Showing posts with label Bolinao. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bolinao. Show all posts

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pangasinan: Puto Calasiao, talaba and more from Pangasinan

This year, I've seen Pangasinan quite often. During the latest trip to distribute Northbound Magazine, we drove again fron Tarlac all the way to Bolinao. Along the way, you could stop by the churches of Mangatarem, Aguilar, Salasa, Lingayen, Alaminos and finally Bolinao.

We stayed at Puerto del Sol for the night. It's definitely the best hotel in Bolinao. We weren't able to pass by Patar Beach or Tondol Beach anymore the next day since we wanted to find some nice beaches in Dasol. On the way to Dasol, we visited the Agno Church.

The bad news was the roads to Dasol's white sand beaches were quite rough and no way was I going to drive my car through the rough road. So we turned back and made our way to Dagupan. Between Lingayen and Dagupan is the town of Binmaley. The Binmaley Church has a really massive belfry.

As we entered Dagupan, one thing I noticed was the abundance of talaba, kampis, kalansipay and lukan sold in stalls along the National Highway. I was told they come all the way from Alaminos.

Before driving back to Manila, we made one last stop in the town of Calasiao. The Calasiao Church is of course a National Cultural Treasure. But the town is better known for producing sweet white puto which we all know as Puto Calasiao. Aside from the kutsinta also being sold there, the puto now comes in various flavors which include mango, banana, strawberry, pandan and ube.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pangasinan: Patar Beach in Bolinao, Pangasinan

Patar Beach in Bolinao, Pangasinan is another Pangasinan beach worth visiting. It's actually one of the more popular beaches in Pangasinan, with a good number of resorts in the area. And their numbers are growing. It's very picturesque with strong blue waves lashing at the cream sand along the shore. We left Anda early in the afternoon to proceed to Bolinao, look for a resort to stay for the night, and enjoy our second beach for the day!

In the center of Bolinao town is the centuries-old Bolinao Church (the parish is celebrating its 400th year this year). In front of the church is a marker pushing forward the claim that the first Mass on Philippine soil was celebrated in Bolinao Bay in 1324 by Blessed Odorico, a Franciscan missionary on his way to China, who took refuge in Bolinao Bay during a storm.

The last time I was in Bolinao, I visited the U.P. Marine Science Institute and stayed in a hotel in town. This time, I made sure we stayed at Patar Beach. The beach is actually several more kilometers from the town proper. And along the way is a long row of resorts that offer accommodation ranging from nipa huts to pricey hotel rooms and beach villas.

On the way to Patar Beach is another iconic attraction of Bolinao, the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse. The lighthouse, constructed in 1905, is one of five major lighthouses of the country and the second tallest after Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos Norte.

Patar Beach is actually at the end of the road. Resorts usually charge you PHP30 for parking and you can enjoy this really great beach. There are also huts for rent for the day. Just a warning though, while the cream sand on the beach feels really great, once you get into the water, it becomes rocky and it's difficult to walk on.

If you want to stay right beside Patar Beach, there's only one decent resort there, Treasures of Bolinao, where we chose to stay for the night. And they capitalize on the fact that they don't have competition with really high rates. They have a nice elevated walkway where you can see Patar Beach from end to end or view the picture-perfect Bolinao sunset.

The rest of the resorts in Patar Beach only have basic accommodation such as nipa huts. But if you're willing to drive back to Brgy. Ilog Malino, there are more choices such as Puerto del Sol, another high-end resort.

Part 1: Tondol Beach in Anda, Pangasinan

How to get to Bolinao, Pangasinan
Victory Liner and Five Star have several bus trips from Manila to Bolinao daily. Trips begin at about 7 a.m. and leave at intervals of 2 to 3 hours.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pangasinan: Visita iglesia to Western Pangasinan churches

Pangasinan has a lot of heritage churches. And it being a really big province, the churches are scattered all over. One route is the Western Pangasinan route from Camiling, Tarlac to Bolinao, Pangasinan. I noticed old churches in the towns of Mangatarem, Aguilar, Bugallon, Lingayen, Labrador, Alaminos, and Bolinao.

The first stop is the church in Mangatarem. You can't miss the Mangatarem Church because of its large green dome. The convento beside it is also intact but renovations have been done to the interior.

Aguilar is a next town. The Aguilar Church is very much intacts since the simple ceiling paintings, its wooden retablo and the convento are still there. I hope it stays that way.

Bugallon does not seem to have an old church. That's because the old town church is not along the National Highway. You'll have to enter Brgy. Salasa to see this old red brick church. The Salasa Church even has remnants of its old perimeter wall still standing.

