THE PROVINCE OF PANGASINAN
Pangasinan is one of the 77 provinces of the Republic of the Philippines.
The term pangasinan means "land of salt" or "place where salt is made" from the root word asin meaning salt in the native language, and the prefix pang and the suffix an meaning place. The term was derived from one of the main occupations of the people in the coastal villages which was, and still is, that of making salt from sea water through the process of solar evaporation in well-laid-out salt beds.
Pangasinan is a long, wide, verdant crescent bounded by the wild Zambales range to the west and to the east by the Cordilleras -- the formidable mountains that form the spine of the island of Luzon. To the south, Pangasinan extends to the rice-and-sugar farmlands of Tarlac, and north to the crowning glory of Lingayen Gulf and the South China Sea. This shoreline is a great arc of variegated character: from fantastically tall, craggy rock roughly chiseled by the surf, to the mildest of white sand beaches. The coast is fringed by well-hidden coves and inlets, promontories and caves, forests and woodland, charming fishing villages, and then the islands. It faces the Asian mainland, outstretched widely in anticipation and welcome.
The province experiences a pronounced dry season from November to April and a wet season from May to October.
PEOPLE, CULTURE & THE ARTS
Several ethnic groups live in Pangasinan, enriching the cultural fabric of the province. About half the people of Pangasinan are Pangasinenses -- a distinct ethnoliguistic group found along the central coast and interior plains of the province. The rest of the province’s people are descendants of Ilocano migrants who settled the eastern and western parts of Pangasinan. In the vicinity of Bolinao, about 30,000 people speak Sambal-Bolinao.
The Pangasinenses are also noted for their industry and their enterprise. Buri hat making, mat weaving, wooden shoe manufacture, brick and pottery making and metalcraft are among the traditional industries that continue to thrive in Pangasinan. Lingayen was once the primary center of commerce in the province and had a thriving Chinese community to direct its trade. Industries such as bakeshops, soap and candle-making, and the manufacture of shoes and slippers are centered in the town. Native Pangasinenses also engage in trade, investing in expensive shawls, blankets, white and blue cloth, needles, scissors and mirrors from China as well as other products which they bring to nearby northern provinces. The ubiquitous cattle-drawn wagons that travel across northern Luzon and Manila are from Pangasinan.
Pangasinan abounds in handicrafts and is famous for bamboo and rattan artifacts. There are also handicrafts made of marsh grasses. A familiar sight down Central Luzon after harvest time are the bullock caravans originating from Pangasinan laden with bamboo, rattan, and grass crafts, including chairs, tables, hampers, baskets, lamps, mats, and household bric-a-brac. Binalatongan (now San Carlos City) and Calasiao are known for bamboocraft that have been exported abroad.
Pangasinan had its share of prominent visual artist, the most accomplished of whom is the late Victorio C. Edades, who instrumental in pioneering modernism in Philippine art. In 1976 Edades became a National Artist for having changed the direction of Philippine painting (Cortes 1990b: 165-166).
Another unique feature of the ancient culture was the dances. These were indicative of the peoples' values and skills. Thus, the imunan was a courtship dance, the tagam a war dance, and the kumakaret a test of dexterity. These dances were accompanied by the music of the tulali, a flute used during festivities.
Binasuan (beeh-nah-SOOH-ahn) This colorful and lively dance from Bayambang in the Pangasinan province shows off the balancing skills of the dancers. The glasses that the dancers gracefully, yet carefully, maneuver are half-filled with rice wine. Binasuan, meaning "with the use of a drinking glass" in Pangasinan, is often performed as entertainment at weddings, birthdays, and fiestas.
Binoyugan (beeh-noh-YOOH-gahn) A dance originally from the Ilokano region of Pangasinan. Binoyugan features women balancing on their heads a banga or clay pot which they use to fetch water from the river or well, or in which to cook rice. The dance culminates with the women laying stomach down on stage, and rolling from side to side, all while balancing the pot.
Oasiwas (wah-SEE-wahs) After a good catch, fishermen of Lingayen would celebrate by drinking wine and by dancing, swinging and circling a lighted lamp. The name "Oasiwas" in the Pangasinan dialect means "swinging." This unique and colorful dance calls for skill in balancing an oil lamp on the head while circling in each hand a lighted lamp wrapped in a porous cloth or fishnet.
Sayaw ed Tapew na Bangko A dance native to the province of Pangasinan (especially in Lingayen), and demands skill from its performers who must dance on top of a bench roughly six inches wide.
CITIES AND MUNICIPALITIES OF PANGASINAN
Pangasinan today has 44 municipalities and 4 cities (Dagupan, San Carlos, Urdaneta, and Alaminos) and has natural, cultural, historical and religious attractions that merit a purposeful visit and not just a passing through. These areas and their come-ons are described here.
ANDA- This lone island town of Pangasinan, which thrives on farming and deep-sea fishing, is unlike other "out-of-way" places for progress has already caught up with it. If a Pangasinense has a surname beginning with the letter C, chances are, he is from this town.
