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Beyond the Hundred Islands in Alaminos and Lingayen, Pangasinan Edit

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Mimai Cabugnason  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

In western Luzon along Lingayen Gulf and facing the South China Sea, Pangasinan is an easily overlooked majesty. Beyond the world-renowned Hundred Islands, there are attractions and activities for both adventure-seekers and those looking for a casual retreat. Hailing from Filipino words “pang” and “asin”, Pangasinan means a place for salt-making, aptly named as the province is home to the largest salt farms in the Philippines. Arriving in Pangasinan’s capital, Lingayen, I got a refresher on history as this quiet coastal town is filled with numerous stories from the past, specifically from the World War II era as Lingayen Gulf had its significance during the war. Heritage structures abound throughout the town, and the local government is highly proactive on preserving and restoring them to their former glory.

Heritage Hop

First stop is Ramos House located along Primicias Street. This quaint residence hidden behind blooming bougainvillea is the childhood home of former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos. The war left the original house into ruins but it was reconstructed in 1995 and now houses the Ramos’ family mementos under the care of Mrs. Illuminada Villa. One can arrange a private tour of the residence by coordinating with the Provincial Capitol. 

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Ramos House

Entering the Capitol complex, off we went to Urduja House. Named after the mythical legendary warrior Princess Urduja, this Indo-Chinese inspired house is the official residence of the governor and is open for public viewing. Welcoming visitors at the lobby is a painting of Princess Urduja made by artist Antonio G. Dumlao. Listening alone to the history of Princess Urduja led me to commend the province of Pangasinan on their efforts in tracing their roots and in preserving what little remains of the past that had been essential in our history for the interest of future generations.

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The Urduja House

One not to miss is the Provincial Capitol. This neo-classical masterpiece built in 1918 was reconstructed in 1949 to bring back its pre-war grandeur. NCCA (National Commission for Culture and the Arts) declared Lingayen Capitol as one of the architectural treasures of the Philippines. It is impossible not to be captivated by the capitol’s imposing facade. Its interior does not fall short in leaving visitors in admiration, more so upon browsing through its galleries brimming with Pangasinan’s rich history. 

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Pangasinan Provincial Capitol

Just across the Capitol is Veterans Memorial Park, built to commemorate the heroes of WWII. This unassuming piece of land tells the stories of war through its mini-galleries and relics that survived the war.

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Veterans Memorial Park

While the sun was starting to set, we walked our way to Lingayen Bay and Boardwalk. This long stretch of boardwalk is filled with locals and tourists alike, by themselves or with their families, just taking in the sound of the soothing waves and enjoying the passing of time. What a way to ease into the end of our first day in Lingayen! 

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Lingayen Bay

Surrounded by Sea

We rose up early the next day and headed to the gulf coast, which is easily accessible from El Puerto Marina where we comfortably spent the night. The dawn was just breaking, and a fisherman was just starting his early morning catch. It was a breathtaking sight as it was not an everyday thing to see for a city-dweller like me. In moments like these, you will get to appreciate the simplicity of things, the lengths of hard work that people have to get through to provide for their families, and be overwhelmed with gratefulness for nature and one’s current state of life.

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In a good momentum from our early rise, we were suddenly on our way to Alaminos. It is one of the four big cities in Pangasinan and is where the Hundred Islands National Park can be found. Let the island hopping begin! This protected area of 124 islands and islets is a haven for both leisure and adventure-seekers. From zip-lining from one island to another, helmet diving to see the giant clams, or simply basking in the sun and swim in the surrounding blue-green waters, there is always something that anyone and everyone can enjoy.

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Quezon Island

The island hopping jump-off point is in Lucap Wharf, Alaminos, and from there, one could avail of their island hopping tour at the Tourism Information Center. Aboard our boat, we sailed our way to one of the major islands, Quezon Island, to have our hefty lunch before we set out to explore the other islands. Quezon Island is graced with pristine white sand and inviting waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. It also has viewing decks, a mini zipline, and a two-floor restaurant where visitors can dine in between enjoying the activities Quezon Island has to offer.

#100islands vibes!

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A satisfying meal and a refreshing dip after, we’re off to our next island, Governor’s Island. Get the best view and thrill as you climb 380 steps to the view deck, then take the 546-meter zipline connected to the neighboring Virgin Island. One can go back to Governor’s Island by crossing the 120-meter floating bridge, or a boat ride back can also be arranged.

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Governor's Island

Following an exhilarating experience up high, we went deep underwater next. Helmet diving is an activity where visitors can stroll on the ocean floor with the aid of a glass-plated helmet. Offered on a raft near Governor’s Island, beneath it is an underwater marvel of giant clams and fishes. Visitors are oriented on the safety procedures and taught how to equalize underwater before descent. It was my second time to do this activity, the first being in Boracay, but this one is a different experience as it was my first time to see giant clams up close. The divers even mentioned that those were not the biggest bunch yet. Hundred Island’s Helmet Diving is something you should try on your next visit!

The day was slowly easing out to end, so we traveled back to Lingayen to get our stuff and return to Manila. There was always that tinge of sadness in saying goodbye to an awesome day, but as I stood there on the Lingayen coast waiting for the sun to set, I felt lucky. Moreover, I was glad to have set foot again in Pangasinan after a while and experience it in a new and different way. I certainly can’t wait to go back.

#sunset at #lingayen #beach #pangasinan #philippines. . . #lingayenbeach #djispark

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🌴🌊🌤

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For more information about Pangasinan and its tourism destinations, visit www.visitpangasinan.com.


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