I’ve been living in Pangasinan for almost two years now, since getting married to Dante, who is a native of the province. However, I haven’t even been to any of its famous beaches, particularly on the easternmost tip of Luzon island, by the West Philippine Sea — that is, until recently.
As a post-birthday and post-Valentine trip, my husband and I journeyed to Bolinao, which is known for its awesome beaches. After an almost 6-hour commute (and 3 bus stops) from Rosales, we finally arrived at around 3pm and checked into the El Pescador Resort Hotel.
Wasting no time, we left our bags and headed straight to the Bolinao Marine Laboratory, just one tricycle ride away. The lab is managed by the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute. Here, we saw sea urchins, starfish, and giant clams being cultured by researchers!
The laboratory leads straight to the beach, where we saw some students who had just come back from a diving trip. We walked for a few minutes until we reached the Port Lighthouse (not to be confused with the more popular Cape Bolinao Lighthouse), and then traveled to the town proper.
Situated in the heart of Bolinao town proper is St. James the Great Parish, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Records show that Dominican friars had served there in 1594! Back then, the church tower was the tallest (75 feet) in the province, if not the entire Northern Luzon.
Since guests are allowed to bring food into the hotel, we bought dinner in town and settled into one of the many tables by the beach. We had a relaxing time, eating good food and simply enjoying the salty sea breeze. Tired after the long commute, we tucked in early for the night.
Early the next morning, we went to the beach for a walk, collecting shells, and taking pictures, of course! The beach is filled with clams, shells, and corals — so it’s better not to walk barefoot. After a leisurely stroll, we had a hearty breakfast (tapsilog, bangsilog) at the hotel restaurant.
Then, we spent the rest of the morning at the pool, where other guests were relaxing, too. It had a domed terrace with a fountain, which made swimming even more fun! At noon, we checked out and had lunch at Adora’s (a popular resto in town), before taking the bus back home.
Aside from the marine lab and the beach, Bolinao has other sights to offer that we decided not to see — just yet. For me and my husband, the important thing is that we had a wonderful time and made new memories. Until then, we look forward to planning our next “romantic getaway.”