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Hundred Islands, Alaminos City

by Ann Lorraine "Lala" Lames
 
Dreaming of escaping the pressures of your busy, urban life? Let a trip to Hundred Islands National Park and its home in Alaminos City bring you that much-needed diversion. Breathe in the refreshing views of sapphire sea that sparkle like diamonds as it glistens in the sun's golden rays and give in to the rustic and peaceful lifestyle as you make your way to Alaminos City. Savor its eccentric and vibrant spirit, friendly atmosphere and especially, the beauty and adventure that lie in the hundred wonders that is Hundred Islands.
 
Governor's Island
This island captured Pinoy Big Brother's eye, and turned its guest house into a unique PBB home which can accommodate 8 to 10 people, ideal for family and barkada relaxation, with bedrooms, restroom/bathroom, working kitchen, dining room and living room, furnished with colorful furniture and linens, ceiling fans and other amenities.
 
Quezon Island
One of the well-developed and most frequented islands in the Park, it has facilities which include 2 dining pavilions, and a grilling area, where you and your family can do the eating and the grilling; cottages and nipa huts for relaxation and restrooms that assure comfort. Lie in the sand, savor the delectable seafood or swim to your heart's content - you decide! Now, don't pass up the chance to snorkel or dive in the island's azure waters and get a glimpse of the thriving coral and giant clam garden.
 
Children's Island
This island is famed for its features which is ideal for family get-togethers, especially with children. Its waters near the beach are shallow enough for little kids to practice their budding swimming skills. Adults will have to swim a little further to stretch their limbs. With wooden cottages (with beddings), floating picnic shed, restrooms, tent rentals, camping, cooking and dining areas and amenities like linens and lightning - it's indeed an oasis for single, family and big group vacationers. Panoramic views also await you as you twist or turn around the island's walkways and rock ladders that lead to higher ground.
 
Lopez Island
A sunbathing heaven with its fine, white sand and sparsely covered limestone. Indulge in adventure on or under the island's surrounding water. You can immerse yourself to a relaxing snorkel or you can engage in a kayak challenge with friends. Then, camp late and enjoy a starry night, chatting or simply idling till the wee hours of the evening.
 
Marcos Island
Near Quezon Island and anchored in front of Old Scout Island, is a one of a kind work of nature, named after the former President Ferdinand Marcos. It has three mounds, a helipad and a dose of artfully sculpted mermaid statues. You can climb the steep, jagged rock pathways around the island, leading to its many vantage points where a different, picturesque view of the shorelines and other islands greet your eye, uniquely captured by the sun at different hours. But the sweet dessert to your visit would be a walk at the 50 meter-trail that ends in a 70-feet drop leading to the cave named after the formers President's better half, Imelda. The single-chambered cave is about 18,916 sqm., rising about 8meters from the water surface and is a haven for edible-nest swiftlets and insectivorous bats. It's also accessible by kayak or a daring swim, if one intends to approach its cove from below.
 
Shell Island
The island is broken in half so you can watch the azure waves crash gently; break into silver sprays and race towards the tide pool. Or turn your attention in studying the ingeniouos limestone rock formations that make up the island. Or, maybe, just watch the flight of birds as you hide away from the sun and take refuge from their shade. But don't miss the chance to lose yourself in collecting shells hidden or lying either on the shore or silently glistening under the shallow waters.
 
Sison Island
Nature photographers or even those who just love to take pictures and palce it on their travel photo albums, can quench the thirst for a picture quest with the visible coral reefs nearing the foreshore, as well as awe-inspiring views from the island's view areas. Thrill-seekers can choose their kind of fun-trekking, snorkeling or diving. And whether by day or night, the swimming experience is simply amazing, with fine white sand to lie back on after a dip.
 
Martha Island
It looks like a tiny twin island from afar but as one draws near, a small strip of white sand beach connecting two different islands will eventually be seen. A long strecth of rock formations characterizes the real Martha Island while its sister is called Ramos Island. Tourists who want to stay away from the sun for a while can take refuge from the rock formations. And they can enjoy spending their leisure time, sunbathing, swimming etc., crossing to and fro the two islands.
 
