15 things to do in Bolinao (Philippines)

Home to sea urchins, Polynao is a relatively underdeveloped area of ​​Luzon with strong ties to the environment and locals. You won’t find big shopping malls and movie theaters in this woods, but you’ll find some great food, interesting caves, pristine waterfalls and plenty of beaches to keep your curious travel minds awake.

In Pollinao you won’t speak English like you do in Luzon and the rest of the Philippines, but you’ll find plenty of locals who know enough and will be happy to practice with you. Consider stopping at one of the schools to volunteer for an English class or play some games with the kids. They will be surprised to see you.

Remember, the rainy season runs from May to October, which can make these nature explorations a little tricky!

Let’s explore the best things to do in Bolinau:

1. St. James Church

St James Church

Built by the Augustinians in 1609, it’s a miracle that St. James’ Church still stands. This Spanish colonial masterpiece has endured some tough times, including a powerful earthquake in 1788, a fire in 1819, and a major typhoon in 2009.

The weathered building looks like a movie thriller, but is still a happy gathering place for Filipino religious people who come to Sunday Mass.

While you’re there, keep an eye out for the vendors in front of the church selling binongey, a popular rice delicacy in Bolinao made from sticky rice and coconut milk, served in bamboo shoots.

2. Polynao Falls 1

Bolinau Falls 1

Incredibly beautiful! Bolinao Falls is one of the only waterfalls in Luzon with a glowing turquoise pool! Waterfalls jet from a 2-story waterfall into the expansive pool below, where you can spend the day playing. This large pool has different depths for all swimming levels, including a partially submerged rock platform, and it’s even possible to climb into the pool.

To reach the falls, enjoy a quick and easy 5-10 minute hike.

3. Polynao Falls 2

Bolinau Falls 2

Despite coming in second for its name, Bolinao Falls 2 ranks first in terms of sheer awesomeness. This natural waterfall and pool looks more like an outdoor water park than a natural act.

The main waterfall is huge in height and length. The pool is deep, so go ahead and jump off the cliffs from above! There are mini rock islands throughout the pool where you can climb – some even have their own small waterfalls.

There are many picnic huts around Bolinao Falls 2 where you can enjoy some shade and have some snacks. Bring the whole group.

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4. Tara Falls

Tara Falls

Come to Tara Falls on a morning of the week and you’ll likely have the whole place.This picturesque waterfall oasis in the jungle is so peaceful and peaceful – especially when it’s just you and your lover

The pool is deep, you can jump off the cliffs, and the water is cool enough to relax in the summer sun. Even better, it’s only 15 minutes from downtown, and there are no admission fees!

There are a few small places around the fall to have a picnic, play a game of cards, or lounge in the pool.

5. Tour the Garsai River in Bahrain

garsai river bahrain

The Balingasai River is known as “the cleanest river in Luzon” and is an environmental community project of the local government. They want to ensure that wildlife species living here, including many migratory birds, thrive and that pollution doesn’t affect the ecosystem.

This protected river has 15 hectares of century-old trees and new growth mangroves, as well as 30 hectares of wild ferns, nipa palms and trees overhanging the water. The river is also rich in fish, shrimp, crab and more as a food source for the locals.

Your cruise will be educational, informative and of course sensational! Take pictures, ask questions, and enjoy the ride.

6. Patal White Beach

Patal White Beach

The most beautiful beaches in Bolinao are located in Pangasinan. beach. With uninterrupted space and views, Patar White Beach is the perfect place to take great photos, run, swim peacefully or just stretch out on the sand. You won’t find luxury resorts or bungalows here. You can’t even find restaurants. So, bring your own grill and barbecue on the beach at night.

Get ready for the few Filipino kids hawking their handcrafted trinkets and souvenirs.

7. Polinau Point Lighthouse

Polina Point Lighthouse

Close to Patar White Beach is Cape Bolinao Lighthouse. Surrounded by blooming red bushes and with the sea as a backdrop, it’s no wonder that this lighthouse is the go-to location for engagement photos and romantic gestures.

There is a 140-level spiral staircase leading to the lamp room at an altitude of 76.2 meters. Unfortunately, you can’t climb these rickety old stairs. You’ll have to settle down to the elevated viewing platform below, which still has beautiful ocean views!

