Bolinao’s Best Kept Secrets
Located at the westernmost tip of Pangasinan is the town of Bolinao. It is famous for its mangoes, Patar Beach, and the Bolinao Lighthouse. For all the local and foreign tourists who go there, it does not have the tourist-y look of most tourist destinations. There are a lot of cheap lodgings, and if you are lucky enough to know a local, it is easy to get an invite to crash or stay overnight as a guest. Getting to Bolinao is a four- to five-hour ride by bus from Cubao.
Here are the Top Spots to Visit in Bolinao:
This is located along the highway, just before reaching the Town Proper, and across from Cape Bolinao High School. Exhibits include archeological finds from the late ice age.
Long Beach Resort
Isolated beach resort located at Long Beach. The beach itself is rocky, but the water is shallow. The resort is privately owned and you would need to reserve in advance. You would be renting a cottage, no maximum occupants, and you have free rein of the kitchen. Buy fresh fish in the market and you can have your own picnic on the grounds.
The Fish Market (Pantalan)
Go there early as the fish are brought in straight from the motor outrigger fishing boats. Follow the main highway straight past the town hall and the plaza. You would be surprised at the variety and the size of the fishes on sale. If you have a ken for bagoong, follow the scent and you would end up at a store which sells all kinds of bagoong.
This is the jump off point to Santiago Island, and the fish pens beyond the island. There’s a breakwater and a wharf along the mainly reclaimed area.
Sundowner Resto and Resort
Accessible from Picocobuan is Sundowner Resort. It is a bed and breakfast type of resort with a pool and restaurant. Easier access would be with a vehicle turning right going to the UP Marine Institute. Sundowner is on the left after the Municipal Cemetary.
St. James Church
The church sustained heavy damage from 2009’s Typhoon Emong. A large section of the roof was swept away by the typhoon’s strong winds. In the ensuing repair, St. James Church major renovation was also undertaken.
Located at Patar, the lighthouse stands more than 300 feet high. The grounds are open, but climbing the lighthouse is no longer allowed. You would need to get to know the lighthouse keeper if you want to climb and take pictures.
Patar is a barangay on western Bolinao. The beach itself is mainly a high white sand dune leading to the waters. The waters are shallow, with a barrier about a hundred meters from the beach.
Bolinao Falls 1 and 2
These are small falls which are relatively hard to reach (takes at least 30 minutes of driving over rough road, and at least 10 minutes of walking).
Bolinao sits on top a major limestone deposit, hence the various caves in the area. Going to Patar, there are at least two caves located on private property. These both have pools of fresh water where visitors dive into for a swim.
Located on the Balingasay River, the Sungayan Grill is a riverside restaurant which offers fresh seafood.
You can rent kayaks and paddle upstream of the Balingasay River.