Summer Vacation is here! Nararamdaman mo na ba ang init na dala ng haring araw? Panahon na naman upang mag-relax, mag-unwind, magpakasarap sa buhay at syempre enjoyin ang buhay sa kabila ng hirap at stress na dala ng pag-aaral at trabaho.
Meron ka na bang napipisil na lakad kasama ang mga kaibigan o mismong mga kamag-anak mo? Nahihirapan ka ba o kayo kung saan kayo maaaring magpunta ngayong bakasyon? Problemado ba sa budget?
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.
Slip your body into the Park’s inviting water and swim your stress away. Glide with manta rays, groupers and other fabulous sea creatures. The romantic temperature is best for couple bonding. And you can also have fun tagging the kids along for a visual treat.
Grab a slice of island action. Let off some steam as you cross islands dangling from secure ropes, trudging the rugged terrain or just relaxing as your boat glides over water. Embrace the adventure and the thrill and lose yourself in each fresh revelation you encounter.
Wend your way into the raw beauty of the Hundred Islands National Park’s caves. You can take a floating tour, then, shine your flashlights on limestone formations and watch your head as you lumber inside and greet various species of bats.
Folks can help you out on the best spots to drop anchor in the Park. Enjoy the challenge and have fun reeling in native fishes. Even if you won`t have any luck, you can always enjoy a swim with the refreshing breeze or just be captivated by the stunning views.
Be on top of the world, with wind on your face, untouched by the water below and thrill seeping through your veins. You can peer down and feel the rush on your face, as well as marvel at the gorgeous bird’s eye view of the Park.
Relish unfettered relaxation and get your perfect tan as you soak up the sun in the Park’s firm sanded beaches. Leave the baby sitting to the shallow waters, sandcastles and friendly folks for a while and enjoy their memorable stories later.
If it’s fresh air you’re after, get it fast and exhilarating. You can rent one of the jet skis near the Wharf and take charge as you dash through the azure calmness of the sea. Revel in your free spirit as you sweep through the water.
Stretch your adrenaline a little higher. Dip an oar and enhance your kayaking strokes as you paddle away the hours in the Park’s graceful curves. You can go it alone or conduct a small competition with friends who want some thrill.
Grab some gear and navigate your way, either with a personal guide or a handy map, to the diving holes in the Park. Take the plunge in these marine havens and find your own piece of magical corner beneath the depths, gliding over colorful reefs and other marine wonders which call it home.
Banana Boat Ride
This is pure fun all the way. Hold on tight as you dash away in this yummy ride. It’s the ultimate bonding water ride for the family and barkada. And what’s more, you can do it again and again.
Feast your eyes on more than fifty species of birds in the Hundred Islands National Park. Get to know magpie robins, Philippine ducks, blue-tailed bee eaters, purple night herons, zebra doves, white collared kingfishers, and more. Among the best islands for this activity is the Kamantiles Island, Heron island, Tern island and Bat island. For hikers, you can follow the Alaminos river for more bird watching.
Area: 13, 667 sq. m. (est.2000 sq. m. of beach area)
Flora: molave, kalumpang, igyo, maladuhat
Birds to watch: : pied fantail, Phil. Coucal, black-naped monarch, sunbird, little tern
One of the well-developed and most frequented islands in the Park, it has facilities which include 2 dining pavilions, and grilling area, where you and your family can do the eating and the grilling ;cottages and nipa huts for relaxation and restrooms that assure comfort. Lie in the sand, take in the salty breeze and savor the delectable seafood and swim to your heart`s content.Don`t pass up the chance to snorkel or dive in the island`s azure waters and see its thriving coral and giant clam garden.
Area: 74, 408 sq.m.(est.3000 sq. m. beach area)
Flora: molave type species, sablot, pamalaybayen, panalayapen, siar and molave, kalumpang, balete, kalumpit, kupang, malaikmo and other shrub species
Birds to watch: pied thriller, blue-naped monarch, black-naped monarch, yellow vented bulbul, shrikes, black-naped oriole, kingfisher, pied fantails
The island that captured Pinoy Big Brother`s eye, and turned its guest house into a unique PBB home which can accommodate 8 to 10 people, ideal for family and barkada relaxation, with bedrooms, restroom / bathroom, working kitchen, dining room and living room, furnished with colorful furnitures and linens, ceiling fans and other amenities. It`s also the largest island in the Park, boasting sweeping views of the Park from its view decks and has a small cave, which though has no notable stone formations, is home to bats and swiftlets. Its fine stretch of sand is ideal for sunbathing and its waters make an ideal spot for swimming, kayaking and snorkeling.
