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10 Cool Things to Know When Traveling to Pangasinan Edit

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Colleen Cabili  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

Pangasinan is a major source of salt

Its name is directly derived from the term pinag asinan, which means "where salt is made." Salt production started in Dasol and is also done in other towns such as Mabini. The salt-making industry serves as one of the main drivers of Pangasinan's local economy which led to the birth of Asin Festival.


A local transfers his harvest in separate baskets. Photo by Romel Nafora Dulay


This child repeatedly rakes the salt beds to collect the rock salt from the water. Photo by Romel Nafora Dulay

3 native languages are spoken in the province

Pangasinan, Ilocano, and Bolinao—these are the three major native languages spoken in the province of Pangasinan. Although the land is divided into 44 different municipalities and 4 cities, the residents of the province are only divided into three different parts when it comes to the language they speak: Central Pangasinan, Eastern and Western Pangasinan, and Bolinao. Pangasinan speakers are mostly found in Central Pangasinan, while various dialects of the Ilocano language can be heard towards the province's eastern and western edges. Bolinao, a town at the western end of Pangasinan, also has its own language and set of speakers.

The people prefer to be called Pangasinenses

The people from Pangasinan are called Pangasinenses regardless of the dialect or language they speak. Pangalatok and Ilokogtot are both playful names that refer to the people, but can sometimes be insulting or derogatory in their culture. It is widely believed that both terms stemmed from Pangasinenses and Ilocanos quarreling due to misunderstandings in their respective languages.

These vendors are proudly showcasing their homemade binungey, a sticky rice dessert steamed in bamboo.

The province is home to almost 3 million Pangasinenses

According to the 2013 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, the total population of the province of Pangasinan has reached 2,645,395, making it the one of the most populated provinces in the country. San Carlos City is the most populous, comprising 6.3% of the population size.

Over the years, Pangasinan has produced some of the country's most esteemed icons in the field of politics and the arts, especially in the movie and television industry. Famous Pangasinense politicians include former president of UN general assembly, Carlos P. Romulo, former Philippine presidents, Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and former speaker of the house, Jose De Venecia Jr. Noted for their contributions to the Philippine show business are veteran actress Gloria Romero and the late action star Fernando Poe, Jr.

Come nighttime, these fisher folk will set sail to catch fish in the middle of the sea.

Pangasinan has lots of native delicacies

Bangus instantly comes to mind when some hear the word Pangasinan. However, the province is also prominent for other delectable goods such as the sweet and colorful puto (rice cake) of Calasiao, the flavorful bagoong (fish paste) of Lingayen, and the salty longganisa of Alaminos. 


A huge batch of warm puto in a cooling rack. Photo by Butch Capoy

A wide array of dried fish products are available in this roadside store.
A worker packs the finished bagoong in boxes for delivery.

The Hundred Islands of Alaminos is a must-visit

Riddled with 123 islets spearing out of the cerulean sea, Alaminos beckons intrepid travelers and pleasure seekers. These coral islands are collectively called Hundred Islands and serve as home to a staggering variety of wildlife and marine life. Only five hours away from Manila, the Hundred Islands National Park is an ideal retreat from the busy city life. It is an affordable and fun way to experience the tropical Philippines, be it for a day tour, camping trip, or overnight accommodation. With more than a hundred islands to choose from, this park guarantees a worthwhile visit. 

Quezon Island's sandy seabed is decorated with a smattering of rocks.
Marcos Island's lush greenery remains untouched.
Don't forget to visit the small cave found in Governor's Island!
Virgin Island is right behind Governor's Island. You can transfer from one island to another via zipline!

Go on a thrilling island hopping to Governor's Island, Virgin Island, Quezon Island, Imelda Cave, Cuenco Cave, and Lucap Wharf. Book here

Devotees flock Manaoag Church for a reason

The centuries-old ivory image of Our Lady of Manaoag or "Apo Baket" which is enshrined in the high altar of the Spanish-Romanesque church is believed to be miraculous. Our Lady of Manaoag is the patroness of the sick, helper of the needy, and protector of crops. According to the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines, the shrine is an affiliate of the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The spiritual benefits that one gains by visiting the papal basilicas will also be received by those visiting the Shrine of Manaoag.

The walkway leading to the basilica. On weekends, it gets filled with thousands of devotees and patrons.
The miraculous ivory statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary dates back to the 17th century.
The church stand out from the darkness at night.

Emilio Aguinaldo lost the original Philippine flag in Tayug

Did you know that the original hand-sewed Philippine flag was lost somewhere in Tayug, Pangasinan? Many thought that it was the one unfurled and raised by Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite, when he proclaimed the independence of the country from the 300 years of Spanish rule. However, Aguinaldo, in his letter to Capt. Baja in June 11, 1925, mentioned that the original flag was lost somewhere in Tayug during the American-Filipino War. You can read more about it here.

Pangasinenses love festivals!

The towns of Pangasinan annually hold festivals that usually last for about a week. The "Festivals of the North" are filled with dance performances with costumes that creatively interpret the products each municipality is famous for. The Sigay Festival of Binmaley features a fluvial parade while the Galicayo Festival of Manaoag pays tribute to the Holy Mother.

The Provincial Capitol is an architectural gem

Did you know that the Provincial Capitol in Lingayen garnered the award for "Best and Most Beautiful Capitol in the country" for 3 consecutive years? The grandiose and captivating beauty of the Provincial Capitol made it the centerpiece of tourism, and out of the 8 Philippine Architectural Treasures, it is the only one found outside of Manila.

The building was designed by Ralph Harrington Doane, a consulting architect of the Bureau of Public Works in the early 1900s.
The Capitol was designed after the Neoclassical movement, as seen on this elegant winding staircase.
Tourists listening attentively to a guide.

For a list of Explora-approved accommodations in Pangasinan, click here. You can also head over to https://visitpangasinan.com to learn more about the province. 

Original text by Sarrythmia Galvez

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