Santorini, an island that can be found in Greece, is one of the most famous travel destinations in the world. Whitewashed houses on cliffs overlooking the stunning Aegean Sea and nearby islands sound so dreamy, and there, I could imagine myself wearing a floral maxi dress, a cocktail in one hand and a book on the other. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford to fly to Greece due to time and budget. Thankfully there’sSundowners Vacation Villas, which is the next best thing!
In just about a 5-hour road trip from Manila, you’ll have a piece of Santorini located in Bolinao, Pangasinan - a town filled with pristine beaches, beautiful waterfalls, and scrumptious seafood!
Sundowners Vacation Villas offers their Santorini-inspired villas for rent. Their beautiful villas vary in size, and cater to couples, barkadas, big or small families, and even corporate affairs. For a superb experience, their villas have air conditioned bedrooms, hot and cold shower, a fully equipped kitchen with dining area and grilling area, large balconies with relaxation areas, and of course, access to astounding infinity pool areas.
A moment of lounging at the pool area while staring at the vast sea and blue skies is nothing short of beautiful.
Love traveling with your pets? Good news: house pets are allowed inside the villas and in the vicinity of the compound. You may check in your fur babies for a minimum charge of P500 only. Let’s just be responsible pet owners and be mindful to clean up after our pets.
Guests may opt to bring their own food and drinks (without corkage fee) and have full use of the kitchen amenities. But if you don’t want to bring food or cook during your stay, you can head over to NYKÅS Kitchen + Bar when you get hungry. Its Mediterranean inspired menu created by Executive Chef/Owner Stries Casallo will help complete your Santorini experience at Sundowners Vacation Villas! Born and raised in Pangasinan, Chef Stries Casallo aims to bring authentic international cuisine experience to his hometown. Let his menu transport you to Greece with uncompromising flavors of Mediterranean herbs and spices, while also providing a great place for food, drinks, and entertainment. If Greek food is not your cup of tea, Western and Filipino food are also available at NYKÅS Kitchen + Bar. They serve hearty breakfast, too!
Sundowners Vacation Villas also offers other services to make your stay more convenient and relaxed, like car rental (around Bolinao only for just P3,500 inclusive of driver and gas), tour guide (P750/day), massage (P350/hour, P600/2 hours), and maid services (P350/maid per chore).
Aside from enjoying a Santorini experience in the villas, the town of Bolinao should be on your radar because it’s really worth exploring. Its tourism campaign’s tagline “Wow, Bolinao” is true in so many ways. Don’t dare leave this place without checking out Patar Beach which is known for its golden white sand and clear waters!
You will also find Cape Bolinao Lighthouse on your way to Patar Beach, so you might as well drop by to enjoy a panoramic view of the West Philippine Sea! This lighthouse was built atop the Punta Piedra Point in 1903. If chasing waterfalls is your game plan, there are three falls to discover in Bolinao! Their names – Bolinao Falls 1, 2, and 3 – are very easy to remember and can be found in Waze. There’s also a popular underground cave in Bolinao called the Enchanted Cave. Inside it is a spring water pool where you can swim to your heart's conten! You’ll also see fossilized giant clams littering the sides of the hill leading to the cave, visible proof that Bolinao was under the sea millions of years ago. Also include a visit to Balingasay River in your itinerary.
If you have a thing for old architectural structures or churches, you’ll find St. James the Great Parish Church across the Municipal Hall of Bolinao. It is a 400-year old church built by the Augustinians and it has a marker stating that a Mass was celebrated in Bolinao in 1324 by a Franciscan missionary, Blessed Odorico. This is about 200 years earlier than the recognized first Mass in Limasawa.
A trip seems to be incomplete without trying out local delicacies. Along the gates of Saint James the Great Parish, locals sell a famous Bolinao delicacy called binungey. It's a bamboo cake prepared by cooking sticky rice with coconut milk inside a bamboo. It's best paired with sugar, ripe mangoes, or coconut jam.