Area: 24, 053 sq. m (est.1, 500 sq. m. beach area)
Flora: kalumpang, molave, balete,bani, panalayapn, is-is, tapinag, malakalumpit, ligas,longaray, botong, other molave type shrub to small tree species
Birds to watch: noisy sunbird, Eurasian tree sparrow, pied fantail, white collared kingfisher, black-naped oriole and Phil.Coucal, little pied fly catcher
It`s an island famed for its features ideal for family get-togethers, especially with children. Its waters near the beach are shallow enough for little kids to practice their budding swimming skills.Adults will have to swim a little further to stretch their limbs. With wooden cottages (with beddings), floating picnic shed, restrooms, tent rentals, camping, cooking and dining areas and amenities like linens and lighting – it`s indeed an oasis for single, family and big group vacationers. Panoramic views also await you as you snake around the island’s walkways and rock ladders leading to higher ground.
Area: 7, 561 sq. m (est. 800 sq. m. beach area)
Flora: kalumpang, molave, climbing vines, talisai, maladuhat
Birds to watch: white collared kingfisher, pied fantail, yellow bellied whistler, pied bushcat, island collared dove
A sunbathing heaven with its white fine sand and sparsely covered limestone.Add to that the exhilarating atmosphere that welcomes both the daredevil and the fun guru in you. Indulge in adventure on or under the island`s surrounding water. You can immerse yourself to a relaxing snorkel or you can engage in a kayak challenge with friends. Then, camp late and enjoy a starry night, chatting or simply idling till the wee hours of the evening.
Area: 18, 916 sq. m. (est. 600 sq. m beach area)
Flora: kalumpang, molave, dapdap, igyo, maladuhat, bani, pandan are found at the lower periphery of the island
Birds to watch: white rumped swift, glossy starling, little pied flycatcher, long tailed shrikes
Near Quezon Island and anchored in front of Old Scout Island, is a one of a kind handiwork of nature, named after the former President Ferdinand Marcos. It has three mounds, a helipad and a dose of artfully sculpted mermaid statues. You can clamber the steep, jagged rock pathways around the island, leading to its many vantage points where a different, picturesque view of the shorelines and other islands greets your eye, uniquely captured by the sun at different hours. But the sweet dessert to your visit would be a walk at the 50 meter-trail that ends in a 70-feet drop leading to the cave named for the former President`s better half, Imelda.The single- chambered cave is about 18, 916 sq. m.,rising about 8 meters from the water surface and is a haven for edible-nest swiftlets and insectivorous bats.It`s also accessible by kayak or a daring swim, if one intends to approach its cove from below.
Area: 5, 606 sq.m. (est. 1500 sq.m. beach area)
Flora: tindalong, sablot, is-is, anubrang, malaikmo, talisai, maladuhat,bantigi, pandan
Birds to watch: little tern, lesser frigate bird, white collared kingfisher, white rumped swift, grey heron
The island is broken in half so you can watch the azure waves crash gently; break into silver sprays and race towards the tide pool. Or turn your attention in studying the ingenious limestone rock formations that make up the island. Or, maybe, just watch the flight of birds as you hide away from the sun and take refuge from their shade. But don`t miss the chance to lose yourself in collecting shells hidden or lying either on the shore or silently glistening under the shallow waters. The area is also subjected to flooding during high tide hence the common sightings of small reef fishes.
Once named Cagao Island and is now named after former President Macapagal, it is still often called by many locals as Devil`s island. It has a nice beach with a morning shade. But this seemingly simple and relaxing hideaway offers more than an undisturbed picnic and skinny-dipping time. Each diving spot in the Park is uniquely beautiful and interesting; with the gliding sea creatures and magnificent corals ready to greet you. But Devil`s Island by far doubles this stunning exquisiteness with its remarkable diving sites, a true haven,especially for those who want to explore some underwater magic.
