Pros and Cons of Traveling to Bolinao, Pangasinan

Patar Beach, Bolinao

Patar Beach, Bolinao – Photography by Iza Sanchez

GETTING THERE

PROS

It’s quite easy to travel to Bolinao. There are bus liners that ply the Manila to Bolinao route on an hourly basis at the Cubao and Pasay bus terminals. The latest trips are usually between 11:00 pm and 12:00 am. Once you arrive at Bolinao, just hop on a tricycle to get to the beach resorts. It will take roughly 20 to 25 minutes depending on the location of your hotel.

Bolinao Pangasinan

 CONS

It’s a long and seemingly endless 6 to 7 hour bus ride, if this does not appeal to you, you’d better look around for other vacation spots. In addition, buses pick up passengers along the route which prolongs the trip. The tricycle ride isn’t so bad though.

Here’s a tip – Take an evening trip so you can just doze-off and hopefully sleep through the long journey. Furthermore, at night there are lesser travelers to pick up along the route, hence the trips are faster. For more information about getting to Bolinao, check out: How to Travel to Bolinao, Pangasinan – Backpacker Style.

Bolinao Pangasinan

Photography by Iza Sanchez

INFRASTRUCTURE

PROS

Bolinao is a fairly established tourist destination and most of your needs will be available there. There are countless budget, mid-range and luxury hotels to choose from. The availability of transportation to and from the town is plenty and contrary to what I’ve read from other blogs, mobile network signal wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t great either but good enough.
Bolinao Pangasinan

Photography by Iza Sanchez

CONS

The only road to the beach resorts is the long and narrow Patar Road. This road has intermittent gaps between cemented and uncemented sections. According to a local, this is a result of the road project being awarded to multiple contractors on a “per kilometer” basis. Obviously, the road ends wherever government funds ran out. With that in mind, it’s best to hold off on taking a trip to Bolinao in the rainy season since passage through muddy roads will be a challenge.

Bolinao Pangasinan

Photography by Iza Sanchez

ABOUT THE BEACH

PROS

The sand at Patar Beach has a rich, mocha color which I found very attractive. There are some amazing rock formations at the nicer part of the beach which is at the southern end of the coast. A perfect vantage point to take panoramic views of the beach is on the Treasures of Bolinao rock bridge. You will have to pay a fee though to use the hotel facilities including the bridge.

Bolinao Pangasinan

Photography by Iza Sanchez

BOLINAO, PANGASINAN

Kayaking area at the Punta Riviera Hotel

BOLINAO, PANGASINAN

Ilog Malino, Bolinao

Bolinao Pangasinan

There is a river called Ilog Malino which runs alongside the beach at Punta Riviera Resort. There you can rent a kayak for 350.00 PHP per hour and kayak along a one kilometer strip of what looked like a mini Amazon River. According to my hotel receptionist, you can also go to Puerto Del Sol to kayak, the rate will probably be similar. Although, I recommend Punta Riviera where you can view a unique section where the river merges with sea.

Bolinao Pangasinan

Sea grass and weeds cover most of the shore of Patar Beach

CONS

Contrary to how a certain luxury hotel describes it, Patar Beach is not in the league of Boracay or El Nido, Palawan. From a range of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, Patar is somewhere between 6 and 7. But it does have its own unique charm. The abundance of sea grass that covered the ocean floor makes the beach slightly unattractive but as per a reader’s comment below, that’s a sign of a healthy coastal community so let’s rejoice to that.

Here’s a tip – Wear slippers or better yet surf shoes to avoid stepping on anything sharp, slimy or alive.

Bolinao Pangasinan

Photography by Iza Sanchez 

NO SNORKELING SITES

There aren’t any snorkeling sites in Patar Beach.  If you’d like to go snorkeling, I recommend take a side trip to Alaminos and visit the 100 Islands which is just around one hour away from Bolinao.

Bolinao Pangasinan

ABOUT ACCOMMODATION

PROS

A WIDE VARIETY OF HOTELS

There are many hotel options along the beach that you wouldn’t have to worry about booking in advance even during  the peak season. For budget travelers you can find places that offer fan rooms for as low as 800.00 PHP per night. Check out Benjie’s Kubo and Ilog Malino Hotel.

My home away from home 

Bolinao Pangasinan Bolinao Pangasinan

Bolinao Pangasinan A view of the SCL Paradise garden from my room on the second floor

Patar Beach, Bolinao

SCL Paradise Beach Resort 

CONS

NO WEBSITES

Many of the budget and mid-range hotels in the area do not have websites. It’s a long stretch of beach and it’s not easy and sometimes impossible to walk from one hotel to another. Thus, if you don’t have a private vehicle, hopping from one hotel to another on a tricycle to check out each hotel will be rather time consuming. You’re better off booking your lodging in advance with a hotel that has a website to save you time and energy. Check out hotel reviews and blogs to help you decide on the best lodging that suits your needs and budget.