BOLINAO- This quaint little town boasts of several attractions aside from its rugged coastline and wide expanse of unspoiled seascapes. Its museum, a branch of the national museum, showcases the rich heritage of the people. Santiago Island, Cape Bolinao Beach, and the Church of St. James, almost 400 years old, are its stronger points.
BANI- This town thrives on the bounties of sea and farm. It boasts of a new park which is a haven for those who want to lose themselves in the sweet clutch of nature.
AGNO- Known as an "old seat of civilization", it competes with Hundred Islands in natural beauty. Its umbrella rocks that just out of its clear lake and its long-winding beachline are tourists' musts.
BURGOS- The "Cowboy Country" or "Marlboro Country" of Pangasinan is not for dudes alone as its Cabungaoan Beach Resort, Klowar Spring, and Sangbay Falls are crowd-drawers.
DASOL- A town gifted with tourist lures: Noah's Island Beach Resort, Tambobong Beach, Salabusoban Falls, and Magunao Resort in Equia, all simply marvelous.
INFANTA- Once the rice granary of Western Pangasinan, it now has its beaches to rely on for exposure, the Balqui Island Beach Resort, for one.
MABINI- This rustic town is visited for its Cacupangan Caves, formerly Balincaguing Caves, a lair of 1001 bats, Balincaguing River, basin perfect for skinny dipping, Binmatya Spring and Barlo Mines.
ALAMINOS CITY This is Hundred Islands town. The 100 islands, some 123 of them, is the most popular tourist destination in the province.
SUAL- The zigzagging way up Sualsalito and the panoramic view of Sual from up there are reasons enough to visit this boom town in the making. The historic Aguinaldo debarkation point is another count in too the alluring Cabalitian Island beach resort.
LABRADOR- This boat building town beckons to tourists through a religious shrine, Lawis Uyong, and two resorts, Tandoc and Stone Quarry Falls.
BUGALLON- San Jose Hillside Resort is its main tourist attraction, but historically, its Salasa Church offers more having housed, for instance, the bell that lures tourists to the Agoo Basilica Church.
AGUILAR- Once a bastion of the brave, and an anathema to invaders of yore, it is a breathtaking dip in rusticana, with its green meadows and thick forests.
MANGATAREM, URBIZTONDO - The "corn and cacao basket of Pangasinan", Urbiztondo stands as a symbol of man's will to survive, metamorphosing from a sleepy town to a hive in a matter of years.
BASISTA- Once a part of San Carlos City, it is now a big town for its cottage industry and a name in international markets for its handicrafts.
LINGAYEN- An encomienda when Pangasinan was created, it was then designated and remains the provincial capital. Lingayen earned a place in contemporary history when American forces designated it the landing area for the liberation of Northern Luzon from the Japanese. The town is likewise noted for the Limahong Channel which the men of the Chinese pirate dug to elude the pursuing forces of Salcedo. Its "bagoong", also known as maniboc, referring to its place of origin, Barangay Maniboc, is the best in the market, local, national or international.
BINMALEY- A standout for three things: the largest church in the province, its furniture industry centered in Malindong, and its fishponds which gained for itself the title "Bangus Queen of the Philippines."
SAN CARLOS CITY- Became a city through a congressional act authored by the late Congressman Angel B. Fernandez after the late Speaker Eugenio Perez Sr. authored the city charter of Dagupan. The home town of legendary hero Palaris is the seat of exportable handicrafts.
CALASIAO- Religious devotees flock to this town, thanks to its miraculous Sanctuario del Señor Tesoro, chewy puto, tender Bocayo and coconut pastilles flavored with anise.
STA BARBARA- Tagged as the agricultural nursery of Pangasinan, it is expected to progress by leaps and bounds with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) there, and with the entry of La Tondeña Distillery Plant. Its mango-tree-lined highway offers a breather to motorists.
MAPANDAN- A nationally known spot in Mapandan is Barrio Golden, once selected as a "model barrio" in integrated community development. "Tanggal Ya Bato" or stonewalls is its other tourist bait.
MALASIQUI- Like other Central Pangasinan towns, the Pangasinan dialect it its pure form is spoken here, in lilting tones in fact. Three of its barangays, Canan, Palapar and Lareg-lareg, offer spots ideal for relaxation.
BAYAMBANG- The site of the biggest fishing sanctuary in the province, the Mangabul Fishing and Hunting Park, and the best local school for teachers education, the Pangasinan State University-College of Education (formerly Central Luzon Teachers College once referred to as "Normal School"), it is part of history as the first national anthem was sung here by the revolutionary forces under Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.
DAGUPAN CITY- The commercial, financial, educational and communication center North of Manila, was traditionally called Nandaragupan meaning a "meeting place or rallying point". It used to be part of Binalatongan, now San Carlos City, four centuries ago. The City by the Gulf is where the great Pangasinan chieftain Andres Malong assembled his forces for a last stand against the Spanish troops after which people began calling the place as Nandaragupan. It is famous for its blue beach and Bonuan bangus.
