This solar powered lighthouse is located on the way to Patar beach. It was locked when we went there and nobody was around to let us into the tower. The running of the lighthouse is a good example of cooperation between the national government and the local government. It is currently being operated/managed by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) but the maintainance of the surrounding area will be the responsibility of the local government unit of Bolinao. I learnt from one local that there is a plan for the old cottage attached to the tower to be rented out as a tourist accomodation.
Cape Bolinao Lighthouse (about 100+ft) is more than a hundred years old and rises 351 feet above sea level at Punta Piedra Point, the sharp point of Cape Bolinao itself. It is said to be the 2nd tallest lighthouse next to Cape Bojeador. The lighthouse was designed primarily to prevent sea disasters and guide fishermen and navigators of inter-island boats and ships plying in and out of Bolinao and on the international ocean passage to Hongkong, Japan, USA and other countries. It's had a colorful life before the advent of modern technology and solar energy! Part of its story is the gallant and skilled attempts of resourceful Filipino technicians who extended the life of the lighthouse despite lack of financial support and shortage of supplies and equipment. But it is also worth noting that the joint efforts of the PCG and Bolinao townspeople have given this lighthouse a new lease on life!
For more information about this landmark of Bolinao please read: article on Cape Bolinao Lighthouse
Because we arrived late in the afternoon already and left at noon the next day, we were only able to explore the Enchanted Cave. A cool experience, not just because the whole place is damp but the Enchanted pool looked so inviting and we could only wish that we arrived earlier so we could take a dip.
Patar Beach is a cream colored sand beach down the road from the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse.
It has good spread of clear sand beach and enough areas for snorkelling. A local told me that the area where the waves break is really the point where the rock shelfs down some 80-100 ft ideal for diving. In fact, on the way to Patar Beach, I spied a PADI certified dive shop.
The resort we went to is one of the cheaper places on the stretch of beach which is okay for a day trip. If you plan an overnight stay, next to it is the more built-up and expensive Treasures of Bolinao.
This is a beautiful surprise for me. You can drop by Enchanted Cave on your way to Patar Beach.
Enchanted Cave rivals Hinagdanan Cave in Bohol! The cave is well lit and the water is very clear and a little warmer than that of Hinagdanan's. It is actually one of three caves that is accessible to visitors but is cleaner and deeper than the other two. This cave is located within a privately owned property and is being managed by a family who also built some open sided huts for those who want to stay longer.
Entrance is P10/pax if you're not taking a dip and P30 if you plan to swim in the cave.
We came to Bolinao for the beach and we were initially dismayed to find that it was not what we imagined it to be -- clear water and sandy beaches. There were sandy beaches and clear water alright, but when you go to the water, you have to watch your steps for sharps corals, rocks and the occasionnal sea urchin. The were also seaweeds in most areas and during low tide, they're all you're going to see and some dots of small rocks scattered on the ocean floor. Luckily for us, it was hightide the next morning and we lost no time in heading for the water.
You can go fishing, shell and coral collecting, kayaking in ilog malinao, play volleyball, or plain strolling while enjoying the beautiful scenery. Or simply enjoy the astounding kaleidoscope of colors during sunset.
You can also ask the receptionist to arrange a bolinao trip for you. There are lots of things to enjoy in Bolinao.
The second most highest light house in the Philippines built by the Americans in 1905.The lighthouse provides a panoramic view of a portion of the Cape Bolinao Dendro Thermal Ipil-Ipil Plantation on a land area where archaeological excavations have revealed relics from the 14th to the 15th centuries. You can enjoy the blue water of South china sea and the Lingayen Gulf. This Place is a must see place for those who are craving for a nice photo background.
Cape Bolinao has been in our wish list of photo subjects for a long time. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't kind on us when we went there. It rained hard the day before, and it drizzled on and off that day so the sky was quite gloomy with only a few clouds. We weren't able to do the shots we've been imagining to do for Cape Bolinao, but we took some shots anyway for documentation of the trip.
From the viewdeck, you can see a panoramic view of Lingayen Gulf, South China Sea, Treasure of Bolinao Resort, some vacation houses of prominent people and the coastline.
Backgrounder: Standing at the western part of Cape Bolinao on a 300 ft (91 m) high promontory, the beacon still serves as guide to vessels passing by the area. The lighthouse, constructed in 1905 by the Americans is said to be the second tallest of the five major lighthouses of the country (the first being Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos Norte).
We learned that there are 3 caves in Bolinao, in fact one is named Cindy's Cave. (No, I don't own it.) Given our limited time, we opted to explore just one cave and our choice was Enchanted Cave, said to be the most beautiful of the three.
