PLACES TO VISIT & ACTIVITIES TO DO


Bolinao is a great place when one is looking for serenity and peace but there are also tons of activities that are not only unique but will leave you with a truly unforgettable experience. It is a simple town indeed but in its core is a melting pot of rich natural resources such as pristine white beaches, seascapes, coral-reefs, waterfalls, caves and so much more. 

Casa Almarenzo Bed & Breakfast is here to accommodate you while enjoying your stay in Bolinao. Here are some places and activities that you can visit in Bolinao and neighbouring areas: 

Places to Visit

 

bolinao-whitebeach-patarCape Bolinao White Beach, Patar

Situated at the north-western tip of Pangasinan and Lingayen Gulf, the scenic town of Bolinao boasts of a number of pristine beaches regarded to be some of the best in the province. An au fait traveller should have known by now that Patar beach top the list of must visits in this part of the province. The white beach in Barangay Patar is a scenic spot ideal for tourism purposes. Considered as a hidden treasure of Bolinao, Patar beach is a gem for the beach bums and nature lovers alike. Though its sand may not be as pure white and refined as that of Boracay’s, its clear aquamarine waters and unspoiled surroundings are as inviting. For travellers who constantly avoid crowded and over-developed beaches, the Patar beach of Bolinao is the best fit. 

Travel Time from Casa Almarenzo: 14 minutes/11.1 km drive

 

patar-lighthouse16th Century Patar Lighthouse

For 101 years now, the Cape Bolinao lighthouse stands proud atop Punta Piedra Point in Barangay Patar in Bolinao, Pangasinan, guiding ships and vessels cruising the international passage along the South China Sea.

Nestled amid trees, the lighthouse was built in 1905 by Filipino, British and American engineers. It is one of the five major lighthouses in the country and the second tallest, next to the Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. It has become a prominent landmark that tourists frequent.

The 30.78-meter (101-foot) tower provides a panoramic view of the blue sea and white beaches, offshore reefs and rock formations, as well as rolling verdant hills. Once in a while, a passing vessel dots the sea, an international route of vessels going to Hong Kong, Japan and the United States.

The 140-step winding stairway of the tower leads to the illumination room, 76.2 m above sea level. According to Pedro Honrada, the lighthouse’s head keeper, the lantern is visible 44 kilometers away, guiding seafarers (led toward this area by a lighthouse in Zambales) toward the lighthouse in Poro Point, La Union.

The late Bolinao historian Catalino Catanaoan said the original light machine was manufactured in England, while the lantern, with three wicks and chimneys, was imported from France.

“Filipino machinists were able to copy the original [when they repaired it]. The light machine is rotated by a system of gears like that of a big clock with a pendulum of weights, winded and suspended with steel cable,” he said.

Kerosene fuel

The lighthouse was fueled by kerosene during its first 80 years of operation. When the Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative extended its lines to Patar, the lanterns were powered by electricity.

In 1999, the lighthouse was renovated through a loan package extended by the Japanese government to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), which is in charge of the facility. Aside from repairing and repainting the tower, the assistance included setting up solar panels, a new apparatus and two beacon lights. The panels recharge the lights. 

Travel Time from Casa Almarenzo: 14 minutes/11.1 km drive 

 

balingasay-riverBalingasay River

Known as one of the cleanest river in the Philippines, and the cleanest in Luzon. Balingasay River (Brgy. Balingasay) is twice winner of the Gawad Pangulo sa Kapaligiran Award for inland bodies of water and a recipient of the highly prestigious Wetlands Conservation Award in 1994. The river is set aside as a protected seascape, it has century-old and new growth mangroves areas (home to many fish species), stretches of nipa palms and balete trees hanging into the water. You can rent a boat to tour you the entire stretch of the river and be rewarded at the end where you can swim in an oasis-like area of chilly, clean river water. (Read “Bangka Safari” below for more information.)

Travel Time from Casa Almarenzo: 2 minutes/1.4 km drive 

 

enchanted-caveEnchanted Cave

If you prefer not to compete with the heat and tourists visiting Patar beach, you can opt to try out one of the several natural caves in Bolinao. It is more private and lets you experience nature at a different level with its cool waters and unique structure. Discover the mystic appeal of this natural cave nestled in a stunning coral reef mountain. (Read “Caving or Spelunking” below for more information.)

Travel Time from Casa Almarenzo: 5 minutes/5.3 km drive 

 

 

bolinao-fallsBolinao Falls

Bolinao Falls is a series of falls located in the central part of Bolinao Pangasinan. It has been a great symbolism of not only for its astounding beauty and depth but also for the remarkable history that comes with it. 

Travel Time from Casa Almarenzo: 43 minutes/28.6 km drive 

 

 

 

tara-fallsTara Falls

Experience the enchanting beauty of the rock formations built by nature and formed by time.

Travel Time from Casa Almarenzo: 36 minutes/27 km drive 

 

 

 

 

bolinao-museumBolinao Museum

The museum houses the archaeological diggings of the 14th century burial site in Balingasay, Chinese coins, pottery wares and of the valuable culture materials and collections of the art, geology, botany, zoology and history.

Travel Time from Casa Almarenzo: 10 minutes/7 km drive 

 

 

 

 

UP-marine-sanctuaryUP Marine Sanctuary

It is the site for active research of ecology of major tropical ecosystem such as coral reefs, mangroves and sea-grass beds, on the oceanography of coastal waters. A nature junkie should make sure to stop by here to check out the different kinds of aquatic beauties found and taken care of in Bolinao.

