The Treasures of Bolinao Beach Resort and Hotel is found South-West in the province of Pangasinan.
It is accredited by the Department of Trade and Industry and its food and facilities are typical for a provincial resort.
Perhaps the real treasure can be found when the tide goes down and the rocky area at the front of the resort becomes visible.
So make sure you get your cameras ready because while the tide does stay low long enough for you to shoot, the sun is not as cooperative as it feels like it sets quickly in the province.
The Treasures of Bolinao Beach Resort and Hotel is located in Barangay Patar, Bolinao, which in itself is located in the province of Pangasisnan in the island of Luzon.
It can take a bit over six hours’ drive from Metro Manila if you take Camiling and drive at a leisurely pace.
The directions, based on the resort’s website, are as follows:
- Starting off at Manila, take the North Luzon Expressway and exit at Dau
- Take MacArthur Highway towards Tarlac City
- At the Siesta Court (Victory Liner & 5 Star Bus station) junction in Tarlac, turn left towards Camiling and Bugallon
- At the Sicony junction past the town of Bugallon, turn left towards Labrador, Sual, Alaminos, and Bani.
- At the Municipal Hall of Bani, turn right towards Bolinao
- At the first major intersection past Bolinao National High School and the Bolinao National Museum but before the town proper, turn LEFT and follow road signs to Treasures of Bolinao
The condition of roads after exiting the North Luzon Expressway is quite good, with much of it being covered with smooth asphalt.
Closer to the resort, the roads are composed of concrete, so bringing a 4x4 Sport Utility Vehicle is not required.
I would caution you by saying that there are quite a few roads and intersections in this part of the country, so getting lost is easy.
To save yourself a lot of time, I suggest picking up a map from any bookstore and giving it a quick once over before making the trip.
In our case, we’ve had to stop by the side of the road a few times just to consult our map. And while it may have added a bit to our travel time, it is nothing compared to the amount we would tacked on had we gotten lost.
Now if you feel unsure about a particular road you are taking, just stop and ask directions from the nearest person. I’ve found that people from the North are extremely helpful and will help you get on your way immediately.
The driveway going in to the resort is made of concrete and well maintained.
You’ll find the front desk on the ground floor in the structure on the left. Booking stays and making inquiries about the place can be done here and it doubles up as the souvenir shop.
After making arrangements at the front desk, we were escorted to our Coconut Cottage, which is part of the set of buildings further in and to the left of the resort.
Viewed it from the outside, our room was on the second floor and did not have the metal roof that some of the other structures had.
In front of the door was a small balcony overlooking the pool and had a table and a few chairs. It was about a third of the size of our room, so the rattan bench didn’t make it too tight to move around.
After climbing a flight of concrete steps, we were greeted by native wooden walls instead of bare concrete. The room had two queen sized beds on the right and its own bathroom behind a lockable door on the left.
The window at the rear provided us with a partial view of the beach when the curtains were pushed to the side.
Finally, the room had an air conditioner and electrical sockets, should you need to charge the batteries of your phone or camera.
When we arrived we were considering taking one of five Villas in the resort. These were single-story units and provided a reasonable amount of privacy.
They can be rented out at a very reasonable rate of P4,000 that cover two people.
Unfortunately, all the rooms were booked prompting the front desk to offer us a Coconut Cottage for the same rate.
Though the room had two queen-sized beds, the P4,000 only covered two people. Additional adults will need to pay an extra P650 per person, while children are charged P350.
We were informed that the main house was part of the original resort that was built in 1996. And after a quick peek, I could see exotic furniture and museum pieces which guests could use.
The two junior suites of the main house can fit four persons at the rate of P5,800, perhaps making it the best value for a group of that size.
There are also three suites to choose from in the main house that also fit four persons, but they come at a higher rate of P6,800.
The Maharlika Building is one of the resort’s newest additions and is one perhaps the biggest structure in the entire resort with four floors and fourteen rooms to choose from.
The Presidential suite can be rented for PhP15,800 and includes free massages for two people.
The first floor of the is rated at PhP8,000. The second can be had for PhP6,800. While the third floor can be rented for PhP6,000.
Prices for the first to third floors are good up to four persons, with additional adults being charged P650 and children PhP350.
If you plan on bringing in food and drinks, corkage costs will be PhP220 for adults and PhP165 for children.
For those of you just planning to stay for the day, adults can get in for P385 and kids at PhP280. Free corkage and the use of all facilities is part of this package.
Overall, the rate very reasonable rates when compared to other resorts I have visited.
There is a billiard table and Karaoke machine for those of you who prefer to stay out of the sun.
In addition to this, a handful of open cottages, a few sheds, a clubhouse, a function room, and a chapel are all available for all guests to use.
And if salt water is not your thing, there is a fresh water swimming pool and Jacuzzi.
Perhaps the most unique structure of the resort is the long concrete bridge that stretches a bit out to the sea.
The bridge is dotted with lamp posts and flags, making it a favorite spot to photographs of. It being high over the sea and extending a bit forward also makes it a good perch to take pictures from.
The food, and their prices, are typical for the province and tend to be served in small portions. In light of this, you may want to double up on your orders as it does take a while for the food to be cooked.
- The Beach at High Tide
If you would be looking out to sea within the resort, you may be surprised to see that the area in front is composed purely of rock under all that sea water.
