Best of Infanta | Things to do, Hotels, Resorts, Guides
Browse our attraction listings if you want to travel do-it-yourself style. Many of these are free to see and come with details and a map.
Balaki Island in Infanta
Snorkeling, camping, swimming, and general beach frolicking are the main offerings on Balaki Islandâ€™s menu of activities. This 7.5-hectare private island is pretty much empty â€“ no commercial establishments, only rows of palm trees and golden-white sand. Balakiâ€™s shoreline and seabed is covered in ticklish seagrass, but before you find this cumbersome, realize that their presence indicates just how healthy the island still is. Plus, it means the marine life there is so rich and snorkeling is ace. At the moment, entrance to the island is free and there is no camping fee, though you will need to coordinate with the Infanta tourism office to get there. All it may cost for a trip to Balaki is gasoline for the boat, and maybe some food to share with the boatmen â€“ quite a good deal for a night or two on untouched tropical paradise!
Abella's Bagoong Factory
Visiting this bagoong (fermented fish sauce) factory is almost like taking a trip to a historical site. Locals from as far as the neighboring town make the effort to visit this small, non-descript shop-cum-factory, which is run by the sprightly Nanay Francia Abella, who learned the craft from her own mother. Their products–which include boneless bagoong, patis (another kind of fish sauce), and padas bagoong (a local favorite, where the sauce is not separated from the fish)–have become a Pangasinan institution.
With a tourism industry that's just about to go full-throttle, Infanta's attractions may still be underdeveloped, but as far as Nayong River is concerned, this is a good thing. Cruising this bright blue river can be done by request (just call the tourism office), and more often than not visitors will get the stretch of it all to themselves. Nayong River is especially attractive to those with an interest in ecology: its riverbanks give life to 22 true species of mangroves!
Infanta Salt Making Factory
With a name that means "a place of making salt", Pangasinan has long been home to salt-making since the days of its ancestors. Travelers can take a glimpse of this local industry by visiting a salt factory in the town of Infanta. This salt factory is particularly cinematic, and a treat not only for the eyes but for all the other senses. Rays of light come through the factory's woven-leaf ceiling, casting shadows onto the tubs full of boiling salt water. As the steam rises from the tubs, the nutty aroma of burning rice husks fills the air. If visitors are so inclined, they can try their hand at harvesting the salt. It's not as easy as it looks, so they need to exercise extra caution–though the satisfaction one gets after scraping a pile of salt from the bottom of the tub is well worth the effort.
If you’ve never heard of Infanta before, it’s only because this quiet town on the western side of Pangasinan has managed to stay off the mainstream tourist trail – which is not entirely a bad thing. This only means that everything it has to offer still feels untouched and special. Ultimately, Infanta is a town for curious minds: for foodies, the bagoong (fermented fish sauce) and salt factories reveal a fascinating process behind these seemingly mundane condiments. Meanwhile, those who are interested in biodiversity and ecology can have front row seats to the spectacle of nature, with Infanta’s virgin islands, mangrove-shaded riverside, and bird-filled wetlands. Indeed, Infanta may be quiet and creature comforts may be scarce, but it’s definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re up for learning a few new things.