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Bolinao is known for its pristine beaches, fresh sea food, enchanting caves, and lighthouse. It may not appear to be popular for people who aren’t from North so, I think it’s now the time for you to experience its unspoiled beauty before exploiters invade it.
I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve been to Bolinao. I think I’ve been there half a dozen time and I know that I’ll keep coming back to the “Hidden Jewel of the North.”
So, what’s in Bolinao? You mean aside from the stunning lighthouse, white sand beaches, caves, and jaw dropping sunsets? Bolinao is the perfect destination for relaxation — it is tranquil and serene, and far away from the bustling noise of Metro Manila.
If you’re planning to visit Bolinao on your next vacation – or even for your company’s next team building (I have organized a team building for our team once and they loved Bolinao!) – but kind of lost and don’t know where to begin, how to get there, what things to do, or where to stay, then I created this Awesome Bolinao Travel Guide for you.
- How to Get to Bolinao
- Where to Stay in Bolinao
- Best Places and Things to Do in Bolinao
- Where to Eat
- Sample Bolinao Itinerary
- Budget and Expenses
How to Get to Bolinao
Via bus from Cubao or Pasay terminal
There are 3 major bus line companies which travels to Bolinao, Pangasinan. Namely, these are (1) Victory Liner from the Cubao Q.C. terminal, (2) FiveStar Bus Inc. form the Pasay City terminal, and (3) Dagupan Bus Line from the Cubao Q.C. terminal. They offer day and night trips and you can book on ordinary (no air-con) or air-conditioned bus.
One-way fare cost: PHP 451.00 – 459.00 for air-conditioned bus and PHP 300.00 – 350.00 for nonair-con bus.
Travel time: 5 to 6 hours and has three stops prior to reaching Bolinao, namely Dau, Tarlac, and Alaminos. Make sure to bring some snacks to ease bus weariness.
Trip Schedule and Reservations: For bus schedule, ticket reservations, and other inquiries, you may contact the bus company at the following numbers:
Victory Liner, Cubao Q.C
Phone #: (02) 727-4534, 727-4688, 410-8986
FiveStar Bus Line Pasay City
Phone #: (02) 851-6613, 851-6614, 851-6659, 833-4772
Dagupan Bus Line, Cubao Q.C
Phone#: (02) 727-2330
Upon arriving at Bolinao bus terminal, take a tricycle and tell them to take your hotel or accommodation if you are staying overnight. Otherwise, just let the driver know the tourist spot you want to see. Due to unpaved roads, travel time from the bus terminal to the resort or hotel is another 20 to 35 minutes via tricycle or car.
Via car or own transport (from Manila)
For first timers, I would recommended taking SCTEX (Subic, Clark, and Tarlac Expressway) route so you can pass by Alaminos and Bani Pangasinan. As you have personal transportation, it will be easy to take your time and tour around the town.
Alternatively, you can take a joy ride to Bolinao through Iba (map directions below). Although it’s a longer route, I guarantee it’s a lovely, scenic route and you can pass through the beautiful city of Zambales.
Where to Stay in Bolinao
I strongly recommended that you stay overnight in Bolinao. There are several hotels, resorts, penthouse, and cottages to choose from. For budget travelers and adventurers, popular choices are room cottages located at Patar Beach. For photographers on a budget, setting up a tent or renting cottages at Rock View Beach Resort is also a great experience.
There are several hotels, resorts and cheap accommodations to choose from in Bolinao, Pangasinan. Depending on your budget, you may choose between high-end resorts and budget accommodations.
Please bear in mind that if you are looking for cheap accommodations in Bolinao, don’t expect too much, you get what you pay for.
Recommended Hotels and Accommodations
Only a 10-minute ride from Bolinao’s town proper, Villa Soledad boasts their native style villas that are perfect for both foreign and Filipino tourists. They have spacious standard double rooms with queen-sized beds.
Rate starts at: Php 3,000 or 58 USD for two adults per night. If you book through Agoda, however, the rate is cheaper which starts at Php 2,500 per night or 49 USD only.
This sweet apartment hotel is actually situated on the opposite side of Patar beach and is about an hour drive from Bolinao’s town proper and tourist attractions. Basically, it’s an off-the-beaten path accommodation but is very affordable for family or group travelers.
Imagine, you have the entire apartment with 2 bedrooms and fully-equipped kitchen for only Php 2,000 per night. Rullan Apartelle is a sweet home away from home.
Rates starts at: Php 2,000 or 39 USD for two adults per night.
Casa Almarenzo is the highest rated yet affordable hotel and resort in Bolinao. Situated along Patar Road where the best spot for a sunset is. They even have stylish and cozy rooms for every traveler’s need. For couples, their “Ana” room would be your best bet. All rooms have complimentary breakfast. Bed and breakfast right there!
Rates starts at: 60 USD or Php 3,091 for two adults per night.
For complete relaxation experience Puerto Del Sol Hotel and Resort offers the best amenities and services that are perfect for honeymooners or even babymooners. They have a cafe and two hotel restaurants all situated by the beach for that beautiful sunset. The cheapest room is Mansion Villa with twin beds.
Rates starts at: Php 4,725 or 92 USD for two adults per night.
If you are not ready to splurge yet for Puerto Del Sol, then Punta Riviera Resort is the best alternative, reasonable price without sacrificing comfort.
