Tondol Beach

Western Pangasinan is well-known for its beach destinations especially those in Dasol and Burgos, Bolinao, and Alaminos (site of the Hundred Islands). A few years back, a popular blogger mentioned that he had encountered what might be the best beach in the province. The beach is located in Cabarruyan Island (also known as Anda Island) in the municipality of Anda just north of Alaminos. Intrigued, we decided to give it a visit six years ago, pairing that trip with a visit to Patar Beach in Bolinao.

Tondol Beach at high tide
Tondol Beach at high tide

Tondol Beach is a white sand beach in the northeastern section of Anda Island. The island is connected to the rest of mainland Pangasinan via a bridge that Leo’s former construction company built during the 1990’s. The road going to the town proper from either Alaminos or Bolinao is good enough but the final kilometer or so going to Tondol Beach itself wasn’t as good, though still manageable in our 4-door sedan. The beach was just a 30-minute drive from town.

Outrigger boat at high tide, Tondol Beach
Outrigger boat at high tide, Tondol Beach

It was almost evening when we arrived and as we expected the beach scene wasn’t really that good in the failing light and because of the high tide. People who have visited Tondol suggested visiting the beach during low tide when the white sand would have been totally exposed or when the water would be shallow enough to reveal the sand ripples underneath. We therefore stayed overnight at one of the resorts on the beach and waited for sunlight the following day.

low tide exposes Tondol Beach's sand ripples
Sand ripples exposed during low tide

Morning revealed the white fine sand exposed alright but it was somewhat of a disappointment. Perhaps it was because the sun was almost hidden for much of the time behind a carpet of clouds – clear blue skies usually make for a better view of beaches like this. There were also a lot of sea grass in several portions of the beach which no one had bothered to collect and dispose of properly.

resort among the coconut palms, Tondol Beach
A resort at Tondol Beach nestled among the coconut palms
Tanduyong Island viewed from Tondol Beach
Tanduyong Island (in the background) is just a kilometer away from Tondol Beach

We could only imagine what this beach would have looked like during the summer. Tondol Beach is long and wide and the water is shallow out to several hundred meters from shore. It is shallow enough to allow us to walk to Tanduyong Island, which is almost a kilometer away, during low tide.

On the way to Tanduyong, Nina’s nephew observed schools of small fish swirling around him in deeper waters. Later that morning we were also able to buy fresh fish – including some live ones – from returning fishermen. (It later made for a truly satisfying lunch.) Many of the fisher folk’s catch looked like they came straight out of a tropical aquarium, including colorful fishes such as angelfish, butterfly fish, squirrel fish, parrot fish and some strange-looking ones that looked like mutant surgeon fish. It was proof of the rich marine life in these waters.

sea grass at Tondol Beach
Sea grass can be an eyesore here

In retrospect we should have made this visit during the dry or summer months when blues skies would have resulted in a more dramatic and colorful scene. The debris from the sea – much of it biodegradable sea grass – would have been kept to a minimum during those same months. A local mentioned that this is a common problem that in the past was taken care of by the simple expedient of people cleaning the beach area.

coconut palms at Tondol Beach
Due for a revisit?

It has been almost 7 years now since we last visited and it seems that Tondol hasn’t yet gathered as much attention compared to other beaches in Pangasinan especially the beaches in Dasol and Burgos which have only become popular in the last 5 years or so. It makes us all the more itching for a return visit that we could probably pair with another trip farther up north. Hopefully.


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