When I was first told about Enchanted Cave Bolinao I thought it was just going to be like Sumaguing Cave of Sagada… I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong.
Most people who have been to Bolinao know you can’t really say you have seen the sites until you visit the Enchanted Cave.. For the serious tourist and sightseer, there is so much to discover in this area that it usually takes two to three trips to see the lot. If you are not looking at beaches and waterfalls, there are lighthouses and churches to keep you occupied.
What sets Bolinao apart from other tourist spots is it is still largely unknown and under developed. See it now while it is still unspoiled and overcrowded with tourists. With so many things to do and see, is Enchanted Cave Bolinao really worth your time to see?
From Bolinao proper, it is an easy 15 minute tricycle ride to the cave. Turn off the main road at the sign and follow the Coconut tree lines sandy road to the reception area. This is a privately owned attraction which charges P150 and P30 to rent a life Vest for the day. There are safety ropes you can hold onto in the cave swimming area but if you are not a good swimmer it is better to rent the life vest as well. You can bring your own food and drinks but please don’t eat in the pool area. Don’t forget to bring your own bottled water because a 1 liter bottle of Wilkins distilled water costs P100. Parking fee varies from P15 to P40 for the average car. If you want to trek to the cross that will cost you an extra P50.
Also, it might be of interest for you to note that your P150 entrance fee does not include use of the “shower”. The shower/change area is very basic and you do need to pour your own water from their water station in a bucket for your use. When questioned, one of the staff told us that only overnight guests are permitted use of the shower station for free. Day-trippers, like me – P25 for use of the shower room.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I loved the cave but found the management lacking and giving the customer good value for money.
Once inside, it was temping to take some time and seen the other attractions on offer. The garden area was so lovely with the most amazing foliage color and features. There is the Rocky Hill, a Gazebo, Wishing Well, beautiful flowers, trees, and a hammock if you want to relax under the trees.
But, we arrived there early so we could beat the crowds to the cave (we had been told it can get crowded). So we headed straight for the cave tour.
To get to the cave you need to follow a path and descend a 46 step set of concrete stairs. You will need to watch your head in some areas and also be careful of sharp rocks and coral formations. This place was built on coral rocks over 20 million years old. Apparently Bolinao was under the sea originally but due to Teutonic movement of the Earths crust, the land rose from the sea.
I will admit, a slight sense of claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) came over me as I entered the cave. The guide telling us about the labyrinth of tunnels in the cave didn’t help either. But as we got to the main area it was well ventilated and the lighting was good (I could breathe again, lol). There was also a large fan circulating the air to improve ventilation. All those people in a small semi-enclosed area could cause carbon dioxide issues without good ventilation I would have thought.
Testing the Waters At Enchanted Cave Bolinao
I won’t lie to you, when I first tested the water with my foot it was soooo cold… I started having second thoughts about swimming. Then Gary dared me and, of couse, you have to do it once you are dared. OMG, my foot was right.. it was cold.. but you do quickly get used to it and it is very enjoyable and sooo refreshing. I am not a good swimmer so I stayed in the shallow areas.
The Enchanted Cave Bolinao essentially owes its surreal atmosphere to its size and clear water. When we arrived we were one of the first so we experienced the cave in a small group but as more people arrived the wow factor and charm of the cave reduced. Large crowds really kill the atmosphere of this place.
Bright orange life vests are a good idea because they help keep you afloat, stopping you from possible standing on sharp rocks under the water (you can only tread water for so long before getting tired). But, looking back, I can’t help smiling when I remember all those people in the water with bright orange vests… it looked like a scene from Titanic.
We spent just over an hour swimming in the cave then wandered the resort grounds and gardens. I was impressed with the gardens, they are so nicely set out. There is also a monkey on the resort which surprised me. There’s a kiosk that sells food and drinks and other areas to relax.
Enchanted Cave Bolinao – Even though the cave is not really kid friendly the overall attraction is a place you can bring the whole family. The cave is not large making it perfect for couples or a small group of up to 6 people. The cave is still clean and well maintained (I hope it stays this way).
The cave is a great place to get out of the heat and swim around in clear water. If you have never had the opportunity to swim in a subterranean cave before, I recommend you try it.
The garden and resort grounds are good for a family gathering or just to relax.
I do think the entrance fee of P150 plus all the other added fees is a little too high but over all I still recommend people visit. It is an experience… Some people love it : Others hate it… We loved it and will return again.
Enchanted Cave Bolinao
Patar Rd, Bolinao, Pangasinan, Philippines
Phone: +63 2 521 1888
Opening Times (open everyday)
07:30am – 6:00pm