However, don’t be downtrodden because if you move closer to the edge of the resort, you’ll notice that the sandy area will be found to the left side of the resort.
Before continuing, I would like to set expectations by saying that the transition between the rocks and sand appeared to mark the end of the private resort.
Having said that, crossing over to the sandy beach was as easy as going down a few concrete steps.
Upon first look, I was surprised to see that the sand was white. I was expecting it to be dark gray or even black, given the abundance of dark rock in front of the resort.
The tide was high and the water line only exposed a few meters of sand on the coast before the beach was swallowed up by a thick set of trees and vegetation.
The area closest to the resort was filled with many locals who were taking the opportunity to take a nice weekend dip.
There was also a fishing boat moored by the tree line and I spotted a couple of dogs and few chickens scavenging for food up and down the beach.
Interestingly, despite all the activity, the water was crystal clear for meters out, only to be obscured by the sun reflecting light off the top of the water.
Now if you prefer a little bit of privacy, all you need to do to find your own little spot is to walk a bit further away from the resort buildings.
Not only will the number of people thin out, but the beach front also gets bigger as you get near the open huts, giving you more playing space in and out of the water.
Entering the water was not a gut wrenching experience as it was warm and the waves were gentle enough that I wasn’t tossed around.
- The Beach at Low Tide
After getting over the surprise of white sand amidst dark rocks, the beach at high tide can be considered normal for a white-sanded beach.
But when late afternoon came, we were greeted by a totally different beach.
The rocks that looked unappealing when they were submerged underwater now looked extremely inviting.
And as I looked around, I could see a few places to explore and take pictures of.
Already in the middle of this newly exposed land mass was a guy with an extremely expensive camera perched upon a tripod.
And after talking a few shots, he’d lift it all up and move it to another spot for a new set of photographs.
So with my camera in hand and aqua shoes on foot, my loved one and I walked on what turned out to be an interesting beach.
There was a rock formation taller than two people; there was a hole that would shoot out water when the waves came crashing underneath it; and there were tiny fish swimming in pools of water left by the receding tide.
The water was clear, clean, and still warm to the touch.
I felt that there were quite a few places to take pictures from; and nearly everyone else seemed to agree with me. People were snapping shots as they gingerly darted about the place.
On a final note of caution, I would not suggest walking around on bare feet as the rocks are quite sharp. You’ll need a thick pair of slippers that don’t come off easily in the water.
Your best option would be to get aqua shoes. And if you do, you might want to consider making them flesh colored so they don’t look too strange on your immortalized pictures.
- Cape Bolinao Lighthouse
Before leaving the resort the next morning, the front desk recommended that we drop by the lighthouse on our way home.
They informed us that it is open to the public and has been used by several local movie producers as backdrops for their films.
Like the road going to the Treasures of Bolinao Beach Resort and Hotel, the road leading up to the lighthouse was made of concrete.
When we got there, I was surprised to that the place was clean, especially since other lighthouses I have seen have been terribly neglected.
And since we left quite early in the morning, we were fortunate to share the lighthouse with just one couple on our arrival. This gave us the freedom to take a lot of pictures.
Being over one hundred years old, the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse was built by a group of Filipino, British, and American engineers back in the year 1905.
It is the second tallest light house in the country, with the tallest honor going to the Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos Norte.
Unfortunately, the door to the interior of the lighthouse was locked, given that it was a Sunday. But we didn’t need to climb the winding 140-step stairway to enjoy the view of the surrounding area.
So would I recommend going to the Treasures of Bolinao Beach Resort and Hotel? Well, it depends on what you are looking for.
On one hand, some people may find the place to be a bit cramped, given the number of structures it has in relation to the open space.
Judging from the way it has been developed, the place appears to be geared towards the office or large group outing.
And this is backed up by the very reasonable prices of the rooms as well as the comparable fees for additional guests.
So if your office is interested in going on an outing, this is would be a good place for it.
The same goes for a small intimate group as some of the structures, like the bridge and the clubhouse, make for nice pictures.
Now if you are a bit more in to mother nature implementing its beauty in a slightly different way, then this place may also be worth checking out.
And while you’re at it, try dropping by the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse. It’s a beautiful structure located on very clean grounds.
In the case of pictures, I would strongly suggest that you take any pictures as quickly as you can since the sun seems to set fast. You may also want to invest in a camera that can handle low light much better a point-and-shoot one.
On the other hand, if you are stickler for five-star amenities, top-end facilities, gourmet food, and snappy service, then you may want to consider other places.
Now I’m not saying that the amenities, facilities, food, and service are terrible; what I am saying is that they are par for the course, making it typical for provincial resorts.
Finally, it’s been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I’d venture to say the same goes for treasure.
And like the name states, you’ll most likely find a little bit of your own treasure in the Treasures of Bolinao Beach Resort and Hotel with a little bit of searching.
Time for me to head out. If you'd like to view more photographs, please check out the Treasures of Bolinao Photo Gallery.
|Service Type||Beach Hotel and Restaurant|
|Contact Numbers||+63 (75) 696-3266, +63 (908) 227-2748, or +63 (921) 564-2408|
We would like to thank Anything Under the Sun for contributing pictures and videos for this article.