Cool ocean breeze, rhythmic boats and waves, and the best sunrise I’ve ever seen so far – I have woken up in yet another paradise. Hello, BOLINAO!
It’s 5:30 am and I’m awakened by the sound of boats and a red light in the distance. Squinting my eyes open, I see a blood red sky creeping from behind the mountains on the island across. My friends and I decided to sleep in the balcony that evening, having lured by the ocean breeze and the lullaby of the waves. It’s a perfect wake up call.
I badly want to wake my friends just for them to see this until *click* I hear my best friend Karla’s phone take a photo. Next thing I know, Karla and I are lying on the tanning chairs facing the ocean and just watching the sky go from red to orange to blue in silence.
Having arrived at 2 am and with only 3 hours of sleep, we couldn’t shut our eyes anymore especially after also seeing our weekend villa in daylight. I am beyond excited to see what these villas are all about and to go on a Bolinao adventure with my ladies!
RISE AND SHINE AND WELCOME TO SUNDOWNERS VACATION VILLAS!
This 5-hour road trip from Manila is definitely worth the drive especially if you’re coming home to a beautiful whitewashed Satorini-inspired villa sitting on top of a cliff, overlooking the South China Sea.
Owned by the Bruants, a Filipino-French family, the villas are extensions of their home so expect a very homey feeling during your stay and don’t forget to say hi when you see them walking around! It’s not a 5-star resort, it’s your affordable luxury home for the weekend.
Sundowners currently has six villas and two rooms — The Bouganvilla Rooms, The Arthur Villa, The Panoramic Villa, the Family Villa, the Couple Villa, The Loft Villa, and The Master Villa.
On our first night, we stayed at the FAMILY VILLA which can fit up to 13 people
and if you’re a really big family, you can push it to 20.
The Family Villa has its own fully equipped kitchen so ready your cooking skills and go Masterchef on your buddies! Glad I was with friends who are so good at cooking. I just pulled a Gordon Ramsay on them—the food taster and the judge. Ha!
BUT if none of your friends can cook, don’t panic just yet! You can politely ask the Sundowners staff to buy food for you in the nearby market and cook for you!
There’s a dining area by the kitchen but with Bolinao’s fresh air and view, why not enjoy all your meals in the villa’s huge balcony? Feel like having a barbecue party? They have a grill ready for your use and an indoor bar to store your booze! The best part of it all, bring all the food and drinks you want—there’s no corkage fee!
You know another great thing about this villa? You can hog the bathroom for as long as you want because there are more bathrooms than bedrooms! 4 bathrooms and 3 bedrooms to be exact.
But if you must wait, you can bring your patience all the way to the spacious living room and relax.
Villa Hopping! We moved to the PANORAMIC VILLA on our second night.
This latest addition to Sundowner’s Premium Villas has three (3) storeys for everyone to explore, chill, and enjoy!
The main highlight of this villa is its spacious rooftop that gives you a 360 degree view of Bolinao. It’s the perfect party deck for you and your friends complete with a hammock, a massage bed, grilling and seating areas, and a restroom and the best part is that this whole space is exclusive just for you and your friends!
Trust me when I say that Sundowners is beyond generous with space.
With 3 BIG bedrooms with private bathrooms, you’re sure to enjoy your personal space and get a good night’s rest – you’ll need it when you start or continue exploring Bolinao the next day!
At night, my friends and I didn’t need to leave our villa anymore because the villa itself is the perfect place to throw a mini party complete with a spacious Moroccan-style living room and fully-equipped kitchen, a mini bar, a terrace area, and the rooftop party deck!
Oh and I should add, Bolinao skies are also perfect for stargazing! If you want a more relaxed evening, hangout in the rooftop and savour the silence and nature’s night lights. I always see shooting stars there – you have no idea how many wishes I have made in Sundowners!
I got the privilege to sneak in ALL the Vacation Villas to check it out!
Situated right beside the Infinity pool area, sometimes all you need is just a room.
Of course, Sundowners will not limit your experience! Though just a room, each room still has its own balcony with a relaxation and grilling area.
There are two (2) rooms available for rent with one Queen-size bed, hot and cold shower, and a flat screen TV.
