(A relaxing side trip after a week-long work schedule, February 7, 2015)
(A relaxing side trip after a week-long work schedule, February 7, 2015)

Relaxation of both body and mind is essential for life.

At the end of our trip schedule in a research work, we decided to look for a place to unwind. After some short discussions and few considerations, we opted to go to Alaminos, Pangasinan and visit the Hundred Islands National Park.

Hundred Islands National Park is located in Barangay Lucap in Alaminos, Pangasinan. The approximate size of the area is around 1,844 hectares and divided to a total of 123 islands of varying sizes (Department of Tourism). The name of the islands are derived from the name of Philippine Presidents (Marcos, Quezon, Lopez, among others), shapes  (Turtle), inhabiting wildlife (Bat, Monkey), among others.

Since we could only stay there for a very short period of time, just approximately 6 hours (8am to 2pm), we tried our best to maximize the experience by doing as much activities as possible.  If you only have time as short as we had, here are some activities you can try:

1. Picture Taking

The island group is endowed with a number of picturesque views. So take out your camera, strike some pose and have a lot of wonderful shots with these breathtaking views.

Posing for the beach
Posing for the beach
Photographing in Cuenca Island
Photographing in Cuenca Island

2. Island Hopping

Among all the 123 islands in the national park, 3 islands are the most developed for tourism, namely Governor’s island, Quezon Island and Children’s Island. However, with the continuing patronage of local and foreign tourists, a number of islands are now developed also for ecotourism purposes. Some of them include Marcos Island, Virgin Island, and Cuenca Island.

You can go from one island to another through boating, kayaking and even just walking since you can cross the sea using bridges and through sandbars.

bridge connecting two islands
bridge connecting two islands
Island hopping by foot
Island hopping by foot

3. Swimming

The national park is also very ideal for those who just enjoy regular swimming in shallow waters. It is very ideal for small children and for senior citizens who just want to paddle. The most ideal for these types of people is the Children’s Island. The island is named as such because of its shallow water which is very safe for small children. (Note, other islands are also ideal for this type of activity)

the view of the other side of Quezon Island
the view of the other side of Quezon Island

4. Helmet Diving

The national park is gifted with beautiful coral garden and colorful fishes. You may see them through a number of means including helmet diving. For few minutes, you can walk in the sea floor and have a picture with the fishes, giant clams and corals.

helmets for helmet diving
helmets for helmet diving

5. Scuba Diving

If you already know how to do scuba diving and need not to train anymore, you can also rent a scuba gear and enjoy the underwater experience for a longer period of time.

Scuba diver teaching the tourists the proper  hand signs during helmet diving
Scuba diver teaching the tourists the proper hand signs during helmet diving

6. Cliff Jumping

If you want to be a little more adventurous, you can definitely try jumping off a cliff. You can try this inside the Imelda Cave in Marcos Island.

Imelda Cave in Marcos Island
Imelda Cave in Marcos Island

7. Snorkeling

Another way to view the coral garden is by snorkeling. Gears are available even in transient houses.

kids playing along the beach after snorkeling

8. Kayaking

Have a very fun way of hopping into different islands using kayaks. It is a great exercise too.

a kayak resting along the shore
a kayak resting along the shore

9. Trekking

For people who love trekking, a number of of islands offer this type of activity. Some islands are developed with concrete stairs so tourists can go up and down these islands.

Trail in Governor's Island
Trail in Governor’s Island

10. Spelunking

Many islands are also gifted with good caves including Marcos island, Virgin Island and Cuenca Island. Some caves are short, some are relatively longer (length). Some are big, while others are very small (opening).

Cave in Cuenca Island
Cave in Cuenca Island

11. Ziplining

Another outdoor activity that you can definitely try in the national park is ziplining. Instead of mountains and forests, the zipline in this national park crosses the sea. There are two ziplines available in the national park which are both located in Quezon Island. The first is 120 meters long and the other is 546 meters long which connects the island to Virgin Island (Philippine Daily Inquirer).

flying above the sea
flying above the sea

12. Wildlife Viewing

The national park is also rich in different forms of wildlife, both flora and fauna. They are located within the island and also below the sea. As aforementioned, there are islands which are actually named after the wildlife species inhabiting the islands. These include the Bat Island and the Monkey Island.

clinging into the rock

13. Souvenir Shopping

As with other tourist spots, different types of souvenir items are also available. The stores are located in Lucap Wharf.

Numerous and colorful merchandises within the wharf
Numerous and colorful merchandises within the Lucap wharf

So, if you really want to visit this famous tourist spot but are worried because of time constraint, I would really recommend that you go and visit the national park and don’t worry about the time. But I would still suggest that if you can stay much longer, pls do so since the national park is  packed with other activities.

After taking our lunch and  resting, we went off the national park.

When we left, we took nothing but pictures, we left nothing but memories.

For more photos, pls visit the Life Gallery.

Other notes:

  • A number of transient houses are located just walking distance from Lucap Wharf which are cheaper from hotels along the wharf. If you are traveling within a tight budget, it is a lot more practical to stay in these transient houses. Although they are cheap, they are still comfortable. Well, we need not to have a very expensive accommodation to start with since we are only staying there for a very short time since we are most of the time outside, enjoying the island trip.
  • Some souvenir items are also sold near along Lucap wharf by street vendors. They sell them for cheaper price.
  • You may opt to have your lunch in Cuenca Island rather than in Governor’s Island. Cuenca island has a much lesser crowd than the latter and serves cheaper meals.
  • Aside from diving and swimming gears, you may also opt to bring different viewing gears such as binoculars so you can have a clearer view of the different wildlife species in the national park.

For bus trip schedule, kindly visit the official websites of the following bus companies:

Travel Guide*    
Route Mode of Transportation Estimated Travel Time
Cubao to Alaminos, Pangasinan (Town Proper) Bus (Dagupan bound) 6 hours
Town Proper to Lucap Wharf Tricycle ≈ 20 minutes
Lucap Wharf to the Islands (Governor’s Island) Motorized Banca  ≈ 1 hour