Here is a comprehensive DIY travel guide to Hundred Islands National Park, one of the top tourist spots in Pangasinan.
Guest post by BESS M. MACHES
If I remember it right, there was only an instance or two when I got to see a beach and swim on seawaters during my childhood years.
I grew up in the remote Cordilleran mountains and rarely had the chance to visit the lowlands. That holds true to my two other siblings as well.
So when I told them that I would bring them to the Hundred Islands National Park, they leaped with superb joy and excitement. Since elementary, we’ve been hearing about it and seeing it on our textbooks.
So we were all in swelling eagerness and excitement to personally glimpse and experience its wonders.
Even our dad tagged along though he’s not really into traveling. This was our very first family weekend getaway outside the Cordilleras.
Our jump-off was Baguio City since that is where we were staying at that time. From there, we took an early bus to Pangasinan, dropped off at Urdaneta City, hopped on a bus to Dagupan, then rode another bus there to reach Alaminos. This is where the Hundred Islands National Park is located.
This is a long article as we’ll discuss every essential detail you need to know. But if you wish, you can skip some parts. Check out the Table of Contents for the specific information you are looking for.
- Location/Jump-off: BrgyLucap, Alaminos, Pangasinan, Ilocos Region
- Entrance Fee: Php 30 per person
- Environmental Fee: Php 40 per person
- Boat Rental: Check rates below
- Operating Time:Php 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Best time to Visit: November to May
- Travel Time from Manila to Alaminos: 5-6 hours
How to Get to Hundred Islands Pangasinan?
Manila to Hundred Islands via Bus
From Cubao terminal in Quezon City, ride any bus that is bound to Alaminos, Pangasinan. You can choose from Solid North Bus, Five Start Bus, Victory Liner, and Philippine Rabbit. They have daily trips to Pangasinan, and you can check their websites for the schedules.
Regular fare for an air-conditioned bus is Php 393, while for an ordinary bus, the fare is Php 350.
If you haven’t booked online, make sure to proceed to the bus station at least an hour before your planned departure so you can buy a ticket and reserve a seat. Take note. Tickets sell fast during long weekends and holidays.
Travel time from Metro Manila to Alaminos, Pangasinan takes around 5-6 hours, depending on road conditions.
Victory Liner Bus, which is the most popular option, has trips to Alaminos, Pangasinan, from 2:00 AM to 11:50 PM.
Baguio City to Hundred Islands via Bus
From Baguio City, ride any of the buses bound to Pangasinan. You can choose between Partas Bus or Victory Liner. Fare is Php 200, and travel time takes 3 hours.
For us, we rode on a Victory Liner bus that traverses Urdaneta City in Pangasinan.
We dropped off there and rode on another bus to Dagupan City since, during the early morning, there is no bus leading straight from Urdaneta to Alaminos City. From Dagupan City, we hopped on another bus to Alaminos City.
Alaminos City to Lucap Wharf
From Alaminos City, ride a tricycle to Lucap Wharf, the jump-off to Hundred Islands National Park. You will have to wait until the tricycle is full. Fare is Php 15 per person. But if you want, you can also hire the tricycle for Php 150. It can accommodate up to 6 persons.
Preliminaries and Arrangements
Before touring around the Hundred Islands, tourists must first register at the Tourism Office located at Lucap Wharf.
Aside from paying the entrance fees, you’ll be provided with a trash bag to use during the tour. You’ll have to deposit Php 200 as a guarantee that you will return the bag with your garbage after the tour.
Then, it will be refunded to you. That’s part of the policy of the local authorities to preserve the natural beauty of Hundred Islands National Park.
Here are the entrance fees and other fees for a day tour and an overnight tour.
