Bolinao Revisited


Bolinao has become a favorite destination, and Punta Riviera Resort remains my first choice of place to stay. In my previous blog on Bolinao, a reader asked about other accommodations and that made me realize that, unlike my other blog posts, I focused on Punta Rivera. Pardon me for that – – – I couldn’t then find a better place.

the gazebo by the infinity pool of Punta Riviera

the only resort in Bolinao where you can go kayaking by the river beside it

the only resort with a sandbar, for lazing, and venue for beach weddings

jsut added: a spa with sauna and jacuzzi, and this bar by the river

and a brand-new pool table

If you want to know more about this great resort :

But I hear you – – so I went around to see other decent but cheaper places. And I found a gem. Solomon’s Paradise on Patar beach. Nothing like my favorite Punta Riviera. But it has a charm that travelers may not be able to resist.

Solomon’s Paradise is on the far end of the stretch of white sand beach. Almost close to the famous lighthouse.

your private cove

It is a backpackers’ haven. Only 5 rooms made of native materials. Makes one feel like he is staying with a relative in a barrio. The floor is made of bamboo  you can actually see the ground in between the slats. The bed is also made of bamboo, but a mattress stands ready for those who would want a softer bed.

5 rooms all in a row

an almost see-thru floor, just like provincial bamboo houses

The resort is owned by a Brett Solomon, a rather young Australian married to a Filipina. The couple stays in the only concrete Greek-inspired structure that also serves as the kitchen and the bar that opens to a magnificent, and probably unique, view of the ocean.

kitchen - bar

The beach at Solomon’s Paradise is so private it is bounded by rocks on both ends, forming a cove that is exclusive to guests of the resort.

I promised to look for inexpensive accommodations, and here it is. P1,500 per night for 2 persons, P2,400 for 4 persons. The rate goes up by P500 per day during the peak season, but they throw in breakfast with the increased rates. Not bad at all. Now I have a decent place to recommend to friends looking for low-budget but great accommodations.

You may contact Solomon’s Paradise at (+63905) 398 1470 or (+63928) 4748845. Or email them at Visit their website



Ilog Malino is a huge property that seemed empty when I visited. Well, it was off-peak. The resort has a swimming pool, huts near the shore, air-conditioned rooms, and a bar that I am told operates when there are a good number of guests.

They didn’t have a tariff sheet ready, but their rates can be viewed from their website

Or you may call their amiable Resort Manager, Jennyfer Pedroso at mobile numbers (+63939) 6073001, (+63927) 5745866


probably the longest beachfront

After Punta Riviera and Solomon’s Paradise, Cocos Beach is my next choice. Nothing fancy. Just cheap, clean cottages. Aircon or non-aircon. The big plus is that they have family rooms with cooking facilities. They do not operate a restaurant but have an arrangement with a popular restaurant closer to the town center for deliveries.

entry to Cocos

big family room (aircon) with kitchen

family room

smaller, cheaper cottages

a P1,500 per day nipa room

The caretaker showed me the rates as booked by a group coming in March : Family Room, aircon : P4,000, Room for 4, aircon : P3,000, Aircon for 2 persons : P2,000, Bamboo Rooms P2,000. All of these rooms have verandas.

Nipa rooms (fan only) P1,500.

call the numbers above for reservations on peak season

COCOS BEACH contact : Nida at (+63916)6750367 or the numbers listed on the signage as photographed.


This is a bistro with accommodations on the hill overlooking Silaki Island. Sundowners is NOT within the beach area. Rather, it is at the far end of the town proper, past the municipal wharf. Go past the wharf until a structure ahead blocks your way. To your left is the entrance to Sundowners.

I chanced upon the bistro/hotel while looking for a place for lunch. Fantastic view, but the food was so- so. The warm welcome and the attentive staff kinda made up for the unremarkable meal.

nice watching the busy wharf going to Silaki

the island just across

I was shown the accommodations after going thru 2 flights of stairs. I figured I am not staying here if I am going to have a drink. I might make a wrong step and not make it to my room. The room is clean and bright, though. And the rate is inexpensive at P1,000 per day ( king size bed, aircon, TV). Further up is the villa, also available for guests. The villa, with 3 rooms, accommodates 12 persons at P12,000 per day.

two flights of stairs to this room

don't get drunk nor tipsy before bedtime

You may reserve rooms or the villa thru their Resident Manager, Ms Carmen Chiong at telephone (+6375) 5544203 ot via mobile (+63916)4554496. Or email them at


My favorite eatery in Bolinao is Adora’s, a 24-hour eatery serving home-cooked meals. This I call cheap but great. Find Adora;s at the left side of the church, beside ukay-ukay stalls. Visitors are allowed to park inside the church compound.

the beautiful church

turo-turo style, good food, and cheap !

