Bolinao is a municipality located at the northernmost tip of the province of Pangasinan, Philippines. If you’re looking for a vacation spot that isn’t as crowded as the more popular beaches, and you don’t want to sacrifice the white sand and the clear waters, Bolinao is the place for you.
It’s a 5-6 hour drive from Manila, and the place is brimming with natural wonders to explore. Fun fact: 67 14th-15h century old skulls were found in Bolinao, and one of them is the renowned Bolinao Skull with dental ornamentation consisting of pegging with gold plates in a fish scale design or pattern and pegged with gold wire rivets (source).
Our first stop was the Bolinao Falls 1. With a small fee of Php 30, you get to swim in the very cool and refreshing water. You can also opt to rent a life vest for Php 50. I enjoyed swimming even if there were a lot of people. They mostly stayed on the side where it was shallower, so I was able to swim in peace in the deeper areas of the falls. Of course, the inner adrenaline junkie in me wouldn’t let the opportunity to jump off the 20-foot falls go. This was so fun and exhilarating but still very scary. We were only able to do this because the current of the falls wasn’t very strong. However, if you go around November, the flow of the falls will be stronger, and jumping might not be advised, but the view would be so much better.
We then checked into Ilog Malino Beach Resort. The beach was incredibly peaceful with clear waters. The resort also has a pool that you could swim in. I’m not entirely sure, but I think the pool was heated, making it perfect for night swimming.
They have different rates depending on the room you pick. We stayed at the standard room in their santa fe building with three queen sized beds for Php 6000 per night. All three buildings have air-conditioning and showers. The locals were also very friendly and accommodating.
The Enchanted Cave is one stop you have to go to. The entrance fee is only Php 150, and I can say that it was worth it. There are coral rocks and limestone fossil clams surrounding the area. This is proof that this place used to be a part of the sea over 10 million years ago. A guide will accompany you to the cave and you can ask him questions about the cave. The place closes around 6:30 or 7:00 pm. We went around 6:00 pm. If you want a more peaceful visit, I suggest you go at this time too so that you have the place all to yourself. At this time, the water is at 7 ft. If you go in the early morning, the water is clearer to the point that you can see the bottom and the water is a nice blue. At this time, the water is usually around around 8 ft. You can opt to rent a life vest for Php 30. They are currently working on a hiking trail, so you can ask them about that when you go.
Next we went to the Treasures of Bolinao Resort. The day tour costs Php 385 for an adult. The beautiful rock formations can be seen from their white concrete bridge. They also have an infinity pool at the place. The resort also gives you access to Patar Beach, one of the more popular beaches in Bolinao. In Patar Beach, you get to play in the soft white sand and swim in the South China Sea or should I say WPS (I’ll leave this as an acronym because it might not be safe to spell it out).
Our last stop was the Cape Bolinao, Lighthouse. This beautiful lighthouse is the second tallest lighthouse in the Philippines. How I wish we could go up like other lighthouses in the Philippines. The place also offers a panoramic view of the sea. Also, make sure to try the local delicacy called binungey, which is suman (a kind of ricecake) cooked in bamboo. At the bottom of the lighthouse’s driveway, they sell it 3 for Php 100.
Bolinao was a refreshing get-away. There was so much to do and see that we couldn’t fit it all in just 2 days. I love beaches because it helps me reconnect with my inner mermaid. Surprisingly though, my favorite stop was the underwater natural spring pool. It was so peaceful and cool, which I loved after spending the day in the sun. I especially loved how I got to relax, have fun, and de-stress from life all in one weekend! What are you waiting for? Visit BoliNOW!
Cost breakdown not including transportation and food:
Ilog Malino Beach Resort standard room for 6- Php 6000 or Php 1000
Bolinao Falls 1 entrance fee- Php 30
(If you opt to rent a life vest- Php 50)
Enchanted Cave- Php 150
(If you opt to rent a life vest- Php 30)
Treasures of Bolinao daytour- Php 385
Total: Php, 1565 (Php 1,645 if you rent the life vests)
Here are the rates for Ilog Malino Beach Resort’s other rooms: (source)
Standard with 2 queen sized beds good for 4: Php 5,000
Standard with 1 queen sized bed good for 2: Php 4,000
Standard with 1 bunk bed and 1 queen sized bed good for 3: Php 4,500
Santa Fe Building:
Deluxe Room with 3 queen sized beds, TV, and refrigerator good for 6: Php 7,000
Standard Room with 3 queen sized beds good for 6: Php 6,000
Rooms good for 8: Php 9,000
Some have 2 queen sized beds and 1 queen sized bunk bed.
Some have 2 queen sized bunk beds.
Some have 4 queen sized beds.
Kubo Hut with 1 queen sized bed good for 2: Php 2,000
Note: This has no air-condition and the Bolinao has a lot of flies so this may not be advisable.