Hundred Islands: Tracing the History of a Philippine Natural Wonder

The history of the Hundred Islands goes back even further than its designation as a National Park in 1940. The area was once home to the indigenous people of Pangasinan, the Agta. They lived a subsistence lifestyle, relying on hunting and gathering in the forest and fishing in the sea.

When the Spanish colonizers arrived in the Philippines in the 16th century, they brought with them a new way of life, and the Agta were displaced from their land. The Spanish missionaries established Catholicism in the region, building churches and converting the native population. The Hundred Islands remained largely unknown and untouched until the 20th century.

In the early 1900s, American colonial officials took notice of the natural beauty of the area and recognized its potential as a tourist destination. They began to develop the islands, building infrastructure such as piers and walkways to make them more accessible. The first documented exploration of the islands was conducted by a group of American soldiers in 1902, who named the largest island “Grand Island.”

During World War II, the Hundred Islands were occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army. They used the islands as a lookout point and built bunkers and fortifications. After the war, the islands were again opened up for tourism, and they quickly became a popular destination for Filipinos and foreigners alike.

Today, the Hundred Islands National Park is a protected area, managed by the City of Alaminos. It is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including a number of endemic species. Visitors can enjoy activities such as island hopping, snorkeling, and diving, and can also explore some of the park’s caves and rock formations.

The history of the Hundred Islands is a testament to the resilience of nature and the importance of preserving our natural resources. As more and more people discover the beauty of the area, it is up to all of us to ensure that it remains protected for future generations to enjoy.