Tummy Teasers is a popular restaurant, and does deliveries to guests in the resorts in Bolinao. They are also the partner-restaurant of Cocos Beach. Find them right aftar CarMak, the turn-off to the beach resorts, coming from the poblacion.


Near the resorts, just before the bridge, are several stalls selling dorado, yellow fin tuna and other fish varieties caught just a while ago. The stalls also sell vegetables and all the ingredients you might need for your sinigang, pinangat, or whatever.


You may want to also check out the following:

probably the cheapest accommodations along the beach

I knocked but no one answered - - worth a call

I pushed open the gate and called out, no one answered. So I just took this photo from the gate.

this is PROBABLY the rest house for rent mentioned in the poster outside the gate


By private car, the beach resorts are about 5 hours away from the balintawak entry of the NLEX. Take NLEX – SCTEX and exit at Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. Past SM Tarlac, turn left going to CAMILING. First town you will hit after Tarlac City is San Jose, followed by Sta. Ignacia. And then Camiling, and San Clemente. After San Clemente, you will pass thru the Pangasinan towns of Mangatarem, Aguilar, Bugallon, Labrador, Sual, and Alaminos. The Bolinao beach resorts are an hour away from Alaminos City, passing thru Bani.

You can take buses, and the bus company that travels most to this part is 5-Star, with terminals in Cubao and Pasay City.

Bolinao, Pangasinan


I have been to most of the Philippines, and to several points in Pangasinan – – – Hundred Islands, Sual, San Fabian, Dagupan, Urdaneta, Alaminos and some towns in between, including a pilgrimage to  Manaoag – –  but for some reason, never got to Bolinao. I distinctly remember a client-friend talk of Bolinao with fondness, saying he brings his family there every summer. Thus, from Zambales, I went to Bolinao. It was a very nice drive from the last Zambales towns to Dasol in Pangasinan, and onwards to Bolinao via Agno and Bani. All coastal towns dotted with beach resorts. If only I had all the time in the world, I would stay a day or two in each town. But on this trip, I had a back-to-home schedule. I had to be home for our wedding anniversary, and yet, I still wanted to cover the Ilocos region afterwards. Priorities. . . . Now I understand why my client-friend loves Bolinao. It is a beautiful town. Even the quaint town center, with the old church and the food stalls on the side of the town’s gymnasium is already worth the trip.

church built in 1609 - now 411 years old !

Deliberately, I checked out the farther end of town, until I got to what seemed to be a dead-end, the fisherman’s wharf.

fishermen, ready to sell their catch in a few minutes at the wharf

I then turned around to get to the resort area, turning at Carmak where the booking station of one of the resorts, Treasures of Bolinao, also stands. A few kilometers onwards and the row of resorts starts. One can see that the bigger and better resorts are able to advertise themselves. Puerto del Sol. Treasures of Bolinao. Punta Riviera.


Puerto del Sol had a blurb on their posters “Pre-Holiday treat. 35% off on Published rates. Book now for as low as Php 1,450.00” And who would not be attracted to such proposition, seeing with my own to eyes that the resort, indeed, was one of the better resorts in town? I went to the front desk and promptly booked a room. The room, as it turns out, costs P3,900 at promo rates. I asked “what about the P1,450 as advertised? They said it is for an “open cottage”. Talk about truth in advertising. Anyway, tired from a long trip from Zambales, I said I will get a room anyway, and can I please see the room? The front desk clerk showed me photos from a file, and when I requested to see the room so I can decide what type of room to get, she was like dragging her feet to take me to the villas. I liked the room, signed up, and gave my card. And then I was told to deposit P2,000 CASH on top of full payment for my room. I was shocked, and  asked why. The front desk clerk said it was their policy, to cover incidental expenses. I reasoned that they can always charge the expenses to my card, and that by virtue of my visa card being approved as they swipe, I become a known entity. Still, she insisted that this was a policy. Exasperated, I opened my wallet to show her I had much much more than the P2,000 deposit they wanted, but that I won’t do it because it is offensive, and insulting. I told them that I have been to most parts of the world, and to practically all  points in the Philippines, and NO ONE EVER ASKED for a cash deposit. I left, never to return to Puerto del Sol ever again. I went to Punta Riviera instead. Then I realized, everything happens for a reason. (N.B. The moment I learn that this cash deposit policy is changed, I will promptly advise my readers on this blog about this development. I might even try and stay to experience this beautiful resort – – – and of course I will pay for my stay, as decent bloggers do). 