SAN FABIAN- This town has always known for its beaches, nestled in a cove, so that only the gentlest of waves ripple across the crystalline blue waters. Now it is also byword for its beach resorts, rivaling those of La Union, its pawnpushres (it has the only chess school in the country, in fact) and its amateur pugilists.
SAN JACINTO- A tobacco belt and one of the province's earliest municipalities, its people's hospitality makes it ideal for residential purposes.
MANAOAG- Before Agoo, there was already Manaoag and inspite (or maybe because) of Agoo, pilgrimage to this town has increased over the past few months. The trek to the shrine of Nuestra Señora de Manaoag or "Apo Baket" or the Lady Who Calls which has come to be known as the "Antipolo of the North" has never waned. The Virgin's in the outskirt of the town is another well-visited spot for its curative springs.
BAUTISTA- In summer, watermelon abound in this town where Jose L. Palma wrote the lyrics of the Philippine National Anthem. Julian Felipe, for his part, composed the patriotic hymn in a house near the Bautista railroad station which stands up to this day.
ALCALA- Its long "Great Wall," actually that of the multi-million Agno River Control dike which sometimes spares the town from the onslaught of floods, is a testament to man's efforts to preserve himself and fend for himself from natural adversities.
STO TOMAS- With well-trimmed agoho trees, shrubs and bushes lining its streetsides, Sto. Tomas, monickered the "cutest town" in Pangasinan. Looks like a dainty girl on her birthday.
VILLASIS- Hemmed in between two bustling areas, Urdaneta City and Carmen, Villasis is one of the fastest developing town in the province. Considered as a "Vegetable Basket", it also thrives on its rice, corn and tobacco plantations. Its hilly barangays situated along the Malasiqui boundary is a perfect place for resort developers and agri-businessmen.
URDANETA CITY- Next to Dagupan City, it is most alive business-wise, what with its share of banking institutions, multi-national firms, market complexes, entertainment row and cattle trading center, the largest north of Manila.
LAOAC- The youngest town in Pangasinan has potentials to approximate the greatness of its mother town, Manaoag, but it has yet to find what would make it unique.
BINALONAN- This town has to its name the titles "Model Urban Community" and "Cleanest Municipality in the Philippines" garnered during the seventies.
POZORRUBIO- The Buccat Hill and the Sugcong Spring in this town are bywords in local tourism. Its Dilan bamboocraft products are export fares.
SISON- Baguio-bound travellers make their entrances and exits and stopovers in this gateway to the City of Pines. Its 'covenant' with cultural minorities, extensive barangay beautification program and industrialization efforts are paving the way for its modernization. Residents of this town get away from it all in Mountain bato, a compsite and Antong Creek, a picnickers' destination.
SAN MANUEL- This hometown of Juan C. Laya, of Diwang Kayumanggi fame, is one of the best rice producers of Pangasinan. It has a dam site which serves as a favorite picnic ground for vacationists, the Butao Spring and a mountain boy scout campsite.
SAN NICOLAS- It this town lies the historic Red Arrow Movement, otherwise known as WWII Villaverde Trail campsite, and the Agpay reforestation area with its crystal clear brooks.
ASINGAN- The hometown of first Pangasinense President, Fidel Valdez Ramos, is a "Vegetable Country" for any which direction one looks, eggplants, ampalaya and tomatoes, in short, "pinakbet," greet the eyes.
TAYUG- The premier town in the northeastern part of the province, it figured prominently in Philippine history, having served as the site of the Colorum uprishing let by Pedro Calosa, an incident immortalized by novelist Kerima Polotan-Tuvera.
NATIVIDAD- A farming town, Natividad has shed off its once sleepy profile, all because of Pila resort, however underdeveloped, a hilly area frequented by picnickers.
STA MARIA- Grafted from the town of Tayug, Sta. Maria has quite a number of faith healers flocked by those who seek to be eased off their discomforts. This town, with its pristine beauty, provides a sofa for the senses.
SAN QUINTIN- Though its "Little Luneta" - its town plaza-has given way for other must-visit places, its Dipalo Watershed is keeping them coming for its unique charm.
ROSALES- Pangasinan ends and begins in Rosales. Its Barangay Carmen in particular is the take-off point to Dagupan City, Baguio City and Nueva Ecija. Its "tupig" is superb-reason enough for a stopover.
BALUNGAO- Once visited for its hot springs, it is nevertheless an interesting tourist stopover for an oddity, a Rizal monument built right in the middle of the road.
UMINGAN- A farming town, Umingan came into existence after its natives, harrassed no end by bandits, fought back, putting an end to banditry ("inmingan") and started living a peaceful life.
Thanks for stopping by! Maraming salamat po!
I hope you enjoyed your visit and please feel free to come again!
Last updated on 09/30/2008