- Entrance Fee: Php 30 per person (20% discount for Seniors and PWDs, Free for 5 years old and below)
- Environmental Fee: Php 40 per person
- Insurance: Php 10 per person
- Small Boat – Php 1400 (good for 1 to 5 persons)
- Medium Boat – Php 1800 (good for 6 to 10 persons)
- Big Boat – Php 2000 (good for 11 to 15 persons)
- Entrance Fee: Php 30 per person
- Environmental Fee: Php 80 per person
- Insurance: Php 10 per person
- Small Boat – Php 3000 (good for 1 to 5 persons)
- Medium Boat – Php 3800 (good for 6 to 10 persons)
- Big Boat – Php 4500 (good for 11 to 15 persons)
- Tables and chairs – Php 200 (Day tour), Php 300 (Overnight tour)
- Life Jacket – Php 50 (Day tour), Php 75 (Overnight tour)
- Small Lifebuoy (salbabida) – Php 50 (Day tour), Php 75 (Overnight tour)
- Big Lifebuoy – Php 100 (Day tour), Php 150 (Overnight tour)
- Googles – Php 50 (Day tour), Php 175 (Overnight tour)
- Fins – Php 150 (Day tour), Php 175 (Overnight tour)
- Aqua Shoes – Php 100 (Day tour), Php 150 (Overnight tour)
- Mask and Snorkel – Php 150 (Day tour), Php 175 (Overnight tour)
- Complete Snorkeling Gear – Php 250 (Day tour), Php 300 (Overnight tour)
- Cooler with Ice – Php 250
- 1-gallon mineral water – Php 100
- Light Gasul – Php 500
- Utensils – Php 1000
TIP: If you want to cut on expenses, bring what you have of these items, especially when you’re planning for an overnight tour.
That way, you can use the saved amount for the different activities in Hundred Islands National Park.
Things to Do in Hundred Islands Pangasinan
There were four of us in the group, and we opted for a day tour. I was hoping that’s more than enough to explore the most famous sights in the Hundred Islands.
Obviously, we rented a small boat. I gave a tip to the boatman because I knew how exhausting it is to work all day long with minimal pay.
From the dock, we set off to explore the islands. Just riding a boat was a fascinating experience itself for me.
Seeing the bluish sea and the forest-clad islets and islands thrilled me like crazy. I bet even my siblings were blown away by the sights.
The usual itinerary for a day tour is to visit the four major islands, namely: Governor’s Island, Children’s Island, Marcos Island, and Quezon Island plus islets within or near them.
In each of the island, there are unique activities you can do. Here are some of them:
This is my favorite, and even my siblings say so. Although the corals are no longer as healthy and vibrant, we did see different fish species and giant clams!
Thankfully, there are parts of the park, wherein, human activities are prohibited to restore the corals.
Hopefully, I can see healthy and thriving coral reefs the next time I come back. By the way, you need to allot Php 250 for snorkeling gears.
You can swim at almost every island you will visit. Just make sure you don’t swim too far from the coast and always wear your life vest. How I loved swimming with the fishes and playing with seaweeds.
Although expect crowds on every island, there are portions that are non-touristy. For an introvert like me, swimming on a less crowded spot is just heaven.
From time to time, we would catch sight of corals and different marine species.
3. Island Hopping
With over a hundred islets and islands in the Hundred Islands National Park, island hopping is a top activity. But you don’t need to see all of them.
Visiting just the four major islands is already more than enough to call it a lifelong adventure. That’s the standard itinerary for a day tour. And we visited these four islands in half a day.
But if you plan to continue tomorrow, you can check out other remoter islands such as: Sulpot Island, Abad Santos Island, Devil Island, Lopez Island, Romulo Island, Turtle Island, and Hernandez Island.
4. Go for a Pilgrimage
If you’re a Catholic, there is an island with a huge statue of Jesus as well as crosses leading to it, signifying the Stations of the Cross. Following these crosses towards the statue makes up to an ideal spiritual retreat.
It was sort of a challenging hike when we came here, though, because of the simmering midday heat. We almost slept when we rested at the peak of the island where the statue stands.
5. Trekking and more trekking
Some islands have high points that offer a panoramic view of the surrounding islands and the sea. You have to trek to reach these points. Don’t worry.
It’s easy trekking as trails are well-established and trees line most of these, giving you natural shade. From time to time, you’ll catch sight of colorful birds as well as flowers and other flora and fauna species.
I hope to do this the next time I visit. Who would not love paddling a boat from one island to the next and just immersing in rustic sceneries?
Rent for a kayak in an hour is Php 250, and for a whole day rental, the fee is Php 750. A kayak is good for two persons. Feel like an American Indian explorer navigating the ocean with your kayak!
7. Cliff Jumping
Oh, my brother and I did this several times. In every island we visited, we immediately searched for a good cliff then jumped or dived our way into the deep part of the sea.
We’ve been doing this on the river of our village. But this time, we tested our courage on seawater. It was exhilarating, indeed! If you’re an adrenaline junkie, don’t miss out on this.
The most recommended site for cliff jumping is at Marcos Island.
You can do this at either Governor’s Island (546 meters) for Php 250 per jump or at the Quezon Island (120 meters) for Php 100 meters per jump. Honestly, we were saving money so we had to skip this.
But if you have an extra, you should try this for an adrenaline-pumping experience.
