Thinking of a summer getaway that is budget friendly but good enough? If there would be a place to go this summer, everyone’s in mind would be beaches. Popular beaches resort here in the Philippines are namely Boracay, Palawan, Batanggas, Caramoan and ect… But resorts of these beaches would cost you a lot on your budget especially if you would go together with your whole family and some friends. Instead of, there is this one beach somewhere in Alaminos Panggasinan called “The Hundred Island” that you can bring your whole family without spending too much as compare to what you would spend o those popular beaches i have mention earlier (boracay, ect…).
The Planning stage:
Planning stage is the most important key to save your budget for the trip. If you are planning to go to hundred island, you better plan it ahead of time like 2 to 3 weeks before the travel date, because there were a lot of things to fix ahead in order to avoid trouble and save your budget as well coz,you dont want to rush everything out on the very last minute of your travel coz it would cost you more money or worst scenario is to move your travel on another date because something hasnt prepared ahead of time. In order to avoid all of these, here are the things you need to prepare.
Book a car/van that the whole group would use for the trip.(How to book or rent a car/van will be discuss on the next paragraph.) You better do all your inquiry ahead of time if you are planning to rent a car/van because most of these operator might get fully book so fast especially on peak season.
Additionally, you should finalize the list of the total number of person included in the outing because im telling you, this is the usual cause of short budget in every outing trip.one reason why an exact number of traveler should be finalize is because if you are going to have your inquiry on renting a car/ van the operator needs to be certain because overloading passenger is not allowed when passing through the toll gate.
Another reason why, is that the boat that would bring your group to the island proper has a required number of passengers and very strict with the rule wherein if you exceeded an at least one passenger even if it is just a small kid, you are obligated to get one more boat and that would cost a lot on your budget since these boat are too expensive. (everything about the boat will be discuss below).
And Lastly, this one is optional, but would surely save your budget if you do. You can actually book a reservation for the cottage in the chosen island you prefer to stay. The most common island where the people choose to stay is the Quezon island wherein most of the cottages are located. The reason why i suggested this is because my group had some trouble looking for available tables or cottages in the island when we arrived. The receptionist told us that they are fully book and some tables had been already occupied and some were reserved. So instead, she advised us to go uphill to look for any tables available there because tables and cottages that are near around the beach were already occupied or reserved. So we had no choice but to carry and bring all of our heavy luggage up hill in order to get a table.
And Lastly, it is advisable to go there during weekdays where there are few people are expected to go compare during weekdays so you can enjoy the island more and of course you can choose any table or cottages that you would prefer.
If you are going in a group, one of the most important thing to do is to have each person in the group an assigned task for each of them in order to avoid problems on your trip and end up blaming each other in the end. Tasks to be assign are as follows. “The budget officer” – the one who will compute and antecipate expenses for the entire trip and makeds sure that you wont go over budget. “The counter/keeper”– the one who will keep an eye on all of the belongnings and luggages especially if you rented stuff from the island like vest, goggles, snorkle, and ect. because it happened to me when one of the th e seven goggles that we had rented got accidentaly lost in the islandso we were obligated to pay for it for 500 pesos and that sucks right?. Next is “The Life guard” i know that there are already life gurads in every resorts but they cant keep yuo monitored every second and follow you everywhere you go as there are other people that needs his attention too. so as a “life guard” in the group, you should keep an eye on your group safety specially if there are children in your group. like what i did in the island wherein i always remind kids to follow me during our hiking in the governors island where you can climb a small hill using stairs but there are part that is not safe because there were a lot of big rocks around and cliff on one side of the stair and the only rail is made up of rope so it not really stable especiaaly if kids are having so much fun and they forget to be carefull on their steps. Remember that safety should always comes first. Next is “The photographer” of course each member of the group would bring their own camera but it more cool if there would be obne person who will initiate a group shot every now and then. and lastly “The organizer” He will be the one who will set the possible date and time of the trip that is suitable for everyone in the group, also keep them updated about every changes that has made to the plan and should always make phone calls to every member on where they at and where they should be at. So those are the most important role to be assigned in each member of your group. you can still add more if you want.
