Pangasinan Travel Guide: What To Do in Pangasinan
On its 9th edition of bringing travel writers from print and online to a guided tour of Luzon, this year’s Lakbay Norte 9 journeyed to La Union and Pangasinan. Lakbay Norte is an annual familiarity tour organized by the North Philippines Visitors Bureau in partnership with NLEX and Victory Liner, as a way of encouraging travelers to explore deeper into Northern Luzon. And for the second part of my travel log, join me as we explore some NEW things to do in Pangasinan.
Fresh from a two days of exploring the surfing haven of La Union, our Lakbay Norte 9 bus rolled into the neighboring province of Pangasinan. On this leg of our 5-day trip, we highlighted the emerging agritourism industry of Pangasinan. Here are the highlights of our trip and some additional things to do in Pangasinan.
Learn about the “Pa-iwi” practice at Farmcradle
Founded by Tony and Sandy Santos, Farmcradle is a 45-hectare property located in Balungao, Pangasinan. Advocating the “Pa-iwi“—a Southern Tagalog term which means “pa-alaga”—a practice where any agriculture entrepreneur invests in livestock animals to be cared by a farmer in their place. It’s like a “daycare center for animals” as the owner told us. Their animal shelters are all made from indigenous materials that blend perfectly with the farm setting.
Because of this, we saw many animals lingering happily all over the farm as we toured it aboard a golf cart. We saw herds of goats, sheep, horses, chickens, cattle, ostrich, and even camels.
Oh, I almost forgot the peacocks who clucked and chased us around their pen, hehe. The farm also sells organic products like organic balms, lotions and bagoong.
Seeking some adrenaline rush? Farmcradle is also a great place to conduct team building activities and educational field trips for students.
Nestled in the middle of all the animal pens is a giant obstacle course where you can run, swing, and even jump about. They even have a 255-meter Bike Zip Line as part of the farm’s Agri-Tourism Adventure offering to visitors.
Have a Taste of Pangasinense Cuisine
After visiting JB’s Bagoong Factory where we witnessed how they make and produce the famed bagoong of Pangasinan, we were then feted by the city Mayor of Lingayen with a feast comprising the best of Pangasinense cuisine.
Various restaurants participated to cater and feature some of their specialties. Papa Dong’s Restaurant served their seafood paella, baked bangus and baked lukan (a type of shellfish sourced only in Pangasinan). Jas Thai-Fil Fastfood showcased their chicken satay, tom yum soup and pad thai. B&T Restaurant filled our bellies with their masterful cookery of some Pinoy-staple food but cooked with a Pangasinense twist.
Other restaurants that participated includes Chatanoga Grill and Restaurant, Cafe Sentiments, Che-Tsarap Sisig House, Antoninos Cafe and Mang Emil’s Original Lechon Bagoong.
Serving Pangasinense cuisine with modern fusion, Kabaleyan Eatery in Dagupan City brightened up our day with a hearty dinner feast. After a very informative chat and cooking demo with Chef Ruben Ignacio, we helped ourselves over a generous plating of what Pangasinan food culture can offer.
My favorites were the oysters Rockefeller, Pinapaitan, Bagoong Lechon Manok, Pigar Pigar, Tempura Squash Blossomo, and the Binungey. While my tripmates enjoyed the Aligue balut, urdujas pinakbet, fresh lato and cucumber salad, Grilled bangus, Bolinaos delight, sizzling patupat ala mode, pinakbet, tablea champurado, Puto bumbong tupig with Choco ice cream. A definite must in your top things to do in Pangasinan!
Go Bar Hopping in Dagupan City
After our sumptuous feast, we were so ready to unwind and party the night away in Dagupan City. First stop Ugly Daddy Resto. Don’t let the name fool you because the vibe here is pleasantly chill.
An old garage turned into a bar, Ugly Daddy set the bar high — awesome music, (a blend of R&B, pop, and hip hop) — food, and drinks. Must tries are the skewers, nachos, chicken pops.
We then capped the night with a karaoke session at Mint Kitchen Bar Karaoke nearby. The highlight of the night was when Ari from NLEX team sang the hit Sarah Geronimo song “Tala”. Everyone went all in, stood up, and danced the night away!
I was seriously impressed by the sheer talent in the group! A few more rounds and clinks, we made our way for some shuteye. Of course, not without singing our hearts out and laughing about in our seats thinking of all the fun moments we’ve had that night! Haha.
Breakfast with a View at Yellow Beach Resort
Situated in the arc-shaped Lingayen Gulf coast, we spent the night at The Yellow Beach Villas.
