We spent Holy Week 2008 in Pangasinan. Most of the time, we spent it in Alaminos, the home of the Hundred Islands. It was a vacation well spent…

I’ve been to the Hundred Islands before but this is the first time I truly enjoyed it, being more adventurous and fearless now than I’ve ever been. At the Don Gonzalo Montemayor wharf, we chartered an outrigger motorized boat that could seat 10-12 people (I think we paid 1,500 pesos but you can haggle if you know how).

Picturesque emerald isles. We snorkeled and picnicked in and around some of the main islands (Quezon, Governor’s and Marcos).

The facilities were alright (although there was a funky smell at the Gov’s Island at that time), the heat was bearable and the tourists (and there were a good number of them) were tolerable. The Alaminos city government did a pretty good job in handling their local tourism industry.

Picnic at the beach (at left). Enjoying Pangasinan mangoes and burritos…and with a great view to boot!

Sizzle, sizzle!Ang init! The three beauties (Sis, Pchie and Paula) taking shelter from the summer heat (at right) in one of the main islands, Quezon island….

Sis and I with our “hermana mayor” for this memorable vacay: Dolly, our gorgeous tita (in the middle)! Galing, babalik kami!

Next post…Part 2: Revisiting Beloved Pangasinan!

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During the sembreak of 2007 (last week of October), I joined Sis, Doc Drew and family on a trip to The Doc’s place of his roots, Gumasa, Glan, Sarangani. We had been planning this for ages, and I’ve heard of the place being talked about with so much awe for a long time that I had to see it myself. Taking advantage of Cebu Pacific’s promo discounted fares, we immediately booked the available seats months in advance for the sembreak period without second thoughts.

And it was without regrets…

Drew’s parents fetched us from the Gensan Airport. After a long trip, we arrived on a dark stormy afternoon with the waves crashing on the seashore. It felt like nature was telling us, “Welcome! You’ll enjoy your stay just as long as you don’t mess with me, alright?” As the waves calmed down, we walked along the beach at night and I immediately got fascinated by the soft, powdery sands underneath my feet. The next morning…well, the pictures below tell the story:

…..I lazed around, lying on the hammock under the shade of the manzanillo tree. The strong waves from the previous night had cleaned up the shore–making the sand stand out with its fine ecru-white hues. Sarangani Bay looked inviting and calm in its turquoise-blue state of serenity.

Other snapshots from the beach…

….Wow, Philippines! Pchie scanning the blue, blue horizon ala baywatch babe.

Hello, Gumasa beach boy! Levic showing off a shell he had found along the shore…

….Aah..sarraap! a local dog cavorting (more like getting a self-massage) on the sand

Ang bahay sa gulod…this privately-owned, charming, little pink house fronting the beach was where we stayed. Sis enjoys her respite on the porch, listening to the waves (top right). There is a series of simple beach resorts along the 3 kilometer stretch of the shoreline. Don’t expect anything fancy though. People who live around this area are simple folks who frown on loud, raucous drunks and ear-splitting karaoke singing…

It was a time to slow down and recharge, to breathe deep and throw away your cellphones (don’t gasp–it’s just for a while)…

More snapshots in the next post