If you are going in a big group, it is advisable to have your own vehicle in order to save more money than you would if you would go commuting, and to save time as well. If you don’t have any vehicle, you can look for a “rent a car or van” online like what i did in our family outing, the sites i used were olx, Facebook pages, or google. Most of them would usually offer a package price of 9,000 pesos for the rental of a 12 to 16 seater van going back and forth to Hundred Island for 24 hour travel service including travel time inclusive of driver, fuel and toll fee. Although, there are some that would offer a cheaper price and doesn’t come in package for as low as 4,500 pesos rental for a van with the driver included but exclusive of fuel and toll fee. The cost you would usually spend for fuel would be 2000 pesos more or less according to the operator and 700 pesos for the toll fee back and forth to Panggasinan. The travel time from manila to “Lucaf Warp” (like a terminal where all the boat that brings the travelers from the warp to the island proper are all waiting) is more or less 4 to 5 hours without traffic or via NLEX.
Aside from solid foods like rice, meat, veggies and fruits, the most important thing to bring is “ICE”!!! and more more ICE! well water is the most essential thing you should bring into the island but believe me, water alone wont relieve your thirst even you have already drank 10 glasses, still your throat feels very dry unless you drink a water with ice and only then 1 glass of water is enough for the whole day. But i highly suggest to drink water as often as possible especially when the sun is in it’s hottest in order to prevent dehydration and also to lessen the skin damage cause by prolong exposure to sunlight. If in case you have no water to bring into the island, There are “meryenda”/snack store around the Lucaf Warp where you can buy 1 gallon of mineral water for 100 pesos plus 200 pesos deposit for the container which is refundable once you return the container after use. It’s not advisable to purchase anything inside the island because every goods there are so expensive like 4 times more expensive than its original price in the grocery. a bottled water would cost 40 pesos, buko juice for 40 pesos and ice cream pop is 40 pesos. So you better bring everything you need before going into the island.
The boat are all waiting at the Lucaf warf. They comes in different sizes from small to large and can accommodate up to 15 person maximum. The boat is motorized so you would be in the island in 15 minutes more or less. The Boat looks stable and sturdy enough so you dont really have to worry of getting flip if ever it will be hitted by a strong wave. And also they have a “no vest, no travel” policy wherein you are not allow to ride the boat without wearing vest. Dont you worry because vest can be use for travel without any additional fee but if you will use it with swimming, an additional fee will be impose. The Boat will serve as your service wherin it will tour you around in any island you want and drop you off on any island you preffer and the boat will wait you there until you come back. The boat man will serve as your tour guide who will give some trivia and a little information about each island that will pass through your way.
(I crossed out those details that is out dated)
Fees as of May 2017:
entrance fee = 40 pesos/ pax (day tour only)
environmental fee = 40 pesos/ pax (day tour only)
boat rental + service tour
Large (maximum of 15 pax) = 2000 pesos (day tour only)
Medium (maximum of 10 pax) = 1800 pesos (day tour only)
Small (maximum of 5 pax) = 1400 pesos (day tour only)
cottages fees (refer to the photo)
shower fee = 15 pesos/ pax/ use
Day tour allows you to stay on the island until 5pm, unless you will pay an additional overnight fees for entrance, environmental, boat and cottage which are almost double the price of the Day tour package. So i suggest if your planning to get the day tour package, be there as early as 4am in order to stay in the island longer. They are very strict with the boat rental wherein they dont allow any passenger that would exceed the maximum capacity of passenger depending on the size of the boat. If in case you exceeded one passenger, you are obligated to rent one more boat in order to accommodate all members of your group. That is why it is very important to have your final list of your group in order to estimate your budget efficiently.
What to expect:
The spectacular views and scenery are the most advantage of The Hundred Islands. You will start to enjoy the view from the moment you ride the boat and travel as you do the island hopping, the boat men will tour you around to some developed islands like 6 to 10 out of a hundred islands and he also gives some trivia about each as he tour you around. you can request to drop off to any island you wish and stay there as long as you want.
The most developed island is the Quezon island, It has a wider sand area and where the most people usually stay. there are a lot of tables and cottages, zip line, banana boat, jet ski and the most common island where campers usually build their tent for overnight stay. Well the beach is nice and but of course everything has its imperfection. The sand is not white but close enough only just it has a lot of tiny rocks. The Quezon Island has 2 sides. one side is where the people usually enjoy swimming or let me call it the “clean part”. on this side, the water are nice and clean. there are few small fishes that you can spot when using goggles. and we also spotted a jelly fish but not so abundant so still its safe to swim there. The other side of the island is where the huge dock is located wherein boats are all line in place or let me call it the “not so clean” part wherein the most sea weeds and algae are floating everywhere and i saw some pieces of trash but not really that many.