The Ultimate 3D2N Northern Road Trip Guide to Pangasinan and Pampanga

Just a couple of hours away from Manila via NLEX, Pangasinan and Pampanga are some of the best adventure spots in Luzon. From exploring gorgeous islands and chasing waterfalls to theme parks and heart-pumping activities, these provinces are truly gems that are worth visiting. With NLEX, we’ve created a jam-packed guide for those who would love to experience an adventurous 3 Days – 2 Nights in the north. We’ve listed down everything to make the most out of your 72-hour escapade. Now let’s head to the north and experience #LakbayNorte!

The Ultimate 3D2N Northern Road Trip Guide to Pangasinan and Pampanga

DAY 1: Bolinao, Pangasinan

Located at the northernmost tip of western Pangasinan, Bolinao is a third class municipality in the province that is home to one of the most gorgeous beaches in the north: Patar Beach. Dubbed as the Boracay of the North, the beach’s fine golden brown sand and clear waters is perfect for beach bumming and relaxing under the sun.

While Patar Beach attracts many beach-loving travelers, there is also so much more to Bolinao than the beach. The municipality also boasts of gorgeous waterfalls, a historical lighthouse, stunning caves, breathtaking rock formations, and a crystal clear river. While each spot is located near one another, it’s definitely a little too much to be explored in one day. You can either (1) stay a little longer in Bolinao or (2) just choose the destinations that you’d like to visit. As for this trip, we were only able to cover half of what they can offer. Clearly, all the more reason why we have to go back next time.

Tip: Make the most out of your trip by traveling at night! While Manila to Bolinao is 280.6km away from each other, you can reach the province in just 6 hours via NLEX. Don’t let the travel time eat up your day and opt to start your roadtrip at night.


Destination #1: Balingasay River

Our first stop in Pangasinan: Balingasay River. We stopped by at Sungayan Grill to grab lunch and enjoy the breathtaking view of the river. You can eat your lunch by the river or opt to have it “cruise” style via Bohol’s Loboc River Cruise.


Said to be the cleanest river in the Ilocos Region, Balingasay River boasts of an abundance of mangroves, clear waters, and amazingly fresh air that will surely relax you.

Destination #2 & #3: Bolinao Falls 1 & 2

A quick search on the Internet may confuse you as to what Bolinao Falls really i. Unbeknown to many, there are actually two waterfalls in the area, dubbed as Bolinao Falls 1 and 2. Situated just 10 minutes away from each other, Bolinao Falls 1 and 2 each offers a different kind of experience.


Bolinao Falls 1

Bolinao Falls 1 offers a higher cascade, going up to 20-feet. It has a clear blue green water at its basin and has stronger currents compared to the other falls. While it may not be that suitable for those who can’t swim well, there are lifevests and floaters available. By the time that we got here, there weren’t many visitors and it was the perfect chance to take some gorgeous photos by the falls.


Bolinao Falls 2

Bolinao Falls 2, on the other hand, offers calmer water, with friendlier pools for swimming. There are also cottages available in the area, which are perfect for those who want to spend the day there. While most waterfalls require long treks, both Bolinao Falls 1 and 2 are friendly for tourists, with stone and bamboo ladders to guide you.

Bolinao Falls 1 & 2 are located in the heart of the woods – a good 45-minute travel from the town proper. If you’re going to pay a visit DIY style, you can haggle and negotiate with the tricycle drivers in Poblacion.


Destination #4: Cape Bolinao

Built by British and Filipino engineers in 1905, Cape Bolinao is the second tallest lighthouse in the country. Due to the picturesque scenery, many tourists really take their time to drop by the area and take photographs. You can visit Cape Bolinao before going to Patar Beach, which is just a stone’s throw away from the lighthouse’s location.


Destination #5: Chill by the beach at Punta Riviera

Luckily for us, we were checked in at Punta Riviera, a sophisticated resort where the river meets the sea. There is a shallow part where the two bodies of waters meet, and it’s interesting to witness how they blend in together. The shore stretches far and wide, and there’s nothing better to do but sit by the beach and take in all the beauty.

Other places in Bolinao that you must visit:

  • Patar Beach
  • Enchanted Cave
  • Bolinao Rock Formations
  • St. James the Great Church
  • Santiago Island

Read on for day two!