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3 perfect days in Pangasinan
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: Ma. Teresa C. De Guzman-Pau
Date: 2003-03-03
Want to escape from the hustle & bustle of city life? The perfect get away where you can unwind and have a refreshing and enchanting experience is… Pangasinan.

This was what I discovered when I, together with my mother, Lydia Crisostomo-de Guzman and my godmother and family friend, Rainelda Odiver embarked on a three-day swing of tourist towns of Pangasinan not only to visit a number of “must see’’ places in the province but also to retrace my roots on my maternal ancestors’ side in the capital town of Lingayen.

Driving from Manila, our first stop was the San Fabian PTA Beach Resort located at barangay Bolasi, San Fabian.

The resort, a property of the Philippine Tourism Authority, is of native architecture and predominantly made of native materials. It offers to the public accommodation, conference and dining facilities.

The place is 4-hour drive by car from Manila via Urdaneta-Dagupan route & coastal highway of Damortis; two-and-a-half to three hours drive from Baguio City via Marcos Highway; 2 ½ to 3 hrs. via Naguilian Road; two hours via Kennon Road; one hour from San Fernando La Union and 30 minutes from Dagupan City; and 10 minutes from the San Fabian town proper.

My good-looking cousin Dong Crisostomo, who happens to be the officer in charge of the San Fabian resort and at the same time the regional operations manager for Central Luzon PTA properties warmly welcomed us to the famous place where upon our arrival we took a late lunch al fresco style at the resthouse’s wide verandah.

We could hardly wait to finish our lunch for the attraction of the sandy beach made more beautiful by a vast vista of blue ocean in front of us was irresistible. We then ran into the beach like children again and playfully evaded the waves as they rolled onto the shore. Sea smell filled the air. The experience was so invigorating that we stayed there for awhile to nonchalantly watch the splendor of the sunset as the gentle breeze cooled our skin.

After dinner, we stayed at one of the picnic sheds scattered along the beach. To entertain ourselves, we played our favorite songs at the resort’s karaoke bar. My cousin Amalia who resides in Binmaley, Pangasinan and her friend Vanessa acted as our tourist guides making our trip in Pangasinan more enjoyable, meaningful and memorable.

We occupied a one-unit presidential suite consisting of two double rooms that could accommodate four persons, more than enough for the three of us. My cousin Dong said Gov. Bong-Bong Marcos used to stay in this suite.

The resort also has aircon and carpeted rooms with private bath and toilet, hot and cold running water, tv sets and ref; 2 units of twin-bedded (beachfront rooms, pink, and blue room); single and double/twin room with maximum four pax; guestroom consisting of four units; single and double/twin with maximum of three pax per room; hotel rooms consisting of 13 units; single and double twin rooms (maximum of three pax per room); hotel rooms, 13 units; single and double/twin rooms (maximum of three pax per room); dormitory rooms consisting of 13 units, four beds per room.

Guests of the San Fabian Resort can spend their leisure time playing indoor games like mahjong, volleyball, pingpong, badminton, chess board and scrabble. They can also relax and swim in the warm waters of Lingayen Gulf or the resort’s man-made pool as they watch the sea birds dive for fish.

The following morning, we moved on to our next destination: the town of Manaoag to visit the Shrine of the Nuestra Señora de Manaoag popularly known as “Apo Baket’’ situated atop a hill. Known all over the country, the shrine is frequented by devotees especially on Saturdays, and Sundays. While here, we heard Mass and offered petitions & prayers for our friends & loved ones.

We then proceeded to Vista Des Isla, Brgy. Lucap, Alaminos, Pangasinan where we were met by Paul Demetria, a very unassuming man who happens to be the owner of the resort. I was dying to visit the Hundred Islands, which is just across the hotel. A number of bancas were available to ferry us to the islands, but we arrived late in the afternoon and because of the high tide we decided to forego of the trip.

Scattered off the coast of Lucap are over a hundred islands and islets often visited by tourists because of their natural beauty. On many points between the islets, the water is shallow enough for swimming, boating and snorkeling.

Anyhow, we enjoyed a sumptuous meal and were treated with excellent service from among the staff. After breakfast, the following morning we headed to our final destination — Lingayen, the hometown of my mother and the Crisostomo clan of Pangasinan. We visited our relatives at Tito Pedro & Tita Helen Crisostomo’s residence where we had a hearty conversation with them not to mention the lavish seafood prepared just for us. We stayed at the Hotel Consuelo Resort & Chinese Restaurant at Alvier St., cor. Maramba blvd. in Lingayen with our hosts Dr. Salvador and writer-wife Mita Sison-Duque. Since the hotel was located near the Lingayen Beach, we again strolled along the shores like we used to do during our youth with my brothers and sisters.

Later in the evening, I went swimming at the resort’s man-made pool. The following morning, after a restful sleep and a relaxing experience, I wanted to stay longer in Lingayen but it was already time to leave. As we drove back to Manila, we brought home with us happy memories and an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. Goodbye Pangasinan. See you again!

[ The Hundred Islands ]


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