Area: 2nd largest, 58, 106 sq.m. (est. 800 sq.m. beach area)
Flora: kalumpang, malaikmo, maladuhat
Birds to watch: pied fantail, shrikes, glossy starling, white rumped swift, Phil. coucal, pied flycatcher, white collared kingfisher, grey egret, black naped monarch
Nature photographers or even one who just stuffs his/her travel photo albums, can quench the thirst for a picture quest with the visible coral reefs nearing the foreshore are, as well as awe-inspiring views from the island`s view areas. Thrill-seekers can choose their kind of fun – trekking, snorkeling or diving. And day or night, the swimming experience is simply amazing, with fine white sand to lie back on after a dip.
Area: 29, 731.00 sq.m.
It looks like a tiny twin island from afar but as one draws near, a small strip of white sand beach connecting two different islands will eventually be seen. A long stretch of rock formations characterizes the real Martha Island while its sister is called Ramos Island. Tourists who want to stay away from the sun for a while can take refuge from the rock formations. And they can enjoy spending their leisure time, sunbathing, swimming etc., crossing to and fro the two islands.
Area: Area: 132, 429.00 sq. m.
Cave enthusiasts or freestyle hikers can venture its huge domed cave, which is a welcoming nesting place for bats and an underground haven of rock formations. It has no beachfront, giving it the mildly challenging potential as an exploration site for people who want to sample an educational and cultural adventure.
Area: 12, 384.48 sq. m.
Flora:kalumpang, maladuhat, igyo
Birds to watch: shrikes, white collared kingfisher, bulbul, swift
Located at the southernmost part of the Hundred Islands National Park (HINP), it has a cave that is accessible only during lowtide and the formation of stalactites and stalgamites are most defined and evident. Swim or kayak your way into the cave and indulge yourself in the cooling atmosphere that it exudes.
Area: 9,747 sq.m. (with estimated 200 sq.m. beach area)
Flora: malaikmo, kalumpang, molave and ipil-ipil
Birds to watch: white collared kingfisher, pied fantail, pied thriller, black-naped oriole, shrikes, and bulbul
Situated just pass Marcos Island, on the southern part of the Park, guests can treat themselves to an extraordinary underwater experience, plunging in the island`s diving spot and slithering smoothly alongside marine wonders residing in the offshore reefs. After that, a lounger in the island`s fine-sanded beach should relax adventure-worn muscles.
Old Scout Island
Area:6,516 sq. m.
Located near Quezon Island, its white sand beach is ideal for sunbathing. Not up for lounging and spreading suntain oil on your back? Bring on your diving gear and while away the hour beneath its azure waters or opt to kayak your way around it.
Area: 2, 964 sq.m. (with estimated 200 sq.m. beach area)
Flora: kalumpang, molave ,maladuhat, banaba, stunted umbrella tree, clumps of ngirad and pandan
Located near Braganza Island, its perfect for island-to-island activities. It has good white sand beach where one can take advantage of the sun and the breeze, with a little surprise at low tide. Its morning rock shade becomes a small cave once the tide drops. You can take a little dip or just simply stun your pals by striking model-like pose in the cave.
Area: 191, 233.87 sq.m.
So named because of the sightings of monkeys in the area.Located in the northern part of the Hundred Islands National Park (HINP), backing Century Island, it offers impressive sites for island adventure, kayaking and great spots for swimming, which more than makes up its lack of beachfront. And yes, a chance to capture a glimpse of the otherwise shy monkeys in the area.
So named because of its size.It`s like stepping inside an ancient, long-forgotten rock cathedral, its beauty ever persistent and timelessly awe-inspiring. The limestone formations, much like those in the St. Paul Subtarranean cave, is a photographer`s haven. Kids will especially enjoy learning a thing or two as they explore the cave`s slightly haunting interior and its coralline limestones, shaped in various sizes and shapes over a thousand years and can be seen by tourists 30 meters away from the island. The cave`s massiveness and rugged features also makes it an adventurer`s dream surprise, and is ideal for spelunking.
