Anda is a quiet municipality located in the province of Pangasinan. Because it is near the famous Hundred Islands, it is also called the "Mother of the Hundred Islands." Used to be part of the province of Zambales, the island is known for its agriculture and deep-sea fishing industries, but tourism has also proven to be lucrative as well. Anda's surroundings of serene nature and beaches are absolutely mesmerizing.
Growth was a bit slow in Anda in the past but everything changed when the Anda Bridge was built during the administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos. The bridge connected the town to mainland Pangasinan. Since then, commerce, trade, and tourism greatly improved in Anda.
When a beach is dubbed as "Boracay of the North," then it has to be amazing. Anda's Tondol Beach doesn't disappoint as it is becoming one of the main beach destinations in Pangasinan. Like Boracay, it has an endless sweep of beautiful white sand with coconut palms and cottages. Its untouched and shallow waters are great for children and inexperienced swimmers.
Aside from swimming and relaxing on the shores, island hopping is another fun activity in Tondol Beach. Away from the beach are uninhibited and bizarre islets that will fascinate tourists: Pannacalan Island is a sand bar whose location seem to change depending on the height of the tide. Floating cottages have been put up recently near the shores as part of its recent development. Cory Island, meanwhile, is another one-of-a-kind island made up entirely of dead corals.
There is no direct flight from Manila to Anda, so the next best option is to fly to Tagbilaran City. PAL, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia have regular flights between the two cities. Travel time usually lasts for one hour and 25 minutes. From Tagbilaran to Anda, land travel is around three hours.
You can also travel to Tagbilaran by sea, especially for those coming from Cebu. Supercat and Ocean Jet fast craft offer multiple trips daily. Travel time is around one hour and 40 minutes.
How to Get Around
By Tricycle or Habal-Habal
Tricycles and habal-habal are the most common modes of transportation to various places of interest around Anda.
What to See
Right in the heart of downtown Anda is the Santo Niño de Anda Parish Church, which was built in 1885 by the Augustinians who helped spread Christianity in the area during the Spanish occupation. The church has withstood the test of time and still stands strong as the beacon of Catholicism in Anda. While the façade appears to be too plain aesthetically, the interior of the church is actually its biggest draw: the ceiling is painted with a mural depicting God and His Kingdom, while images of the town’s patrons Santo Niño and Saint Augustine are enshrined on the retablo mayor at the center of the church.
Potenciana Saranza, also known as Inday Potenciana, was an elementary school teacher who died in 1953 following a tragic road accident. When Inday’s parents exhumed her body 10 years after her death, it was surprisingly still intact. They placed her remains inside a glass case that now serves as a shrine dedicated to her memory. Every year, it draws in people who believe that the shrine is miraculous.
Anda is blessed with natural beauty that is beyond compare. Despite being a lovely tourist destination, the town maintains its laidback, chill vibe where you can have that much-needed peace and quiet.
The Quinale Beach is a natural attraction that will take your breath away. It boasts fine white sands that stretch three kilometers and has been well-maintained by the local government. Entrance to the beach is free so feel free to enjoy soaking up its surroundings as much as you can.
Quinale Beach can get a little bit crowded at times, but don’t fret: there are still other scenic beaches around such as the Talisay, Bituon, Cambilagan, Bugnaw, and Arthogin.
Lamanoc Island, located in Barangay Badiang, is also worth a visit. The island features the mystical Burial Cave, where several wooden boat coffins and urns are found. There are also other caves on the island with astonishing features: prehistoric graffiti and even serves as the home of a local witch known as Ka Iska.
For divers, there are a couple of dive sites between Anda and Guindulman: Titanic Rocks and Bacong are ideal spots for all kinds of divers since they’re quite easy to explore. Neptune’s House, located to the east of Anda White Resort, is suitable for intermediate divers given its maximum depth of 31 meters. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot some blue spotted stingrays.
Aside from its beaches and diving spots, Anda is also known for its caves and cave pools, especially in the southeastern part which is made mostly out of limestones. The Combento Cave Pool is one of the favorite cave pools in town, known for its crystal clear waters. There is also the Kaligoon Cave Pool, which is shallower. For more experienced swimmers and thrill seekers, the Kabagno Cave Pool has a depth of about 25 feet.
Events and Festivals
The Anda Town Fiesta is celebrated every March and highlighted by nightly variety shows, triathlons, carabao races, and an agricultural trade fair. Another fiesta, the Dujanon Festival, is celebrated every January in honor of the holy image of Señor Santo Niño de Anda. People can look forward to street dancing as well as interpretative dance competitions.
Where to Eat
One of the favorite dining spots in the area is Coco Loco Café, known for their dishes made with of fresh, local, and organic ingredients. Casa Amihan is also another local favorite, serving fish kinilaw, buttered garlic shrimp, and many more. Meanwhile, Villa d’Anda Restaurant offers brick oven pizzas, which is quite popular especially on Wednesdays.
For more pocket-friendly meals, you can visit the Food Center near the public market, just a few minutes away from Quinale Beach.
There are no ATMs in Anda, but the closest is located in the town of Ubay, about 50 kilometers away.
Fare: PHP 4,000.00++
Regular roundtrip airfares from Manila to Tagbilaran costs about PHP 4,000.00. Be on the lookout for seat sales where you can snag bargain airfares for as low as PHP 2,000.00.
For those traveling to Tagbilaran from Cebu via ferry, one-way boat fares usually cost PHP 500.00.
A van ride from Tagbilaran to Anda is approximately PHP 150.00. If you’re taking the tricycle or the habal-habal when getting around, drivers usually charge PHP 10.00 per person.
Food: PHP 100.00 to PHP 400.00
There are eateries that offer affordable dishes for as low as PHP 100.00, while there are restaurants that also charge much as PHP 400.00 per dish. On average, however, a budget of PHP 200.00 per meal would be enough.
Shopping: PHP 20.00 to PHP 200.00
Key chains and ref magnets are sold for roughly PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 apiece. Souvenir shirts cost as much as PHP 200.00, depending on the design and material.
Accommodations: PHP 500.00 to PHP 11,000.00
For the budget travelers, fan rooms are available for as low as PHP 500.00 a night in Anda. Other resorts also offer air conditioned rooms ranging from PHP 1,500.00 to PHP 4,000.00 a night. High-end accommodations are also available in town, which can go for as much as PHP 11,000.00 a night.
Activities: PHP 300.00 to PHP 1,200.00
You can enjoy the Quinale Beach for free! If you wish to visit Lamanok Island, the tour will cost you around PHP 300.00. And if you feel like diving, the usual diving rate starts at PHP 1,200.00 per person.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00
Tipping is not necessarily required in most restaurants especially if a service charge is already included in the bill. But you can still tip your servers if you wish. PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 should be okay.