Since I started late in the afternoon, I stayed in Lingayen for the night. It's a coastal town and if you're very observant, you'll notice some colorful birds every now and then. The Lingayen Co-Cathedral (its co-cathedral is in Dagupan). This one is a depressing story. And it is a blatant example of Roman Catholic Church, Inc. which I mentioned in the visita iglesia in Batangas post.

The centuries-old convento was demolished and a commercial structure was built to replace it, all under the watch of Archbishop Oscar Cruz. I expected much more from Archbishop Cruz. This incident is very sad.

When in Lingayen, make sure to drop by the Pangasinan Capitol and Lingayen Beach which is famous because of the MacArthur Landings during the Second World War. Several years back, even the Spanish colonial Casa Real was still intact. But a typhoon blew off its roof and it's now in a very sad situation.

On the way to Alaminos, you'll pass by the town of Labrador. I noticed the church was a bit old but I wasn't able to stop to investigate it further. Alaminos Cathedral, just like many cathedrals, has been renovated inside. It's sad because many of the old houses are still intact. I wonder when they demolished the orginal municipio because the plaza would have made an interesting cultural tourism attraction.

I hope Mayor Hernani Braganza realizes the strong potential of Alaminos, not just as an eco-tourism destination, but as a cultural and culinary destination. I'd really enjoy it if some of those old houses were converted into restaurants that serve Alaminos longaniza among other things! It would be a great stopover when visiting the Hundred Islands or Bolinao.

At the end of the road is Bolinao Church. I'll talk more about Bolinao in a different post. But worth mentioning is that it is challenging the claim of Limasawa as the site of the first Mass in the Philippines. Records say that it was Italian missionary Blessed Odorico who, on his way to china, said the first Mass when he took refuge in Bolinao Bay during a storm in 1324. The claim further mentions that he even baptized several locals making him the first evangelizer in the Philippines.

You can also do the Central Pangasinan route which takes you to Manaoag, Calasiao, San Carlos and Binmaley among others.

Part 2: Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan
Part 3: Tondol White Sand Beach in Anda, Pangasinan during high tide

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pangasinan: Marine research in Bolinao

What a day! I'm about to leave the Bolinao Marine Lab of the UP MSI for my trip back to Pampanga. It seems my laptop crashed so I'm using Sasa's for the meantime. Just my luck! Anyway, I helped Sasa in the field this morning. At the moment, he is a research assistant for a sea cucumber breeding projet of the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research. They are developing culture of a certain species of sea cucumber - Holothuria scabra, not only for commercial purposes but for re-seeding depleted stocks as well.

One thing the Philippines fails to realize is its potential competitive advantage in aquaculture. The said sea cucumbers we were working on are among the most expensive, if not the most expensive in the market. The photo on the right are young H. scabra sea cucumbers that were bred at the lab which we were going to plant in the research pens near Santiago Island. If only the goverment spent more on research and development, not just in aquaculture, but in various fields since we have so much raw talent and natural resources available here in the country.

We took a pump boat from the lab to waters near Santiago Island where research is ongoing on various projects. Another project which they are working on is the breeding of sea urchins for re-seeding as well. Stocks have been depleted (see comment below) since fishermen overcollected them in the 80s and the 90s for the Japanese uni market. While Sasa and his assistants were putting the young sea cucumbers in their pens, I went snorkelling amongst the sea grass to check out the wildlife and saw quite a number. In my hand are a sea urchin - Tripneustes gratilla, and a starfish - Protoreaster nodosus. The urchin in my hand is the one they breed for uni.

After that, we went to check out the pens of the older sea cucumbers to dig out for them. These were brought back to the lab for monitoring and weighing, then thrown back into the pens. Yikes! I didn't realize digging for sea cucumbers would be hard since they burrow themselves under the sand. It took us quite a while to find them. Hehe!

When we finally got all of them, we went to another side of Bolinao to harvest Sargassum. There was none on the side we were on since most of it was already consumed by the sea urchins. The sea weeds are processed in a blender and is used to feed the sea cucumbers in the hatchery.

We're now back at the lab. Now that Sasa and his assistant are weighing the sea cucumbers, I'm typing my blog entry. Hehe!

How to get to Bolinao, Pangasinan
Victory Liner and Five Star have several bus trips from Manila to Bolinao daily. Trips begin at about 7 a.m. and leave at intervals of 2 to 3 hours.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Pangasinan: Driving to the edge of Pangasinan

Another road trip today. It's so difficult when you don't have a digital camera so I had to rely on my mobile phone. I was in Rosales, Pangasinan this morning to do some research. And I decided to finish my work here in Bolinao right by the beach. At least the atmosphere is more relaxed. And I was able to check mail thanks to my brod Sasa Miralao who is a marine biologist at the Bolinao Laboratory of the UP Marine Science Institute (UP MSI) which has WiFi access. Hehe!