Rates starts at: Php 4,200 or 82 USD for two adults per night.
Unknown to many, El Pescador Resort and Hotel offers a Filipino rustic style accommodation that’s perfect for couple or group travelers. It is another off-the-beaten path place. Check the photos on their website and see.
Rates starts at: 34 USD or Php 1,751 for two adults per night.
Other Worth Mentioning Hotel and Resorts
|SCL Garden Paradise Resort|
Brgy. Ilog Malino, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Rates: Php 10,000 per night good for 14 people.
For Reservations: +63921-411-7938, +63917-634-5455
|Villa Carolina Y Juan Beach Resort
Brgy. Ilog Malino, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Rates: Php 3,000 per night good for 2-4 people
For Reservations: +63921-698-3340
|G Beach Resort|
Patar Beach, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Rates: Check website.
For Reservations: +63999-9909689, +63929-8068335
|Treasures of Bolinao Beach Resort and Hotel
Brgy. Patar, Bolinao
Rates: Php 4,000 good for 2
For Reservations: +63908-227-2748; +63921-564-2408
|Coco’s Beach Resort|
Barangay Estanza, Bolinao
Rates: Php 800 good for 4
For Reservations: +63919-691-4206
|Solomon’s Paradise Beach Resort
Abrac Patar, Bolinao
Room starts at: Php 1,500 per night good for 2
For Reservations: +63915-219-7545
|Rock View Beach|
Abrac Patar, 2406 Bolinao, Pangasinan
Rate: PHP 300 per night per person
For Reservations: +63919-896-6907
|Ilog Malino Beach Resort
Brgy. Ilog Malino, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Rate: PHP 1,200 per night good for 2
For Reservations: +63939-607-3001
|Liberty Beach Resort
Patar Rd, Bolinao, Pangasinan, Philippines
Rate: Php 1,000 per night good for 2
For Reservations: +63928-615-3017
Best Places and Things to Do in Bolinao
Admiring outstanding sunset view, relaxing at the beach to the sound of the waves, seeing Cape Bolinao lighthouse, exploring enchanting caves, and many more! There are countless activities and places for you to see and do in Bolinao.
1. St. James Church and Binungey
This beautiful 400-year-old church is just across the bus terminal. Try offering a gratitude prayer for a wonderful day you’ve experience upon your arrival in Bolinao town proper. The church was built by Augustinians in 1609.
In front of St. James church, you’ll see plenty of local vendors selling bundles of binungey. Binungey or sometimes binongey is a Bolinao’s popular rice delicacy. It is made of sticky rice, coconut milk, and cooked in a bamboo tube. Binungey actually served as our dessert after lunch at Adora’s Restaurant. To know more about binungey, you may visit this blog on how they make this delicious delicacy.
You cannot leave Bolinao without visiting its enigmatic caves. One of the popular caves in Bolinao is the Enchanted Cave. Entrance fee of Php 70.00 (as of 2013) and additional Php 20.00 if you want to take a dip.
Just 20 to 30 minutes away from the town proper, you can experience a natural hard massage offered by this falls. The water is refreshingly cool as always expected in waterfalls.
For Treasures of Bolinao, day use is Php 385 per adult and Php 280 per child. From there, you can use their open cottages, the beach, swimming pool, shower areas, billiard, and even the videoke bar (Source: Treasures of Bolinao website).
For Puerto Del Sol, a day trip tour isn’t really an official part of their services. But you can talk to the management and they would be happy to assist you around. You may also eat at their notable in-house restaurant Lap Laya which offers a superb dining experience and awesome view of the beach.
Cruising the Philippines’ cleanest river could probably be the most relaxing and amazing things you’ll experience in Bolinao. I discovered a very insightful post about it through this blog.
6. Cape Bolinao Lighthouse
Cape Bolinao lighthouse is just a few minutes walk from Patar White beach. This was where Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez’s movie “The Promise” took place. There’s also a stunning overlooking deck beside the lighthouse where you can relax and feel the wind from the pacific blue. Due to its romantic appeal, it is a popular choice among couples for engagement or prenuptial shoots.
There’s a nice souvenir shop located in Patar White Beach. But you may also spot small local merchants like these kids who will try to make you buy their personalized souvenirs.
8. Patar Beach
Patar White Beach is the most popular beach in Pangasinan. The most attractive thing to see here is the sunset.
9. Rock View Beach
Rock View Beach is on the opposite side of Patar White Beach. Recently, it became a private property but guests are still welcome to visit it.
Perhaps this is where the best sunset I’ve ever seen. During the event, just grab a beer, sit back, and relax while hearing the strong waves coming from the South China Sea. Fantabulous.
Where to Eat
The Adora’s Restaurant is open 24 hours. It is located just behind St. James Church and they serve the best lomi in town for only Php 50.00, which is a perfect meal after a long butt-numbing ride. Eat here before you head to your hotel or starting your tour. Near Patar Beach, two well-known restaurants are Sungayan Grill and Giant Taklobo Resto Grill.
Sample Bolinao Itinerary
Here’s a sample Bolinao itinerary which you can use as your guide.
Budget and Expenses
Here’s my budget and expenses for Bolinao. You’ll save more if you will travel with car and split the cost of gas.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
― Marcel Proust