Exploring Pangasinan, Philippines: Beyond Hundred Islands @TourismPHL

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor April 19th, 2016 Posted in Organized Tours, Philippines, Travel Blog, Travel Guides No comments

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Pangasinan? There’s probably a very huge chance that ‘Hundred Islands’ would be the top answer.

The Hundred Islands National Park in the city of Alaminos is one of the most popular tourist destinations in northern Philippines, but that is not all that Pangasinan has to offer. There are numerous activities and delectable dishes that can be found in other parts of the province that might come as a surprise to both local and foreign tourists.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Hundred Islands National Park.

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Here are some of the municipalities and cities that are worth checking out on your next trip to Pangasinan:

Balungao

Nestled in the small agricultural town of Balungao is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, the Balungao Hilltop Adventure. Here you will find not just one, but two ziplines, measuring 620 meters and 1.4 kilometers, with the latter as one of the longest ziplines in the country.

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Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Riding the zipline isn’t the only challenge here, as one will have to climb a steep steel stair to get to the launch tower, which happens to be right next to Mt. Balungao.

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Photo by MICHELLE CALIGAN
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Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

The 1.4 km-zipline ride lasts around a minute and a half, with a breathtaking view of nature. That is, if you don’t close your eyes and scream at the top of your lungs.

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Photos by MARTIN SAN DIEGO
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Photo by MICHELLE CALIGAN

Aside from the ziplines, Balungao Hilltop Adventure also offers ATV driving and bungee trampoline.

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Photo by MICHELLE CALIGAN

Function halls and cabanas are also available for rent, as well as adult and kiddie swimming pools. For more information, you may visit their official website or contact Mr. Gerry Acosta of the Tourism Office at +63939-4484799.

Lingayen

As the provincial capital, Lingayen has a lot to offer to its visitors. One of them is the majestic Pangasinan Provincial Capitol, which stands in front of the historic Lingayen Gulf. Declared as one of the eight Architectural Treasures of the Philippines by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, it is the only structure that is found outside of Manila.

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Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

The beauty of this building does not stop at the exterior. Here are some photos of what you can see inside:

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Photos by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

From the roof deck, you can already see Lingayen Gulf, Capitol Beach, Veteran’s Memorial Park, and Urduja House, the governor’s official residence.

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Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

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Photos by MICHELLE CALIGAN
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Urduja House – some areas are open to the public for free.
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Photos by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Aside from strolling along the shore, one can also engage in various outdoor activities in Capitol Beach such as power kiting, kite boarding and wind surfing. The Pangasinan Power Kites Group is there to teach first timers on how to fly their unique kites.

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Photos by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Not too far from the capitol complex is the Sison Auditorium. It may look simple from the outside, but step side and you will be blown away of its size and grandeur. From the high ceilings to the huge chandelier that serves as the centerpiece, this auditorium is really a must visit.

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Photos by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

For those who wish to stay for a night or two in Lingayen, Hotel Consuelo in just a few blocks away from the capitol grounds. It is conveniently located in the heart of the city, with restaurants and other establishments within the vicinity.

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Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Go a little further and you will find El Puerto Marina Beach Resort and Vacation Club. This resort sprawled along the powdery volcanic sands of the Lingayen Gulf offers different types of accommodation, water activities, and sumptuous meals.

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Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Dagupan

Dagupan is the only independent city in the province of Pangasinan, and is considered as one of the top producers of milkfish, locally known as bangus. Should you be in the area, there are two restaurants that you would not want to miss.

Matutina’s – Gerry’s Seafoods is the newest branch of the famous Pangasinan restaurant. Strategically located along the Judge Jose de Venecia Extension Highway, this family-run business serves various local favorites that will make you want to come back for more.

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Photos by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Want to dine in a more rustic location? Then head to Patio Elmina just 10 minutes away from Matutina’s. It is one of the newer restaurants in the city that serves really good (and unique) bangus sisig and other seafood dishes.

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Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

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Photos by MICHELLE CALIGAN

Bugallon

If you’re traveling from Lingayen to Bolinao, then you will definitely pass by the municipality of Bugallon. The two-hour drive will leave you hungry, so make sure to have a hearty meal in Riverside Restobar.

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Photos by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Bolinao

Aside from Alaminos, another tourist magnet is the municipality of Bolinao, thanks to its pristine beaches and enchanting caves. But beyond the usual destinations are places that deserve to be on your bucket list.

Pangasinan came from the term ‘pang-asin-an,’ meaning “where salt is made.” A visit to Pacific Farms, Inc. is the perfect way to know more about salt production. This 500-hectare salt farm located in Brgy. Zaragoza offers daylong agri-eco tours that include salt harvesting, a locomotive ride around the harvesting area, and an interaction with the farmers during lunch.

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Photos by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Another highlight of the tour is the chance to taste the so-called ‘mighty eggs.’ These are regular duck eggs that are submerged for three days in a mineral-filled lake with a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius, enough to boil the egg.

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Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO
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Photo by MICHELLE CALIGAN

Also found in Bolinao is one of the cleanest rivers in the Philippines, Balingasay River. Sungayan Grill offers river cruise packages that allow customers to dine in a floating hut while being dragged by an outrigger boat along the river.

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Photos by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Don’t want to leave Bolinao without a visit to the beach? Then head to Punta Riviera Resort along Patar Road. Aside from the breathtaking view of the sea, it also serves as the entrance to Ilog Malino where guests can do some kayaking.

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Photos by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Of course, the sunset here will leave you speechless.

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Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

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This familiarization trip in Pangasinan is part of the NLEX Lakbay Norte 5 media tour organized by the North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). Its mission is to introduce the best attractions, food, and activities of the Philippines’ northern provinces to members of the media. This tour was made possible with the help of Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), Victory Liner, Petron, Department of Tourism Region 1, Pangasinan Provincial Government, Pangasinan Visitors Bureau (PVB), and La Union Convention and Visitors Bureau (LUCVB).

Related Article: Awesome Things To Do in La Union, Philippines Aside from Surfing

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Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

 

Want to visit other places in the Philippines? Here’s our guide to all 81 provinces!

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