A few of the islands seen from the view deck of Governor's Island in the Hundred Islands National Park

The days between Christmas and the New Year are often filled with lethargy and a feeling of just wanting to stay indoors, usually to recuperate from the stress of the prior days. But for some reason, Joseph and I found ourselves wanting to leave Metro Manila, in large part because some of our friends have gone to their respective hometowns for the holidays and we figure we might as well have our own out-of-town trip. Also, because Joseph wants to do another photo shoot in another part of the Philippines.

So we randomly choose to go to the Hundred Islands National Park in Pangasinan and tag his friend Mike along with us.

The area consists of 123 (plus one during low tide) islands dotting a 16.76-square-kilometer area off the coast of Alaminos in the northwestern part of the province. These islands, which are believed to be about two million years old, were formed from corals that extend in an area previously comprising the seabed of what was once a sea. The lowering of the sea level has exposed them to the surface and the constant battering of the waves have resulted in the distinct mushroom appearance.

While there’s a lot of islands in a small space of sea, only three are actually developed for tourism – Governor’s Island, Quezon Island, and Children’s Island. Governor’s Island has a nice vantage point for some of the islands.

Meanwhile, Quezon Island is the most geared towards visitors with a handful of gazebos and a large dining area. Unfortunately, the rocky beach isn’t conducive for swimming and the largely destroyed coral reefs means it’s not an ideal snorkeling site either.

……….

It’s afternoon. The sun is dipping into the horizon, just as children pour out of the beachside houses and start playing games. I take a stroll along the seaweed-laden shore, while Joseph and Mike play a round of billiards.

Looking at the large waves pummeling the shore, I get a good chance to reflect on the past 12 months, assess where I stand now in relation to where I was, and prepare myself for the incoming year.

It’s been an eventful year, and I am glad for every second of it.

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