Exploring Hundred Islands
Exploring Hundred Islands National Park
Hundred Islands is a cluster of about 123 islands and islets in the Pangasinan province in the Philippines. This National Park draws in tourists for the “mushroom” shaped appearance of the islands, where most travelers explore by doing a day tour of island-hopping.
My trip to Hundred Islands is part of my backpacking itinerary of the Luzon region in the Philippines. This travel guide to the Hundred Islands provides information you need to plan your trip and other tips you need to know as a solo traveler!
HOW TO GET TO HUNDRED ISLANDS
Hundred Islands National Park is located 260 kms (or about 160 miles) north of Manila, about a 4.5-5 hour bus drive depending on traffic.
My preferred bus company is Victory Liner. On my bus travels so far in the Philippines, Victory Liner is consistently on time and is equipped with comfortable seats and solid WiFi on-board.
You can catch Victory Liner in the Cubao station in Manila. There is a counter at the station where you can purchase your tickets directly. Once at the counter, ask for your tickets directly to Alaminos City. The fare is about 400 pesos one-way.
Upon arriving at Alaminos City bus station, you can take a tricycle to Lucap Wharf Tourist office where you can register, pay for the entrance fee, and arrange your boat tour to Hundred Islands. There are tricycles waiting at the bus station the moment you arrive.
As for myself, I opted to take a night bus from Manila to Alaminos City. I wanted to avoid the traffic out of Manila and arrive early at my destination. I got in to Alaminos City around 5 a.m., which left me enough time to rest for a bit before doing the island hopping tour late in the morning.
The island hopping tour in Hundred Islands reminded me a bit of my tour in El Nido. Granted, the rock formation and the clarity of the water is not quite the same. But the joy of riding an outrigger boat (or bangka) to each island had the same vibe to it.
The current was particularly strong on the day I did the tour, so I wasn’t able to visit as many islands as I could have.
However, the ones I visited were still a sight to behold.
WHERE I STAYED
I normally don’t book my accommodations in advance when I’m backpacking solo. My usual method involves researching a little bit online to get a general idea, but that’s usually the furthest it goes.
There were many instances in my past travels where I found the best accommodations just by walking around the moment I arrived – asking locals where the best spot to stay at.
My trip to Hundred Islands wasn’t any different.
Upon arriving at Alaminos City, I asked the tricycle driver to take me to this cottage I found online. He advised me, however, that this particular cottage was not in the most ideal location. Additionally, the “hotel” is not the tidiest place.
So I listened to his advice and gave me a recommendation on where to stay.
It turns out there are plenty of “transient” homes in Alaminos City, basically private homes that have basic rooms for travelers. These transient homes aren’t usually found online and are normally booked on the spot.
The most ideal location to stay in Alaminos City is in Lucap Wharf, a tricycle ride away from the port. Additionally, there are plenty of transient homes in Lucap Wharf – with most rooms ranging from 500 to 1000 Pesos for single room, and 1,200 to 1,800 pesos for standard double-rooms.
WHERE TO EAT
There is a food-court type restaurants near the port, where you can eat before or after your tour. Take note that the island hopping in Hundred Islands is not the same as in El Nido, where lunch is included in the tour.
Otherwise, there is Maxine By The Sea, a proper restaurant just next to the tourist information center.
FARES TO KEEP IN MIND
Bus from Manila to Alaminos City – About 400 pesos
Tricycle from Alaminos City to Lucap Wharf – About 80-100 pesos
Standard single private room – about 500-1000 pesos (I paid 1,500 for mine)
Hundred Islands National Park fee – 40 pesos per passenger
Trashbag fee (required, but refundable upon handing over the bag) – 200 pesos
Small boat (1-5 passengers) – 1,400 pesos
Medium boat (6-10 passengers) – 1,800 pesos
Big boat (11-15 passengers) – 2,000 pesos
GOOD DESTINATION FOR SOLO TRAVELERS?
For those looking to meet other travelers alike, Hundred Islands may not be the best destination for solo backpackers.
There really isn’t much (if any) of a community of travelers in here, so the probability of running into another backpacker is quite low. And considering the price of the accommodations, non-existence of hostels, and the price of the island hopping tour, Hundred Islands may not be the most budget friendly destination for solo backpackers who have a budget in mind.
On the other hand, Hundred Islands is a great destination for group travelers, or even solo travelers without any budget constraints and don’t care much for meeting other backpackers on the road.
For those who have been to Hundred Islands, how was your experience? Let me know!
Hello fellow trotters! My name is Mick Salas, Filipino-American travel blogger based in Chicago. I was born in the Philippines, grew up in Chicago, studied in San Diego, and worked for a French organization for six years. And now I’m traveling full-time! Read more about me here.