PUNTA RIVIERA is a nice resort with a location that could very well be the envy of other resorts. They are the only resort with a river, a sandbar, and of course the white sand beach. Guests can use the resort’s kayak down the river for free. The infinity pool, while quite small, is beautiful and clean. Most of all, the resort has a super friendly staff, and super friendly owners.

pool to infinity

Because it was off-peak, I was given a room that normally costs P6,000 a night for only P3,500, inclusive of breakfast for two. Published rates start at P2-3,000 for cabanas, with family rooms for 8 persons at P12,000.There is a suite for 6 persons at P13,000, and an El Grande at P14,500 for 15 persons.

clean room, comfortable bed

The restaurant serves good food, and the bar is well-stocked with excellent wines and liquor. The bartender makes good mixed drinks, and the spirits and mixers are all A-1 (take it from someone who knows his drinks).

well-stocked bar, Absolute apeach for my vodka sevens

The waiter, Jethro,  suggested I try “dinakdakan” and it turned out to be the best dish I had throughout this 5-stops trip. And I was only my second stop.

dinakdakan, best dish in my 5-stops trip : fish kinilaw with pork

Punta Riviera can be booked by email  :, or by phone (63) 756961350 / 756961274. Website : Look for the owners Aileen and/or Ian, or their very amiable front desk staff, Elvie..


Located 5 kms away from Punta Riviera, towards the end of Cape Bolinao, is Treasures of Bolinao. It is a huge complex with villas, cottages, and suites. Rates start at P4.000 for 2, with the Maharlika room at P8,000. Visitors can, of course, ask for off-peak rates (like the villas then were available at only P3,000). Guests at Treasures can use the resort’s facilities like the jacuzzi, the swimming pool, billiards, videoke bar, and corkage is free.

5 kms away from the cluster of resorts

you'd think this sofa is right there on the beach...

but it is inside this Maharlika room, with 2 walls looking out to Cape Bolinao

Maharlika Room : P8,000 published rate

Contact Treasures of Bolinao at :   Manila office : (632) 413 4914 Bolinao Office (075) 6963266, 5544444 Mobile : 0908 2272748, 0920 3818888, 0921 5592732, 0915 4166003


There are a lot of alternative accommodations in Bolinao, with small resorts dotting the entire stretch of the cape. These smaller resorts offer aircon or non-aircon rooms to suit the traveler’s budget. My guess is that even in summer, visitors will find a bed, if not a space to pitch a tent, in beautiful Bolinao.


There are several caves in Bolinao. However, those into serious cave exploration will be disappointed. No, they are not like the Jenolan Caves, nor the caves in Sagada. The caves in Bolinao are small, and have been converted into resort-type underground swimming pools. The most famous is Enchanted Cave, where the cast of Marimar once shot a scene with actors Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera. Do not expect to see marvelous stalactites and stalagmites. They have been ripped off, to “make passage to the underground pool less hazardous”. Oh well.

kid-friendly: easy access, shallow underground pool

I didn't bother to find out if it is indeed wonderful

the most popular

disappointing : don't expect to see stalactites or stalagmites


A visit to the lighthouse could well be one of the most pleasant things to do in Bolinao. Unlike other lighthouses, this one is easily accessible. I literally drove up to the base of the tower. It is in a public park, the viewdeck for a breathtaking vista of the cape. Built in 1906, its tower is one of the tallest among all lighthouses in the country

a 411 year old lighthouse, with one of the tallest towers /wiki/Lighthouses_in_the_Philippines#List_of_Lighthouses_in_the_Philippines

Cape Bolinao, from the lighthouse

Bolinao is such a well-kept secret. I guess it must be the distance. It is actually isolated, and visitors to Bolinao need to have this town as the destination, not just a side-trip. But having discovered this town, the other Pangasinan towns can be the side-trip, with Bolinao as THE DESTINATION.

How to go to Bolinao:

Shorter route: Take NLEX-SCTEX and exit at Luisita in Tarlac. Turn left to Camiling, first hitting the town of San Jose, and San Clemente before reaching Camiling. After Camiling is Tarlac’s last town, San Clemente. The it will be onwards to the province of Pangasinan : Mangatarem (stop by the church and take a snap shot, it is very beautiful !), Aguilar, Bugallon.  Labrador, Sual, and finally Alaminos. From Alaminos, the Bolinao resorts are an hour away via Bani.

Scenic Route: I took the scenic but longer route via Zambales.  Take NLEX-SCTEX  going to Subic (SBMA). From Subic, go north, passing thru all the Zambales towns. It might be necessary to spend a night in either San Antonio or Iba. From the last town of Zambales, you will hit Pangasinan towns like Infanta, Dasol, and Burgos. Drive on to Agno, Bani, and Anda, until you hit the town of Bolinao.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION is available. I saw a FIVE STAR bus in town, on the way back to Metro Manila. A check with their website showed that rides to Bolinao can be taken from either their Pasay or Cubao terminals. Call them for actual schedules and fares.

I will definitely be back in Bolinao, and Punta Riviera, with their dinakdakan, it will be.