Nestling in Cuenco island`s twin white beaches is a lofty and charming delight. Cuenco Cave runs right in the middle of the island, making it an ideal explorer`s treat. Strike a pose with it`s intact and interesting limestone formations (e.g. stalagmites, stalactites, draperies,etc.) which continue to amaze. Then, you can reward yourself with either a brisk swim or a little soak in the sun in either of the two white sand beaches on its both ends.
l= 30.00m; w= 0.5 to 0.7m ; h= 2.0m to 10.0m
A raw and beautitful gallery of limestone columns, draperies, stalactites and stalagmites greets the curious visitor in the appealing Alama Cave, making it a charming destination for a laid-back but engaging cave stroll. Its echo-sensitive walls are also the home of various species of bats,guano (bat manure) richly distinct where they settle for their nap.
l= 62.70 m; w= 4.50 to 12.0m; h= 1.20 to 8.0m
Expect guano (bat manure) scent to greet your nostrils as you tread further inside the cave while your eyes acquaint themselves with the picturesque stalactites, columns and draperies that abound in the cave`s interior.Like the Century Cave, it is home to a large number of bats from various species.You can take your time spotting and getting to know these shy mammals throughout the cave. You also can stroll idly and have fun naming the rock formations or just simply take in the views.
l= 81.25m; w= 3.50 to 6.00m; h= 3.0 to 8.0m
Another explorer`s treat is Simmimbahan Cave. Like Cuenco cave, it resembles a subway or tunnel, seemingly long-forgotten, adding to the mysterious quality of its interior beauty. It has its own share of intact stone hydrological formations which makes an interesting visual treat, especially for kids. Various species of bats also reside inside the cave so you`re sure to meet guano (bat manure) scent as you explore the cave`s mystic walls and secret corners.
l= 82.50m; w= 16.0; h= 1.20 to 8 m
Relaxing. Laid-back. Subtly beautiful.This is Milagrosa Cave. Local residents say that whenever people visit or merely gets near the island, the waves tend to become stronger, most likely making it appear to hinder everyone to get into the cave. It has 2 chambers with the upper chamber accessible by a 3 meter stairs. It`s cave floor is carpeted by white sand, making it easy for barefoot strolls,while gazing at the intact limestone formations either dripping from the roof or gracefully sticking out of the ground or wall. Enjoy the water lapping gently near the cave and dip in for a swim, and savor the almost magical aura it emits. Then, give your island picnic a little twist by taking it inside the cave, and enjoy the shade and the cooling atmosphere.Don`t miss the daily mass departure of bats from the 4m diameter opening of its ceiling which takes place between 5 to 6 pm.
The slightly distinct aroma of guano (bat manure) signals your entrance at the Century Cave. The longest and largest cave in the Park, approximately 5 m above sea level, a thousand various species of bats, as well as other cave dwellers, call this dome-shaped realm, their home. Get to know these nocturnal charmers while checking out the equally mystic and intact dripstones and other limestone formations lining the cave`s walls, most of which can be reached through the 20 m foot trail from the entry point.A few diggings in the ground brought by its dwellers, only made its interior more interesting.
Can`t get enough of caves? Then, don`t pass up the chance to venture inside Quirino Cave.The limestone draperies and dripstones that adorn it`s slightly eerie walls would fill every cave enthusiast`s eyes with interest. Its rugged interior is also ideal for some challenging cave strolls. Rarely visited because of its small beach area, few have enjoyed its 27 m underground stream which is accessible by kayak,and rafts or boats thay do not exceed 1.5 m in height, as well as a walk along the shore. Whichever fun you choose, you`re expected to bring only one thing,as you explore the charm of Quirino cave and that is, the sense of fun and wonder.
At first glance, it looks like an eerie, rocky wonderland, its rugged interior blessed with stalactites and stalagmites that are a feast to the eyes. A dry passage from the main entrance leads to a small closed chamber that features draperies, wall curtains and dripstones.Though most of its natural beauty have diminished due to the use of torches by former visitors, most of its raw features are still intact. It can also be noted that young stalactites have been cleared, especially those that form on the ground, allowing easier passage and exploration of the cave.
A cathedral-shaped nature cave, it has two chambers, with the outer chamber accessible via a submerged opening from one side of the island and from an open ceiling which can also be reached by a 30-m trail from the beach area. One of the favorite things to do here is to dive from the tip of the wooden stairs and into the water. The cave which can be reached by swimming, kayaking or rafting is a corner of serene beauty on which one can just lay back and enjoy the quiet atmosphere.
How to get to Hundred Islands...
