The first out-of-town trip that I joined with my officemates that isn’t company-sponsored was at Treasures of Bolinao in Bolinao, Pangasinan. This is a remote beach resort at Patar Beach, Cape Bolinao on the western edge of the province and overlooks the vast expanse of the South China Sea. The trip was way back in summer of 2004 and I would have to say that the 6-hour (one way) trip going to and from the resort was a bit stressful, though there were plenty of memorable sights and events along the way. Like the time when one van in the convoy was overtaken by a tricycle, or spotting a jeepney with a “Hog Dealer” signage but filled with people, and using a shop sign that says “Liposuction, breast augmentation, and nose lift” as a landmark.
Treasures of Bolinao was actually just starting as a resort when we went there. It actually felt like we were guests of a family vacation house complete with lutong-bahay (home-cooked) meals. The accommodations were sparse and there was no swimming pool yet. The place is actually so remote that the road going there from the town proper of Bolinao was not well-paved and is actually no more than a dirt road in some places. Plus, there was no cellphone signal at all in the area at that time.
However, the location was quite nice. The resort is built on top of a rocky part of the beach and the concrete bridge over the rocks (seen quite clearly in Google Maps) is one of the unique highlights of the resort. There’s a small beach to the north, and a lengthy stretch of off-white sand to the south, but what I enjoyed most was walking along the rocks during low tide and plunging into jacuzzi-like pools scattered among the rocks filled with small fishes.
Photo from the Treasures of Bolinao website.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go to the famed Cape Bolinao Lighthouse nearby, which is supposedly the second-tallest lighthouse in the country next to Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Ilocos Norte. (
I’ll try to feature the Bolinao lighthouse in the future. ) The tourist spot that we were able to go to is the so-called Cindy’s Cave which has a nice natural underwater pool.
I haven’t gone back to Treasures of Bolinao but the amenities and infrastructure in the area is definitely loads better. Bolinao as a travel destination is entering the radar of local travelers and demand is picking up. One boost to the tourism of the resort and the area was the fact that several scenes in the movie Agent X44, which starred Vhong Navarro, was filmed at the resort. (The movie sucked, by the way.) And basing on what I saw in the movie and the photo gallery of the resort’s website, I wish we went to Bolinao a few years later instead.
Treasures of Bolinao Beach Resort and Hotel
Brgy. Patar, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Official website: http://www.treasuresofbolinao.com/