We woke up the next day with a sumptuous feast prepared to start day 4 of Lakbay Norte 9.
I again tasted one of the culinary prides of Pangasinan; the Alaminos Longanisa. It was a real treat eating my danggit, salted eggs and fried rice while gazing at the roaring waters of Lingayen Gulf.
We then jumpstarted our Day 4 with some adrenaline rush at the Lingayen Capitol grounds.
As we spent an hour or so driving through the sandy Lingayen beach with the ATVs provided by Tol ATV. Routes for their future tours are still being finalized. But if you’re game as we were, you can already get a taste of that that speed thrill by the beach for now.
Take a Walk through the Heritage District of Lingayen
After our ATV ride, we headed to the present seat of the government of Pangasinan, the Lingayen Capitol Building. Completed in 1918, the Provincial Capitol is an impressive example of neoclassical architecture design.
I loved the high ceilings paired with the large windows lined up along wide corridors giving the whole place such a grand feel. And that grand staircase spiraling through the center? BEAUTIFUL. No wonder the building is one of the eight Architectural Treasures of the Philippines by the NCAA. And also a definite must in the things to do in Pangasinan!
Other heritage structures that can be seen in Lingayen town are: the Urduja House, the 1890 Colegio del Santissimo Rosario Ruins, Malong Building, Palaris Building and Sison Auditorium.
Go Spelunking at Nalsoc Cave
To burn all the food we ate, we went on a semi-rigorous spelunking adventure inside the 4-kilometer Nalsoc Cave in Bani, Pangasinan. Inside, we were amazed at the stalagmites and stalactites formation that forms the wall and natural archways of the cave.
Honestly, I was scared to do the activity at first because of the deep entrance of the cave. But having a team of trust-worthy guides and seeing all that beauty around made the experience worthwhile.
For more experienced spelunkers, there’s a more advanced trail you can take. Hidden inside Nalsoc Cave is a a subterranean river inside where spelunkers can wade into waist-deep waters. I even heard there’s a point where you can reach the next town underground. I don’t think I’d be up for it anytime soon. But I’m sure it will be quite an amazing experience!
Spend a Romantic Night at Old Woods by the Sea Eco-Resort
It was a long and action-filled Day 4 of Lakbay Norte 9. And we were all set to take our quiet respite for the night at a charming place in Bani called OldWoods by the Sea Eco-Resort. It was a dark chilly night but upon setting foot at the garden entrance of the resort, an instant gush of warmth and excitement filled me. True to its name, one can say that Old Woods by the Sea is a beautiful masterpiece of old wood and rustic architecture.
In fact, the same themed even carried out to the names of all its guest rooms – like Apostola, Narra, Santol, Molave, Lomboy, Dalipawen. Interesting and witty, I thought.
Two flights of stairs took us to our corner for the night. A spacious villa room with a lovely veranda looking out to the sea (check the photos). I loved how much detail was put into the room – a cozy daybed on the side, a relaxing tub to bathe, a rustic duyan where one can rest while friends and family chitchat or play sungka in the living room next to it.
And because there are no two rooms alike in the resort, we capped off the night having a tour checking the other rooms of my fellow travel writers. Think music, art, and all sorts of themes carefully curated to give guests a truly unique experience. I LOVED IT. (More of this item in the top things to do in Pangasinan soon!)
We then spent the morning lounging by the resort’s beach and pool areas before the 2-hour drive to our last destination: Our Farm Republic.
Witness real-life Farmville at Our Farm Republic
Located in Urbiztondo Rd, Mangatarem, Our Farm Republic is a 5.8-hectare agritourism destination and one of the must things to do in Pangasinan. It was opened in August 2010 by former Marikina Counselor, Ms. Lea Santiago. And is now a thriving farm serving organic produce, livestock and edible flowers.
And so after a lovely hour feasting over lunch (loved the Vermicelli Verde and Tablea Champorado), it was time to explore the rest of Our Farm Republic.
We first made our way through the composting site before grazing upon their garden. Rows and rows of fresh vegetation filled with Macopa, Eggplants, Cherrry Tomatoes, Lemons, and whatnots. Of course, we won’t let the day pass without having the chance to pick fresh veggies from their farm!
And so with a rattan basket on one hand and a pair of scissors on the other, we made our way snipping away our desired produce. I had a wonderful time picking calamansi and cherry tomatoes that I paid for 40 pesos only. While the others picked eggplants and lemons instead.
Now I can say I did Farmville in real life. Truly a wonderful way to finish 5 days of Lakbay Norte 9 through La Union and Pangasinan. Till the next!
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