Philippines, a country consist of 7,107 islands. These islands offered different sceneries and panoramic views to those who want to explore its beauty. Being an archipelagic country, Philippines is well-known for its beaches and beautiful underwater world. If you are Filipino, you are familiar with the group of island they called “Hundred Islands”. With the promotion of national and local government, the sets of islands became famous around the globe for its beauty and unique formation.
Hundred Islands is located in Alaminos, Pangasinan. The islands (124 at low tide and 123 at high tide) are scattered in the Lingayen Gulf and cover an area of 18.44 square kilometers (4,557 acres). Many legends narrate the origin of the Hundred Islands. One legend says that the island originates from the over turned boats and bodies of one hundred warriors that engage in a fierce mortal sea combat against invaders. To commemorate the braveness of the warriors, their god immortalized them by turning them into islands.
According to scientific study the islands are estimated to be two million years old. The islands are actually ancient corals that extend well inland, in an area previously comprising the seabed of an ancient sea. Lowering sea levels have exposed them to the surface and the peculiar “mushroom”-like shapes of some of the islands have been caused by the eroding action of the ocean waves. Of all the 124 islands only three of them have been developed for tourists: Governor Island, Quezon Island, and Children’s Island.
To get there, you need to rent a boat that will bring you to the islands from Alaminos port. The rent depends on what package you choose, but always beware of fixers. From the port, you will see the islands from afar. The islands look like common mass of land and seemed to nothing special.
The travel from the port to the first island you pass is approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As you approach the first islet, you will be amazed on the breath-taking views. The islands that look like long mass of land from afar, but when closely approach looks like drops of emeralds floating in sapphire blue sea. Looking down in the water you can see the bottom of the sea. The crystal clear sea-water provided a glimpse of marine biodiversity. The white sand underneath the sea looks like pulverized corals.
One by one the hidden islands from afar were being uncovered. Islands that seemed to be lump mass of soil are made up of limestone. The rocky islands were been sculpted by the waves of the sea and the top of each island is magnificently adorned of greeneries. The foliage has provided shelter for animals. Different shapes of rocks that surround every islands added marvelous sights and memorable beauty. Every island has a name. Some of the islands were named after the president and notable people of the Philippines.
You may request the boat driver to drop you off in islands but some islands are not suitable for hoping. Some islands are really rocky and no beach to serve as parking space for the boat. One of the islands that you may set afoot is the Governor’s Island. You can see partial view of scattered islands on the top of Governor’s Island. But before you can see the panorama, you need to climb series of rocky steps to reach the top. The spiky rocks and deep ravines are present while climbing that’s why you should be extra careful and you should at least wear sneakers. I must admit, if you are not used to climb high places you will be having a hard time to reach the top. But as soon as you reach the view deck of the island a picturesque and paradise view will be the showcase of your climbing. Islands of various sizes, atolls and rocks that have white sand beaches are surrounded by beautiful blue water. If you want to stay a little bit longer in Governor’s Island at want your skin to be tanned you may swim around the island.
Another island that you can hop-in is the Quezon Island. Quezon Island boasts white sand beach and wonderful rock formations. Inlets and cavities of rocks added beauty and pristine on the island. Since Quezon Island was one of the three islands developed for tourist, there are available facilities and resort in the island.
You may also visit the Cathedral Island that really has a resemblance in a cathedral. It is a hollow cave that echoes your voice as you speak. The cave interior can be compared to a massive cathedral with rugged features. The coralline limestones hanging in the cave’s ceiling are like chandeliers that give sparkles as the light from your flashlight illuminates the cave. If you are into spelunking, Cathedral Cave is ideal for you.
Marcos Island offers another view compared to other island. Inlets and hollow cavities is a must see feature of the island. In my own opinion, it has the most powdery white sand and crystal clear water among the entire island. You should try swimming in the dark Imelda Cave of the island. But always remember to wear life vest when swimming, the water inside the cave leads you back to the shore. If you love adventure diving in Imelda cave and plunging into its deep water will also give you a great experience.
Hundred Islands is protected by the government. It is a fragile gem of the archipelagic Philippines that contains role in economy, biodiversity, solaces for those who love Mother Nature and formation of the world.
The hundred islands, being a nesting place for various fishes and sea creatures nurtures and restore their population. Migratory birds also nestle in the island. Since most of the foliage of the islands was not coveted by humans, animals have found shelter.
(Yours truly in Alaminos Port Light House)