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Travel Guide to Pangasinan: A Hundred Miles, a Hundred Isles Edit

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Michelle Tobias  • Contributor
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Cover photo by Jessie Barrios. Graphics by Manel Solsoloy.

At a Glance

The land of salt-makers, Pangasinan is loved for its postcard-perfect Hundred Islands National Park, which comprise 123 islets scattered across the Lingayen Gulf. The towns Bolinao and Lingayen make for great side trips, while a must-visit during Lent is the phenomenal Manaoag Basilica—this draws up to two million people.

Overview

With more than a hundred coral islands and islets, Pangasinan looks like a mini archipelago in the western Philippines. The Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos City claims dominion over the province’s many natural marvels, most of which are within the Lingayen Gulf. While the national park entices the majority of travelers exploring Pangasinan, little do they know that there are a number of other amazing destinations nearby.


The neighboring town of Bolinao is a spectacle to some of the finest beaches in province. The golden Patar Beach displays scenic sunsets, and is host to a small surfing community. Rock View Beach is a bit more dramatic with its waters crashing on rock formations. Enchanted Cave delights visitors with its crystal clear blue lagoon and the fossilized giant clams on its walls. Two known structures in town include the 100-year-old Cape Bolinao Lighthouse and the 400-year-old St. James the Great Parish.


More islands and beaches are waiting to be seen in the towns of Anda, Agno, Burgos, and Dasol. But if you’re looking for a short break from the sea, the town of Lingayen is the perfect place to check out heritage sites. Bengson-Yuson Ancestral House, Urduja House, and Ramos House are three must-visit ancestral houses that were converted into museums. The town’s Neo-classical Capitol Building is also worth visiting, as it is one of the 8 Architectural Treasures of the Philippines.


Every Holy Week, the Shrine of the Our Lady of Manaoag draws a remarkable two million devotees from all over the country. This is one of the biggest religious events in the Philippines, together with the procession of the Black Nazarene in Manila and Naga.

Top 8 reasons backpackers can’t get enough of Pangasinan

Written by Colleen Cabili

Hundred Islands

Alaminos’ Hundred Islands is a cluster of 123 islands and islets found in Lingayen Gulf. Currently, only three islands have been developed for tourism purposes - Governor Island, Quezon Island, and Children’s Island. 

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Photo from instagram.com/great_ome.

Enchanted Cave

The Enchanted Cave is a massive coral rock with a crystal clear, emerald-tinged pool inside. Locals say that the water comes from a hole that is directly connected to the sea, although no movement or flow can be felt once you dip in it. 

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Photo by Therese Marcelle Aquino-Rabacal.

Patar Beach

Dubbed as Pangasinan’s version of renowned Boracay, Patar Beach is the destination to be in during hot summer months for its cool, turquoise waters and its caramel-colored powdery sand.

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Photo from outoftownblog.com.

Pangasinan Provincial Capitol

Pangasinan’s Capitol is recognized as 1 of the 8 Philippine Architectural Treasures. For 3 consecutive years, it held the title for “Best and Most Beautiful Capitol” in the country.

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Photo from hellowkimmy.blogspot.com.

Death Pool

This scary-sounding destination is a worthy stopover if ever you’re in Burgos! Located just a few minutes away from the main coast of Cabongaoan Beach, the Death Pool is actually a huge rut in the ground that gets filled with water when the tide is high.

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Photo from All Events In.

Bolinao Falls

Bolinao Falls is a 2-storey high cascade with a vast turquoise pool below. It can accommodate kids and expert swimmers alike because of the varying levels of its rockbed.

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Photo from istar-tariray.blogspot.com.

Colibra Island

Colibra Island is a secluded paradise in Dasol. Its undisturbed, golden coastline is smattered with round rocks brought by huge tidal waves that’s a norm in the area.

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Photo by Ana Campos.

Manaoag Church

Manaoag Church is heavily flocked by devotees every weekend who want to catch a glimpse of of Our Lady of Manaoag. The ivory statuette, dating back to the early 1700s, is believed to be highly miraculous.

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Photo from lexicalcrown.blogspot.com.

Where is Pangasinan

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Pangasinan is located in Western Luzon right next to the surfing capital of the North, La Union. Graphics by Manel Solsoloy.

How to get to Pangasinan

From Manila, you can easily get to Pangasinan by bus. There's Victory Liner and Dagupan Bus Line in Cubao, and Five Star Bus Line in Pasay City Terminal. Travel time is 5 to 8 hours, depending on the traffic, while the fare is around P450 per person. It's best to book your trip at night and sleep on the way. In Pangasinan, you can charter a boat for island hopping from P500 to P2,000, depending on the boat's capacity. Traveling within a town utilizes tricycles and jeepneys, while traveling to different towns makes use of jeepneys and buses.


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