Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tondol Beach - The not-so Beautiful Beach of Pangasinan

We promised to lessen our travel this year, but the itching of our feet was quite unbearable that we needed to go someplace.  Any place would do just to satisfy our wanderlust.

We agreed on going to Tondol Beach located in the municipality of Anda after we read from a blog that it is the best beach in Pangasinan.

Full of excitement, we took the bus headed northwest around 11PM, with the plan of arriving early to enjoy what Tondol Beach has to offer. There were no direct trips to Anda at the time so we took the advice of a bus conductor to ride a bus until Tarlac bus stop and from there, catch another bus bound for Anda. We waited for an hour but no Anda-bound bus arrived. As an alternative, we took the bus bound for Bolinao and went down in Tara (the junction going to Anda) around 5AM. From the junction, we chartered a tricycle to bring us to Tondol Beach. The driver charged us Php250. It was a long ride, 17 km to be exact from Tara to Tondol Beach.

Our tricycle driver brought us in JCT resort. It was still dark then and you can hardly see anything in the vast sea.

When the sun started creeping out from the sky, we caught a glimpse of the ocean and saw nothing but the floor! When you say “low tide” in Tondol Beach, it literally means no water! There was this barren sandbar extending from the shore to the ocean, far and wide.  If you wanted to take a swim, you had to walk several minutes away from the shore and I do not think that is fun.  Tondol Beach reminds me of Cagbalete Island, only the latter is much better.

(Taken 11:20AM) Where did  all the water go?
Frustrated that we cannot actually have a good ocean bath, we just pitched our tent and rested our tired bodies, comforting ourselves that maybe later in the morning the sea water will appear and show itself and let us dip. We woke up an hour before noon and the water was still far away. The sea looks more like a desert than an ocean. It totally lost its charm on us. There were also dried debris, sea weeds, and some thrashes speckled in the area. Stray dogs are very unlikely to the sight as well.  Our excitement had died down and frustration took over; more so when they charged us Php75.00 for a cup of rice, an egg and three tiny-awful-tasting hotdogs.

We know we had enough so we decided to pack our bags and find another place to go.  Anyways, there are lots of beaches in Pangasinan and Tondol Beach did not agree with our fancy.

The above travelogue is a collective thoughts between me and my travel partner Jim Bryan of Psychedelic Imbecile. We both agreed that Tondol Beach is not worth the long travel and hassle.

How to Get There

By Private Vehicle

Tondol Beach is located at the northern tip of Anda, Pangasinan; five to six hour drive from Manila.  It is an island municipality which you can reach by crossing a bridge that was constructed to connect the island to the mainland. Head to Alaminos first. From Metro Manila, take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) through Tarlac via the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). From Tarlac go through Camiling and pass by Lingayen continuing to Alaminos. It is on the way to Bolinao after the town of Bani. After Bani you will see a junction that leads to to Anda.

By Commute/Public Vehicle
  • You can take a bus at Victory Liner Cubao Bus Station going to Alaminos. Bus leaves as early as 4:30am. You can also try Dagupan Bus Lines also in Cubao. For both you can ask the driver to drop you off at Tara junction to the municipality of Anda.
  • The best option I can see is by taking Five Star bus bound to Anda Public Market. From There you can take a jeepney or a trysicle to Tondol Beach.

Andamas Hotel and Restaurant
Luna St., Poblacion, Anda
Arnold Borres
Landline: (+6375) 557-5124

JCT Beach Resort
Tondol, Anda
Landline: (+6375) 658-6419
Mobile Phone: 0921-494-9248

Tondol White Sand Beach Resort
Tondol I, Anda
Landline: (+6375) 619-541
(if you can add more from the above list to help other travellers, just leave a comment or send us a message  so we can update this entry)

Travel Tips
  • There are Five Star buses bound directly to Anda, Pangasinan from Cubao. This route is more comfortable and cheaper.
  • Arriving too early or too late has downsides. Our tricycle from the junction to the resort at 5AM cost Php250 but we were only charged Php180 on our way back at 1PM.
  • Foods at the resort are expensive. If you can, bring your own baon.
My unsolicited Advice

Tondol beach maybe beautiful to some, but definitely NOT THE BEST BEACH THAT PANGASINAN CAN OFFER.  The place is a mess. Everything are not in order. Planning is non-existent in this place. It seems that they create cottages whenever they feel like creating and put it anywhere they want. I see no coordination and harmony. Scattered thrashes are visible and stray dogs are roaming around. There are seaweeds and debris spread out by the shore. Very unlikely sight.

Cabongaon Beach by far, is still the best for me and I am pretty sure there are more better islands and beaches out there. The Hundred Islands alone offer outstanding picture-perfect views.

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  1. It looks like beautiful place for a relaxation. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving some comments.

  2. disappointing nga ang experience nyo. I feel for you.

  3. the photo you've captured under "Accomodation" is on 828 Gems Beach Resort ( not in Adamas, nor JCT, and Tondol White Sand Beach Resort.. just for correction guys.. :) THANKS!

  4. We went to 828 Gems, Tondol just this April 8-9, 2014. I can say that this is the best beach for kids. you do not have to worry of them getting drowned even if they go far from the shore. They have the finest white sand to build castle ala-boracay. During the night, we walked on the shore and they enjoyed the crawling shell and starfish blinking in the moonlight. This is a great experience for them. The starfish is colorful and bigger than ordinary around 8 inches in diameter. The kids can walk to the other ocean without fear of slipping in the deeper part of the sea. If you want your kids to enjoy summer, this is the best location to have it.

    1. The kids can walk to the other "ocean"... "island" I mean...

  5. If you are looking for a house to stay, you may want to consider the Sarmiento Beach house. That includes, kitchen and kitchen wares so you can cook your own food. Ref is available. A house which is good for 10 to 12 persons is only 3,500 per night and 1 bahay kubo which is good for 2 to 3 persons, for only 1500 per night. It's an exclusive place for you to stay and relax. The whole area is for you and no other guest to share with the whole area. Its about 2mins walk from the beach. There are 3 duyans where you can relax. For more details, contact 0947-892-5370

  6. Looks like you went with a template and expected the place to fit your every specification vs coming and seeing what can be found unique and enjoyed for it simply is. Your comments though, taken positively are food for thought for developers.

  7. You took this picture January 31... At walang araw. FYI the best ang Tondol during summer time. April-June.

  8. taga tondol ako... cguro low tide nga nung pumunta kayo... pero mas maganda sana kung naglakad kayo papunta sa dagat..

  9. hmm.. thanks for this objective review of the place. i was thinking of visiting the beach and kinda needed a reliable post about it.
    I wanted to find out if it really has powdery white sand shores and crystal clear waters.
    some blogs are misleading like saying that patar beach (bolinao) is a white sand beach when obviously, it's not.
    it has beautiful caramel-colored pebble shores, to be exact.

    i think you misused some words though which got me a bit confused at first e.g. "thrash"; "unlikely"

    like when you said, stray dogs are "unlikely" to the sight, did you actually mean that stray dogs may NOT be sighted in the beach - which should be a good thing, right?
    (unlikely = improbable; less likely)
    something tells me it's the opposite.
    & i think you meant Cabongaoan (Kabungawan) Beach..


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