Bolinao Pangasinan

Treasures of Bolinao Beach Resort

There are three or four high end resorts in the area. I got to see the rates of two and they really are quite high for a tourist spot like Bolinao. Treasures of Bolinao Beach Resort has the best location of all. Take note though, the beach in front of the hotel is not exclusive to guests and if you are booked at a mid-range hotel 6 kilometers away (like I was) you can still go and enjoy this part of Patar Beach.

Bolinao Pangasinan

On the other hand, if you have the budget for it, these resorts do have the best facilities like infinity pools and restaurants and water sports equipment to rent.

BOLINAO, PANGASINAN

Punta Riviera Resort – A nice place to kayak and eat halo-halo

BOLINAO, PANGASINAN

It took me many hours of research to decide on a hotel. I ended up at a mid-range hotel called SCL Paradise Beach Resort and paid 2,000 PHP per night for a standard airconditioned room with the usual amenities. Although I found this pricey, the hotel had a relaxing garden ambiance, good staff, clean rooms and most of all reliable WIFI. I could have opted for a cheaper hotel and there were plenty, but most didn’t have WIFI or could not be contacted.

The beach across SCL Paradise Resort does not have the wow factor. In fact, you might be disappointed at first glance. But on a bright and sunny day it looks a lot more attractive. From the hotel you can walk 15 to 20 minutes to the nicer beach across Punta Riviera and Villa Soledad hotel.

Patar Beach, Bolinao

Beachfront at SCL Paradise Beach Resort 

BlogSCL Resort  offers a basic “hotsilog” breakfast meal per day. Make sure you ask for it though, if you don’t, no one will tell.

Bolinao Pangasinan

Photography by Iza Sanchez

WHERE TO EAT

CONS

From a backpacker’s point of view, you will likely spend a huge chunk of your budget on food since there aren’t any restaurants along the beach. You’ll probably be eating at your hotel’s restaurant most of the time which is always more expensive than the regular carinderia. I bought some chips, biscuits and bread in town which was 30 minutes away from my hotel and lived on sandwiches for most of of my trip. At some point, I had to buy food from the hotel restaurant as well. What other travelers do is they buy provisions in town and cook. You may want to inquire at your hotel if they have an open kitchen for guests. For a solo traveler though this is a hassle, so just bring extra cash for food expenses.

Bolinao Pangasinan

IF KARAOKE BOTHERS YOU

I spent an afternoon swimming and kayaking at Punta Riviera resort. Kayaking was fun. Unfortunately, the neighboring hotel called Villa Soledad has an open karaoke facility. If you’re staying at either Punta Riviera or Villa Soledad, you can expect loud and endless singing from other guests. If non-stop karaoke bothers you, pack some advil you might have a migraine or better yet, make sure you ask your hotel about this before you confirm your reservation.

One last tip! If you’re going there in the summer, swim in the morning because by noon the water recedes several meters from the shore and you really can’t swim anymore unless your hotel has a pool.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please give it a thumbs up and pass it on.  Thanks!

bolinao, pangasinan

These boats (bangkas) can be rented out for 500.00 PHP for a 30 minute ride across the beach

bolinao (2)

Traveling to Pangasinan soon? Check out these useful travel guides:

How to Get to Bolinao, Pangasinan – Backpacker Style
How to Shoot Fish at 100 Islands Alaminos, Pangasinan

Bolinao Pangasinan

Bolinao Lighthouse, Photography by Iza Sanchez

Bolinao Pangasinan

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Iza Sanchez

Iza Sanchez is a freelance ESL Teacher, adventurer and moderator of Take The Travel. She writes about solo-backpacking, travel saving tips and other awesome travel resources.

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35 Responses

  1. Viva Tarroza says:

    Did you get a chance to see Puerto Del Sol Beach? Is the beach also full of sea grass & sea weeds!

  2. Paolo says:

    hello..i am thinking of checking out Patar Beach….are there a lot of very cheap accommodations to choose from? Thanks!

    • Iza says:

      Hey Paolo, there are quite a few resorts to choose from. Unfortunately, many of them don’t have websites or facebook pages. Also, please take note the hotels at Patar Beach are not close to each other, you’d need to ride a tricycle to get from one resort to another if you wanted to canvass rates. If you have a private vehicle it will be easier. Do check out Ilog Malino, they have kubos for rent, with toilets and beds, really basic but good enough. I think they range from 700 to 800 pesos a night.

