On the northern part of the Philippines, 4-5 hours away from Manila is the Hundred Islands situated in Alaminos City, Pangasinan. It is one of the most amazing wonders of the Philippines and entices thousands of tourists to visit every year. With activities such as pleasure hopping, kayaking, spelunking (exploring natural caves), scuba diving, snorkeling and parasailing, Hundred Islands will be an awe-inspiring beauty to the one who will experience it.
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The 124 islands and islets during low-tide with one islet that sinks during high-tide, cover an area of 18.44 square kilometers. These are scattered along the Gulf of Lingayen. According to townsfolk, the town of Agda located in the northwestern part of Alaminos City, is called as the “mother island” of the Hundred Islands.
Believed to be over 2 million years old, the Hundred Islands also known as “Kapulo-puloan or Taytay-Bakes” is one of the highlights of Philippines’ ecotourism. Even though only 3 of the islands have been developed for tourists, anyone can still enjoy and tour around the other 121 islands any time of the day. The 3 developed islands are Governor Island, Quezon Island and Children’s Island. Actually ancient corals, the islands extend well inland in an area previously comprising the seabed of an ancient sea. Due to the lowering sea levels, the islands were exposed to the surface and the odd mushroom-like shapes of some of the islands have been caused by the eroding action of the waves coming from the open ocean in the northwestern part of the Philippines.
Other activities which can be enjoyed at Hundred Islands are fun-fishing, sunbathing, jet-skiing, banana boat ride, and bird watching.
Myths and Legends of the Hundred Islands
Anita and Akong
One of the legends told by old folks who live in the area and passed on to generations of storytelling, is the story of a couple named Akong and Anita. There used to be only one island in the place where the Hundred Islands can be found today. Akong is a fisherman and his wife Anita sell the fishes he catches every day. But discontentment soon crept in Akong’s heart and thought of ways to earn money in an easier and faster way. While he went out to sea one night, Anita had a dream about an old man who visited their hut and told them that if they work hard, they will eventually get rich after three years. She shared this with her husband when he returned but he dismissed her impatiently.
One night, he set out to sea again; his first throw of the net didn’t yield any fish but the second one caught black stones the size of a man’s fist. In disgust, he threw them back to the sea, accompanied by complaints. Just then, he heard a rumbling sound and saw the waves becoming bigger, making him paddle faster towards the shore. Unbeknownst to him, the black stones he threw to the sea became islands. He died that night in his sleep. And once more, the old man appeared in Anita’s dream, telling her about the islands and the fate her husband brought upon himself. Anita just cried as she looked at her dead husband.
The Greed that Created the Hundred Islands
Another legend tells how the islands were created by man’s greed for power and other worldly things. The story goes that a kingdom just lost their king in ill health and his people were left without a leader. There were two datus from two warring tribes who are legitimate successors. They were not only rivals to the throne but rivals to the love of a princess named Liglioa who was also a ward to the kingdom’s priestess and for a mystic huge pearl which would give wealth to anyone who possesses it, but is mysteriously un-gathered from the bottom of the sea. These two rivals had been fighting for a long time now that the priestess finally consulted the ancestors and the oracle gave her what ought to be done to attain peace and unity for the whole kingdom, which she in turn instructed to the princess. Liglioa then told the two warring datus that whoever wins in the last battle shall win her hand in marriage and the pearl in the bottom of the ocean. The two datus and their tribes prepared long and hard for the upcoming sea battle and by night, bodies and swords were clashing each other. And before daybreak, something strange can be noticed on the dead warriors’ bodies and their upturned bancas. They were immobile; and soon grass began to grow on them and became a hundred small islands. The priestess then told Liglioa what happened and the truth about the huge pearl. The real pearl was Liglioa all along, sent to the people by the gods, as they foresaw that the kingdom would be without a ruler when the former king dies. The huge pearl at the bottom of the ocean was a mere illusion made to test the character of that rightful ruler. Fishermen of today still swear that a bit farther of where the islands are now, one can see the mysterious huge pearl mystically gleaming under the clear waters of the sea, beckoning, then disappearing just as swiftly as it came.
Reference: Tales from the Land of Salt by Emmanuel Sison
*More legends abound about the islands. Some say it was formed from the tears of a giant with a broken heart. Still other tales tell of the mermaids that once mystified fishermen in the area. These and countless legends and myths, so old that it finally drifted off of the people’s consciousness, only add to the Hundred Islands charming aura.
Tables – P20
Picnic Shed/Are – P200
Motorboat (1-5 persons) – P800
Motorboat (6-10 persons) – P1000
Motorboat (11-15) – P1100
Salbabida – P50
Life Vest – P25
Snorkel – P100
Snorkel with fins – P175
Single Kayak – P150/hour
Double Kayak – P250/hour
Tent (2 persons) – P500
Tent (4 persons) – P700
Tent (6 persons) – P1000
For more information you can visit their website at http://www.hundredislands.ph/ or you may contact them at telephone numbers (+63)(75)552-7777 and (+63)(75)551-2145 to 47. Alternatively you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Get There
Public Bus Transportations such as Victory Liner, Philippine Rabbit and Five Star have scheduled trip from Manila, Baguio, Dagupan, Subic, Tarlac, and Zambales going straight to Alaminos City and vice versa. Dagupan/Zambales to Alaminos is 1.5 to 2 hours, Tarlac/Baguio to Alaminos is 2.5 to 3 hours and Subic to Alaminos is 4 hours.
From the bus terminal of Alaminos to Lucap Wharf, take a tricycle at about 10-15 minutes travel time. One can find outriggers (motorized boats) docked near the wharf that can tour you to the Hundred Islands. In the Hundred Islands National Park Center, the staffs are eager to help you will all the information and things you will need to get the perfect getaway to this Hundred Island adventure.
Sulpot Island, Monkey Island, Abad Santos Island and Hernandez Island are the nearest islands to Lucap Wharf which is about 15-20 minutes away. The major (and developed) islands mentioned above can be reached 30-45 minutes using the outrigger boats or motorized boats.