9. Banana Boat
Another popular activity here is banana boating. You just have to pay Php 1500 per ride and that is good for 7 persons. Wouldn’t it be fun riding on it with your family or friends? Just make sure you don’t fall off.
Want to test your limits? Try rappelling on selected cliffs at Hundred Islands National Park. But don’t worry. You’ll be safe as long as you follow the protocols. Fee for this is Php 50 per person.
Sounds new? Although it’s a bit costly, you’ll surely love the adventure and the thrill that come with it. For a solo ride, fee is Php 2000 while fee for two persons is Php 3000.
Rent for fishing rods and bait is Php 150 for a day tour and Php 250 for an overnight tour. Wouldn’t it be another unique experience if you fish for your lunch/meal?
13. Jet Ski
It’s also a costly activity, but if you have an extra, why not? Enjoy riding on a jet ski as you explore the wonders of the Hundred Islands National Park. For every 15 minutes, rate is Php 1000 and Php 2000 for every 30 minutes.
14. Wall Climbing
There’s not much tall trees to climb in Hundred Islands National Park. But it does have multiple cliffs or rock formations, which are ideal for that. Fee is Php 50 per person. Surely, you’ll feel like a victor assaulting a challenging cliff.
Ah, there’s just nothing like it lying on the sandy beach as the waves caressed my feet and the sun warmed me that cool morning.
Oops, I don’t actually do sunbathing but just exposed myself to the sun temporarily to get a dose of Vitamin D. Hello. I want to maintain my original skin color (hehehe).
16. See some wildlife
On every island, you’ll find natural terrestrial and marine ecosystems. So expect to see wildlife species such as birds and even monitor lizards. We also visited a cave that hosts bats.
Encountering this wildlife deepened my appreciation of nature. Those are extras you’ll see aside from the different fish species you’ll find when you go swimming or snorkeling.
Best Islands to See in Hundred Islands
Although there are over 100 islands and islets in Hundred Islands National Park, less than 10 of these are open for tourism activities. This is a good thing, though, because it allows the preservation of the rich biodiversity of the park.
Take note. Hundred Islands National Park is rich in both terrestrial and marine species. That makes it a biodiversity hotspot, and properly implementing tourism can boost conservation.
Here are some of the best islands to see in Hundred Islands National Park. Take note. There is limited access to some of these.
1. Governor’s Island/Virgin Island
Governor’s Island is typically the first stop on any boat tour. It is among the biggest islands with a view deck atop of it. From here, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding islets and islands.
This is also the starting point of a zip line that leads to the Virgin Island. The Governor’s Island is also connected with the Virgin Island via a floating bridge. At the end of the later, one can find a small cave containing a statue of a mermaid.
2. Braganza Island
If you prefer a less touristy spot, you should visit Braganza Island. Not every boatman does a stopover here but you can request yours if you want some time of solitude. It has a view deck sitting on a lower elevation.
There’s not much to see here though you’ll experience tranquility. It has a small stretch of powdery beach where you can relax and relish the song of the waves.
3. Coral Garden
Ah, this is my favorite. We’ve spent quite a long time here with my siblings just exploring the underneath of the sea. Although we’ve seen evident bleaching of the corals, it was still a memorable experience.
For the first time, I got to see coral reefs and under colorful fishes lurking among them. This is also where we saw the endangered giant clams.
4. Old Scout Island
Old Scout Island is near the Coral Garden, and its surrounding waters is also ideal for snorkeling. Enjoy strolling on its little beach.
Here, you’ll find a rock formation resembling a human face, giving it quite a horror feature. But don’t worry, it’s one relaxing experience when you visit Old Scout Island.
5. Quezon Island
Quezon Island was the most crowded part of Hundred Islands National Park when we visited. It’s no surprise though because it has quite a long stretch of creamy-white beach.
The waters are also shallow and the waves are calmer here. There are three islets composing Quezon Island. It is the ideal spot for a variety of activities such as banana boat and jet-skiing.
It is named as such in recognition of the late Philippine president Manuel L. Quezon.
6. Children’s Island
The Children’s Island also has shallow waters, making it ideal for a family getaway, especially if you have children. That is why it also gets crowded like Quezon Island. If you’re planning for an overnight, they’ve got tents for rent and picnic tables here.
7. Bat Island
Although you’re not allowed to step on the island, you can see it when you hop to the other islands. From a distance, you’ll glimpse of giant bats hanging on trees.
There are literally millions of them living on this island, making it an important ecological sanctuary. It’s good that tourism activities are prohibited here to ensure that the bats thrive sustainably.
