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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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April 15, 2008

balaki island, pangasinan

Last weekend was a very very long weekend - 4 days of Pangasinan's sand, sea, and sun :). Our group's initial plan was to camp at Hermana Mayor (a.ka. Miss Universe Island because of the 1979 Miss Universe swimsuit photo shoot there) for 2 days. Although we know that the island is privately owned, we decided to take our chance and head there. We have some fisherfolk friends in Tambobong who know the caretakers of the place and they MIGHT let us stay there for a couple of days.

Hemana Mayor
Hermana Mayor

Unlucky for us the owners are flying in for the weekend (the island has its own airstrip) so off we go searching for another island. Its a great thing if you are friends with the locals, you'll get to the real nice places. And thats how we "discovered" Balaki Island.

The island is about 30 minutes from Hermana Mayor or about 1 hour from Tambobong. There is a resort at the western tip but we decided to head for the undeveloped north side. We don't fancy resorts that much, we would rather rough it out ( read: cheapskates :D )

Island Taxi
Balaki Island

Balaki Island
our interisland taxi

The beach was nice but the thorny bushes there are a real pain in the ass, literally :).

Thorns everywhere

Some folks come here all the way from Tambobong just to spearfish. Less than an hour of spearfishing the shallow waters yielded enough bounty for a hearty lunch.

Balaki Island
After lunch, some of our companions decided to take another shot at spearfishing.

Eel for Dinner
Moray eel for dinner

It was a fun day, all worth the 303 km of paved road and 18.2 km of punishing rough road from Manila to Tambobong (we left Manila at 11:00PM and arrived in Tambobong at 6:30AM). As the sun sets, the sky flaunted its surreal evening colors. It was such a show, especially that I can now smell what my friends a cooking just a few meters away - eel simmering in thick soup!

Just the Two of Us

Tambobong Afterglow
Sunsets in Tambobong Beach

More stories later. We will be exploring great rock formations, a sunken ship, and a great pool inside a cave.

How to get to Tambobong (from Manila)

Bus - Victory Liner bus to Sta Cruz, Zambales (380+ pesos)
Jeep - Sta. Cruz to Dasol Market. (35 pesos)
Jeep - Dasol Market to Tambobong (30+ pesos)

How to get to Balaki Island

Boat - 1 hour from Tambobong
You can also get to Balaki from Infanta.

I'm not sure about the boat fare from Tambobong to Balaki. We have some friends in Tambobong who let us use their banca for free. We just paid for the gasoline (about 350 pesos)

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Anonymous said...

Darn it. Pangasinan is supposed to be my turf! It is my province. And now you show me this? Waaaa! I don't even know where Dasol is! Huhuhu.

escape said...

nice feature. i also like the beaches ion pangasinan the islands in particular and not the ones along pangasinan's coast.

Lantaw said...

haha I'll show around your province next time Bing :D. Thanks for the visit. More to come...

zherwin said...

i'll add this to my to-go-to list. how do you get to know these islands?

Lantaw said...

@the dong - the coast is actually pretty interesting, lots of things to explore like caves and a shipwreck

Lantaw said...

@zherwin - we have some friends who are fisherfolks in Tambobong and they often go to the area near Balaki Island for spearfishing. You also get to Balaki Island via Infanta.

If you happen to be in Tambobong, don't miss the Balinmanok shipwreck

Anonymous said...

When I go back to Tambobong I'll surely check out the Balinmanok wreck. Awesome photos bro!

Lantaw said...

@cedsaid - Thanks bro. Sige check out the wreck and don't forget to bring your snorkling gear. Yung mga bangkero meron ding pam-pana ng isda kung trip mo mag spearfishing :)

Anonymous said...

is that moray delicious?

Lantaw said...

@estan - its very yummy! :). The skin is thick but soft and the meat very tender. The soup thickened after just a few minutes of boiling the eel in it. Best eel I ever tasted! :) Thanks for the visit.

lagal[og] said...

bai, ganda ng mga kuha as usual :-) nainggit ako sa gala mo. :-D

Lantaw said...

salamat bai oggie! nakagala lang ako pag may nagyaya hahaha. all of my officemates are gala :D

Unknown said...

my friend knows how to get there in hermana mayor and hermana menor and pulo as well.ganda raw ng place na un but it's along trip.love ur pics kuys.

Lantaw said...

@becka - actually they have a designated camp site in Hermana Mayor on the west side but its a bit rocky. Since the owners are coming in they also restricted us from the nice white sand beach at the southern tip of the island. So we decided to find ourselves another island :D

Thanks for the visit, glad you liked the photos.

Anonymous said...

Actually there are a lot of ways going to Hermana Mayor. And the shortest path I know is by way of Sta Cruz, Zambales when your coming from Manila by way of olongapo Gapan road. During market days (tuesday and friday), people from that island goes shopping in this port near Riverside, Sta Cruz, Zambales. You can hitch a ride from here for a nominal fee. But it sure is nice if you have friends from the area because the island, like everyone said, is really private.

Lantaw said...

@aurel cortez - yup there are many ways, we were aware of that. We chose Tambobong as our base camp because our banca is there (we were staying with friends there) :) plus we were planning to explore other areas along the west coast aside from Hermana Mayor. So Tambobong is a convenient place for us to leave our cars as well as stuff we don't need for the camp. The distance to Hermana Mayor was not an issue at all :).

Thanks for the visit.

risaimperial said...

hey allan are you sure of this?

"There is a resort at the western tip but we decided to head for the undeveloped north side."

sounds a little comfy for our kids :)


Lantaw said...

risa, yup, its owned by a foreigner. I remember seeing some beach umbrellas there and a small catamaran. If you want to head there, its best you go via Sta. Cruz or Iba since the island is closer to their shores that it is with Tambobong. I'll try to get more information about that resort later...

risaimperial said...

thanks again in advance allan.


Anonymous said...

nice site! keep it up! ;)

Filipina Explorer said...

Sayang. I was on a spur-of-the-moment trip with my tot two days ago and we went to Magalawa. Ngayon ko lang napansin sa Google maps yung Balaki while researching on Hermana Mayor and Menor. You always get to go to the nicest, underrated gems :) BTW, super rough ba yung sea from Balaki to Dasol and vice-versa?

Lantaw said...

its relatively calm, but it of course depends on the time of the year. its been a while since I went to Dasol

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