Shoestring Travelers


rocky outcrops near Quezon Island, Hundred Islands National Park, Pangasinan

In our elementary school days Pangasinan was associated with one tourist spot: the Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos. It is also associated with "asin" or salt from which it got its name, bangus or milkfish and mangoes. (Incidentally Pangasinan has a large salt-making industry.) We just knew it as one of those provinces you traverse on the way up north to Baguio City. Over time however, we discovered that Pangasinan had other major tourist attractions, some just as noteworthy as the Hundred Islands.

huts along a beach, Lingayen, Pangasinan
A pair of huts along a beach facing Lingayen Gulf, Lingayen town

Because of its proximity to the South China Sea, Pangasinan has a number of good beaches and islands. The Hundred Islands have already been mentioned. Patar Beach, a white-sand beach and Santiago Island both in Bolinao, long and shallow Tondol Beach in Anda and the white sand beaches in the Western Pangasinan towns of Burgos, Bani and Agno are just some of these.

view of Tondol Beach and Tanduyong Island in Anda with clouds overhead
Long and shallow Tondol Beach in the island municipality of Anda

turquoise waters and creamy white sand of Patar Beach, Bolinao
Patar Beach in Bolinao

But perhaps the most noteworthy are the beaches and islands of Dasol including the creamy white sand beaches of Tambobong, Balinmanok and Colibra Island. The waters off Dasol are pristine and excellent sites for snorkeling and diving perhaps because many parts of the town, especially those along the coast, are not easily accessible and have escaped hordes of visitors. Dasol's potential as a tourist destination is only now being discovered. We remember reading a travel guide book a few years back (can't remember if it's Lonely Planet) that suggested Dasol as a better tourist spot compared to the Hundred Islands which it classified as "overrated."

sunset at Tambobong Beach, Dasol
Tambobong is a scenic fishing village and beach in Dasol, Pangasinan.

There are of course other natural attractions in the province including the Umbrella Rocks of Agno, the Antong Falls in Sison, the Tara waterfalls in Bolinao, the hot and cold springs in Mount Balungao, the Cacupangan Cave in Mabini and the Villacorta Caves in Villacorta. Historical attractions include the Bolinao Lighthouse, the Lingayen Gulf War Museum in the provincial capital Lingayen and many old churches.

rusting World War 2-era light American tank, Lingayen, Pangasinan
World War 2-era tank in the Lingayen Capitol grounds. The Lingayen Gulf was the site of the main American landings in Luzon in 1945.

And the food... Boneless bangus or deboned milkfish is probably the most popular food in Pangasinan. It is either marinated in vinegar or smoked before being fried or grilled. Whenever we are in Dagupan City, the milkfish capital of the Philippines, we make it a point to eat at one of the many restaurants serving boneless bangus and different types of sea food. For sweets one can try tupig, a kind of suman or rice cake that we often encounter from roadside vendors in Carmen, Rosales on the way to Baguio City and, recently, in Tarlac City as well.

We've explored different parts of the province over the years, yet there are other places in Pangasinan still waiting to be visited, especially Timapog na Bato, Cabongaoan Beach and other beaches in nearby Burgos and Bani and the Umbrella Rocks in Agno. Stay tuned...

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More Philippine destinations:

Bais Dolphin-Watching
Baler, Part 1
Baler, Part 2
Balite Falls, Amadeo
Baras: Palo Alto Falls
    Biliran's Waterfalls
    Higatangan & Dalutan Islands
Boracay, Aklan
Candaba Bird Sanctuary
Caramoan Part 1
Caramoan Part 2
Cordillera Region
    Baguio City
    Batad Rice Terraces
Coron, Palawan
    Banol Beach
    Bulog Dos & Banana Islands
    Kayangan Lake & Twin Lagoon
    Malcapuya Island
Davao City
Dumaguete City
El Nido, Inland Beaches
El Nido, Tour A
El Nido, Tour C
Gigantes Islands
Guimaras Part 1
Guimaras Part 2
Gumasa Beach
Ilocos Region
    Paoay & Currimao
    Dampalit Falls, Los Baños
    Kalayaan Twin Falls
    Nagcarlan & Majayjay: Waterfalls
    San Pablo's Seven Lakes
Lake Sebu
Lake Sebu's Waterfalls
    Cuatro Islas
    Kalanggaman Island
    Ormoc & Lake Danao
    Tacloban City
Mayon Volcano
Negros Oriental Waterfalls
Oslob, Cebu
    Patar Beach, Bolinao
    Cabongaoan Beach
    Dasol 1
    Dasol 2
    Hundred Islands
    Tondol Beach
    Cagbalete Island
    Mauban's Waterfalls
    Padre Burgos
    Maria's Beaches
    Lazi & Cambugahay Falls
    San Juan & Siquijor Town's Beaches
    Larena & Sandugan Beach
    Bulusan Lake
    Juag Lagoon
    Subic Beach
    Tikling Island
Taal Town, Batangas
Talicud Island
Tanay: Daranak & Batlag Falls
    Anawangin Cove
    Capones Island
    Magalawa Island
    Nagsasa Cove
    Potipot Island