The sun was quickly retreating down horizon as we alighted from our van. I hurried towards Patar White Beach, Bolinao’s renowned public beach, my feet dragging on its golden sand. I plodded on, knowing full well that the window for the day’s most beautiful light would soon come to pass.
|PATAR WHITE BEACH DURING WEEKDAYS|
Patar White Beach’s cream-colored sand, sidely lit by the sinking sun, mimicked the gentle lapping waves of the shore. I took my sandals off and my toes promptly sank beneath the soft yellow granules. I set up my gear, surveyed the seemingly endless beach and saw that besides the locals enjoying the sunset, we were almost the only tourist in the area.
|LOCALS PREPARING A BOAT FOR FISHING|
I walked for a few meters and greeted a group of fisher folks untangling a fine-wire fishing net from their boat. Although tourism has slowly been making its way to Bolinao, most town folks still depends on the sea for their livelihood.
|KIDS PLAYING AT THE BEACH|
The sun kissed the horizon and was quickly enveloped by the vast sea. Kids, seemingly oblivious to the majestic scene unfolding, ran, swam, paddled and played. This was probably nothing new to them, as common as traffic jams are to city dwellers like us. What’s the big fuss, they must’ve asked each other.
|WHAT A PLAYGROUND|
In places like these, far from the bustle of the smog-filled metro, life’s at its most simple. Children prefer playing with boats and makeshift rafts to fancy toys and gadgets; their playground, not the streets but the never-ending shore, soft creamy sand and crystalline waters on their feet.
I watched from the beach as their laughter echoed through the early twilight.
|WATCHING THE SUNSET WITH A COUPLE OF LOCAL KIDS|
The sun was gone but a vibrant afterglow remained. The day was still struggling to let go. Blues, magentas, yellows and oranges blared and angrily colored Patar’s horizon. It was, by far, the most intense struggle I’ve witnessed between day and night.
|BOATS ALONG PATAR BEACH|
But all things, indeed, must come to pass. The twilight won. Electric blues covered Bolinao and darkness swept over the beach. Silence. And at once, we all knew that it was over. We stood up, gathered our things and slowly walked back through the soft, golden sand of Patar.
|MORNINGS AT PATAR BEACH|
A year after, I went back to Bolinao’s Patar White Beach for a couple of nights, this time with a few travel acquaintances. Together with C, we went a day ahead, arriving at the beach early Friday morning. Since our friends were still a day away, we lodged ourselves at Benjie’s Kubo & Cottages, luckily getting their tree house.
|BENJIE’S TREE HOUSE|
We briefly considered the nearby Treasures of Bolinao, but our budget wasn’t up for it. So it was Benjie’s for us. To be honest, PHP500.00 for a room at their place really wasn’t that cheap, considering how shabby the place was. It’s more like a patched up hut perched on a tree with no proper lock other than a bar of wood that you swivel against the jamb. There’s no en suite toilet and bath, you’d have to go down and walk a few feet to the common toilet area. What it has though, besides the basic mattress set right on the floor, is a very rustic balcony to chill out on.
|RENTABLE HUTS ALONG PATAR BEACH|
|BEACH VOLLEYBALL AT PATAR BEACH|
Right below and a hop away from the sea were several day huts rented out for day trippers. Since we already booked a room and there weren’t really that much tourists at the time, we were given a free one by the caretaker for us to spend the day in. And spending the day for us means, downing liters after liters of Red Horse Beer while swapping stories and people watching. Yes, we did spend a few minutes swimming every now and then, but only when nature calls. Lol.
|WHITE BEACH NATURE’S CAMP BOLINAO RESORT, OUR SECOND LODGING|
The next day, we transferred to the adjacent White Beach Nature’s Camp Bolinao Resort (PHP3,500.00 per night, good for 30 persons) as our friends arrived. We needed a larger place since we were now seven in the group. Don’t let the name fool you, this is hardly a resort but more like a hut house with a single room, a toilet, and a spacious open-aired balcony. It is very spartan, but it fits our needs quite well.
|GRILLING FRESH FISHES|
|MARATANGTANG SEA URCHINS BEING HAWKED AT THE BEACH|
Our friends bought fresh fishes and slabs of pork chop at Bolinao’s public market before taking the tricycle to Patar. So it was hours of chopping and grilling for us, guzzling down bottles of beer as we went along.
|OUR HANG OUT|
We hardly stayed at our rented hut though, preferring to lounge at the elevated beach hut right beside the sea. We’d cook our meals at the barbecue grills near the resort and once done, bring it to the hut, which, to be fair, was just a few steps away from the cooking area.
|WITH THE PERFECT VIEW OF THE SEA|
We spent countless hours drinking, picking on freshly grilled tulingan and pork chop, trading tall tales, harassing each other with snarky questions, taking quick swimming breaks along the calm waters of Patar Beach and photographing the day’s end. Okay, that’s just me on that last one, everyone was too wasted to walk all the way to the rock formations at the far end of the half-kilometer long beach.
|SUNSET AT THE ROCK FORMATIONS NEAR THE FAR END OF PATAR BEACH|
But it didn’t even end there. The stories wound on as twilight crept and evening moved in. From the comforts of the bamboo hut, our tales spread over to the warm waters of Patar, questions and answers going round and round as we sat by the beach, our bodies half-submerged in the sea. The clock struck midnight and the Milky Way rose above, dazzling us with its brilliance, the conversation never faltered.
|PATAR WHITE BEACH SUNSET|
Besides a few in the group, we really didn’t know each other that well. We’ve been trading words online, but this is really the first time that we’ve actually gotten together for more than a few hours. And as fate would have it, we instantly clicked. With the number of empty Red Horse bottles lying around the next morning, it was agreed that we’d have to name this group. Team Red Horse, it is.
Patar White Beach
Address: Brgy. Patar, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Entrance Fee: Free | Parking Fee: PHP50.00
Cottage Rental Fee: From PHP200.00
GPS Coordinates Map: 16.301255,119.780459
Benjie’s Kubo & Cottages
Contact Number: (0910) 836-6257
Nature’s Camp White Beach Resort
Contact Number: (0928) 281-5199