Exploring Pangasinan

2018 was off to a good start for me. So far, I’m doing good. Aside from the fact that I am still having a hard time losing my extra pounds from last year, I can say that all has been well. First off, I have been traveling a lot with my family lately. This is a good thing because I get to save more than when I am traveling on my own. On the first weekend of the month (which feels like it was only yesterday), we were in Batangas exploring some of its hidden jewels. While we were having coffee at a dainty cafe somewhere in Lemery, we talked about going to Pangasinan on our next trip. And that’s about it. Three weeks later, the trip happened. Only that my brother and sister weren’t able to come with us because they are such hardworking students. Anyway, we left for Pangasinan last Saturday at dawn together with my parents, Lean, and Franz.

The original plan was just to visit Hundred Islands National Park. Well, of course, I wanted to visit as many places as possible, but I doubted they would be willing to drive the extra miles, considering that Pangasinan is such a large province and the tourist attractions are quite far from each other.

Alaminos City Hall

However, after my Papa talked to our neighbor and family friend, Kuya Kitz, he got really excited about driving to Pangasinan and following the itinerary that Kuya Kitz suggested. I was happy about the change of plans, of course!

Cathedral of St. Joseph the Patriarch

As soon as we left home, I dozed off. We had two stopovers but I missed the first one because I was fast asleep. We arrived at Alaminos at around 9:00 AM. We fixed our things and prepared for the island hopping.

I would like to commend the registration process at the Tourism Office in Alaminos. It was very organized and seamless. It made everything so much easier. We got the medium boat for Php 1.800 and we paid Php 80 per head for the entrance fee. A deposit of Php 200 is required. You shall get a black trash bag in return and you can only get the Php 200  back upon surrendering the trash you have accumulated from the island hopping trip.

We set off for the Hundred Islands at around 10:30 AM and it took half an hour to get near the islands. The view of the islands from our boat was incredible. It was nothing like I imagine it would be. You see, when I was in grade school, the Hundred Islands is always always always one of the photos I will see on my Sibika text books. It was a childhood dream to visit this place.

Our first stop was the Governor’s Island. This is where the view deck is located. Upon reaching the top, you will have a fantastic view of the islands. It was beautiful. Straight out of a Sibika text book! This is actually my faavorite part of the trip.

We tried to snorkel but unfortunately, saw nothing. It’s fine, though. We just swam for a while before resuming our sight seeing.

The Christ the Redeemer statue atop Pilgrimage Island was breathtakingly beautiful! My Papa and I still have my asthma so we decided not to climb the island anymore. However, it looked really wonderful from our boat. The view was good enough for us.

Since we were still trying to catch the sunset in Patar White Beach, we decided to leave the islands early and go back to the port at around 3:00 PM. We left Lucap Wharf, dropped some of our baggages at the hotel, and set off for Bolinao.

We drove for forty minutes and reached Bolinao at around 4:00 PM. We went to take some photos at Cape Bolinao first before heading down to Patar White Beach.

Patar White Beach reminded me so much of Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud. The blue waters, large waves, and cream sand. I loved it! I went for a quick swim with Lean and Franz. However, it was mostly the waves slamming us back to the shore. We had a hard time rinsing the sand off of our bodies and hair.

The best part of our beach trip was grilling cold cuts, eggs, sausages, and eating to our hearts’ content. We may be incomplete but it was so much fun. When the sun had set, we headed back to our hotel in Alaminos. We had some coffee, cup noodles, and barbecue for dinner. Then, I fell asleep at around 10:00 PM.

The following day, we went to hear Mass first, grabbed some coffee from the nearby convenience store, bought some breakfast that we would eat on the road, went back to the hotel, and checked out. We left for Agno at around 10:30 AM. It took us forty minutes to reach the town.

I was the one who suggested we should go to Umbrella Rocks. I hesitated at first, because we were planning to hit the road early so we can arrive home before it’s late at night and I was afraid Papa and Mama might find the place boring. To my surprise, my parents were just as fascinated by the place as I was!

God never fails to amaze me with the natural attractions He has blessed our country with! The beautiful rock formations of Agno were nothing like I have seen before. It’s hard to imagine how these rocks came to be… They’re really beautiful!

After having taken (more than) enough photos, we headed back to Manila. On the way back home, I cannot help but reflect about the experience I just had. What a trip it has been! I am really glad that I get to tick off another province off my list but more than that, I am really happy that I went to explore the province with my family. I am really hopeful for more adventures with them. Here’s to more travels with my family this year!

UPDATE: So, I have been sorting my huge stack of old photos in my hard drive and I found some precious snapshots from when we visited Pangasinan in 2016. I decided to include some of them in this post. 🙂

After my graduation day, our family went on a trip to celebrate. On our way to Baguio, we stopped by the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag to offer some prayers of thanksgiving and ask for guidance.

The shrine is a major pilgrimage site in the country and is administered by the Order of Preachers within the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. Pope Pius XI granted a Canonical Coronation to the image on 22 April 1926, while Pope Benedict XVI raised her sanctuary in equal indulgences to Basilica of Saint Mary Major on 21 June 2011. Under this Marian title, the Blessed Virgin Mary is invoked as patroness of the sick, helpless and needy.

 

After we spent three days in Baguio, we traveled down to Bolinao, Pangasinan. We stayed at a resort in Ilog Malino. Although there were a lot to see around Bolinao, we did not go sight-seeing because the fam preferred to stay in and relax by the beach.

The sunset in Bolinao was one of the best ones I have seen. The sand was powdery white and the palm trees gave off a really chill vibe so we made sure to take a lot of photos.

Here are some of my photos which were taken upon our arrival at the resort:

We (my siblings, Franz, and I) really wanted to go out and explore but we had no choice but to stay in the resort (our parents wouldn’t let us to go outside) so we just walked along the stretch of white beach and goofed around all afternoon.

Once we got all tired and hungry, we went back to the resort and watched the sunset from the balcony.

I couldn’t sleep well that night so I went outside our room at around 5AM and chilled by the hammock.

And that’s all of it! I will just update this post again should I find myself back in the province. I’m hoping to see more of Pangasinan, anyway. I’d like to visit the famous white beaches of Anda and Agno someday. Also, the popular Sunflower Maze in Tayug and the Death Pool in Burgos. Until the next update, then! You are really really really beautiful, Pangasinan! Thank you for the wonderful memories!

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