Tondol Beach is definitely the best beach in Pangasinan and perfect when the tide is low. The last time I visited the beach, the tide was a bit high. So it wasn't a really great view. So I made sure to come back again when the tide was lower.
It's a five to six hour drive from Manila to Anda, Pangasinan. You'll go through Camiling and pass by Lingayen and through Alaminos (stopover at the Hundred Islands anyone?). It's on the way to Bolinao, right after the town of Bani.
The bad part about today was that low tide was at 1 a.m. And we were scheduled to arrive in Tondol at 10:30 a.m. Make sure you check what time low tide is. We decided to take the risk and we were not disappointed. The sun was perfect (the best time to visit is in the morning to early afternoon). By the time we arrived, the sand was already underwater. But thanks to the clear blue sky, Tondol did not fail to impress.
What I like about Tondol is the powder ivory white sand. In fact, there is an island one kilometer from the shore which you could walk or wade to. And it's powder white sand all the way. When the tide is low, you can pick a spot in the middle of the water and just sit down there the whole day. So if there is any beach that can claim to be the Boracay of the North, it's Tondol! But why even claim such a thing? Why are we always content with being a copy of the original when each beach is unique.
Tondol is actually a public beach and entrance fee is only PHP5. You can rent large huts for PHP200. For now, there aren't any good resorts to stay in so the best option when visiting Tondol is to stay overnight in neighboring Bolinao which is about 45 minutes away.
As of this writing, the bridge in Bani is under construction and they let cars pass through a detour which is really long and rough. So if you're bringing a car, one option is to pass by Mabini. That's a longer detour but roads are paved all the way. The other option is a short-cut detour near the bridge for light vehicles that was built by some enterprising locals. They charge a PHP20 toll fee for you to pass through a dirt road built through private properties. It saves you a lot of time.