We've studied about the Hundred Islands since grade school some would even mistake calling the salad dressing Hundred Islands. Yet, it doesn't occur to many to visit this place even though it's up to par with every beach that's more popularly frequented.
We began our trip at 12 midnight (well, with all the picture taking we did, it was more like 1 am). From Metrobar, Ortigas where we boarded our rented van for Php 10,000 (for 2 days, maximum of 12 pax), Kuya Julius drove us all the way to Alaminos, Pangasinan by 7.00 am. ( And he does drive very carefully, a euphemism for slow.=) )
Now if you are driving, race (with proper caution of course) the 250 Km of NLEX (should take an average driver 4 hours, make it in 3 hours and maybe you should apply to be a racer) via Camalig, Tarlac. If you don't have the luxury of a private vehicle, there're buses leaving Cubao or Avenida for Alaminos at 12 midnight and 4.30 am. This should take you 5 hours. Shorter than that and you might be cursing the driver for being reckless. :)
It was during the typhoon-y month of August. We were therefore lucky (well, I think it was more due to the fact that we were the few mental ones who'd plan to visit the beach when it's been rainy.) that there were only a handful of people.
Eager to begin our Hundred Island tour, we quickly coughed up the Php 1,500 for the boat and the additional fees for a few lifevests (Php 50) and snorkels (Php 100) plus php 20 for entrance fee, oh, and Php another Php 20 for the parking.
|We saw an island temporarily inhabited by a female foreigner.|
Our first stop is the Governor's Island where you can climb up a hill and be rewarded with a nice view of the islands. In the island's rear is the Pinoy Big Brother House which you can rent for a reasonable fee.
|Egg and Sailor overjoyed by the photo op.|
|This is Saul taking my pictures. :)|
We spent the most time here in Marcos Island where we explored the island a lot more than the others. This is also where we got out the coals and the frying pan. Kuya Julius, our driver, was worth his fee because aside from driving, taking our group pictures and carrying our stuff around, he also was the one to cook our food. =) I'd recommend his services but he went to UAE to work already.
Some people (none from our group) went down the stairs and jumped into the cave not knowing how deep the water is, which can be fatal. Apparently, the water is very deep that time, however, according to them there were lots of bat dung floating around in the water. So if you're going jump in, make sure to keep your mouth closed!
As we were docking along the beach of Quezon Island, we saw this group of guys jumping off the cave and were excited to do the same. After much discussion, Egg and Saul jumped! After much pep talk to myself (courage is not the absence of fear!), I positioned to leap. As I took a very deep breath and reared, a local shouted that we shouldn't jump in anymore since the water has become too shallow. Holy crap! I just might return if only to jump from that cave!
This is our fourth stop: a barge! We had to swim from here to the middle of the sea where the protected area is. It was quite a distance but we eventually got there and saw the great giant clams in different colors! It was quite a struggle due to the bad state of the for-rent snorkels and the lack of lifevests (We didn't think we needed it, so we just rented two and got one more from the boatman. It should be enforced for boatmen to give their passengers lifevests!)
This is the last stop. It's a cave you can't explore much due to its size and the water here is littered with fallen leaves making it unfit for swimming. We didn't like it that much, or maybe we were simply tired already at 4.30 in the afternoon.
There you go. One day to see the hundred Islands. (You can ask the boatman to stop anywhere except for the private Lopez -as in ABS-CBN- Island.) All for a reasonable price. Everyone should go explore the Thousand Islands, I mean, the Hundred Islands. :D
P.S. If you have children with you, make sure to stop by Children's Island as well. It will be the coolest thing for them to be able to walk very far from the shore (the water is very shallow). This will fool them that they've grown taller overnight. :D