How to get there:
From Manila to Alaminos - around 3 hours bus ride. It costs around Php 300 - 400 ($7.5- $10 USD). Victory Liner bus line is one of the most comfortable bus line available in the area. You can also take 5Star Bus line. (Bus terminals in Manila are located either in Pasay or Cubao)
From Lucap tricycle terminal to Hundred Islands Registration Desk- you can rent an entire tricycle for Php 60 ($1.5 USD)
The rates vary from the size of the boat (number of people to be accommodated) and the type of tour (day tour, night tour or service boat).
If you are on a budget, you may take the day or night tour which costs $1 and $2 respectively. This will allow you to visit selected islands where a specific itinerary is to be followed.
Or, you may take a service boat which will tour you from morning till 5PM. This normally costs $35, but you may haggle with the boat operators once you get there. You can ask for a package to be included in the boat rental like snorkeling gears and water shoes.
Here's a link for the rates: http://www.asensopangasinan.com/hundred-islands-national-park-rates-and-rental-fees/
When going to Hundred Islands, proximity is not the utmost importance. Having a sea view does not mean you will enjoy the beach since you would get on the boats in a pier (no sea shore to walk in to). Transient houses are our best bets since we are allowed to cook but alternatively, if you're looking for more comfortable amenities, you may check the local hotels.
What to do...
There are many activities in the area that caters to different people's interests. Listed are some of them:
-Snorkeling: There are a lot of giant clams in the snorkeling area. Your guide will definitely take you there's no way you'll miss it. If you happen to have an accommodating guide, they will even dive and touch the clams for you to see them open and close.
-Fish feeding: In the snorkeling area, you can bring a piece of bread ( I would recommend PIECES) of bread to feed the fish. You don't even have to go deep or be a certified diver to see the colorful fish, once the bread is out, they would come swarming at you.
-Swimming: There are some islands which have shores where you can swim and enjoy the white sand.
-Bat Watching: There is an island inhabited by bats, even from the boat, you will see bats hanging upside down from the trees.
-Cliff jumping at Marcos Island: A very short walk going to a cave (will take around 3-5 minutes). Inside, you will find an opening where you can jump off the cliff and fall in the clear cool water.
-Other activities: Spelunking, Kayaking and Fishing among many other things you can do.
- Historical Travel
Cock fight is one among the legal gambling games in the Philippines and it's a blood sport for 2 roosters fighting for their lives held in ring called cockpit. This is really bloody because the cocks will kill each other using their gaffs attached to their feet. We locally call it "Sabong". This is not actually fun for animal lovers like me but I tried to watch one out of curiosity. There is a big money involve here and everyone is betting, I am not really good on sign language on how much to bet using your hands. I should say, it's very noisy.
Tour the hundred islands in a boat
The Philippines comprises of 7,100 islands. The 123 islands is in the Hundred Islands National Park!
My parents used to bring us here. I have been here many times. I can't even count anymore! Everytime we have a visitor abroad or a "Balikbayan" (a Filipino who migrated or a Filipino born and raised abroad but coming back to visit), we usually bring them to Alaminos, Pangasinan to see the Hundred Islands!
I was here in the 70s, 80s and 90s. It is about six hour drive from my hometown, Santiago, Ilocos Sur. We start our trip early in the morning about 4 am and pack ourselves in my dad's jeepney! We never travel light. We bring our snacks and lunches. We seldom it out. However, if our relative is a "balikbayan", he pays for everything! He even pays for the gas and pays for all our food! If we eat out, our relative still pays! It's part of our Filipino culture!
Hundred Islands is beautiful. The park where the boats dock have several stores that sells seashells and other crafts made by the local residents. (We probably export our shells now to the United States. I had seen crafts made of seashells and are made from the Philippines sold in stores in Monterey, California and most of the stores in Hawaii!).
In the old days, the shells were huge! The corals were beautiful. There colors were purple, blue, pink and white. Nowadays, you can't even see these huge shells and colorful corals anymore. In fact, they are not even being sold in the stores in the Philippines!
