That was our itinerary for the day. It was a pretty busy day I scheduled for our extended family of nine. This was already a shortened list, mind you. There’s just a lot of places to see in Bolinao.
I’ll tell you as early as now, we didn’t get to visit all of these places.
Bolinao is a municipality on the west coast of Pangasinan. From what I’ve observed, there are buses that go directly to Bolinao from Cubao and Baguio.
The town proper is pretty busy. There are food chains, banks and groceries, among other establishments, to provide you with most things you need. I suggest to do your shopping, withdraw money, etc. there. You may have a hard time finding such places as you move farther out. Main mode of transportation to get around are tricycles.
There are a lot of budget-friendly accommodations this side of the beach. There’s a small compound of stalls selling clothes, beach knick-knacks and food. There’s also a tricycle terminal.
We stayed at Inson’s Place. Just a road across from the south end of Patar White Beach. To secure our booking, I made a 50% deposit through BPI online. The hosts are kind and are quick to respond to inquiries through their facebook page and through text.
Inson’s Place Patar White Beach
0995 252 8179 / 0921 948 2630
Inson’s place is located within a small compound surrounded by other guest houses. A couple of our neighbors had videoke machines, but the compound was already quiet before 11 in the evening.
The room is spacious and clean. The two ACs kept the room cool. Toiletries and towels are not included.
A few meters from our guesthouse, and our first stop, is the second tallest lighthouse (after Cape Bojeador in Ilocos Norte) in the Philippines – Cape Bolinao Lighthouse.
Vehicles can only go halfway up the hill where the lighthouse is located. A few souvenir shops line the perimeter of the parking area.
There’s a skeleton of an old building at the base of the lighthouse. The hill offers panoramic views of the West Philippine Sea. I’d imagine this place offers a great view of the sunset.
Cape Bolinao Lighthouse is open 24 hours.
Enchanted Cave is a resort built around a pool inside an underground cave. The resort offers accommodations for those who’d like to stay the night.
Apart from the natural underground cave pool, there are also man-made pools. Several paths lead to various gardens. There’s also a stations of the cross trail that culminates to a giant cross atop a hill. There’s a fee to go up the cross.
The path leading down the Enchanted Cave is steep and narrow. The cave and pool itself are small. The water is cold and clear. It can get crowded and noisy, so go early. I like that they take necessary precautions to ensure guests’ safety. Hard hats and life vests are provided before going down the cave. There’s a lifeguard inside.
Enchanted Cave Resort
0998 577 4303
Enchanted Cave Resort Bolinao day tour hours are from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm. There’s a minimal parking fee of PHP 30.
If you like seafood, you won’t run out of options in Bolinao. We opted for Sungayan Grill due to its proximity from Enchanted Cave. There’s ample parking space.
It was ironic that the restaurant’s fish namesake wasn’t available. I really wanted to know what the Sungayan (Unicorn) fish tasted like. Probably like chicken… LOL!
You can order a la carte or get the bilao set menu, like we did. Portions are big and the food is good. You can go on a cruise along the river as you eat for a fee. Check out their facebook page for their menu and river cruise rates.
Bolinao Sungayan Grill
0912 353 4433
Hours: 9 am to 8 pm
There are three waterfalls in Bolinao that’s part of the usual tourist trail. Aptly named, Bolina Falls 1, 2 and 3.
Roads leading to the waterfalls are mostly unpaved. This very reason prevented us from seeing Bolinao Falls 2 and 3. It had been raining since morning and we didn’t want to risk getting stuck on the muddy road.
I like that the steps leading down to Bolinao Falls 1 faces away from it, hiding its full beauty. The reveal as you reach the bottom of the steps is quite dramatic.
Nipa hut cottages surround the basin of the waterfall. Shower and toilet (as rustic as it gets) are a few steps away from the cluster of cottages. There’s a couple of sari-sari stores selling crisps, beverages and alcoholic drinks.
The natural pool below Bolinao Falls 1 is 40 feet deep, according to the locals. Life vests, bamboo rafts and cottages are available for rent.
By the time we left Bolinao Falls 1, the sun was already beginning its descent into the horizon. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Patar Rock Formation. I figured we’ll stop by on our way to Anda the following day.
As soon as we reached the guesthouse, my nephew and I rushed to Patar Beach. I was hoping we’d get to enjoy the sunset there. But it was still really cloudy, so we just walked along the beach and did some sand writing.
I made sure to wake up early the following morning. I wanted to see and enjoy Patar Beach before we leave for Anda. The sand is comparable to that of Puerto Galera’s White Sand Beach.
Patar Rock Formation
The following day, on our way to Anda, we decided to stop by Patar Rock Formation. Unfortunately, access to the rock formation are through privately owned lands. One resort we went to was asking for an entrance fee of PHP 150 per person. Which I thought was preposterous!
Hopefully the government will build an access road to this site. After all, aren’t shorelines public property to be enjoyed by all Filipinos?
Though we were not able to visit all the places on my itinerary, we had a great time at the ones we did get to see. The Enchanted Cave’s underground cave pool is not something one usually gets to experience. And Bolinao Falls 1 alone is worth visiting the town for.
Hopefully, should we find ourselves again in this part of the Philippines, we’ll be able to tick all that’s listed on my itinerary.