THE COUPLE VILLA
It’s definitely not as big as the other villas but it can fit up to 8 people. There’s only one bedroom and yes, I know it’s hard to squeeze in 8 people in one bed. That’s why you have the option to rent the two extra bedrooms downstairs for an additional fee.
It has the same amenities as the other Sundowners Premium Villas such as a spacious living room, a fully equipped kitchen, a dining and bar area, a beautiful balcony overlooking the ocean, and a grilling area.
Going to Sundowners with a smaller barkada? The Arthur Villa should be your pick!
Smaller doesn’t mean less beautiful! When I entered the Arthur Villa, my first thought was how cozy the whole villa felt having a dominant shade of light blue which is cooling to the eyes. It’s perfect for a smaller group and for more intimate gatherings with your friends – it really is THE barkada villa.
With 3 bedrooms and convertible beds in the Living room, Arthur Villa can fit up to 12 people.
THE LOFT VILLA
A personal favourite! If you want your own little paradise bubble, this villa is for you.
This loft style two-bedroom villa, like all other villas, has a fully-equipped kitchen, mini bar, moroccan-style living room and dining area, and a balcony to soak up some sun.
Unlike other villas, The Loft Villa has a plunge pool with an exquisite view. Nothing like having your own private pool to jump into when the sun shines bright!
THE MASTER VILLA
At last! Sundowners’ most premium villa, THE MASTER VILLA, is now available for rent! Formerly the main house of the Bruant family, this 1,000 sqm villa is now ready to be occupied by YOU!
Pool looks familiar? This is the infinity pool Sundowners Vacation Villa was originally known for and it is now EXCLUSIVE to the Master Villa occupants.
Oh, you are never going to run out of activities to do in this villa! It has its own private infinity pool, 7 spacious bedrooms with private bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and pantry, a movie theatre room, 3 huge balconies to relax (take your pick!), an indoor and outdoor grilling area, a beautifully designed living room, an office space, and a rooftop you can also go stargazing on!
Did I forget to mention? It has the best view of the ocean too!
Dare I say, it’s the ultimate Sundowners experience all in one villa!
WATER BABIES, REJOICE! Sundowners has more than enough water around that you can splash on!
THE INFINITY POOL
Conveniently situated in the heart of Sundowners Vacation Villas, this infinity pool is just a few steps away from all the villas!
Splash on, have a moment on the edge, or jump from the diving board and onto the pool 15 feet deep—this is definitely a Sundowners highlight!
This 12 meter infinity lap pool ranges from 4 to 15 feet deep and has its own pool cocktail bar if you fancy enjoying your drink in the pool!
Swimming with kids? The pool also has a 3-feet kiddie pool with a fountain for your young ones to splash on!
How about a massage? Right beside the pool is a lounge area complete with massage beds. You can ask the Sundowners staff for a masseuse to relax you all the way until the sun sets!
As the sun sets, the changing colours travel from the sky to the pool. Imagine swimming in colours whilst wrapped around complete darkness—it can be magical!
Don’t just stare at the ocean, be in it!
Sundowners has its own seafront area that is exclusive to guests and you can use their kayaks, rafts, and canoes for free!
While the Bruant men were wind surfing, we shared the sea with them and kayaked all the way to the middle and back—oh, we couldn’t go too far because the wind was a bit strong.
Seriously though, I can just stay in Sundowners Vacation Villas the whole day and think of lots of activities I can do with friends…but a Bolinao Adventure calls!
Sometimes we drive around not knowing where the heck we are going and only trusting our instincts and random people on the road to help lead the way. Sometimes it gets us nervous but most of the time, we bank it on adventure! That’s exactly what we did when we explored Bolinao.
A lot of people are not comfortable traveling that way and lucky enough, Sundowners Vacation Villas have tour guides you can hire for Php 700 to bring you to Bolinao’s famous beaches and waterfalls. You can also rent a boat for Php 5,000 / day or rent a car for Php 2,500 / day.
SUNGAYAN GRILL at the Balingasay River
Balingasay river is one of the cleanest rivers in the Philippines and in these waters is Bolinao’s specialty, the Sungayan Fish (Horned fish). With it’s firm and juicy meat, the Sungayan is the steak of the fish world! We HAD to try it.
