Golden sands of Patar Beach
Maybe it was last Saturday’s supermoon
– a full moon that coincides with the closest approach to Earth. The cosmos seemed to conspire to make our excursion to Patar Beach, Bolinao in northern Pangasinan the best weekend getaway by far. All the elements seemed to perfectly fall in place: cloudless skies, long stretches of golden sand, cool waters, golden sunsets, good food, cheery locals and crazy, crazy company. Unlike Puerto Galera
, Bolinao makes for a more laid-back escape from Manila, especially those after the simple pleasure of sun, sand and snooze.
A Chinese egret hunts in the shallows
Besides enjoying the beach, drop by some picturesque historic spots. The sunsets from Cape Bolinao Lighthouse, an imposing structure built on a hill two kilometers south of Bing’s Beach Resort, were so spectacular, we could almost hear the African chant from The Lion King.
Century-old Cape Bolinao Lighthouse that overlook stunning sunsets
Back in Bolinao town, there’s the impressive St. James Parish Church. A fascinating feature of this 400-year-old Spanish church are the Aztec-style altar sculptures
of human faces with protruding tongues believed to have been brought to the archipelago from Mexico. The antique altar of hardwood is now housed in a side chapel at the left side upon entering the church. Aside from Filipino words rooted in the Aztec tongue of Nahuatl such as tiangge
for ‘seasonal markets’), pitaka
for ‘coin purse’) and kamote
for ‘sweet potato’), this is clear evidence of the socio-economic and cultural connections between the Philippines and the New World brought about by the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade.
St. James Parish Church houses a Aztec-Mexican treasure
HOW TO GET HERE: Manila-Bolinao buses (PHP 437, 6 to 7 hours) leave from the Victory Liner – Cubao Terminal along EDSA. If you want to enjoy Bolinao for a weekend, hop on the last bus at 9:00 PM on Friday night. From the bus terminal in Bolinao town, 24/7 tricycles can take you to your resort at Patar Beach (PHP 200 negotiable, 1 to 4 pax, 40 minutes). Last bus back to Manila leaves at 3:00 PM.
WHERE TO STAY: For budget accommodation along Patar Beach, stay at Bing’s Beach Resort (For reservations, contact +63 9282477501). Staff and owners are very friendly and accommodating. Rooms start at PHP 1,000 for the beachfront fan cottage, 4 pax. They serve home-cooked meals. Menu changes everyday depending on available ingredients. For special meal requests, ask in advance. We had a huge serving of bulalo (beef marrow soup) for PHP 300, good for four.