Seeing the beauty of Bolinao: Holiday Road Trip 2017
Before the year 2017 comes to a close, my boys and I went on a road trip up north to Pangasinan to see the beauty of Bolinao.
If you had been following my blog, our travels are mostly on scenic locations and amusement parks, mostly out of the country. We are not usually the type who are into beaches because of our heat rash allergies, but since school and therapy are out for the kids, and both Daddy S and I are on a Christmas break, we decided that it is the best time for the four of us to start discovering wonders of our own country, starting in Luzon.
From Manila to Patar Beach it took us 8 hours via SCTex with a stopover of about an hour for lunch. Driving range from Mindanao Avenue is about 300km so to make the trip comfortable, I packed not only drinks and snacks but also items of comfort such as pillows, blankets and toys for the kids.
Also, we made sure to follow the map instructions given by the Veue owner, June, on how to get to the cabin. It turned out to be the best and most relaxing route. The kids were comfortable all throughout the journey. We left home at 7:30 am and arrived in Patar Beach at 3:30pm.
On our way back, since we left around noon, we tried a different route, this time suggested by Waze but we got caught in several traffic jams as we had to pass Dagupan city. We realized that it is really best that we follow June’s instruction in reverse. We left at 11am, with two stopovers for lunch and dinner, and arrived home at 8:30pm.
The main attraction is Patar Beach with its clean waters, white sand and beautiful sky. The ocean from the West Philippine Sea gives a whole beach experience. Since we are a little far off the main beach, we get to enjoy the beach’s beauty minus the crowds.
To say that it is breathtaking is an understatement. Everything about it is just picture perfect. We spent hours digging through the send, running from the waves, comparing coral rocks and just sitting by the shore and watch all the awesomeness that surrounds us.
Looking at the sky is like seeing God’s own painting of what a perfect day is like.
Patar Beach is also the perfect spot to watch the sunset. It was so beautiful that we did not mind being the last ones on the beach as the tide is getting high just so we can watch the sunset with sand and waves.
Just by sitting at the sand, or even at the rocks, I feel a complete calmness being one with nature. I am amazed with the beauty of God’s creation and I feel blessed to have experienced this with my family.
Aside from the beach, we also explored the town. As suggested by the manong-caretakers, we had lunch at Sungayan Restaurant, famous for its fresh catch seafood and floating restaurants. The food, service and view were good. For bigger groups, they offer a balsa ride for an hour tour of the island while eating lunch.
We also visited Bolinao Chruch, a majestic and historical church in the heart of town. The interiors, particularly the altar, are being renovated at the time of our visit, but nevertheless we are amazed by its structure and ceiling paintings.
A famous attraction is also the Bolinao Lighthouse which is the second tallest in the Philippines. It is actually so tall that it is so hard to fit it in a photo. From the Lighthouse we got to see a whole view of the Patar Beach.
For those who want to see more of Bolinao, towns away from Patar are Bolinao Falls and the three popular caves; Enchanted cave, Wonderful cave and Cindy’s cave. The famous Hundred Islands in Alaminos is quite far but still a good option to see for those who have the time.
For the entire duration of our trip, we stayed at Veue Beach Cabins. Upon arrival, I was already in awe of what my eyes landed into. It is exactly what it looks like in the website, beauty and all, and a “no filter” moment indeed.
The place is not your most typical full service resort. It has six cabin-like homes, named after six national artists (with their respective paintings hanging by the bed) with a maximum capacity of 4 persons for each cabin. There are no concierge nor service areas, but there are very helpful male caretakers who can assist in bringing in luggage, clean common areas or assists in setting up barbecue grills. They are the cabin guests go-to guys.
The granite cabins are clean and functional, with a kitchen complete with cooking and eating utensils, appliances and even wine glasses! I was able to cook meals for my family. But for those we do not want to cook, a waiter from the next door G Resort can come and take orders for food. They have a wide array of Filipino dishes from breakfast, snacks and main meals.
