by Mary Rose A. Hogaza Reporter, Manila Bulletin | Writer, Animal Scene Magazine

MANILA, MAY 12, 2014
(MANILA BULLETIN) by Mary Rose A. Hogaza - Pangasinan is one of the country’s most diverse provinces blessed with incredible landscapes and natural wonders. It is the third biggest province in the country and home to unspoiled beaches, unexplored caves, hot and cold springs and other attractions.

The name Pangasinan means “place for salt” and the province is in fact a major producer of salt. Most people know Pangasinan for its Hundred Islands, Manaoag Shrine, bangus and puto, but there’s a lot more to see and experience in this province where one can find the “Boracay of the North”.

Tranquil beaches

Boracay of the North

Boracay of the North (Photo by Asenso Pangasinan)

In Anda, Pangasinan lies Tondol Beach dubbed as Boracay of the North, but more tranquil. With its fine white sand and crystal clear water, Tondol Beach offers vacationers an undisturbed view of the underwater world.

Patar Beach

Patar Beach (Photo by Romelee H. De Luna)

Pangasinan’s other “secret beach” is the Patar Beach in Bolinao. The sand here is not Boracay-grade but its clear aquamarine waters and unspoiled surroundings are as inviting as any of the top beaches in the country.

Tondaligan Beach

Tondaligan Beach (Photo by Province of Pangasinan)

For those who love water sport, the Tondaligan Beach in Lingayen Gulf offers skimboarding. Unlike surfing that requires big waves breaking far from shore, skimboarding starts at the beach where short-break waves could be found. The skim boarder would run fast, drop and mount his board before reaching the break point of the wave.

Breathtaking waterfalls

Pangasinan has several waterfalls. The most spectacular ones are the Bolinao Falls, Sangbay Falls and Sawang Falls.

Bolinao Falls

Bolinao Falls (Photo by Romelee H. De Luna)

Hidden behind the hills, rocky roads and lush vegetation is the Bolinao Falls, a waterfall that drops fine clear water that rises at waist level. A man-made staircase has been built to give visitors a way to “navigate” the length of the falls.

Sangbay Falls

Sangbay Falls (Photo by Province of Pangasinan)

Sangbay Falls is located in Brgy. San Vicente, Burgos and is regarded by many to be the most beautiful of the three waterfalls.

Sawang Falls

Sawang Falls (Photo by Province of Pangasinan)

The 15-foot Sawang Falls, in Brgy. Villacorta, Mabini is fed by precipitation collected in adjoining gullies from verdant hills.

Rocks and Caves

Rock Formation

Rock Formation (Photo by Romelee H. De Luna)

Rock Formation is another place to look forward to when visiting Bolinao, Pangasinan. As some kind of peninsula, Bolinao is surrounded by beautiful rock formations that offer spectacular view from the top.

Umbrella Rocks

Umbrella Rocks (Photo by Pangasinan Government)

In Agno, visitors will find the unique rock formations called Umbrella Rocks. As the name suggests, the rocks appear to be like gigantic umbrellas where one can enjoy the view of the ocean.

Enchanted Cave

Enchanted Cave (Photo by Asenso Pangasinan)

The Enchanted Cave in Bolinao is one of Pangasinan’s best kept secrets. Located inside a mountain of coral, the cave has a pool of cold, blue-green water that goes from three to 10 feet deep. There are ropes around the natural pool for the security of visitors.

Mount Balungao (Photo by Mary Rose A. Hogaza

Motorcycling Adventure in Mount Balungao

(Photo by Mary Rose A. Hogaza)

Mount Balungao itself is an attraction being an inactive volcano about 382-meters tall with its own hot and cold springs. On top of this mountain, one could go for a motorcycling adventure or take the longest zip line in the region.

Man-made wonders

God’s Love

God’s Love (Photo by Mary Rose A. Hogaza)

A 40-foot statue of “Ayat ni Apo Jesus” or “God’s Love” stands at the foot of Caraballo mountains in Natividad Pangasinan. It is made of fiberglass and was erected there on June 2013. Standing at1,108 meters above sea level, overlooking the town, it has been compared a lot to Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The faithfuls and nature enthusiasts can climb the mountain to see it nearer.

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse (Photo by Province of Pangasinan)

If you want a less challenging climb, the town of Bolinao boasts of its lighthouse. The Cape Bolinao Lighthouse was built by the Americans in 1903 and is the second tallest in the country. Climbing atop it, one gets a spectacular 360-degree view of the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, the town also welcomes guests to the Bolinao Museum. Open from Monday to Friday, the museum has nature dioramas and layman’s lesson on native flora and fauna. It also features ancient burial jars, Stone Age tools and mammoth fossils that were excavated from a 14th to 15th century burial site in Bolinao.

A visit to Pangasinan offers a chance to feel “presidentiable” by staying at The President Hotel, a classic hotel that opened on December 2004. It was built on the birthplace of the 12th President of the Republic of the Philippines, President Fidel Ramos. It is located in historic Lingayen, Pangasinan.

Ramos used to live in the said hotel which is situated on quiet Maramba Boulevard. The rooms are named after Philippine Presidents which are spacious and minimalist in style.

Pangasinan Capitol

Pangasinan Capitol (Photo by Province of Pangasinan)

Another architectural gem in the province is the Pangasinan Capitol in Lingayen. Inspired by Roman buildings, Pangasinan’s Capitol has precise and detailed designs that make its interior feel like an art gallery where the portraits of past governors and incumbent board members hang on display. The building has an intricate ceiling design, elegantly designed hall floors and a grand spiral staircase.

Pyramid of Asia

Pyramid of Asia (Photo by Asiong)

The faithfuls trek to Manaoag City, Pangasinan to see the miraculous Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary, but unbeknownst to many, another place in the same city called “The Pyramid of Asia” exists. The Pyramid of Asia is a healing center designed by German architect Dieter Loewer and was constructed in 1999. The spiritual healing center also boasts of its own restaurant with outdoor bar, swimming pools, massage cottages and herbal and meditation garden.


No visit to Pangasinan is complete without taking home some tupig, pigar pigar, binungey and longganisa.


Tupig (Photo by Province of Pangasinan)

Tupig is a sticky rice-and-coconut-cake that is about five inches long, wrapped with banana leaves, made with glutinous rice with shredded coconut meat. The best and original tupig is from Villasis, Pangasinan, others do not even come close.

Pigar Pigar

Pigar Pigar (Photo by Mary Rose A. Hogaza)

Pigar pigar is a delicacy popular in Dagupan City. The dish is made of cabbage, cauliflower, lots of onions and lean beef sauteed in a generous amount of oil.


Longganisa (Photo by Province of Pangasinan)

The longganisa from Alaminos, Pangasinan is unique because of the toothpicks they use to divide the segments. Each length has six pieces and is hung using a buli grass string. The longganisa is a play of garlic, salt and fat flavors.


Binungey (Photo by Romelee H. De Luna)

Binungey or rice cake is a delicacy which is made of sticky rice, coconut extract steamed in a bamboo. It is best served with sweet mango or soaked in hot chocolate. It can also be simply dipped it in sugar. Binungey is commonly available in Bolinao.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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