Like Howard Wolowitz, this entry is going to be short and sweet. At least, I hope so. (Frost+Shakespeare+Big Bang Theory-ing).
This changed in 2008 (Okay, yes, both the images of Bolinao in my head and the internet bit. But I will talk about the Bolinao bit right about now).
And so we boarded a midnight Five Star bus in Cubao. The trip took five hours with a stopover in Tarlac. From the bus terminal in Bolinao, we took a tricycle to Villa Soledad Beach Resort which is about 10 minutes away from the town proper.
Abrak Beach is by far the best beach I've been to in Luzon. The sand is yellowish but fine, and the water is turquoise blue. You also won't have to rough it out because there are cottages and stores in the area. The place must have been popular to tourists even then because it was crowded by people who obviously weren't from the area. We even saw Ramon Bautista shooting for his show on the beach.
The morning of our third and last day in Bolinao was spent lounging around in Villa Soledad and swimming on the beach across the resort. It didn't compare to the Abrak experience, but it's still a decent beach with clear waters.
I have to say though, considering that we stayed in a not-so-nice resort, and we didn't really get to do a whole lot in Bolinao, the town still impressed me. Abrak Beach might not have sands as white or as fine as Boracay, but Bolinao is not as commercialized or as crowded as Boracay (Jeff had the right of it when he said the town's rural feel creates a tranquil setting). Also, it's just a five-hour from Manila. The only setback, from a tourist's POV, that I can think of is the distance between the town proper and the tourist spots.