Patar, Bolinao · 5 hotels available
If you’re planning a weekend getaway further up Luzon, away from the merry revelers who favor Subic, Zambales, and La Union, consider Patar Beach in Bolinao, Pangasinan. Breath-taking seaside views alongside Spanish-era landmarks make the area an ideal vacation spot for beach lovers and history enthusiasts.
Visitors have described Patar Beach as a paradise with fine, white sand. Locals politely disagree, as the sand is actually in a warm golden hue, which becomes even more pronounced as the sun sets.
Patar Beach can look different during different times of the year. Habagat season (from May to October) brings in tranquil waters while Amihan season (November to April) shows off picturesque waves.
The warmest and driest months at Patar Beach are from March to May. Expect rains from June to September and milder temperatures during the remaining months of the year.
You can fly to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila or to Clark International Airport in Pampanga. From there you can take a bus to Bolinao, the jump-off point to Patar Beach.
Ride a bus from Pasay City (via Five Star Bus) or Cubao (via Victory Liner) to Bolinao. Both bus operators charge P459 for a one-way ticket. Travel time is roughly 6 hours.
If you’re traveling by car, pass through the North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway. Exit to Urdaneta, then drive along Calasiao-San Carlos Road, Bugallon Road, then Bugallon-Alaminos Road. Beat the traffic and be on the road as early as you can.
Charter a tricycle to get to Patar Beach for P250 (good for 3-4 persons) or do a DIY tour of Bolinao, which starts from P1,500 (again good for 3-4 persons).
Venture out of Patar Beach for more than just a relaxing weekend by the ocean. There are a number of natural wonders and historic places to check out in the area.
Walk to the 30.78-meter tall Cape Bolinao Lighthouse, which stands proudly on top of the Punta Piedra Point; say a prayer at St. James the Great Church, one of the oldest churches in Pangasinan; take a dip at Bolinao Falls 1 and 2, which take many visitors by surprise since most people do not expect to see waterfalls amidst sprawling plains; and marvel at the stunning Bolinao Rock Formation.
Travelers head to Patar Beach to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, so the best thing to do when you get there is to unwind.
Turn your devices on silent mode, work on your tan, swim, play beach volleyball, and watch the sun set.
You can also plan a leisurely cruise along Balingasay River; explore the Enchanted Cave, which has a natural underground pool; then see how UP Marine Science Institute’s Bolinao Marine Laboratory cultures giant clams, which are then relocated to different parts of the country to help ensure marine diversity.
You can bring your own grill and enjoy a hearty barbecue meal by the beach. If you’re staying in one of the resorts, these have their own restaurants so you need not go far to satisfy cravings.
Should you find yourself in Bolinao proper, there’s a selection of seafood restaurants to choose from; Bolinao, after all, is a fishing community. Highly recommended are Mangunguna Seafood Bar & Grill, which serves seafood fresh off the grill; Giant Taklobo Resto Grill, known for their seafood bilaos (platters) and boodle packages; and Bolinao Seafood Grill atbp.
Bring home bottles of fish sauce and binungey, or sticky rice cooked in bamboo; the latter is a Bolinao specialty.
Patar Beach does not have a lively nightlife scene, and that’s a good thing for some travelers. Expect a quiet, laid-back evening enjoying a round (or more) of drinks at the resort-based bars/restaurants.
There are several accommodation options along Patar Beach, depending on your traveling style. You can go back to basics and bring your own tent and set up camp for a minimal fee.
Bigger groups could also rent traditional cottages where they can bring and prepare their own food.
If you feel like splurging a little, there are resorts such as Puerto Del Sol Beach Resort, Villa Soledad Beach Resort, Punta Riviera Resort, and Casa Almarenzo Bed and Breakfast Resort.
If you’re in the mood for a cozy home, check out Airbnb for villa listings.