Bolinao Pangasinan Philippines

Bolinao, the perfect place for adventure lovers

Bolinao is a third class municipality in the province of Pangasinan, and is located north west from Manila with Lingayen Gulf on the East, and the South China Sea to the west. In 2015, my family and I took an Easter road trip that entailed driving inland up to Bolinao from Manila, and then driving back down the west coast of Luzon, with a stopover in Agno, and one night’s stay in Tambobong. We had an absolutely fantastic road trip and would love to do it again.

In Bolinao, we stayed at a place called SCL Garden Paradise Resort, which was right on the beach. This was a local style resort and was more than adequate for our needs. Easter was the time we went, so the choices were restricted. There are a dozen or so resorts in the area worth looking into, particularly closer to Patar Beach.

So many things to see and do in Bolinao

Bolinao is a place that really offers so much to see and do. It has white sand beaches, caves, waterfalls, amazing rock formations and the historic Bolinao Lighthouse. There was certainly plenty to keep us entertained. Whilst not as popular as the nearby and more renowned One Hundred Islands, I was amazed we didn’t see more foreigners there as this place offers so much, but maybe the locals want to keep it that way?

From the moment I first kicked back in our nipa hut with an ice cold beer, overlooking the serene waters of the South China Sea, I remember asking myself why I hadn’t visited this place sooner! This is a place that certainly isn’t talked about much. Maybe the long drive is what turns people off, but for me, it was well worth the journey!

Patar white beach Bolinao Pangasinan philippines

First stop was Patar white beach. This was a very popular beach with locals, but unusually, I didn’t see any foreigners there. This is hard to understand when you look at these views.

Patar white beach Bolinao Pangasinan philippines

Another section of Patar white beach which looks like a scene from Castaway. We had a very relaxing day chilling out on this beach.

Bolinao Falls Pangasinan philippines

Bolinao Falls has several smaller waterfalls along a stream culminating in this waterfall here. This then flows further downstream into the Balingasay River.

Bolinao Falls Pangasinan philippines

One of the several smaller waterfalls along the stream. It was so relaxing and refreshing to sit and lean back against the rocks with the water gushing over you.

Rock formation Bolinao Pangasinan philippines

This place is simply called Rock Formation, also along Patar beach. It had some of the clearest water I have ever seen. This very small cove was very popular with the locals and it’s easy to see why.

Bolinao Pangasinan philippines

Enchanted Cave is an underground cave in which many locals go to swim, so it does get quite busy. Life vests are available and there are actually concreted steps that lead into the water.

Bolinao Pangasinan philippines

Cindy’s Cave is another underground cave which is quite hot in the cave itself, but the water is very refreshing. This cave wasn’t as busy as the more popular Enchanted Cave.

Bolinao Pangasinan philippines sunset

A sunset view from out the front of SCL Garden Resort where we stayed. For a local resort, it had good food, a good beach and most of all, amazing sunsets.

How to get there

From Makati to Bolinao it’s about 320kms, which can take up to six hours, depending on the traffic. We went via the NLEX and SCTEX, and through Alaminos (One Hundred Islands).

From Pasay City, you can get a bus straight to Bolinao (with a couple of stopovers on the way). That can take up to eight hours depending on traffic, and the cost for a round trip is just under P1,000. Once you arrive at the Bolinao terminal, you could catch a tricycle or jeepney to your resort, depending on where you are staying, for less than P100.

Bolino Falls 1 & 2 are further inland in Samang Norte, about 20 kms away, or about a one hour drive. Without your own vehicle, you could catch a jeepney and then a tricycle there, which you can arrange through your resort. The last few kms to the actual falls are dirt roads and very bumpy!

Dezza´s Tip

You can hire a tricycle to take you to different tourist attractions in Bolinao such as the three popular caves, Enchanted, Wonderful and Cindy’s Caves, Patar White Beach, Rock Formation Beach and Cape Bolinao Lighthouse. Local knowledge can save a lot of time. This should cost no more than P1,000. You can also ask at the resort you are staying at. You can also hire nipa huts/cottages along Patar Beach for about P500 which are great for kicking back in. Please note the caves all have an entry fee of about P50 each.