Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tondol Beach, Anda, Pangasinan

Ratio of trike drivers to passengers, 13:3 ½. It was quarter to five in the afternoon and we just arrived at Anda's sleepy terminal across the town market. Out of the 13 hopefuls, apparently there's only one driver who could take us to our final destination. Or perhaps, the next one on queue, as the TODA's policy dictated. Our weeny squad of 2 ½ was ushered towards the trike. The only other passenger who hopped off the Five Star Bus merely walked away.

Sauntering on a sandbar.

Our four hour non-aircon bus ride from Tarlac City left me a bit dazed, for we tried to keep our toddler Luna entertained the whole trip whilst seated at the rearest-of-them-all row. So I dozily agreed on the P120 rate, accompanied with indignant murmurs. We were heading to some far, far away beach during lean season, and the fare was going to cover for the 30-minute trip going there plus the driver's 30-minute trip back to Anda's center. And nope, we didn't ask for a pick up. We're indecisive like that.

Home for three days, Star Inn.

The road to Tondol Beach has bumpy sections here and there, but nothing an intrepid traveler's arse can't handle. We entrusted the fate of our accommodation to the helm of our trike driver. While that sounds like some great responsibility, taking us to Star Inn was actually a no-brainer. It's the first lodge we stumbled upon. The driver didn't have to push on further.

Cloudy afternoon. Tourist mass, nonexistent.

At that time, Star Inn had no other guests and we were lucky to bunk in the only room fronting the beach. For P1,500 with aircon and enough space for five adults, it's quite a sweet deal so we took it. Except, our headcount wasn't five but two and a half for the first night and three and a half for the second night. Still, it turned out to be a wise choice because the other resort is situated near a karaoke joint which had inebriated locals belting day and night.

Boat hired by fellow guests who practiced sport fishing that weekend.

We crashed early the first night, just after we gobbled our room-delivered dinner. Fancy, ain't it? Mind you, there are only a few eateries on Tondol Beach, so you could imagine how surprised we were when the caretaker of our resort handed us a food delivery menu. Prior the trip, I already knew about the area's lack of establishments, but did not bother lugging a cook set for we were on another long term journey. Instead we psyched ourselves to feed on canned goodies every meal, and thankfully, that didn't happen.

Tanduyong Island, sitting across Tondol Beach, can easily be reached by foot when the tide is low.

Our second day started hours before dawn. Commenced by a phone call I groggily answered at half past three in the morning. A very awake Leo, on the other end of the line, asked where Star Inn is. His trike driver couldn't find it. Though I failed to give clear directions, they managed to find the place amidst the pitch-dark surroundings. I was stoked to open the gates for an old friend (Who by the way designs Pinay Travel Junkie's headers!), even if I had to pass the ferocious resident dog.

The combo of gentle waves and uber low tide creates a shallow, natural pool ideal for tots.

Back at our room, our day-long catch up began. Over cups of cheap instant coffee, over aimless stolls on the water, over an instant pancit canton lunch, and over an afternoon alcomix drinking sesh. He was then nursing a heartbreak, which made him crave for a spontaneous getaway in the first place. Often he ducked out when we're not engaged in a lengthy conversation. He'd reappear hours after, deep in thoughts yet with a trace of cheery aura only the sea breeze could bring forth.

A splashin', rad time for the traveling tot.

The rest of that Saturday was spent strolling on the vast stretch of beach from end to end. We didn't feel like hanging out at the lodge anymore for there were rowdy weekenders who checked in next door. Tanduyong Island looked inviting from afar, but we opted to stay close to the shore since we were with the little one. We scoured the coast's sandy skirt for properties on sale. Hubby and I loved the quaint community so much that we actually envisioned ourselves living there someday.

In the distant future perhaps, when we're finally sick of this nomadic lifestyle of ours.

Trip's Nitty Gritty:

1. How to get there: There are direct buses to Anda, aircon and non aircon, from Five Star Cubao and Dagupan Bus Cubao (more or less P400). Call the stations to check the schedule. My friend Leo took the Five Star aircon bus that left 11:00PM from Cubao and arrived in Anda around 3-ish AM (via Camiling, Tarlac). If you miss the Anda-bound bus, you may hop on another bus heading to Alaminos (about P390). From Alaminos, you could take a jeep or mini bus to Anda town proper (1 hour).

From Anda, trikes can be hired from P120-150 (30 minutes). Price depends on the season, time, and number of passengers.

2. Accommodation: Erm, sorry guys but I failed to get Star Inn's contact number. You could try JCT Beach Resort 09214949248. There's a campsite available for the more outdoorsy travelers. Admission to the site is P5 per head, plus about P300 (price also depends on the season) for an open hut that can be used as dining area. As of our visit, pitching of tent is free.

3. Food: It's wise to come prepared since there ain't much food establishments around. Star Inn has a kitchen for guests' use. Across Star Inn, there's a sari-sari store manned by a lady who accepts paluto for a minimal fee. There are locals who peddle the fishermen's catch of the day early morn. Watch out for that if you're a seafood fan.

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Gabe Mitra said...
July 29, 2012 at 12:11 AM

Where is this place?? I've never heard of this! Wow, you can really find places like this huh :p

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 29, 2012 at 12:32 AM

Lesgow sis when you're back in Pinas!

Francis Balgos said...
July 29, 2012 at 1:11 AM

nice! its the trio now!
lovin the gentle waves!

Batangala said...
July 29, 2012 at 8:14 AM

We saw the sign going to Anda when we went to Bolinao about eight years ago when our daughter was just 3 years old. We promised ourselves that one day, we will be visiting Anda too. Till now it hasn't happened yet, ha ha ha... Still dreaming of going there...

