Island hopping at Hundred Islands National Park, Alaminos City, Pangasinan, Philippines

It was Gabe’s first time to go to the Philippines. In fact, it was his first time to go out of the country! So, for his birthday, I decided to bring him to Hundred Islands. It was about an hour away from my grandparents’ house in the small town of Calasiao. We rented a van to use for the whole day. The rental fee of the van is Php 1, 500 (approx. $40) plus Php 550 (approx. $15) for gas plus Php 1000 (approx. $25) for the driver with a total of Php 3, 050 (approx. $75). When we got there, we went to the small office where visitors pay for the entrance fee, boat/bangka rentals and snorkeling gear rentals, etc. We decided to rent a medium boat but the person behind the desk gave us a free upgrade to a large boat that could fit at most 15 people. The cost of the boat was Php 1, 800 (approx. $45) for the whole day and that includes island hopping (any island we wish to visit) and the boat driver (who was also our tour guide).

Rental boats at Hundred Islands, Alaminos City, Pangasinan, Philippines

Our boat driver told us about their newest activity on the island which was the helmet diving. At first, I was hesitant to do it because I have already planned on doing that when we go to Boracay but when he said that they offer that activity for only Php 300 (approx. $8) per person for half an hour, I could not say no. It was a good deal! Gabe and I went 10 feet underwater (would be 12 feet if high tide) wearing a helmet that is being supplied with oxygen. It was super fun. Gabe went down the ladder first to the bottom of the ocean, and he was given bread to feed the fish. When I got to the bottom, the professional scuba diver led me to where the corals and clams were and showed me where the clown fish lives! He wanted me to kneel down beside the clam so I could see it better but I started to feel dizzy so I declined. I could not stay underwater for that long so after a few photos I gave a signal to the professional scuba diver that I need to come back to the surface. It was not as scary as I thought it would be. If you ever get the chance, be sure to try it out! My hair did not even get wet! Just be ready to blow your nose while covering it to help with the pressure change.

Helmet diving
Helmet diving (photo credit: professional scuba diver)

Underwater, we saw some corals and plenty of fish!

Oh hey, look! I found Nemo!
Oh hey, look! I found Nemo! (photo credit: professional scuba diver)

Gabe and I also went snorkelling with my cousins and kuya (our boat driver) brought us to the best snorkelling site in Hundred Islands while my aunts, uncles and grandma were eating a scrumptious lunch by the beach.

I was so excited to jump in the water to go snorkelling that I forgot to take out the warning sign sticker on my snorkelling gear.
I was so excited to jump in the water to go snorkelling that I forgot to take out the warning sign sticker on my snorkelling gear. Whoops! Hehe

Other Expenses (not mentioned above):Ā $40 snorkelling gear from Swim Co.

View from the top of Governor's Island.
View from the top of Governor’s Island.

Did you know that there are actually 123 islands in Hundred Islands? Now that is easy to remember! Three of its most popular islands are Quezon island, Governor’s island, and children’s island.

Why should you travel here? It is the cheapest island hopping trip I have had because they charge for each boat rental and not per person (aside from the entrance fee to the national park which is just Php 10 or Php 20 from what I remember (approx. $0.25 – $0.50). Plus this is the only place where you could see 123 islands in one trip. Other island hopping trips in the Philippines usually only includes around three to 12 islands.

“It’s so beautiful! The corals aren’t dead there if you want to go scuba diving. If it’s low tide, it looks like the islands are floating.” -Gabriel Binette

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