands. I embarked on a 6 hour bus trip on the road that started in the early hours of the morning to reach Alaminos. Some travellers will find it a grueling road trip as the long hours of seating in the bus is tiring and boring. But the scenic roads of Pangasinan will definitely not bore your eyes as I myself find it an indulgence to the sense of sight.
|The Hundred Islands from Lucap Wharf|
The Hundred Islands National Park is located in Alaminos City. The islands are actually ancient corals that extend well inland, in an area previously comprising the seabed of an ancient sea. Lowering sea levels have exposed them to the surface and the peculiar "mushroom"-like shapes of some of the islands have been caused by the eroding action of the ocean waves.
Lucap Wharf is the jumpoint of the island hopping tour where all the arrangement, registration and price rates availment are made. It is accessible via tricycle and 15 minutes from Alaminos town proper. Around the wharf are numerous transient houses, inns and hotels for those who opts to stay in Alaminos. Me and my colleagues choose to do a day trip to the Hundred Islands.
|1 of the 123 islands of Hundred Islands National Park.|
|The beauty of nature in Hundred Islands.|
From Lucap Wharp, we sailed for 15 minutes to reach Hundred Islands National Park. Seeing the islands much nearer is an explosion of beauty of nature in my eyesight! The lush greens, gray rock formations and white sand beach cove set against the bluest water is a marvelous beauty of nature that can only be found in Pangasinan. The scattered islands seemed to be formed millions of years ago with a purpose of being a natural beauty that the province can be prouf of. Each frame of view of the islands in my sight are so scenic that all I can do is marvel and appreciate it. It is Alaminos’ hundred charms worth to explore.
|Welcome to Governor's Island!|
|Meeting the real house of "Kuya"|
|Majestic views of Hundred Islands in front PBB House.|
|Beautiful beach of Governor's Island.|
There are coves in Governor’s Island that has fine white sand beaches which are ideal for swimming. The island’s beach seems enticing to swim but our guide led us to a hiking trail atop a hill-like rock formation to see a 360 degree view of the Hundred Islands National Park. The view of the islands atop is more majestic than the front view of the Pinoy Big Brother house. I can almost see the entire hundred islands in one whole sight or shall I say I entirely see the 100 of 7,107 islands of the Philippines! It was a beautiful view of the Hundred Islands that lingers long in my mind and worth the tiring hike.
|I love Hundred Islands!!!|
|The famous view of Hundred Islands.|
Our visit to Governor’s Island ended with a sightseeing of a cave at the back of the island. The cave is big enough for people to enter and has a narrow body but there is nothing to see inside, just appreciation of the cave itself.
The next stop is supposed to be Ramos Island but its cove is small that only 2 bancas can dock at the same time. There were already visitors in the island so we just passed by on it. Ramos Island is famous for being the site location of TV series, Marina.
|The trail down the viewing deck at Governor's Island.|
|Governor's Island's cave.|
|A simple reminder of Going Green in Marcos Island.|
|The challenging Marcos Cave where I chicken out!|
|Girls are brave, I concluded. Enjoying a swim in pool lagoon of Marcos Cave.|
|Home sweet home - Bats in Bat Island.|
|Quezon Island from our boat.|
|Quezon Island's developed amenities for tourists and visitors.|
|The Giant Clam Garden at Quezon Island.|
|A closer look at the Giant Clam and friends!|
|Another island near Quezon Island.|
|White sand beach of Quezon Island.|
|Magazine-cover worthy picture of Quezon Island.|
|We love Hundred Islands!!! - Swim like no other in Quezon Island.|
|This scene of Hundred Islands makes you forget all your stress and worries.|
I spent most my time swimming with my travelmates in Quezon Islands’ second beach cove because of its secluded aura. There were almost no people except us who were at the beach. I felf as if we own the beach by ourselves to enjoy. Half part of the cove it shaded by tall trees so no worry about having a sun-kissed skin! (sunburn). It was here we swim, swim and swim like no other! Also here in Quezon Island, I find it unique that while swimming in its beach, I get a spectacular view of the islands from afar. It was so scenic that it lingers in my mind and at times I just find myself half submerged in the shallow water of the beach, relaxing and admiring the beauty of the islands from afar.
Famed for its shallow waters, ideal for swimming with kids, we hop next to Children’s Island. It is the last of the most developed islands in the national park that we visited. There were also cabanas and nipa huts for rent while staying in Children’s Island. The island were crowded by groups of families when we visited so we just opt not to swim in its beach and proceed to our next island stop.
|Just relax all day long...|
|Cove of pure bliss at Quezon Island.|
|Alaminos' hundred charms - The Hundred Islands from Cuenco Cave viewing area.|
|Release the Kraken!!! - Cuenco Cave entrance.|
|Inside Cuenco Cave.|
|The other side opening of Cuenco Cave has an equally beautiful view.|
|Cuenco Cave memories...|
It would be really impossible to see all of the 7,107 islands of the Philippines at the same time. But in Alaminos, seeing 100 of them is possible! You just have to widely stretch your eyes in Hundred Islands to see it. I’m proud to have seen these hundred gems of Pangasinan whom the province highly prided. I get to have an exceptional island hopping adventure and I never experience these kind of hundred natural beauties in one trip! Alaminos’ hundred charms is truly the Hundred Islands and when you say its hundred, it also means hundred gateaways to hundred beaches, hundred coves, hundred snorkeling sights, hundred sport activities, hundred scenic seascapes, hundred caves, hundred sightseeings and hundred adventures!
Alaminos' Hundred Charms is part of my Pangasinan Wanderings two series story happened last July 3-4. Please also do read the second part of the series - Treasures of Bolinao.