PANGASINAN TRAVEL INFORMATION
The province of Pangasinan is frequented for its beautiful beaches. The summer is always a festive season for Pangasinenses when the beaches such as those that lie in one portion of Lingayen Gulf adjacent to the Provincial Capitol - and other such destinations come alive as color-filled festivals are mounted and an array of fruit-bearing trees are at their peak. Foremost of the attractions are the Hundred Islands,- a long-popular group of islands and islets, looking like giant turtles, scattered off the coast of Lucap in Alaminos. Now develop, they lie ensconced in the 1,844-hectare nature and recreational park called the Hundred Islands National Park.
But it is Pangasinans delectable cuisines that bring out the true flavor of the land's origins. Etymologically, the term Pangasinan means - the place where salt is made," owing to the rich and fine salt beds that were the prime source of livelihood in the province's coastal towns. Today, salt is still being produced in abundance, creating not a few fortunes for some enterprising families, although much of its use is for industry. Another name for the region, but not as widely known, was Caboloan. In the native language, the word Bolo refers to a species of bamboo that was abundant in the interior areas, and favored in the practice of weaving light baskets and winnowing plates called bilao. Historians believe that both names may have been used at the same time.
A local product that has become synonymous with Pangasinan is bagoong, or fermented fish sauce. Salt, of course, is its prime ingredient. Mud-colored and with a strong smell, bagoong has captured the national palate. Native cuisine, mostly Ilocano in origin, owes its authenticity to the lowly bagoong. Taking from the spare and starkly humble lifestyle of the Pangasinense, with his dependence on the sea and rivers and the land, bagoong lends itself well to the local diet. Mixed with plain, fresh vegetables - like okra, squash, and eggplant in an invigorating broth or as a dip for grilled catfish or Bonuan bangus (milkfish), bagoong has become a familiar sight at the dinner table of most households.
Due to its coastal towns, Pangasinan also has an abundance of bangus. The bountiful harvest of milkfish is celebrated through the Bangus Festival, a merry feast highlighted by the longest grillcompetition, street dancing, and 101 ways of cooking bangus.
Pre-Hispanic Pangasinan traded actively with the Chinese. Tang, Sung and Ming dynasty porcelains were excavated in archeological sites in the province, giving evidence of strong trade relations with the merchants from the Middle Kingdom. Most of the region was under the influence of a powerful political entity called Layug na Caboloan. Pangasinan meaning place of salt then used to refer only to the coastal region where salt-making was and still is being practiced.
Spanish conquest and colonization began in 1571 under Martin de Goiti, who penetrated the region from Pampanga. A year later, Juan de Salcedo sailed up the western coast and landed at the mouth of the Agno River. Governor Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñaloza made Pangasinan an Alcaldia Mayor in 1580, and in 1611, this region became a province. At the time, its territory included the present province of Zambales and parts of La Union and Tarlac with Lingayen as its capital.
Soon after the Spaniards conquered Pangasinan, it came under threat of another foreign invasion. Limahong, the Chinese corsair who failed to take Manila, tried to build a settlement at Lingayen, in 1574. However, he was also forced out of Lingayen leaving only the Limahong Channel, a tunnel dug for six months that served as his escape route as the only lasting legacy of his failed attempt.
Several disturbances centered in Pangasinan attest to the Pangasinenses struggle for liberty during the Spanish era. In 1660, Andres Malong tried to establish a kingdom over an area from Ilocos to Pampanga free of Spanish domination. Malong sent able generals to conquer the region, threatening the hold of Spanish colonial government over the areas. In 1762, another Pangasinense leader, Juan de la Cruz Palaris rebelled against the Spanish imposition of the tribute. For two years Palaris led the revolt, which spread across Pangasinan and affected other provinces of northern Luzon.
In the 19th century the province rapidly developed as a result of the extension of agriculture into the forested interior regions. The influx of migrants from the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur into the western and eastern portions of the province spurred the transformation of Pangasinan into the main rice granary of Luzon. By 1855, the port of Sual was opened to foreign commerce. In 1891, the Manila-Dagupan Railroad was opened, vastly improving transportation between Pangasinan and Manila and opening more lands to agriculture.
During the Filipino-American War (1899-1901), Bayambang was a temporary capital of the Republic. It was in Bayambang that General Emilio Aguinaldo disbanded the regular Revolutionary Army and organized guerrilla units to fight the American forces. The Americans established civil government in Pangasinan in 1901.
During the Second World War, Lingayen Gulf was strategically important in the plans of both Japanese and American forces to take Luzon. In December 1941, Japanese invasion forces led by General Masaharu Homma landed at White Beach and began the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. The Americans also landed in San Fabian in the Lingayen Gulf in 1945, which signaled the beginning of the liberation of the island of Luzon from the Japanese.
In the 2000 census, Pangasinan including its 3 cities had a population of 2,434,086. The 2000 population count by the National Statistics Office showed a 2.41% increase in the population of Pangasinan from the 1995 records. Dagupan City's population reached 130,328, San Carlos City had a population of 154,264 while Urdaneta City had 111,582. The capital town of Lingayen had a population of 88,891.
English and Filipino are widely spoken and the basic tools of instruction in schools. Pangasinense is spoken in the central part of the province while Ilocano is spoken mostly by the people in the western and eastern towns. Bolinao has a dialect of its own.
Agriculture-based industries remain to be the source of income of many. Prominent industries are bagoong-making, handicrafts, gifts, toys and houseware-making.
From Luzon, buses and jeepneys to Pangasinan are available. Average travel time is 4-5 hours, faster by private car.
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