8. Rockview Beach Resort

Rockview Beach Resort

Wake up early and stroll to Rockview Beach Resort for a stunning sunrise view and low tide, or stroll in the evening for a stunning sunset.

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Huge rocky cliffs, scattered across the sea, that make this place so unique are actually massive coral formations thousands of years ago. You’ve never seen anything like this.

While it was a very pleasant experience, you don’t have to stay at this resort to visit Rockview Beach. Entrance fee is Php75 and it is worth every penny for the views, photos and tranquility.

9. Santiago Island

Santiago Island

Take a day trip to Santiago Island off the coast of Polynao. The island has a rich ecosystem, home to mangroves, a variety of migratory birds and numerous coral reefs.

You can arrange a private fishing trip with the captain who will provide the rod and bait. Whatever fish you catch, the captain will help you roast them back to shore. The fish you’re most likely to catch are bangus or milkfish, both of which are most commonly found in these waters.

If fishing isn’t your thing, take a snorkeling trip, where you can dive into the water for a glimpse of the underwater world of Polyna. Between snorkeling and diving, you can relax on the white sandy beaches of Santiago Island.

10. Sungayan BBQ

Shuangjiayan BBQ

Picture this: a seafood stall where all the best seafood such as crab, grilled fish, prawns and squid is served on a giant banana leaf, with plenty of rice and sauce in the middle. Pair it with fresh coconut and a few cold beers and you have the most incredible feast at your fingertips!

Oh, did I mention the restaurant is going down the river? Sungayan Grill is actually a river cruise that slowly guides you to spot some birds on the winding waters, see some locals and admire the surroundings. This cruise also gives you plenty of time to enjoy a meal with friends.

11. Treasure Resort

Treasure Resort

If you are looking for luxury in Polynau, Treasures Resort is the place for you. With a backdrop of verdant pastures and tall palm trees, Treasures offers a tropical feel.

The accommodation here is very comfortable, with comfortable rooms and helpful staff. The pool is huge with little corners to relax and a poolside bar serving cocktails and loungers where you can soak up the sun. The hotel also provides guests with a spa and gym. The restaurant serves quality food and the wine bar offers a wide selection.

Nearby, you’ll find UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Sukhothai Historical Park and National Museum, Sangkhaloke Village and more.

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12. Magic Cave

magic cave

Hire a guide when visiting the magic cave. This complex underground system is so mysterious that you need a local to answer all your burning questions. As you will learn, the Enchanted Cave was once completely underwater millions of years ago. Today, it is one of the main attractions of the city of Bolinao.

For an extra Php20, you can take a dip in an underground swimming hole surrounded by hanging cave rocks.

Tip: Go early! Magic caves tend to get very crowded!

13. Wonderful Cave

wonderful cave

This cave is really great! Although it is smaller than the other caves in Polynao, it still offers quite a bit of an adventure. The cave is so detailed in the ceiling, with thousands of pinnacle-like formations of coral and limestone. It’s very safe to explore this dark space, with sturdy handrails and built-in steps for easy access, so don’t hesitate to bring the whole family.

Inside the cave is a cool pool with crystalline water where you can swim and listen to the echoes of the splashing water on the cave walls.

14. Cindy’s Cave

Cindy's Cave

Cindy’s Cave is a cool place to experience not only the subterranean world of crazy rock formations and clear swimming pools that feel like Mars on Earth, but also the nature and features surrounding the cave.

You’ll find mango trees, jackfruit trees, and unfamiliar plants and flowers. There is also a small hand pump well where you can flush yourself with more fresh water from the ground.

The cave is large and less visited by other groups of tourists, so you and your group are less likely to be crowded.

15. Adora Restaurant

Adora Restaurant

For authentic Filipino cuisine open 24 hours a day, look no further than Adora’s. Eating here is like eating at a Filipino mother’s home because the dishes are cooked with so much love and so much soul.

You’ll find flavorful dishes, like pork steak and fried chicken, in generous portions! The most popular dish here is the classic Tapsilog, a stewed pork curry with rice. If you’ve never eaten, this is the best place for you to try it!

Don’t be surprised if you show up at 2am and there are other guests dining! This is the landing spot for midnight snacks and late night arrivals.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Bolinao, Philippines
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