Heritage or adventure

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Her­it­age or adven­ture
Bey­ond the Hun­dred Islands, this largely agri­cul­tur­al province in the Ilo­cos region has more to offer its vis­it­ors

48 hours pan­gas­in­an (2)
Aside from its good-tast­ing ban­gus” (milk­fish), Pan­gas­in­an has always been known for its Hun­dred Islands Nation­al Park in Alaminos City and the Minor Basilica of the Our Lady of the Ros­ary of Man­a­o­ag in Man­a­o­ag town.
But as a province of more than a hun­dred won­ders,” it has much more to offer for tour­ists to see and exper­i­ence, accord­ing to Ma. Luisa Elduay­an, pro­vin­cial tour­ism officer.
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With short­er travel time now from Met­ro Manila because of the Subic-Clark-Tar­lac Express­way (SCTEx) and the Tar­lac-Pan­gas­in­an-La Uni­on Express­way (TPLEx), tour­ists would have more time to vis­it oth­er places of interest in Pan­gas­in­an.
Her­it­age tour
But they should first decide wheth­er their vis­it is a cul­tur­al-her­it­age tour or an eco­tour­ism adven­ture trip, or a com­bin­a­tion.
A her­it­age tour begins at Minor Basilica of the Our Lady of the Ros­ary of Man­a­o­ag. It should be a breeze to catch any of the morn­ing Masses with only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Bal­int­awak in Quezon City to Man­a­o­ag.
NATURE’S TREAT A dip in Maranum Falls soothes weary vis­it­ors in Nativid­ad town. In Bal­un­gao, a 1.4-kilometer zip­line gives the adven­tur­ous a view of east­ern Pangasinan’s verd­ant fields and moun­tains. —PHOTOS BY WILLIE LOMIBAO
NATURE’S TREAT A dip in Maranum Falls soothes weary vis­it­ors in Nativid­ad town. —PHOTOS BY WILLIE LOMIBAO
NATURE’S TREAT A dip in Maranum Falls soothes weary vis­it­ors in Nativid­ad town. In Bal­un­gao, a 1.4-kilometer zip­line gives the adven­tur­ous a view of east­ern Pangasinan’s verd­ant fields and moun­tains. —PHOTOS BY WILLIE LOMIBAO
NATURE’S TREAT In Bal­un­gao, a 1.4-kilometer zip­line gives the adven­tur­ous a view of east­ern Pangasinan’s verd­ant fields and moun­tains. —PHOTOS BY WILLIE LOMIBAO
On week­days, Masses are held every hour from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., and at 5 p.m. On Sat­urdays, one Mass is added at noon and another at 4:30 p.m. On Sundays, two more Masses are offered at 3 p.m. and at 5 p.m.
After Mass, tour­ists can vis­it the basilica museum, drop by its candle gal­lery and offer a pray­er, take a short tour of its ros­ary garden and buy some reli­gious items from its store.
The next stop is Saints Peter and Paul Church in Calasiao town. Rebuilt in 1753, it is one of the most pre­served baroque churches in Pan­gas­in­an, declared a Nation­al Cul­tur­al Treas­ure by the Nation­al Museum of the Phil­ip­pines and the Nation­al Com­mis­sion for Cul­ture and the Arts in 2001.
At Señor Divino Tesoro Shrine, a statue of Jesus Christ nailed on the cross is dis­played on an altar. Devotees claim the image is mira­cu­lous.
Pil­grims are drawn to the Our Lady of Man­a­o­ag Shrine in Man­a­o­ag town, where pray­ers for vari­ous inten­tions and thanks­giv­ing are offered (pho­to above).
Pil­grims are drawn to the Our Lady of Man­a­o­ag Shrine in Man­a­o­ag town, where pray­ers for vari­ous inten­tions and thanks­giv­ing are offered.
Puto” Calasiao, the town’s white gold.”
Puto” Calasiao, the town’s white gold.”
About a hun­dred meters away, drop by the Calasiao puto stalls, where they can buy bite-size rice cakes that come in assor­ted col­ors and fla­vors.
To cap the church tour, an option is to vis­it St. John Met­ro­pol­it­an Cathed­ral in nearby Dagupan City, the epis­copal seat of the Arch­diocese of Lingay­en-Dagupan, where one may obtain pap­al bless­ings and plen­ary indul­gence. The cathed­ral has been given a bond of spir­itu­al affin­ity with Basilica of St. Paul Out­side the Walls in Rome.