We rent a boat (the boat owner is also our tour guide) and roamed us around the islands. There were caves and arches of some of the corals. There were big islands and there were small islands. There are three islands that has been developed for tourism purposes and stopped on one to check it out. Some islands were just huge coral reefs! There were some people snorkelling and diving closer to the bigger islands.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Visit the Governor's island. You tell the boatman that you want to drop by on the island. You will have a quick trek to the top of the island to witness the spectacular beauty of the surrounding islands. they ares like green mushrooms floating on a the crystal blue sea.
Big Brother House
I know it is prohibited to build a structure to a national park but the Hundred islands has a Big Brother House built in one of its Island. It is where the participants of Pinoy Big Brother stayed in one of its episode.
You can stay here if you want with your family for P10,000 for just 1 night. It is expensive though.
Feel the Breeze at Lucap Wharf
Lucap Wharf is the gateway to Hundred Islands. It is the end of the road actually.
You can see some of the islands while on the wharf. There are plenty of souvenir shops where you can buy different kinds of shell craft etc.There are also local restaurant that offers ilocano dishes for budget traveler.
The modern lighthouse with a winding staircase is a good target for photographers with the hundred islands on its background.
When I go home for a vacation I usually go to this place to just relax and feel the breeze.
Visita Iglesia: St. Joseph Cathedral Parish
The seat of the Diocese of Alaminos founded by Agustinian Recollectos in 1800's.
It has simple facade and adorned with twin pillars. The church was original made of brick later on cemented and painted yellow. The Church underwent series of renovation and the interior is now modern with a maroon retablo adorned with gold plated linings.
The Colegeo de San Jose Alaminos (formerly St. Joseph Cathedral School) is adjacent to the church. It is where I attended my high school.
try Alaminos longganisa
The longganisa sausages from the Philippines are flavoured with indigenous
spices, with each region having its own specialty. Alaminos longganisa is different from all version of longganisa in the Philippines because of the stick and its garlic and slightly salty taste. It is best when slightly toasted and when dipped on a spicy condiment.It costs P60.00 per dozen. In fact Monterey have their version of Alaminos longganisa but without the stick.
One of the famous island of Hundred Islands named after the late President Manuel Quezon. He proclaimed this group of islands to be the first National Park in the Philippines on Jan. 18, 1940.
This island is the most develop island with picnic table, bridges etc and the most crowded.
Tourist can cook and eat lunch in one of the picnic tables. I suggest to bring everything you need like enough food, water, etc. because the small store where you can buy some snacks and drinks is a bit pricey.
Aside from eating and swimming and picture taking, you can also rent kayaks for around 250 pesos and snorkeling.
Don’t forget to bring your swimming shoes because of small pointed rocks that is abundant around the island.
The fares included landings on the three developed islands, Quezon Is., Governor's Is., and Children's Is.
Overnighters have to pay twice for boat fare, a round trip to get to the islands and another round trip for the return back. Rides to other undeveloped islands may be arranged with the boatman for an additional charge.
Boats in "pantalan or fish port"
At the edge of pantalan are loading and unloading areas for the boat ride to the islands. Boats can be hired from the Lucap Boatman's Association.
The boatmen will drop you off on the island you selected and return to pantalan for other passengers, so arrange your pick-up time for the return trip back to pantalan.
] Also found in pantalan is one of the oldest light beacons in the Philippines. When it was erected it was most likely fuel by coconut oil. Today it is self-sufficient being powered by solar cells. As the sun sets, the light of the light beacons and the streetlights of pantalan turn on. The park and the shops stay open until after dark.
the PANTALAN or fish port
The gateway to the Hundred Islands the PTA compound, which along with the fish port is known as "pantalan" by the locals. It is located five kilometers north of downtown Alaminos in Barangay Lucap. You can hire a tricycle about 30 to 50 pesos from downtown to the park or if you have your own car, you can just follow the road signs from the streets.
There is ample parking where buses and private vehicles can park all day for 10 pesos.
Entrance Fees are 15 pesos for day use and 30 pesos for overnight.
Payments for parking and entrance fees can be made in the Business Information Booth on the ground floor of the Dr. Gonzalo R. Montemayor Wharf Memorial.