As summer continues to bring unforgiving heat, Filipinos flock to the beach to beat the sweltering heat of the sun. With 7,107 islands, the Philippines is blessed with beaches that have global appeal.

Perhaps the perfect example to this is the Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos City in the province of Pangasinan. Local and foreign tourists alike bask in summer glory through the 123 limestone islands scattered beautifully in the sea—making it as among the banner posters for Philippine tourism.

Tourists mostly visit three of these islands: Governor’s Island, Quezon Island and Children’s Island. Developed by the local government, these islands are just the few islands where tourists can embark to roam, climb the hills, play with its white sand and explore the sea through snorkeling.

In Marcos Island, there is a natural swimming pool frequented by tourists for its cool waters. Called as the Imelda’s Cave, this natural pool gets light coming from the big hole above it. Tourists can choose to descend or to jump into the waters and swim their way out to the open sea.

A new attraction in Governor’s Island is its island-to-island zipline activity. The 564-meter zipline starts from the top of the gigantic Governor’s Island and ends at the small Virgin Island below. With the blue waters below, one can truly feel the rush as one starts to zip with the panoramic view of the Hundred Islands.

A giant statue of St. Joseph the Carpenter, patron saint of the town of Alaminos, can also be found at the top of the Governor’s Island as a sign of gratitude of the locals for keeping the Hundred Islands safe and beautiful.

CRYSTAL-CLEAR. Irresistible waters of Hundred Islands.

These islands also offer picnic huts and tables, restrooms, and cottages for those who would like to stay overnight. For a whole day excursion, groups can hire a pump boat to explore the rest of the countless islands believed to be two million years old.

In mainlaind Alaminos, there are many operators that offer tour services in Hundred Islands. Big groups can hire a private boat so as to maximize the visit around this national park since regular tour operators usually bring the tourists to the developed islands only. It is better that before starting your tour, you and your guides agree whether to just go to the usual sites or to visit other sites, too.

These islands are actually part of a national park that straddles to 1, 860 hectares. According to the City Government of Alaminos, President Manuel Quezon officially declared Hundred Islands as a national park on January 8, 1940.

SIDE TRIP TO OTHER SITES

After exploring the beautiful Hundred Islands, a tour to some of the important points of interests in Pangasinan should also be considered.

Topping the list is a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag, some two hours away from Lucap Wharf, the jumping point of the Hundred Islands tour. The Manaoag shrine houses the image of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, considered by many as miraculous. Thousands of Filipino believers converge on weekends to pray for their respective intentions, hear Mass, pray the rosary, light the candles, among others.

In the City of Dagupan, have a taste of their cuisine through the countless recipes of bangus, the city’s widely popular product. Restaurants offering bangus delicacies are plenty in the city, some of which are located just beside the ponds where bangus are grown and harvested.

When in Lingayen, the capital of the province of Pangasinan, head to their beautiful Provincial Capitol. With its beautiful architectural and interior design, the grandness of the province’s seat of government is evident.

Manaoag Church in Pangasinan

Just a walking distance from the provincial capitol is the Urduja House. Named after the beautiful legendary warrior princess, Urduja House is the official residence of the Governor of Pangasinan. Urduja is said to have ruled the kingdom of Tawalisi in the province of Pangasinan in the ancient times.

Today, this legend lives on with this important building named after her, where high-level meetings are held and important personalities are received. Surprisingly, the ground floor of the Urduja House is open to the public for free, giving locals and tourists alike the opportunity to be awed by its beautiful architecture.

If and when you haven’t got enough of the sea during your trip to the Hundred Islands, a public beach near the provincial capitol and the Urduja House can be visited. The local government should be credited for maintaining the cleanliness of this public beach.

The Urduja House in the Provincial Capitol Complex.
Church of Manaoag
Light a Candle at Manaoag, Pangasinan
Pangasinan Capitol at Dusk

Vendors selling foods to locals are stationed in just one area away from the beach, ensuring an interrupted view of this historical place. Lingayen beach, one of the beautiful beaches that line up the Lingayen Gulf, is where General Douglas MacArthur landed his invasion fleets in 1945 to drive out Japanese invaders during World War II.

This summer, consider Pangasinan. While here, be prepared for your hundred hoorays.

Children playing at Lingayen Beach.

How to Get to Pangasinan

The Hundred Islands National Park is four to five hours away from Manila by bus. From Manila, take the bus to Alaminos City. Upon arrival, head to Lucap Wharf—the starting point of the Hundred Islands tour—via tricycle.  At the wharf, many tour operators offer their services, with fees ranging from 1,000 to 3,500 pesos.