8. Cathedral Island
Tourists are also not allowed to come here, although you can see it when you’re transferring to other islands. From a distance, you can see a huge triangular-shaped crack in the middle of the island.
Inside, there is a grotto with the statue of the Virgin Mary. You can pray if you pass by it.
10. Pilgrimage Island
As a devout Catholic, visiting Pilgrimage Island was a surreal experience. It’s a new attraction in the Hundred Islands National Park. Atop it, one finds a tall statue of Jesus Christ, measuring 56 feet high.
It’s a recognizable landmark when hopping from one island to the other. To reach the statue, you’ll pass by several crosses where you can pray at each stage.
If you’re a non-Catholic, though, you can still visit the island to enjoy the lush sceneries and the tranquility of it.
Other islands are slowly being developed for tourism, aside from what we mentioned above. Hopefully, the local authorities do so without causing major impacts to the natural environment.
The islands are critical sanctuaries for countless species at risk of extinction. Therefore, sustainable tourism should be the drive.
During our visit, we only visited 6 of the islands for half a day. We could have visited more since we still have the entire afternoon, but we were already tired, so we opted to go back.
But I tell you, those islands we visited were enough to make me consider our journey to Hundred Islands National Park as one of the best.
Where to Stay in Hundred Islands?
For an overnight stay, you can choose any of the following, depending on your allocated time and budget.
Option I – Set up a Camping Tent
- For every tent, camping fee is Php 250.
- If you did not bring a tent, you can rent one with the following rates:
- Small Tent – Php 500 (good for 2-3 persons)
- Medium-Sized Tent – Php 700 (good for 4-5 persons)
- Large Tent – Php 1000 (good for 6-8 persons)
Option II – Rent a Cottage
If you prefer either an open or closed cottage within Hundred Islands National Park, the following rates apply:
- Quezon Island
- Tent Space – Php 250
- Gazebo – Php 600 (Day tour), Php 1000 (Overnight tour)
- Floating Cottage – Php 1000 (Day tour), Php 1500 (Overnight)
- Guesthouse – Php 5000
- Marcos Island
- Gazebo (good for 2 persons) – Php 600 (Day tour), Php 1000 (Overnight tour)
- Governor’s Island
- Tent Space – Php 250
- Open Cottage – Php 500 (Day tour), Php 1000 (Overnight)
- Guesthouse – Php 5000
- Children’s Island
- Tent Space – Php 250
- Open Cottage – Php 300 (Day tour), Php 600 (Overnight)
- Mini Pavillion – Php 500 (Day tour), Php 1000 (Overnight)
Aside from spending the night inside the Hundred Islands National Park, you can choose from the various transients and hotels near Lucap Wharf or within Alaminos City.
Instead of camping, we decided to stay on a transient near Lucap Wharf since we hoped to catch an early bus to Baguio during the following morning.
We spentPhp 2000 for the night. I talked with the staff, and she mentioned that other transients also offer similar prices. That’s reasonable enough for me as the room where we stayed had basic amenities, including shower and beds.
Some transients also have tricycles to bring customers to the Lucap Wharf or even to the bus stations in Alaminos City.
Most transients here don’t have nearby restaurants or stores. So make sure to bring food from Lucap Wharf or Alaminos City.
Where to Eat in Hundred Islands?
Here are some of the popular restaurants in Alaminos, Pangasinan. The local tourism recommends these so you’ll taste authentic meals of the province, from seafood to vegetable cuisines.
1. Maxine by the Sea Seafood Restaurant
- Location: BrgyLucap, Alaminos City, Pangasinan
- Contact: (075) 696-0964, 09216428551
- Website: www.maxinebythesea.com
2. Alaminos City People’s Food Court
- Location: Poblacion, Alaminos City
- Contact: (075) 696-1568
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Hundred Islands Café? Silvers by Gold
- Location: Plaza Agapito Braganza, San Jose Drive, Alaminos City
- Contact: 09493002549
- Email Address: email@example.com
4. Eliana’s Grill and Restaurant
- Location: Brgy San Vicente, Alaminos City
- Contact: 09153158730
- Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Rey-lyn Restaurant
- Location: Palali Street, Poblacion, Alaminos City
- Contact: 09176104144
- Email Address: email@example.com
6. Papatok’s Restaurant
- Location: Quezon Avenue, Poblacion, Alaminos City
- Contact: (075) 551-4660, 09493002549
- Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
7. Uly’s Grill and Bar
- Location: BrgyPalamis, Alaminos City
- Contact: 09185620259
Tips and Reminders
- It’s best to go to Hundred Islands in Pangasinan during the early morning.