Bonu­an ban­gus
Bonu­an ban­gus”
Bonu­an ban­gus”
For a taste of the fam­ous Bonu­an ban­gus cooked in dif­fer­ent ways, Michelle Lioanag, pres­id­ent of the Pan­gas­in­an vis­it­ors’ bur­eau, sug­gests lunch in any of Dagupan’s reput­able res­taur­ants, such as Matutina’s, Patio Elmina and Kuya Max along De Vene­cia High­way and Ciudad Elmina in Barangay Bacayao Norte and Dagu­peña in nearby Calasiao. Ciudad Elmina also offers fish­ing and boat­ing activ­it­ies, and in tour pack­ages, ban­gus cook­ing demon­stra­tion.
Cul­tur­al tour
From Dagupan, the cul­tur­al tour begins with the 30-minute drive to Lingay­en town, seat of the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment. Vis­it­ors can go on a guided tour to the cap­it­ol, Urdu­ja House (offi­cial res­id­ence of the gov­ernor) and to a bagoong (salted fish) fact­ory in a nearby vil­lage. The cap­it­ol, one of the old­est in the coun­try, was restored in 2007 and has since become one of the most vis­ited places.
Part of a tour pack­age is a mini-cul­tur­al show at the Sis­on aud­it­or­i­um, Pangasinan’s cul­tur­al center.
The cap­it­ol tour can take three to four hours, includ­ing pho­to-ops. Tour­ists can end it with a refresh­ing sun­set walk by the bay­walk before check­ing in at a hotel,” Lioanag says. Din­ner may be at Papa Dong’s Res­taur­ant, with its gigantic pro­ject­or screen in the al fresco area while eat­ing. Be sure to also order buttered oysters.
An overnight stay in Lingay­en is always rest­ful,” Elduay­an says. You can even stroll on the cap­it­ol grounds at night and on the beach because of the well-lighted bay­walk. In Lingay­en, you have sun­set and sun­rise,” she says.
The fol­low­ing morn­ing, tour­ists may opt to go kite-fly­ing or wake­board­ing in the pub­lic beach or join a Zum­ba ses­sion that begins at 5:30 a.m.
48 hours pan­gas­in­an (33)

After a short rest, travel to Urd­aneta City for lunch, drop by the bag­sakan veget­able mar­ket in Vil­las­is town, and head to Hill­top Adven­ture in Bal­un­gao town, where one can take a dip in the resort’s hot springs or try its more than a kilo­met­er-long zip­line. Bal­un­gao is just a 30-minute drive to the TPLEx exit at Barangay Car­men that would take them to Met­ro Manila in two hours.
Adven­ture tour
For the adven­tur­ous and nature lov­ers, Hun­dred Islands Nation­al Park is a per­fect start­ing point. From the SCTEx exit in Tar­lac City, the place can be reached in three-and-a-half hours, includ­ing a 30-minute boat ride from Barangay Lucap to the islands.
Tour­ists may opt to enjoy the islands the whole day or just stay there for as short as two hours. Enjoy a zip­line con­nect­ing two islands, hel­met diving, snorkel­ing, trekking and island hop­ping.
Accom­mod­a­tion facil­it­ies are avail­able and some of the islands are sol­ar-powered.
Thirty minutes from Alaminos, the town of Mabini offers its caves. Elduay­an says tour­ists must ask for a cave guide from the muni­cip­al tour­ism office. They can spend the whole day explor­ing the Cacu­pan­gan caves.
Another option is the Cabongaoan beach in Bur­gos town, about 45 minutes from Alaminos. The place is ideal for snorkel­ing.
Elduay­an says many more options for adven­ture tours can be taken on week­ends and tour­ists can make their own itin­er­ar­ies.
On Dec. 6, Gov. Amado Espino III launched the province’s tour­ism web­site (www.visitpangasinan.com), which was cre­ated in part­ner­ship with Xplor­ra, a web host­ing and design com­pany. The web­site fea­tures tour­ist attrac­tions found in every town, as well as accom­mod­a­tion facil­it­ies, con­tact details and their rates.
