I had a short vacation last September back home in the Philippines. I have been working in Singapore for the past 5 years and since it's just 3 and half hour flight, I can visit my family as often as I like when tickets are cheap and a well planned leave of absence is approved. We tried renting a bigger vehicle to fit us all including my cousine but unfortunately we are not able to so cramped in my small crossover, we decided to have a road trip to Pangasinan together with my mom and 5 brothers.
Our travel to Alaminos mainly to the Hundred Islands Natural Park started at 3:45 am. We choose to travel that early to avoid traffic and to anticipate hiccups down the road like some occassional misdirections or sudden weather changes (we are still in rainy season). Everyone of us haven't been to Alaminos and we only have Google maps as our guide but nevertheless we are ready begin the road trip.
Thanks to the good weather and the relatively new SCTEX-TPLEX we are able to reach Lingayen around 5:30 am. There are a lot of funny things happen during the road trip and most of them either being lost or our GPS is pointing us to a restaurant named "Hundred Islands" instead of the Nature Park but as the old Filipino saying goes:
"Hindi ka maliligaw kung kasama mo si Magtanong"
There are a lot of road widening projects happening throughout the province and probably throughout the country which remind us that yes, it's national election again next year.
We arrive at the Alaminos marina where everyone who wants to visit the Hundred Islands need to park their vehicle, register and rent their small boat. Lifejackets and snorkling gear can also be rented out here.
We rented out a small boat good for 6 to 10 persons for PHP1300.00 as this writing and additional 800 for the snorkling gear and lifejackets. Lifejackets is a must when traveling by sea and also because there is this one island that has a cave where you can cliff dive all you want but lifejackets are required.
Our first stop is the Governor's Island where can have the best overlooking of the group of islands. There are some cottages where you can stay, some island activities like zip lines and kayaking are available but we didn't avail any of those. On a family trip you need to know where to spend your money, mostly on food.
This time of the year for me is the best time to go around and travel those places that are jammed packed during summer. Most of my travels are during this period for couple of reasons:
- It's off season so fees and other money driven activities are cheaper.
- Less people meaning more time to enjoy.
- More space to move around and do crazy stuffs.
- Traffic is good which means more places you can visit.
- Food and accommodations are much cheaper.
But you also need to keep in mind the weather, a quick check online weather monitory sites like Accuweather is helpful to plan out your day trip.
Next stop, Marcos Island. This probably our favorite island among the hundred plus islands because this have the best beach front and inland cave with diving spot for cliff diving. It was so much fun we did the cliff diving (jumping) twice. We did some action cam slow motion shots but sadly during my turn the cameraman stopped the video exactly when I was about to jump.
After having so much fun jumping we decided to have our breakfast. Instead of renting a cottage which cost PHP500, we ate our packed breakfast (thanks to our mama) of hotdog, garlic fried rice and hard-boiled-egg. Our next stop is the giant clams sanctuary (farm). There are some floating cottages around this area and of course you need to pay to stay in them.
My not so little brother Dave is having a blast. He loves swimming and he's really good at it and the best part, nobody actually taught him how to swim. We are even teasing him because when he swim, the water become so disturbed you might end up drowning yourself if you swim beside him (Kawe Baluga as we call it).
Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan is a great place for a family trip and bonding. We had so much fun here. One of the perks of having an all-boys siblings and a very supportive mama is that, when I (the eldest among 7 brothers) jumped everyone follows. Though we didn't visit some of the other 90+ islands or so still, we enjoy our short visit. There are other water activities we would like to try in the future and next time we will spend more time here and hopefully we will be complete, papa and Jerome (second eldest) is working abroad.
Next Stop, Bolinao.