Enchanted Cave is a coral cave located in a private property in Barangay Patar, but it was opened to the public for viewing and/or swimming. Before you enter the cave, you have to pay an entrance fee (P40/person if you will swim, less if you will just look at the place and take pictures). Just like Hinagdanan Cave in of Panglao Islandin Bohol, you'll have to go through a small opening down to the enclave; but unlike Hinagdanan Cave, it is adequately lit.
It was very humid inside the enclave despite the dripping of water from the stalactites. Compensating for the moist, musty surroundings underground is the 30-meter fresh-water pool (which some say is an unusual thing for a coral cave) with crystal clear torqouise water. According to the man assigned to watch the tourists, the pool has depths of 3-6 ft during low tide but could reach to 3-10 ft on high tide, and is connected to an underground river. Swimming in the pool is allowed, but caretakers/staff are alert to remind tourists that they cannot go beyond the ropes marking the restricted areas.
We didn't swim because of lack of time, and after taking some photos, we hurriedly (albeit carefully) went outside for fresh air.
I've always wanted to see for myself the beautiful architectural treasure of Bolinao, the St. James The Great Parish a.k.a. Bolinao Church. I've seen pictures of period-inspired weddings held there, so I was excited to see its massive facade, intricate retablos and belfry.
Backgrounder: St. James The Great Parish recently celebrated its 400th year.
Although it was canonically erected by the Augustinian Friars in 1609, the church was actually entrusted earlier by the Spanish Government to the Dominican Friars in 1594. However, due to lack of missionaries to man their mission territories, the Dominicans left Bolinao in 1607.
When we got to the church, we were shocked by its present condition. The recent super typhoon Emong damaged the structure. Although the facade and belfry were still standing, the roof and ceiling were totally destroyed, rendering the church roofless! The floors were wet with accumulated water on some portions. (I will be posting photos and video on this.)
The architectural beauty of Bolinao Church can still be gleaned from its massive facade and the retablos which survived despite the ravaging typhoon. Repair jobs on the roof and ceiling are ongoing and restoration of church interior will follow.
Although Patar White Beach is a public beach without the amenities of a private resort, it has become a favorite of local and foreign tourists. When we went there, I understood why. You can do everything there: swim, snorkel or dive, picnic with family or friends, ride a banca, photo shoot, meditate on the shore, or simply stroll along the beach.
The sand at Patar White Beach is not really white; it is cream colored. Nevertheless, it is very fine and clean. People say the perfect time to go there is between January to March when the beach is free of seaweeds. I personally don't mind seeing seaweeds because that gives the place "added character".
We didn't stay long at the beach because of our tight schedule, but when we go back to Bolinao, we'd like to stay longer, at least for a day until the sun sets.
Although we stayed at Punta Riviera Resort overnight, day trippers may be accomodated when the site and pool are not too busy. Admission is at the sole discretion of the Manager, and the fee is P650/person. This includes use of pool, site facilities and a light meal. Cabanas may be available for the exclusive use of day trippers if their party is more than three persons. As a rule, day trippers may use the pool up to 6:00 pm and may stay at the site until 6:30 pm only.
Punta Riviera is also open for company outings. Just contact the Resort Manager for arrangements.
If you get a chance to visit Silaki or any of the islets in Bolinao, ask the locals if you can sample some kudin-kudin (sea urchin). The part of the sea urchin that can be eaten is located under the mouth and consists of the five sexual organs (the ovaries and testicles). It is nutritious (full of protein and fat) and tasty.
The sea urchins harvested in Bolinao are exported to Japan where it is served in sushi bars.
Balingasay River is reputed to be the cleanest river in the Region so it is really great to be able to explore a part of its length. The water is so clean and despite river traffic, the people still maintain its pristine condition.
There's a lot to see as you sail along the river: century old and new growth mangrove stands, stretches of attap palms (regularly harvested and used to make roofing materials for nipa huts). balete trees hanging into the water, but most specially different species of birds making their home on the top of the trees along the Balingasay.
The river connects the residents of the different barangays to the town of Bolinao. It serves as a "highway" and as you sail along it's length, a lot of curious locals will hail you and exchange greetings and smiles with you.
Another unspoiled beach of Pangasinan. One will actually have a long dusty journey to reach this place for it is located on the farthest part of Bolinao (cape). But for me it's a real adventure . A real traveler must not always whine if something goes wrong along his way. For me, to experience something different from my real world is fun.
It is a public beach so don't expect amenities or lots of water activities. You can just roll on the beach, swim or sing with the videoke located on a store there.The sand is not really that white. It's cream in my vision. There are cottages with bamboo bench you can rent. Bring all the things you needed so you won't have any problem going back to the dusty road to find some store (the store in Patar doesn't have all you need).
Just be careful on some areas for there are rocks and sea urchins that might hurt you and spoil your trip.
Sea weeds is a normal thing specially to untouched beaches without private maintenance so don't freak out about it.
Better to visit during summer days.