Century Island
For those who want to sample an educational and cultural adventure, one can venture into the mildly challenging potential of this exploration site. Cave enthusiasts or freestyle hikers can take on the huge domed cave, which is a welcoming nesting place for bats and an underground haven of rock formations.
 
Milagros Island
This cave is accessible only during low tide. Here the formation of stalactites and stalgamites are most defined and evident. You can swim or kayak your way into the cave and indulge yourself in the cooling atmosphere that it gives off.
 
Scout Island
Situated just pass Marcos Island, guests can treat themselves to an extraordinary underwater experience, plunging in the island's diving spot and slithering smoothly alongside marine wonders residing in the offshore reefs, After that, a lounger in the island's fine-sanded beach should relax adventure-worn muscles.
 
Old Scout Island
Located near Quezon Island, its white sand beach is ideal for sunbathing. If you're not up for some lounging and spreading suntan oil on your back, then just put on your diving gear and while away the hour beneath its azure waters or opt to kayak your way around it.
 
Romulo Island
Perfect for island-to-island activities! It has good white sand beach where one can take advantage of the sun and the breeze, with a little surprise at low tide. Its morning rock shade becomes a small cave once the tide drops. You can take a little dip or just simply stun your pals by striking model-like pose in the cave.
 
Monkey Island
This island offers impressive sites for island adventure, kayaking and great spots for swimming, which more than makes up its lack of beachfront. And yes, a chance to capture a glimpse of the otherwise shy monkeys in the area. It is named Monkey Island because of the sightnings of monkey in the area.
 
THINGS TO DO AT 100 ISLANDS!
 
Snorkeling
Slip your body into the Park's inviting water and swim your stress away. The romantic temperature will surely set couples in the mood for some bonding. You may even have fun tagging the kids along for a visual treat!
 
Island Hopping
Grab a slice of island action. Cross islands dangling from secure ropes, trudging the rugged terrain or just relaxing as your boat glides over water. Embrace the adventure and the thrill.
 
Spelunking
Find your way into the raw beauty of the Hundred Islands National Park's cave. You can take a floating tour, then, shine your flashlights on limestone formations and watch your head as you lumber inside and greet various species of bats.
 
Fun-fishing
Enjoy the challenge and have fun reeling in native fishes. Even if you won't have any luck, you can always enjoy a swim with the refreshing breeze or just be captivated by the stunning views.
 
Parasailing
Be on top of the world, with wind on your face, untouched by the water below and thrill seeping through veins. You can gaze down and feel the rush on your face, as well as marvel at the gorgeous bird's eye view of the Park.
 
Sun Bathing
Get your perfect tan as you soak up the sun in the Park's firm sanded beaches.
 
Jest Skiing
If it's fresh air you're after, get it fast and exhilarating. You can rent one of the jets skis near the Wharf and take charge as you dash through the calmness of the sea.
 
Kayaking
Stretch your adrenaline a little higher. Enhance your kayaking strokes as you paddle away the hours in the Park's graceful curves. You can do it alone or conduct a small competition with friends who want some thrill.
 
Diving
Grab some gear and navigate your way, either with a personal guide or a handy map, to the diving holes in the Park. Glide over colorful reefs and other marine wonders.
 
Banana Boat Ride
This is pure fun all the way. Hold on tight as you dash away in this yummy ride. It's the ultimate bonding water ride for the family and barkada.
 
Birdwatching
Feast your eyes on more than fifty species of birds in the Hundred Islands National Park. Get to know magpie robins, Philippine ducks, blue-tailed bee eaters, purple night herons, zebra doves, white collared kingfishers, and more. Among the best islands for this activity is the Kamantiles Island, Heron Island, Tern Island and Bat Island. For hikers, you can follow the Alaminos river for more birdwatching.
 
How to get there:
From downtown Alaminos City, a breezy tricycle ride brings you to barangay Lucap and The Don Gonzalo Montemayor wharf. At the wharf, one can already have a sight of the inviting islands and the best way to get there is by chartered boat. The port can serve as a parking lot for a fee. Outrigger motorized boats can be rented here to ferry you to a cluster of islands and islets collectively known as the Hundred Islands.

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