Travel Time from Casa Almarenzo: 15 minutes/9.7 km drive 

 

 

st.james-churchChurch of St. James the Great

In 1607, the church was built and still remains intact and is presently considered as one of the oldest church in the Philippines.

One interesting fact about St. James the Great Church is, it is said to have celebrated the first mass in the country in 1324 - some 200 years before the Spaniards did so in Leyte, according to history textbooks.

According to historians, Franciscan missionary “Blessed Odorico” from Friuli (now Udine), Italy officiated the first Catholic mass in the Philippines, particularly in Bolinao.

As the “pioneer of missions in spreading the gospel of the Bible to Asia”, Blessed Odorico was said to have visited the Philippines from China in 1324.

After landing and taking refuge in Bolinao during a stormy weather, Father Odorico celebrated a thanksgiving mass in honor of their safe journey and his mission in Asia. He also indoctrinated and baptized Malay immigrants in Bolinao.

Father Odorico returned home to Italy after 13 years of his mission and died on January 14, 1331. His remains are kept in a tomb at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Friuli.

The National Historical Institute, however, still recognizes that the first mass in the country was held in Limasawa in Leyte on March 1521.

In 1594, the Spanish colonial government entrusted Bolinao to the Dominicans, who left in 1607 due to the vastness of their mission territories so the Augustinians took over the mission and built the the St. James Church in 1609.

The church tower, then measuring 75 feet, was the tallest in the whole of Pangasinan and the entire Northern Luzon. However, an earthquake in 1788 toppled about half of the tower. The church convent also survived a huge fire in 1819.

Travel Time from Casa Almarenzo: 10 minutes/7 km drive 

 

 

Things to Do

 

scuba-diving 

Scuba Diving

A certified diver may enjoy the splendid underwater dive provided in Bolinao. Admire and study the treasure found hundred feet below the surface up close and place yourself amongst colourful corals and beautiful fishes. Diving must be pre-arranged at our Manila Sales Office.

 

 

snorkelingSnorkeling

Bolinao is surrounded by about 20 kilometers of coral-reef for you to explore and enjoy. Better bring your own snorkels to enjoy different species of fish and other marine organisms. Best locations for snorkeling are: Patar beach, Balingasay sanctuary, Ilog Malino beach, Silaqui Island shoreline, Santiago Island shoreline.

 

 

fishing 

Fishing

Go bottom fishing or trawling at the Balingasay River not only for a challenging activity but also to have a chance to enjoy your own big catch.

 

 

kayaking 

Kayaking

Kayaks can be means of enjoying the beautiful shoreline and seascapes up close and personal in Bolinao, with the added exercise and fun. Kayaking is more enjoyable in the afternoon not only because of the heat but you may also watch the sunset. (Available in Casa Almarenzo Bed & Breakfast)

 

 

bangka-safariBangka Safari

Some beach resorts have "Bangka" boat which they offer to their guests. Bangka or boat can be rented per half day or full day. You can rent a Bangka beside Balingasay River which allows you to explore the clean river of Balingasay and trips to the Balingasay sanctuary (a marine protected area) to see the coral reefs and surrounding islands.

You can also rent a private Bangka in Luciente 1 port. Expect that Bangka in Luciente 1 are bigger than in Balingasay because they actually use it as means of transportation for the passengers going to Santiago Island. You can visit the surroundings of Santiago Islands and Silaqui Islands.

If you want to have a Bangka expedition and scuba diving session at the same time, we suggest going to UPMSI (University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute) located at Guiguiwanen, Luciente 1, Bolinao, Pangasinan. They will provide all your needs from tourist guides, suits and of course, the Bangka. Size of Bangka is depending upon your request. With a large group of people, it will require a bigger Banka to get to Luciente 1 port. (Available in Casa Almarenzo Bed & Breakfast)

 

jet-skiing 

Jet Skiing

Some beach resorts provide Jet Skis', a battery operated watercraft if you prefer skipping across the waves without much effort and to be able to explore the different parts of Bolinao without the fuzz of paddling or driving.

 

caving 

Caving or Spelunking

If you want some recreational experience exploring a cave system, you can visit Enchanted cave, Wonderful cave, and Cindy's cave. These caves are located in Barangay Ilog Malino. In fact, these caves have underground fresh water and many people come and visit for swimming experience. The owners already developed these three caves for visitors. Lighting and man-made stairs are provided for easy passage in entering and exiting the caves. Cottages and public comfort rooms are also available outside the cave for visitors use.

 

 

 

hundred-islands

 

HUNDRED ISLANDS - Alaminos, Pangasinan

The Hundred Islands National Park (Pangasinan: Kapulo-puloan or Taytay-Bakes) is in the province of Pangasinan in northern Philippines. It is located at Alaminos, Pangasinan. The islands (124 at low tide and 123 at high tide) are scattered in the Lingayen Gulf and cover an area of 18.44 square kilometres (4,557 acres). They are believed to be about two million years old. Only three of them have been developed for tourists: Governor Island, Quezon Island, and Children's Island. The islands are actually ancient corals that extend well inland, in an area previously comprising the seabed of an ancient sea. Lowering sea levels have exposed them to the surface and the peculiar "mushroom"-like shapes of some of the islands have been caused by the eroding action of the ocean waves. (Wikipedia)

Travel Time from Casa Almarenzo: 57 minutes/45.9 km drive