We began our search for the best beach in Pangasinan at 2:30AM, without any sleep. Our office was still working at that time, so after work, we decided to skip the rest and head straight to Pangasinan. We were used to this anyway, and it was better for me to drive at night. We were supposed to leave at 4AM, but two hours didn't matter.
To reach Bolinao the fastest, one must take the NLEX and SCTEX and exit at Luisita in Tarlac. Once you arrive in Tarlac City, follow the signs leading to Hundred Islands. Do not head straight to Dagupan. Take the road to Pangasinan via Camiling. That saves you 2 hours. This route however requires following the signs, and involves some one-way roads. Punta Riviera Resort has a good map on their website.
The sun was peeking already at 5:00AM when we arrived in Pangasinan. That was 2.5 hours of travel so far. Not bad, though I was driving at an average speed of 100 kph. We finally reached Alaminos, home base for the Hundred Islands. Bolinao was supposed to be 45 minutes away from there. There was a detour however, due to a bridge construction. We had to take a rough road through a farming village, that took about 20 minutes.
Finally, we were on paved road again, and the signs directed us to Bolinao. Around 20 minutes later, we crossed the Bolinao marker. It was another 15 minutes to our resort, Punta Riviera in Brgy. Ilog Malino.
It was still a long drive from the Bolinao town proper, around 10 minutes. I was surprised that the area where the resorts where were still far away from town. And the coastline of Bolinao was long!
We arrived in our resort at 6:30AM, restless and famished. We got out of the car immediately and ran towards the beach. The sun kissed us as we set foot on the sand that had the color saffron because of the sunrise.
We went in the resort, and were denied an early check-in. We decided to have breakfast instead and head to another beach in Anda, around 30 minutes from where we were in Bolinao. We literally had no sleep, and I was already 24 hours awake. I wasn't sleepy though, I felt more like a zombie. Still, I had the energy to drive. So after a lousy breakfast at the resort, we rode the CRV again and sped to Tondol Beach in Anda.
Just a note to those going to Bolinao: the resorts of Bolinao are located around 15 minutes away from the town center. After passing Unioil, watch for a small sign leading to the tourist attractions of Bolinao, just in front of the Tourist Office of Bolinao. It is also the corner where the booking office of Treasures of Bolinao is located. Turn left there, and just go straight.
Photos by Jake Alvarez (of course, I was driving!)