It was quite a long but leisurely drive from Rosales to Bolinao. It takes you from the southeast to northwestern tip of Pangasinan. I made a stop at San Carlos City since I was attracted by its old church (above). Lo and behold! It was very much intact but there was evidence of ongoing renovation which could be potentially destructive. Will someone please tell these priests and parish pastoral councils to stop touching all these heritage churches. In fact, they were painting the old floor tiles white. Duh! That is not the way to clean tiles!

After San Carlos was Calasiao. The old church and convento, and even the lot around it was very well- preserved. But for crying out loud, they plastered the walls of both buildings with cement! Strike two for the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. It was then off to Binmaley (both photos on the right). Really nice church! Red brick like San Carlos and Calasiao. But when you enter, another horror renovation... modernized to look like some European church. Please, please... we have our own church heritage to be proud of here in the Philippines. Let's keep these old folksy Filipino churches Filipino! Strike three!

It was off to Lingayen, the provincial capital, which I featured in an earlier entry. Hats off to Gov. Victor Agbayani for restoring the provincial capitol. But thumbs down to the Lingayen parish priest who demolished a charming brick convento, replacing it with a new shopping arcade right beside the church! Strike four for the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan! I'm surprised Archbishop Oscar Cruz is allowing this to happen under his watch, especially since during the time he was Archbishop of San Fernando, Pampanga, he moved heaven and earth to create the Archdiocesan Archives and Museum. I hope he puts his foot down and stops this destruction from continuing in his jurisdiction. More than the jueteng, I think he should keep his eyes on the whims and caprices of these construction-frenzied priests. Again, stop touching heritage churches! And if you plan to restore them, get technical support from the Heritage Conservation Society, NCCA, NHI or National Museum.

Ligayen still has a lot of government buildings intact, as well as charming houses along the streets of the poblacion. One of these is the old casa municipal of the town (above). Beside it is the the provincial jail which is a heritage building itself (right). I hope Gov. Agbayani is able to convince LGUs in his jurisdiction to follow his lead.

It was off to Alaminos City, home of the Hundred Islands National Park. And just like the rest of the churches I passed by, the interior of Alaminos has been modernized beyond recognition. But there are still a number of well-preserved houses which have been put into good use. At least these owners are doing adaptive reuse without knowing they are!

Since it was already late, I decided to forego the Hundred Islands visit for another day. Bolinao was still quite a distance away. But the trip was most worth it. I was greeted by an old limestone church in the poblacion which looked like a fortress (left). Sasa met me there and we both went to the Bolinao Lighthouse in Patar which was about thirty minutes away (below).

The view from the foot of the 1905 lighthouse was spledid. It would be nice to watch the sun set on the South China Sea from there but we didn't want to drive in the dark so we went back to town after taking some photos.

On the way back, we stopped along a bridge to take photos of the mouth of the Balingasay River, which the Municipal Government of Bolinao declared a marine protected area in 1999. The initiative to protect this marine sanctuary came from the local government unit (LGU) for which they won the Philippine Wetlands Conservation Award in 2004. Had the LGU not stepped in, Balingasay's mangrove area could have been a part of the quarry area of a cement plant complex proposed by an international consortium of companies or damaged by environment-destructive fish pens and fish cages.

For dinner, we had street food at the plaza. I bought their native kakanin (rice cake) which they call binungay. It's suman (glutinuous rice cake) roasted in bamboo. They sell it in various sizes depending on the diameter of the bamboo stalk. And they have a funny way of opening it. According to the tindera (hawker) you had to smash the bamboo container by either pounding it on a rock or slicing it open with a bolo in order to eat the rice cake. So smash it we did. Hehe! Like most suman, it is best eaten with ripe mangoes or coco jam. I also had isaw baboy and manok (roasted pork and chicken intestines), mami (noodle soup) and fried chicken as well.

After I checked-in, we went straight to the UP MSI so that I could check mail and type my blog entry for today. Tonight, I work on the project I need to finish. Tomorrow, I join Sasa to nearby Santiago Island to help him out with his sea cucumber experiment. Then its back to Pampanga after lunch via Zambales.

How to get to Bolinao, Pangasinan
Victory Liner and Five Star have several bus trips from Manila to Bolinao daily. Trips begin at about 7 a.m. and leave at intervals of 2 to 3 hours.
Related Posts with Thumbnails