Since we are flying to the Philippines soon, what better way to get even more excited than to share with you one of my favorite adventures there — Island Hopping! One of the most loved nature tourist destinations in the Philippines is the Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan. It’s a 1,844-hectare national park and protected area consisting of 123 islands. People from the busy Manila (capital city of the Philippines) and provinces nearby can easily get their much-needed nature break here. In a way, it’s almost a preview of the exquisite Coron in Palawan, with the many islands you get to see all at once, only, more accessible and less expensive.
What to Bring:
Swimsuit, Sunblock/sunscreen, food and drinks (although there are mini-food shops on some islands), slippers, snorkeling gear and fins (you can rent them!), tent (if staying overnight in one of the islands), binoculars (for birding), camera (for your selfies and jumpshot photos)
Tip: While there are tents for rent at the Tourist center, it is best to bring your own. We spent a night with a rented tent, it rained, and we ended up getting wet inside. Also, take advantage of online deals. We particularly loved the Hundred Island adventure tour of the Phil. Adventure Consultants Inc. we found on Ensogo.
So what are the things you can do and enjoy at the Hundred Islands? Here are our recommendations:
1. Island Hop! (Obviously)
There are so many islands to choose from (literally!). The ones that are readily-accessible (especially if you avail of a group tour package like we did) are Governor’s Island, Children’s Island, Quezon Island, and Marcos Island. If you’re a fan of Pinoy Big Brother, it might interest you to know that a Big Brother house can be found (and be rented) at the Governor’s Island. Children’s Island is called such because the water there is shallow, adults can actually walk. Quezon Island is my least favorite because it could get too crowded. The last time I went on an island hopping tour, we snorkeled away because there’s just too many people. Marcos Island is fun, especially for semi-dare devils who love jumping off cliffs. There is a Bat Island too, ask your boatman to take you there.
2. Swim, Snorkel, and Helmet Dive
The underwater scene in Hundred Islands is surprisingly so beautiful. There’s just so many fishes and marine animals, and there are giant clams that I feel could fit a person. We were brought to this wonderful coral garden by our tour guide, and snorkeling there was just superb! [Note: I did not try Helmet Diving because I have a fear of being underwater for long periods of time.]
3. Explore the Caves
To be honest, I have not really explored a lot of caves here. There’s a small one where the boats dock at the Governor’s Island, and that cave-looking spot at Marcos (which people call Imelda) where you could jump off and swim your way out. I am not sure if it’s technically a cave that we saw at Virgin Island (or just a passageway) but you could check it out yourself, if you want to. We snorkeled our way there from our camp site at Governor’s, and we saw a snake. Ahhh!
To get to Hundred Islands, take a bus to Alaminos, then a tricycle to Lucap Wharf.
Don’t forget to look for Nemo!
Enjoy Hundred Islands!
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