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 29, 2012 at 8:35 AM

Hi Kuya Noel! Your family's going to love it for sure, hope you make it there next summer :)

Dong Ho said...
July 29, 2012 at 9:45 AM

still my favorite beach in Pangasinan. tagal niyo din pala dun. malayo but it's worth it.

finally seeing it again next weekend. sisikat na talaga ang Tondol because of this post Gay.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 29, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Dyahe naman Dom. Hihi. Sumikat ang Tondol cause of you, Munch :)

Marky Ramone Go said...
July 29, 2012 at 10:24 AM

cc: sino kaya ang makakasama ko sa pagtanda sa Anda beach.

Next year number 1 CNN Best Beaches in the world nato dahil sa post mo Gaye.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 29, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Hahaha! Marky, CNN will look for a high end hotel ;p

Drew said...
July 29, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Ang ganda! Reminds me of Bantayan na mababa lang din ang tubig. Sana makasama ako sa inyo dyan minsan :D

darwin | TrackingTreasure said...
July 29, 2012 at 3:33 PM

We're set to go there this august :) ang ganda nga!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 29, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Drew, oh yeah! Almost the same nga. Even the sandbars that appear during low tide.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 29, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Dardar, this weekend na ba?

evankristine said...
July 30, 2012 at 5:27 AM

oh my goodness this place look so calm! exactly what i need right now :'( that transpo part sounds ridiculous, i can only imagine how hard it is to travel in the philippines with a toddler and let a alone with a foreign! but that place look glorious even on an ordinary day.

blissfulguro said...
July 30, 2012 at 7:32 AM

very lovely family photo on the sandbar :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM

EvanKristine, yeah. Sucks to travel in Pinas with a foreigner. People overcharge us :(

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 30, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Tenchu Carla!

Ken Agsaway said...
July 30, 2012 at 2:35 PM

just like IN Calatagan, Batangas, calm sea at mababa lang. Ganda ng lugar

Earl (Suroy Pilipinas) said...
August 1, 2012 at 4:42 PM

I've never heard about this place until I read this post. This is another potential spot for me to visit on my future Luzon trip. Ayaw ko kasing pa-gala gala lang sa malls every time I'm in Manila so I'm always on the lookout for nearby provinces to visit. : )

Micamyx|Senyorita said...
August 1, 2012 at 9:03 PM

Yay makakapunta na rin ako dyan sa wakas! :D

Ding said...
August 1, 2012 at 9:52 PM

I have read a lot about Tondol...hmmm...another option for a long weekender...

docgelo said...
August 2, 2012 at 7:55 AM

paradise! this place looks like one.
ang ganda talaga sa pinas!

can't get enough of luna's charm! so cute!!!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
August 2, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Earl, yeah! Sayang naman ang visit kapag malls lang ang puntahan.

Patricia Nadine Mirasol said...
August 3, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Had no idea Pangasinan was so pretty. Nice! :)

Traveling Morion/Jeffrey rilles said...
August 4, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Ganda! ang cute ng splash'n photo ni Luna:)OMG I should start exploring north Luzon...

kim buenafe said...
August 12, 2012 at 12:35 PM

front-page-worthy family photo! the beach reminds me of bantayan in cebu. lovely! and luna is so cute in her tummy-revealing swim suit! :)

thelighttraveler said...
August 21, 2012 at 9:40 PM

I love sandbars! I'll put this on my list next time I go to Pangasinan. Thanks for sharing! =)

ardee sean said...
September 8, 2012 at 1:34 PM

looks really great.. got me excited to go there.. baby is so cute.. >_<

Christian | LAKAD Pilipinas said...
September 13, 2012 at 9:40 PM

hmmm kumusta ang waves kaya this month? parang ang sarap pumunta agad. the sand looks really nice!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
September 17, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Waves shouldn't be wild :) Medyo protected ang enclave ng beach.

Nomadic Samuel said...
September 18, 2012 at 1:43 PM

This looks like such a gorgeous beach! I would love to go here when I visit the Philippines soon :)

philippines islands said...
September 26, 2012 at 1:27 AM

This is my favorite beach in Pangasinan.. Ang ganda talga dito sa Tondol beach. :)

The Sunset Goddess said...
October 1, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Gaye, ang sexy mo sa first pic! :)

October 5, 2012 at 3:55 AM

she's having fun ..cute ni little u ;)

Nicole said...
November 14, 2012 at 11:28 AM

bookmarked for anniversary gateaway next year! :D Thanks!!!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 14, 2012 at 2:57 PM

It's gonna be a very romantic one fo sho :)

Meijuno said...
January 21, 2013 at 9:04 AM

I like the first picture! so family oriented while having fun on the beach. ;)

Tina said...
March 6, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Nice picture, The beach looks really beautiful. and it's not crowded..

junn gonzales said...
May 9, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Hi Pinay TJ, i was in Tondol 5 days ago. I was curious about the place when I read your blog... So I went their with a couple of buddies of mine on our 125cc motorcycle. Cost of cottages is Php 2,500 per room gud for 4 to 6 pax for peak season and still the same rate as u mention for the lean season. The place is still beautiful even with some tourist around, I was there on a weekend and its kinda busy weekend but still not at all crowded.... Thanks for the tip and it was a fruitful trip. Will be back with my family any time now.... Not to mention locals are more friendly than the other towns of Pangasinan. The beach and the water is great...... tnx.

Riza said...
May 29, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Hi Junn,

Im reading up on Tondol and got mixed reviews. Would you still recommend going there? Would you have contact number of Star Inn aka BITO Inn?

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