An hour before the tsunami scare, provoked by the Japan earthquake, hit the northern Philippine coastlines last March, we were on a company tour aboard two bancas circumnavigating the Hundred Islands National Park in Lingayen Gulf. Out of harm’s way actually, but nevertheless, I can only imagine how the hysteria would be should the news of the “scare” reached us while on the briny.
Ironically, what cut the trip short was when the boss decided to hurry back to the town center before sundown for some –Alaminos longganisa. Island hopping vs a bunch of chorizos.
Anyway, going back to the expedition, first off, the Lucap Wharf. The embarkation point and the seafront side of Alaminos City where we find the tourism authorities, some cozy restos, restrooms, lighthouse, wall map, souvenir shops and a pair of amiable locals as our Men of the Oar and tourist guides as well. Plus an ice cream vendor and his arctic merchandise waiting to hitch a ride to the islands. All aboard the Jemar and Sto. Niño II. Crude, outriggered and well-spirited bancas.
What seemed from afar like an armada of aircraft carriers is actually a cluster of million-year old corals, 124 in all, scattered in the Lingayen Gulf just off-coast Alaminos City.
Within minutes from the wharf, we’re already cruising inside the islands belt.