OPTION 1
(East­ern and Cent­ral Pan­gas­in­an)
Day 1
Man­a­o­ag – Our Lady of Man­a­o­ag Minor Basilica
Calasiao – Calasiao puto and nat­ive sweets and cake shops, Saints Peter and Paul Church and Señor Divino Tesoro Shrine
Dagupan City – Lunch at city res­taur­ants to savor the tasti­est ban­gus” — cooked in many ways
Lingay­en – Her­it­age tour, beach, bagoong mak­ing
Day 2
Urd­aneta City – Lunch
Vil­las­is – Bag­sakan” of veget­ables and fruits
Bal­un­gao – Hill­top Adven­ture (zip­lin­ing, ATV drive and oth­er adven­ture activ­it­ies)
OPTION 2
(West­ern Pan­gas­in­an)
Day 1
Alaminos City – Island hop­ping, swim­ming, snorkel­ing, hel­met diving, banana board ride, cliff jump­ing, etc. (Oth­er options: Vis­it to a salt farm, bird watch­ing at Bued Man­grove area)
Day 2
Mabini – Cacu­pan­gan caves (30 minutes from Alaminos)
OTHER OPTIONS:
Bur­gos – Cabongaoan beach (pristine and almost deser­ted white sand beach; 30 minutes from Alaminos)
Agno – Umbrel­la rocks (1 hour from Alaminos)
Hun­dred Islands fees:
Entrance/environmental fee/insurance fee – P80 per head (day tour); P120 per head (20 per­cent dis­count for seni­or citizens/PWD)
Boat rent­al – Day tour ser­vice boat: Small (5 pas­sen­gers) – P1,400; medi­um (6 – 10 pas­sen­gers) – P1,800; large (11 – 15 pas­sen­gers) – P2,000
Guest house – P5,000 overnight
Gazebo rent­al – P600 (good for 10 pas­sen­gers (day tour); P1,000 (overnight)
Pavil­ion – P3,000-P5,000 (day tour); P4,000-P7,000 (overnight)
Rent for pic­nic tables and chairs – P200-P500
Tent space/pitching fee – P200
Zip­line (546m at Governor’s Island) – P250/jump
Zip­line (120m at Quezon Island) – P100/jump
Banana boat for sev­en pas­sen­gers – P1,500/ride
Hel­met diving – P400/head/dive (20 minutes)
Snorkel­ing – P250/gear set rent­al
Kayak­ing – P250/hour
GETTING HERE
GETTING THERE
Travel time
From Manila (via Ros­ales, Bayam­bang, or Mangatarem): 3 – 4 hours
From Clark, Pam­panga: 2 – 3 hours
From Baguio City (via Sis­on or San Fabi­an): 1.52 hours
From Olonga­po, Subic: 3.5 hours
Bus liners
Vic­tory Lin­er: Daily trips from Pasay and Caloocan ter­min­als and two sta­tions in Cubao. Has dir­ect route to Lingay­en, Dagupan, Alaminos City and Bol­inao
Five Star Bus: Daily trips from Cubao and Pasay ter­min­als. Has dir­ect routes to Dagupan, San Car­los and Alaminos cit­ies
Pan­gas­in­an Solid North: Daily trips from Cubao to San Manuel and Bin­alon­an
Dagupan Bus Co.: Daily trips from Cubao ter­min­al to Dagupan City, Anda, Agno and San Car­los City
Viron Trans­it: Daily trips from Cubao ter­min­al to Dagupan and San Car­los cit­ies and Tay­ug
Bus fare: P300-P450
Van rent­al: P7,000-P8,000 per van (Manila-Pan­gas­in­an)
BEST BUYS
Food: Kakan­in” (rice cakes), bocayo,” tamales,” tupig,” Mangaldan’s tapa” and pea­nut brittle, Calasiao’s puto” and kutsinta,” Lingayen’s bagoong,” Alaminos’ longan­isa,” Bayambang’s buro,” Dagupan’s ban­gus” and pigar-pigar,” and Bolinao’s bin­un­gey,” sea­food and dried fish
Han­di­crafts and products:. San Car­los bam­boo han­di­crafts, Alaminos and Bol­inao shell crafts, Binmaley’s wood­works, Basista’s corn husk han­di­crafts, Pozzorubio’s sword and metal crafts
Pas­a­lu­bong cen­ters: Cap­it­ol Tour­ist Assist­ance and Pas­a­lu­bong Center (Lingay­en), Valleden’s Pas­a­lu­bong House (Lingay­en), Lucap Wharf Souven­ir Shops (Alaminos), Pas­a­lu­bong Center (Urd­aneta), Best Pas­a­lu­bong Center (Ros­ales), and Pangasinan’s Best (Dagupan)
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