Best of Pangasinan : Hundred Islands National Park a Budget Travel

Alaminos in Pangasinan is riddled with utterly captivating forest green coral islands hugged by cerulean waters, which for the most part, are blissfully deserted. Comprised of 123 sun-kissed islets that houses varied wildlife, the Hundred Islands is the poster boy of the province.
In 2008, it graced the cover of the “501 Must-Visit Islands” book published in the United Kingdom. The same year, the book “Bird watching in the Philippines” was launched at the World Travel Mart in Great Britain and the Hundred Islands is on the list of the 13 best bird watching sites in the country.
Out of the 123 islands, only three have been developed; Governors Island, Quezon Island and Children’s Island. The Governors Island is home to the Pinoy Big Brother House (Teen Edition), a former hit reality TV show. It has a viewing deck offering a scenic view of several islands threaded with azure and teal green waters. From this famed island, you can also wade through the waters to get to a small islet called Virgin Island. Quezon and Children’s Island are the perfect spot for swimming.
The lesser known Shell Island is hugged by cream sands and a shallow lagoon fringed by rock formations. Marcos Island is a favorite spot for cliff jumping because of its stunning underwater cave with emerald green waters. As their name suggests, Monkey Island is inhabited by monkeys while Bat Islands is inhabited by bats, but the Turtle Island however doesn’t have turtle residents but is shaped like this timid animal. Cuenco Island has splendid twin beaches and Cuenco Cave is sandwiched in the middle, and the Old Scout Islands is a perfect spot for lazing by the beach as well as Lopez Islands.
Getting to Alaminos, Pangasinan
To get to Hundred Islands, you can ride a bus bound to Alaminos, Pangasinan. From Manila, air-conditioned bus fare won’t exceed Php 400. It may take up to 3-4 hours to reach Alaminos and from there, you can charter a tricycle to take you to the jump off point which is Lucas Wharf. But if you want to save a few bucks, head to the Lucas Terminal where you can ride a tricycle for Php 15, but it will only leave once full ( at least 4 passengers is needed).
Fare: Php 800 (estimated roundtrip bus fare) + Php 30 tricycle (round trip /regular fare) = Php 830
( photo courtesy of Reynaldo Livara Jr.)
Hundred Islands Park Fees
At Lucas Wharf, visitors need to register and pay the Hundred Island Park Fees. If doing a day tour, fee is only Php 20, for overnight Php 40.
Park Fees: Php 20- Php 40 (entrance fee), Php 800 – Php 1,500 (boat) + Php 250 (kayak) + Php 100 (snorkel) = Php 1,190 to Php 1,890.
If you still can’t get enough of Hundred Islands, rent a kayak for Php 250 per hour (good for 2 persons) and paddle from one island to the next! Go snorkeling and discover the colorful marine life, renting a snorkeling gear will cost you Php 100. Other camping supplies like grills, coolers and mats could also be rented out.
Other Fees (optional): Php 200 (Table for Rent/Picnic Area- Day Tour) / Php 300 (Table for Rent/Picnic Area- Overnight)/ Php 250 (kayak) / Php 100 (snorkel) / Php 5 (CR)
If you want to rough it up, you can camp at the Hundred Islands, Camping Fee (Hundred Islands) is Php 200/per night and tent rental is Php 400. To save on the tent rental, bring your own tent. You can also rent a cottage with rooms or open hut starting at Php 300. Alternatively, you may just do a day tour of the Hundred Islands and look for a budget hotel in Alaminos. Check out Islandia Hotel with twin rooms for Php 1,500 inclusive of breakfast and Island Tropic Hotel for with rooms as low as Php 1,600 (good for two).
If going there as a group (4-6 pax), you can rent a cottage for your overnight stay for Php 2,500 or book the Barkadahan Rooms (good for 4 people) for Php 2,000 at Island Tropic Hotel.
Accommodation: Php 200+ Php 400 (tent/camping) /Php 300-Php 1,500 (cottage), Php 1,500 (twin rooms) / Php 2,00 (family room), Php 2,500 (cottage)
Meals will cost you around Php 80- Php 100, so allocate at least Php 300 per person per day (3 full meals) for food. You can buy food at Alaminos town or at the eateries in Lucas Wharf.
Meals: at least Php 300 per day
Gael Hilotin is the author of The Pinay Solo Backpacker.

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