Contributed by Schadow1 Expeditions
Bolinao is the last town at the northernmost tip of Pangasinan. Despite being a flat land, you must traverse a mountainous area not more than 120 metres above sea level to reach it. Although not as famous as Alaminos because of the Hundred Islands, Bolinao offers a number of beautiful attractions for visitors.
Patar Beach is the famous golden sand beach destination of Bolinao, which features fine golden sand, a vibrant sea and fiery sunset on clear days. Coordinates 16.30282N 119.78179E
When commuting, Patar can be reached via an 18-km tricycle ride from its main town centre. There is a public beach where you can pitch a tent for ₱250 or with a cottage for ₱300. However, when you want a quieter place, you can choose to stay at the less crowded private resorts for a fee.
All resorts are accessible from Patar Beach with rates ranging from ₱500 for a night including cottage to ₱1,200 per room per night, to a more exclusive hotel at ₱3,000 per night. All of the resorts are facing west, thereby giving you the same view. What differs is the class of accommodation and the number of visitors.
We stayed a Nelly’s White Beach Resort. It’s a not-so-fancy resort that we chose just to have a more peaceful stay while pitching our tent compared to the populous public beach. You may contact Nelly Ramirez, the owner at +63 (908) 1059493. You may mention this blog so she can remember.
Cape Bolinao Lighthouse
Near Patar Beach is the Cape Bolinao lighthouse that is used to guide seafarers, signifying that they have just passed the tip of Pangasinan peninsula and needs to re-orient their bearing. The 50-metre tall solar powered lighthouse is a great viewpoint to see the stretch of Cape Bolinao and Patar shores from above. Coordinates 16.30701N 119.78565E
Bolinao Rocks (Patar Rock Formation)
The Bolinao Rocks are considered the natural “breakwater” structure of Patar beach as the beautiful rock formations separate Patar from the northern beach shores of Bolinao. Entrance to this place costs ₱70 and an overnight to one of its huts costs ₱300. Coordinates 16.31723N 119.78344E
About five kilometres away from Patar Beach is a private resort called Enchanted Cave. This area was discovered in mid-2000 as a location filled with coral rock formations, signifying that this area was once below sea level. Subsiding sea levels have exposed this area and became a dry land. Upon development, the initial plan was to only make it a homestay resort but the discovery of an underground cave and water system has given extra credit to the owner, opening the small cave for a fresh water swim to a limited number of visitors.
Entrance to the resort costs ₱150 per pax for sightseeing and a swim. Although ₱50 is refundable if you decide not to swim. Personally, the water is cool and clean and you would not regret taking an hour to swim in this natural cave swimming spot. Coordinates 16.3421N 119.8043E
Among the tourist spots along the Patar Area, Bolinao falls is separated from Patar by a wide and undeveloped highland. Thus, the only way to get there is to get back to the main town and head back south passing the Anda junction between Kilometer 346 and 347 towards Barangay Samang Norte. From the National Road, it is about 6 kilometres of rough road to reach the waterfalls.
The area has free cottages good for picnic but not for overnight stay. The falls is a great location for group picnic during breakfast and lunch. The place gets cramped with people easily during a holiday. Entrance to the falls costs ₱50 per pax and a parking fee of ₱20. Coordinates 16.3077N 119.8656E
Bolinao Church (St. James the Great Parish)
Bolinao Church is a 15th-century church built from pulverised coral stones and held together using egg yolks. Aside from being a centre of the Catholic faith in Bolinao, it also served as a protection from invaders during the middle ages of the Philippine colonial history. Because of its topography, at the tip of Luzon’s western peninsula, the town is open to sea invaders and pirates from various origins in the Southeast Asian nations and kingdoms. Coordinates 6.38859N 119.89353E
Authentic Bolinao Food
Binungey is Bolinao’s signature delicacy. It is a rice cake cooked inside a bamboo trunk and is sweetened using melted raw sugar. Costs 3 pcs for ₱100 for smaller servings and ₱50 per pc for bigger servings.
The primary transportation within the town is the tricycle. We have acquired the services of Kuya Gerry to tour us around the town for 2 days with his trike for ₱1,200. You may contact him at +63 (939) 3369550. Just mention him my name (Ervin) so he can remember. Having your own vehicle that can withstand the rough roads is a plus.
Getting to Bolinao from Manila is easy. You just have to take a bus via Victory Liner or Five Star Bus in Pasay or Cubao. However, in times of limited availability of buses, you may ply via buses going to Dagupan. Then, ride another bus via the same liner or via a cheaper non-airconditioned mini bus on Bolinao Express direct to Bolinao. Click here for the bus route map.
Deluxe airconditioned bus fare from Manila to Bolinao is ₱459 as of this writing.
Our trip to Bolinao is part of our 2014 year-end mapping expedition of Batangas to Benguet (Mt. Pulag) to Pangasinan via Calasiao to Dagupan and to Bolinao. Mapping data acquired from the expedition has been contributed to Openstreetmap Philippines with a goal to provide a recently updated, and precise street-level mapping data of the country for navigation guidance, tourism, outdoor recreation, and disaster resiliency planning.
Our mapping data is also being compiled regularly to GPS-assisted navigation devices format and can be downloaded for free on our #mapPHL page.
- Google Maps (link)
- Schadow1 Expeditions Contributions (link)
- How to use the Navigation System (link)
*All text and images © Schadow1 Expeditions by Ervin Malicdem CC-BY-NC-SA