A trip to Hundred Islands National Park and its home, Alaminos City, is a great diversion from the hustle and bustle of the busy, urban life. Breathe in the refreshing views - rice paddies, azure sea - and the rustic and peaceful lifestyle as you make your way to Alaminos City. And upon arrival, savor the city's unique and dynamic spirit, friendly atmosphere and especially, the beauty and adventure that lies in the hundred wonders that is Hundred Islands.
Public bus lines, namely Victory Liner, Five Star, and Philippine Rabbit have scheduled rides from Manila, Baguio, Dagupan, Subic, Tarlac, and Zambales bound straight to Alaminos City and vice versa.
From To No. of hrs.
Dagupan to A 1 to 2 hours
Zambales L 1 1/2 to 2 hours
Bolinao A 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Tarlac M 2 1/2 to 3 hours
La Union I 2 to 2 1/2 hours
Subic N 4 hours
Baguio O 2 to 3 hours
Manila S 5 to 6 hours
Bataan Alaminos 6 to 8 hours
From the terminal, either by private vehicle or tricycle, the Lucap Wharf is only a 10 to 15-minute ride away. You can find boats bound for the islands docked near the Wharf, with the Hundred Islands National Park Center staff eager to assist you with information and other things you'll need for your island adventure. The nearest islands from the Lucap Wharf are Sulpot Island, Monkey Island, Abad Santos Island and Hernandez Island, which are all 15 to 20 minutes away. The major islands, Children's, Governor's and Quezon can be reached after a 25 to 45-minute boat ride.
Myths & Legends
Anita and Akong
One of the legends told by old folks who live in the area and passed on to generations of storytelling, is the story of a couple named Akong and Anita. There used to be only one island in the place where the Hundred Islands can be found today. Akong is a fisherman and his wife Anita sells the fish he catches everyday. But discontentment soon crept in Akong’s heart and thought of ways to earn money in an easier and faster way. While he went out to sea one night, Anita had a dream about an old man who visited their hut and told them that if they work hard, they will eventually get rich after three years. She shared this with her husband when he returned but he dismissed her impatiently.
One night, he set out to sea again; his first throw of the net didn’t yield any fish but the second one caught black stones the size of a man’s fist. In disgust, he threw them back to the sea, accompanied by complaints. Just then, he heard a rumbling sound and saw the waves becoming bigger, making him paddle faster towards the shore. Unbeknownst to him, the black stones he threw to the sea became islands. He died that night in his sleep. And once more, the old man appeared in Anita’s dream, telling her about the islands and the fate her husband brought upon himself. Anita just cried as she looked at her dead husband.
The Greed that Created the Hundred Islands
Another legend tells how the islands were created by man’s greed for power and other worldly things. The story goes that a kingdom just lost their king in ill health and his people were left without a leader. There were two datus from two warring tribes who are legitimate successors. They were not only rivals to the throne but rivals to the love of a princess named Liglioa who was also a ward to the kingdom’s priestess and for a mystic huge pearl which would give wealth to anyone who possesses it, but is mysteriously un-gathered from the bottom of the sea. These two rivals had been fighting for a long time now that the priestess finally consulted the ancestors and the oracle gave her what ought to be done to attain peace and unity for the whole kingdom, which she in turn instructed to the princess. Liglioa then told the two warring datus that whoever wins in the last battle shall win her hand in marriage and the pearl in the bottom of the ocean. The two datus and their tribes prepared long and hard for the upcoming sea battle and by night, bodies and swords were clashing each other. And before daybreak, something strange can be noticed on the dead warriors’ bodies and their upturned bancas. They were immobile; and soon grass began to grow on them and became a hundred small islands. The priestess then told Liglioa what happened and the truth about the huge pearl. The real pearl was Liglioa all along, sent to the people by the gods, as they foresaw that the kingdom would be without a ruler when the former king dies. The huge pearl at the bottom of the ocean was a mere illusion made to test the character of that rightful ruler. Fishermen of today still swear that a bit farther of where the islands are now, one can see the mysterious huge pearl mystically gleaming under the clear waters of the sea, beckoning, then disappearing just as swiftly as it came. More legends abound about the islands. Some say it was formed
Reference: Tales from the Land of Salt by Emmanuel Sison
*More legends abound about the islands. Some say it was formed from the tears of a giant with a broken heart. Still other tales tell of the mermaids that once mystified fishermen in the area. These and countless legends and myths, so old that it finally drifted off of the people’s consciousness, only add to the Hundred Islands charming aura.
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