- Payment is on a cash basis, so bring a lot of cash.
- ATM is available at Alaminos town center and Lucap Wharf.
- To cut on rental expenses, you can bring your snorkeling gears, kitchen utensils, and tents.
- Always wear a life vest when riding a boat and doing water activities such as snorkeling and swimming.
- As a means of kindness, invite your boatman during lunch or share meals and snacks with him. As for me, I gave him a tip as a bonus.
- Purchase your foods and snacks before visiting the Hundred Islands. Items sold there are expensive; some are double their regular prices.
- Please make use of eco-friendly/organic soaps and lotion. Let us not pollute the ocean.
- Avoid stepping on coral reefs. That’s one way for you to help in the conservation and restoration efforts.
- Bring an umbrella if you may. You’ll need sun protection when trekking on the islands. Unless, of course, if you want to tan your skin, why not?
For More Information
If you need more information to help in setting up your itinerary to Hundred Islands in Pangasinan, do contact the Alaminos Tourism Office via the following:
- Tel. Number: (075) 205-0917
- Mobile Numbers: 09209004470, 09282449011, 0939332411
- Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Travel Rants and Musings
Visiting the Hundred Islands National Park was undeniably an experience of a lifetime. For the first time, I witnessed both terrestrial and marine bounty in one setting.
With all the beautiful attractions we saw and many more that we are yet to see, this spot deserves not only tourism promotion but also measures for conservation. It’s a fragile ecosystem, and when interventions are not done properly, it could fully deteriorate.
Thankfully, the local authorities are effecting policies and practices to ensure the sustainable management of the Hundred Islands National Park.
But this is not just a responsibility we’ll leave totally up to them. We also need to do our part. By being responsible for everything we do during our visit, we can help in its conservation.
Will you be willing to lend a hand?
Our DIY Itinerary to Hundred Islands Pangasinan
Here is our DIY itinerary to the Hundred Islands in Pangasinan. Take note. Our point of origin was Baguio City. The costs I provided for each specification is our total expense.
Day 0 (Friday)
- 12:00 AM – Departure of Victory Liner Bus from Baguio City (Fare for 4 persons: Php 800)
- 2:00 AM – Dropped off at Urdaneta City, Pangasinan
- 2:30 AM – Hopped on a Bus to Dagupan City (Fare: Php 200)
- 3:00 AM – Arrival at Dagupan City
- 3:30 AM – Rode a Bus to Alaminos City (Fare: Php 240)
Day 1 (Saturday)
- 4:00 AM – Arrival at Alaminos City
- 4:10 AM – Rode a Tricycle to a Transient near the Lucap Wharf (Fare: Php 150)
- 4:20 AM – Arrival at Transient, Resting Time (Overnight Stay: Php 2000)
- 5:50 AM – Rode a Tricycle from Transient to Lucap Wharf
- 6:00 AM – Arrival at Lucap Wharf
- Registration at Tourist Information Center (Entrance Fee: Php 120, Envi. Fee: Php 320)
- 6:20 AM – Rented a boat (Small Boat Rental: Php 1500)
- Adventure Begins
- 6:40 AM – 11:45 AM
- Exploration of Hundred Islands National Park
- Island Hopping
- Snorkeling (Gear Rental: Php 750)
- Swimming, etc.
- We visited 6 islands in all!
- 12:00 PM – Lunch on our last island (Php 1000)
- 1:20 PM – Going back to the mainland for rest
- 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Sleeping time/rest at transient
- 5:20 PM – Rode a Tricycle back to Lucap Wharf
- 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM – Dinner at Maxine by the Sea Seafood Restaurant (Php 850)
- 7:00 PM – Sleeping Time
Day 2 (Sunday)
- 5:00 AM – Check out time
- 6:00 AM – Arrival at Alaminos City Victory Liner Bus Terminal via tricycle (Fare: Php 150)
- 7:00 AM – Departure of Bus (Php 1200)
- 10:00 AM – Arrival at Baguio City
Overall Expense: Php 9,133 – Php 10 000 for 4 persons
Estimated Budget per Person: Php 2,500
If you’re coming from Manila, the estimated budget per person is almost the same. If you want to save on budget, it’s best to travel with a group.
So, there you have it. I hope we have you covered in this travel guide. If you want us to add more information to this page, kindly let us know in the comment section below.
Have a fun-filled and meaningful trek to Hundred Islands in Pangasinan!