    • clarence says:

      madaming cheap if beach front ng patar ang want nyo po puntahan…. kubo kubo (wid sala and decked beds good for 5 people) cost us only 2500

  3. Darwin says:

    Greetings! the photos that you have with Pink room, is that for the SLC resort? how many nights did you stay at the hotel? Thank you!

  4. Roxxane Tugade says:

    Hello where I can ask for accommodation/reservation. Can I have your contact #. We will be having our team building on May 7-8 this year.

  5. deb lb says:

    glad i stumbled on your blog. i was thinking one last summer trip or the family and this helps in our decision making. we are six and therefore dining options is always a factor.

  6. Ella says:

    Hi! Im just ‘bothered’ that you were ‘bothered’ by the presence of seagrasses in the area when it is actually a sign of a healthy coastal community. The seagrasses is home to many invertebrates and source of food for them. So when we see seagrass we should be happy. They’re even better than a long stretch of white sand devoid of a diversity. Just sharing my thoughts. Thanks. And yes thanks for sharing info on Bolinao.

  7. Jenn Gaupo says:

    Hi, we are planning to have our family outing in Villa Soledad this coming June. Did you recommend it or better punta Riviera? Btw, thank you for sharing your experience in Bolinao, this is a great help.

    • Iza Sanchez says:

      Hi Jenn, Villa Soledad was right across Punta Riviera. The hotel looked ok but I didn’t thoroughly check out their facilities. Punta Riviera on the other hand was very nice, quite posh and pricey though. You can check out their website to see if their rates are within your budget.

      The beach in front of these two hotels is beautiful and you can also kayak along the river parallel to the beach. During low tide though water recedes by several meters so you may want to spend as much time swimming before noon. Hope that helps.

  8. Mina says:

    Hello is benjie’s kubo or ilog malino hotel near patar beach?

    • Iza Sanchez says:

      Hey Mina,

      Yes, Benjie’s Kubo and Ilog Malino are along Patar Beach. I wasn’t able to visit that part of the beach though since it’s a very long coast.

  9. Sofia says:

    how about the signal reception there?

  10. Liza says:

    Thank you..this helps a lot

  11. Rurut says:

    Hi, have youtried going to Potipot Island in Zambales? which has a better road, going to Bolinao Pangasinan or to Potipot in Zambales?

    • Iza Sanchez says:

      Hi! I haven’t been to Potipot Island yet but I’d love to travel there in the future. Regarding road conditions, best to check the weather and avoid going when there’s a forecast of heavy rains. Good luck!

  12. Iain Booth says:

    Nice to get such an informative assessment. Something for everyone. Especially noted the non-stop karaoke. (The bane of life in the Philippines). I’ve been to most of the better known tourist beaches in the PH and it seems like this is one worth considering – even though I’d have to forego snorkelling and diving.

  13. Bambi Yu says:

    Undecided whether to chek in at Villa Soledad or Treasures of Bolinao. Which do u recommend?

  14. Leah Gan says:

    Hi. Your blog is a great help. Would like to ask if you’ve seen Veue cabins? Is it better than Punta Riviera?

    • Iza Sanchez says:

      Hi Leah,

      Sorry I haven’t seen Veue cabins. Punta Riviera is quite nice since it’s a beach front resort. I kayaked and swam there. It’s one of the pricey resorts though. Cheers!

      • hello Leah! this is Oliver Bondad. if you need help with your itineraries in Bolinao, NorthAir Travel and Tours can assist you. Regarding your question about the VEUE, its a minimalist resort, cozy, with infinity pool, whitesand beach front, and they charge P8000/day minimum of 2 days stay. for more infos add me up
        in FB

  15. Lhiz says:

    Hi. May rsort or cottage ba na malapit sa mga spots sa bolinao na owede pag iwanan ng gamit.. Para secure ung bag pag magswiswimming. We only plan to have the tour for a day. Kaya need ko malaman kung may pwede ba pagdepositan ng gamit. Like pag nasa beach or falls. Dalawa lng kmi at commute lng no private car. Thanks

  16. Mich says:

    Hi,

    I find your blog very helpful :).
    Would you know how I can to Punta Riviera Resort by public transport?

    Thank you

  17. Mole says:

    Nice article you have here. very helpful.
    How about the road? Is the road rough or is it ok to bring a car? ano po ang suggestion nyo? Thanks!!

  18. lein says:

    possible pa po ba ang Tent pitching?

    may pwede kayang lutuan lang at liguan?

  19. Xian Salta says:

    Hi..nice review you had there! Do you happen to know where a family of 5 can stay airconditioned and modest furniture wherein we can cook by our selves? That includes with cooking pots available…we plan to buy and cook since we heard that seafoods are affordable there

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