One of the more popular destination in the Philippines is the 100 Islands. These popular cluster of islands are found in Alaminos, Pangasinan, about 4-5 hours drive from Manila going north. From Punta Riviera, Bolinao where we stayed in Pangasinan, it’s a 45 minutes drive back to Alaminos. And from Alaminos town proper, its a few minutes drive to Lucap port where the DENR station is located. It’s my second time visitng this place and thought to bring my family here as well when we went to Pangasinan since they haven’t been here.
We bought our lunch first at the town since there are no food available at the islands. Then we headed to the port. It’s a good thing that there is a DENR station there where visitor registration and boat rentals can be coordinated at a fixed price. So need to haggle with boatmen here. The 100 islands is a protected area under the NIPAS and also a Geological Monument due to it’s unnatural geology that’s why DENR have to regulate visitors here. There’s a PHP 30 entrance fee per person. Boat rental varies per size and routes. The Php 1000 can carry up to 1-4 pax, the PHP 1500 can carry 6-8 pax but both of these can visit only the three popular islands: Governor’s, Children’s and Quezon Island.
It seems there were a lot of visitors at the park at that time since most of the boats we mentioned weren’t available. What we got was a Php 2000 boat, it’s their largest boat and can hold 8-10pax and can take you anywhere around the park aside from the 3 popular islands. I’m a bit more confident with this large boat since the place was really windy and the waves were a lot stronger. On our way to the islands, the boat machine kept dying. I think we were stuck in the middle of the ocean for at least 30 minutes. I asked our boatman to just go back to the port and find another boat. Eventually they managed to fix it. There was a dead rat stuck at the curberator. No wonder there was a funny smell when we got into the boat.
Our first stop was Governor’s Island. One of the popular islands also has highest peak there. I think the highlight of this island was the viewing deck overlooking the surrounding islands at the park. As expected, there were a lot of visitors/tourist in the area, both local and foreign nationals. I actually remembered camping on this island the first time I went here. It has a nice beach and at low tides you can walk from the island across. Pretty nice. There is also guest house there where you can stay overnight for Php1900. Water source are from supplied drums.
We went up the island’s viewing deck climbing a flight of stairs. Like in Bolinao, it was really windy at the area. At the top, what I noticed where some cemented platforms so you can step on an upper platform for an unobstructed view of the islands. Of course there’s the mandatory pictures with my older brother and my sisters (I’m the youngest by the way). My sister E (in black) is working and studying in Canada. My other sister C lives in USA with her husband. My brother is also here in the Philippines working. It’s a really nice sight seeing a lot of dotted islands at the horizon. When we got back, we had our lunch first and stayed there for a while.
We then moved on to Children’s Island. And all I can say is that it’s really crowded. The island was called children since its beach is very child friendly. Looking at the beach it does look good and beach is fine. But the crowd was really a turn off. We went back to our boat and asked our boatman to take us to another island and they took us accross. Not much there but a beach penetrating the island.
We were told that it was really hard to visit the farther islands because of the strong winds and rough seas. But since we have a large enough boat, we braved the rough seas and still went to Quezon island. At that time, there were only a few boats parked there which means only a few people. Which is good.
Last time I went here those bridges weren’t there or I just missed it. Quezon island is dedicated to Manuel Quezon. He has a monument at the top of the island’s park. It’s a pretty nice island. I remember there were also lots of people here before but I guess I get to appreciate it more with less the crowd.
We didn’t stay long as it was getting late in the afternoon already and we have to go back to the resort where we left mom and my other sister. When we got to the port, we were horded with a bunch of vendors selling souvenirs. Not long, our driver finally arrived and ended our brief adventure at the 100 Islands park.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.