You can order BILAO MEALS which has grilled Sungayan, grilled squid, grilled liempo, crabs, shrimps, and grilled vegetables depending on how many or how hungry you are!
To take our dining experience to the next level, we rented the huge hut-style raft that would take us on a river cruise while enjoying our lunch! For an additional Php 1,000, you get to enjoy your meal away from the crowd and in your private raft being pulled by a small boat around the river.
This is where our mobile GPS failed us—or rather, our service provider for zeroing out our signal. We had to ask a lot of locals and drive through dirt roads to find the waterfalls. Make sure to bring an SUV if you plan to drive all the way to the falls!
The big waterfall is currently closed to the public because of a recent accident but the small falls is still open.
To be honest, the water is a bit dirty so I don’t really recommend swimming in it but I actually still did—Oh, hard-headed Sam! Only because you can jump from the waterfall and I just had to!
Just 20 minutes away from Sundowners Vacation Villas via car, enjoy the soft, brown sand and the clear waters of Patar beach! Set up camp, rent a hut, or just lay in the sand — this is another Bolinao destination you don’t want to miss!
I fell in love with Bolinao’s sky the most while stargazing in the shore. It’s probably the clearest sky I have seen and that says a lot about how less polluted that province is! It’s clear enough to see roaming satellites in the dark and star-filled sky!
Bolinao, Pangasinan is slowly but surely getting more and more attention and I, for one, can’t get enough of it! Rest assured, I’ll keep coming back and I know exactly where my home away from home will be.
HOW TO GET TO SUNDOWNERS, BOLINAO FROM MANILA
You can ride a bus or drive your car going to Bolinao.
Head over to THE CUBAO OR CALOOCAN TERMINAL to catch the VICTORY LINER bus or to THE PASAY TERMINAL for the FIVE STAR BUS LINER.
Bus rides will be around 7.5 to 8 hours long before you reach Bolinao. Bus fare is approximately Php 450 oneway and Php 950 roundtrip.
It’s going to be a 5-hour drive so let your GPS be your best friend—let it guide you. If you don’t have one, don’t sweat! Here’s how:
Head to NLEX (North Luzon Express Way)
Exit to SCTEX North (Subic – Clark – Tarlac Express Way)
Exit to TPLEX going to Urdaneta
Take the McArthur Highway
Turn right at the Urdaneta Junction – Dagupan -Lingayen Road
Go straight until you reach the Binmaley-Dagupan Road
Take the Quibaol-Bangsai Road until you reach Romulo Highway
Turn right when you reach the Olongapo-Bugallon Road
Straight on, you’ll reach Alaminos – Bani Road
At the end of the road, turn right to Bani – Bolinao Road
Go straight and you’ll reach the Bolinao Complex
From the Bolinao Complex, you can ask the tricycle drivers to point you to the direction of Sundowners Vacation Villas and voila, you have arrived!
SUNDOWNERS VACATION VILLAS RATES:
Php 13,000 per night
Php 1,000 per person beyond 13 pax
3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
THE PANORAMIC VILLA
Php 15,000 per night
Php 1,000 per person beyond 12 pax
3 bedrooms with private bathrooms
Two rooms available for rent
2 to 4 pax
Php 4,000 per night
Php 5,000 per night
Php 1,000 per person beyond 4 pax
Please contact Sundowners for the rates of the extra rooms
1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
Php 10,000 per night
Php 1,000 per person beyond 10 pax
3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
THE LOFT VILLA
Php 10,000 per night
Php 1,000 per person beyond 6
2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a private plunge pool
THE MASTER VILLA
Php 29,000 per night
Php 1,000 per person beyond 15 pax
7 bedrooms, theatre room, 3 balconies, and private infinity pool
FOR INQUIRIES AND RESERVATIONS:
T: +63 998 544 8070
FACEBOOK FANPAGE: https://www.facebook.com/SundownersVacationVillas
MAKE SURE TO BOOK YOUR VILLA TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE. SUNDOWNERS VACATION VILLAS GET FULLY BOOKED FAST ESPECIALLY ON PEAK SEASONS.