100 island escapade

Just spent the past few days exploring the an area known as the Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan.  As you may know, the Philippines is comprised of 7,101 islands and this area is home to 100 of them.  It was quite an adventure, and a great story from beginning to end.

Upon arrival in Alaminos, we hired a tour right at the bus stop.  We rode in his tricycle and he took us to the market to buy food, charcoal, and provisions for the night.  From there he brought us to his cousin’s place, and his cousin Manny (a pseudonym since I forgot his name) became our all around boatman, tour guide, guard, and local friend.

Check out our boat and the sunset view as we approached our island home for the night:

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The “cottage” we stayed in for a night.  When Manny mentioned “cottage”, my American mind imagined a place with a small house with a room, bathroom and maybe a living room.  Lol…of course it was far from that.  Their cottage was an open air beach hut with benches and a little in between that looked like this:

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I love the outdoors and usually open to camping, but I imagined tents and a sleeping bag when I was told we would camp.  Hahaha…instead we slept in open air hut, lying on a very uncomfortable bamboo. On the plus side though, it wasn’t that cold and a breeze kept the mosquitoes away.  An even bigger plus – my friends and I had the whole island to ourselves!

Since we arrived at night, I was pleasantly surprised waking up to this view the next morning:

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And a cave with a few bats right next to our “cottage”:

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On our second day, we snorkeled, explored some caves, ziplined, drank beer and relaxed on beach.  As we approached nightfall, we decided to treat ourselves to a better night’s sleep and asked Manny for any suggestions on a place to stay.  Again, he kept the business within the family and referred us to his sister-in-law who rented out a room in her house on a transient basis similar to Airbnb.  We were apprehensive at first, but pleasantly rewarded when we saw the place.  The room was the top level of a 3 level home, with it’s own terrace, air-conditioning, a large screen TV, heated showers and even a pool on the roof. All for a great price of $25 too!

Here’s a view of our terrace

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and the pool on the roof

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That night, Manny took us to dinner at his family’s resto-bar.  We asked him to join us for dinner and he shared stories of the diversity of tourists he’s met and hosted.  For our next destination, he suggested checking out the beaches in the next town, Bolinao, that was famous for a white sand beaches, a cave pool and a luxury resort.  We were supposed to go home the next day, but we were too curious we decided to proceed to Bolinao and head home from there.

Our decision was greatly rewarded by a beautiful cave pool

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followed by another swim in a very relaxing infinity pool.

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It was an awesome 4 day adventure I’m thankful for.

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