By the pool there are also day beds and dining areas. We enjoyed having breakfast and late night drinks here while listening to the waves and feeling the cool breeze from the ocean.
The cabin is air conditioned, but during the day we open the window blinds and lanai door. Seeing the blue sky with the beautiful clouds is therapeutic and relaxing to me.
Our cabin, Ibarra house is the one closest to the swimming pool. I chose this so it will be easy to watch over on Heinel if he decides to go for a swim. I just literally have to open the window blinds to see him. For those who want a cabin closest to the beach, best to book Malang ang Kuokok cabins.
Veue Beach Cabins really live up to its “home away from home” promise. It is so rustic, informal and private. There are no mobile network signals, not even telephones, so it is the perfect opportunity to bond with each other and with nature. It is perfect place to chill.
I am really impressed with the whole setup of Veue. The exclusivity, quietness and beauty of the place is everything that I hoped for and more. Because its location is at the secluded area of Patar beach, it offered complete privacy, a perfect getaway. I was worried at first that the lack of cellular reception will be a concern, but it made the whole vacation memorable. It allowed us to enjoy each other’s company more, marvel at the beauty of the place while tuning out from the regular life concerns.
I also like that all reservations and queries are personally handled by its owners, June and Dustin. They are quick to respond to emails. Booking is a breeze as well. Initially, there are no available cabins on our vacation date, it is a good thing that I emailed them to inquire and a slot has been opened for us!
For those who want to check-in at Veue, here are some few reminders:
- They are strict on the 4-person per cabin policy. It is their very important and basic house rule. When inquiring or communicating with them, better to inform them of the number and age (of kids) of occupants so as not to cause any inconveniences upon check-in. Ask your concerns right away before booking. You wouldn’t want to cause unnecessary stress after a long drive just by not following their simple rule. Personally, I really think that the cabin is just built for four, the queen sized bed and convertible sofa-bed can comfortably fit four people only.
- Minimum of two nights’ stay. Believe me, after travelling for 8hrs to get here, you would not want to leave the next morning. If you plan to make the most out of your stay be seeing Bolinao’s other tourist spots, best to book 3 to 4 nights.
- There is no cellular network at all. Better to set the expectation right away that you will be unreachable while in Veue, not even through text messages. Guests have to walk to the next resort to find a good spot to at least receive a text message. We only get to be online when we go out of Patar to explore nearby towns. But who needs mobile network when you have all that beauty surrounding you right?
- Bring all the necessities. Make the most of cabin life; pack your snacks, drinks, swimming gears, books you’ve been wanting to read and of course sunblock! If you are planning to cook, bring your ingredients and condiments. The nearest store is not within walking distance.
- The travel time to and from Manila is long. If you will be taking your kids, think of their comfort. Pack snacks, drinks, entertainment and most of all your patience. Take necessary stopovers when needed to give them time to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom. Also, please make sure to follow the directions provided in the starter pack once emailed to you after your booking is confirmed. Follow that as well in reverse on your way back home, as that is really the best route. On our way home we tried following Waze as it gives an earlier time of arrival but ended up getting stuck in several bad traffic.
Our whole Bolinao experience is definitely one for the books. I am ending 2017 with this trip being one of our memorable moments for the year. The long drive, cabin life, and being one with nature made us closer and more appreciative of each other. I am thankful to Daddy S for being such a good, relaxed and dependable leader of this trip. As for my kids Heinel and Hendrix, I can not stop raving how they are both such good boys all throughout the trip. Their patience and cheerfulness despite the long hours of travel are way beyond my expectations for a 9 year old and a 5 year old boys. They never fail to surprise me all the time.
It is always amazing to discover a paradise with the people who matters the most in your life. Their hearty laughter and twinkle in their eyes are the best memory and reward of this trip. I am looking forward to more adventures with them.
I hope that if you go to Bolinao with your family and friends, you will have as much fun as we did. I would love to read your stories on how your trip went! But for now, let me greet you all a happy new year! Cheers to an exciting and promising 2018!