“Not a hundred but 123 islands.” A trivia manong bangkero shared while on our way to Alaminos, Pangsinan’s famed Hundred Islands.
After five hours of worry-free road travel, we safely arrived at Victory Liner Alaminos bus terminal with great anticipation of overcoming my extreme and irrational fear of heights. Yes, though I have acrophobia, I was about – that time – to wall climb, rappel, and do zipline in two hours or less.
Funny that I dreaded more the crowd of the overly aggressive tricycle drivers who repeatedly asked for our destination. They were like paparazzis to me, only that they kept on persuading us to hire them. We approached a more friendly-looking tricycle driver to bring us to Brgy. Lucap. From there, we went to the local tourism office to have our name registered and rent a boat.
Fee varied depending on preference of activities and places to visit. Snorkeling gears were also available either for rent or for sale. Other items for sale ranged from apparel to food, from simple to intricate souvenir items.
A very welcoming attraction in Hundred Islands (which I anticipated that time to push my body and mind to new heights) are its daring activities like wall climbing, rappelling , and zip lining. I realized that these activities considered as daredevil quests weren’t that terrifying when to compare to my daily quest called life. I travel everyday and there are threats everywhere. I may say then that these activities, which are perfect for any weekend adventure, helped me discover the adventurous side of me.
First we visited the Governor’s Island where the view of the amazing islands could be seen. One must climb less than a hundred steps, though, to reach the view deck. I gamely took the challenge, ever optimistic that the view was worth the challenge. And indeed, it was!
Governor’s Island has a commanding view of the sea and the nearby islets. Too sad though manong bangkero told us we only have max of 15 minutes to explore the island. I wasn’t able to even dip my feet in the water.
On our way to our second destination, Children’s Island, we passed by a number of mushroom-shaped land formations. One island caught my attention and immediately named it Turtle Island. Funny when I googled it on the internet, it was indeed named Turtle Island because it resembles a turtle.
Ideal for family get-together, Children’s Island has cottages for rent. Manong bangkero described the island as the smallest thus the name Children’s Island plus the fact that it is one of the most kid-friendly destinations within the Hundred Islands Park. It also boasts of an impressive vista of the sea and sky. Its sand, which has a little circular hole, perhaps done by a sand crab, is powdery, really fine like Boracay’s Puka Beach.
Last destination was the Quezon Island, the most developed of all and which offers new attractions for both tourists and locals.
For the thrill seekers, the island offers zipline, rock climbing, and rappelling. To ride the zipline, one must first climb a tower by the end of the Quezon Island. It’s the same tower for the rock climbing and rappelling — all artificial rock walls and a less complicated compared with other man-made structures for the same purpose.
It must have been my thirst for challenge and somehow my growing passion for the outdoors that pushed me to first, try rock climbing and second, rappelling. For both activities, a strong and willing body isn’t enough to climb and go down the artificial rock formations; mental strength is very much needed. I was really hesitant to try rappelling but I was told that it was just like lying comfortably not on a lounge chair though, but in mid-air. Also, I have my helmet to protect my head just in case, and a harness securely strapped around my body so why worry.
Rock climbing involves not only strength but proper calculation and quick thinking on where to land your feet and hands. I did it for my own personal satisfaction and was pretty pleased with my achievement.
The true delight in trying rappelling was that finding out your capacity rather than assuming you can’t do. It was a liberating experience indeed.
Our last activity was traversing the 120-meter zipline cable. Though my ride was more of a laid-back aerial adventure, still I was thrilled gliding through Hundred Island’s picturesque landscape. The experience also gave me the opportunity to see the new side of Hundred Islands. Perhaps, it was the sea and islands’ tranquil look that gave me that calming effect.
My weekend travel at Alaminos, Pangasinan was indeed fun and full of first times. It was good to note that I am improving as I age — no longer the passive gal but becoming a daring adventurer.
Looking forward to more adventures in the coming months.
* This Hundred Island adventure was more than two years ago, I guess. Staying at home gives me the time to collate and arrange photos and also write something about them. My other purpose is to show this to my boys for reference should they dare try it someday.