Cagbalete Island

Cagbalete is an island in the town of Mauban Quezon, about three hours east of Metro Manila. It is situated on Lamon Bay together with Balesin, Alabat and Polilio Islands. Its proximity to Manila and its uncrowded beaches is a plus point for Cagbalete Island. Cagbalete Island is a 1,640.4874-hectare property in Quezon Province. Although all areas of the island are privately-owned, the southwestern part of it is populated by a number of Visayan fisherfolks who have settled in the idle lands. Known as “Sabang”, this fishing village can be estimated to be populated by over a thousand people. These people have learned to live through by earning money from fishing, farming (there are ricefields in certain areas), woodcutting, getting lumber and copra, and drying/ processing seaweeds..


Cagbalete or “Cabalete” in some maps, is truly a rare jewel. It is home to a number of species of land animals and sea creatures. Kingfishers, parrots, eagles, and other uncommon birds can usually be seen flying over the area of the island. It is also the habitat of the coconut crab or “kuray” (the Cagbalete favorite), starfishes, “alimasag”, “umang”, etc., and a long time ago, the “pawikan” (giant sea turtle). For divers and snorkeling-fanatics, underwater exploration is a treat with the diverse and colorful marine life that can be discovered beneath the rocks and corals.


The changing of tides is very evident in Cagbalete. During low tide, the waters can move as far back as 1 kilometer, leaving the shore dry and exposing all the rocks and corals that may be underneath. The low tide-high tide cycle occurs twice in a day, so if there is low tide during lunch time, high tide will come late in the afternoon, and the next low tide will occur at midnight, depending on the season.

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Pangasinan

Pangasinan is known for “Asin” and “Bagoong”

PangASINan was one of the early provinces into which the island of Luzon was divided after the arrival of the Spaniards. Pangasinan was then formally created as a province by Governor-General Ronquillo de Peñalosa in 1580.

Etymologically, the term Pangasinan means the “place where salt is made”, owing to the rich and fine salt beds which were the prime source of livelihood for the province’s coastal towns.

Another name for the region, but not as widely known is Caboloan. The word Bolo in the native language 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. 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.

A local product that has become synonymous with Pangasinan is bagoong, or fermented fish sauce. Salt of course, is the prime ingredient. Mud-colored 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, bagoong brings out the true flavor of the land’s origins.

The Northern Gate

Pangasinan is a crescent-shaped province that occupies 5,368.82 square kilometers of verdant farmlands, hills, forests and rivers. To the east, it is bounded by the mighty Cordillera Mountains, the Zambales ranges to the west, the rice plains of Tarlac to the south and the Lingayen Gulf and the China Sea to the north. Because of this strategic geographical positioning, it has always been described as a gateway of sorts. Most travellers going up North often remember Pangasinan as the place where they had last seen some semblance of civilization, comparing it with the sparsely populated regions of the Ilocos and the Cagayan Valley (with the exception of Baguio and the old Spanish towns of Vigan and Laoag).

Connections

Historian Rosario Mendoza Cortes writes in her book, Pangasinan 1572-1800 that according to Bishop Domingo de Salazar, Pangasinan “was forty leagues distant from Manila either by land or by sea.” Roughly translated, travelers of old normally take about thirty-hours to reach Manila via horse and carriage. After the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, travel time was normally 5 to 7 hours as normal route points like Bamban and Mabalacat were closed temporarily. Today, 5 hours is the norm although private vehicles can sometimes negotiate the route under 4 hours. Most major bus companies ply the Manila-Pangasinan route complemented by a host of local bus lines, which can be hired for private purposes and tours. Most bus services operate on a 24-hour basis. Media services are active in Pangasinan. National dailies as well as local publications (several weeklies and one daily) are available. There are 20 radio stations and one regional television station. Cable services have mushroomed even in areas far from the urbanized centers of Dagupan, Urdaneta and Alaminos. At the latest survey, Pangasinan has the highest tele-density in the country outside of Metro Manila with the presence of three major telecommunication companies.

The Gifts of the Earth and Sea

Pangasinan is rooted to the earth – agriculture based production remains as a major source of income for the majority of the populace. Aqua-culture is also popular in areas where instead of farmlands, variated squares of artificial ponds for fish rearing are found. Through the years, as the demand for particular fish stocks rose and fell, fishpond owners have adapted by sticking to traditionally favored, and stable growing fish species like the bangus or milkfish, the malaga and prawns. With agriculture currently mobilizing more than half of the local labor force, the current administration has seen the need to boost its efforts in this area.

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Patar Beach Bolinao, Pangasinan

Patar is one of the fine beaches in Luzon. Situated at the northwestern tip of Pangasinan and Lingayen Gulf, the scenic town of Bolinao boasts of a number of pristine beaches regarded to be some of the bests in the province. An au fait traveler should have known by now that the towns Patar beach tops the list of must visit place in this part of the province. The white beach in Barangay Patar is a scenic spot ideal for tourism purposes.

Considered as a hidden treasure of Bolinao, Patar beach is a gem for the beach bums and the nature lovers as well. Though its sand may not be as pure white and refined as that of Boracays, its clear aquamarine waters and unspoiled surroundings are as inviting as any of the top beaches in the country. For travelers who constantly avoid crowded and over-developed beaches, the Patar beach of Bolinao is the best fit.

There are several resorts along the beach that offer decent rates for budget travelers. Most of these resorts in Patar are made of the typical bamboo and palm huts which add to the bucolic charm of this tourist spot.

But before you’ll get to paradise, you’ll have to encounter first a rough road that is really worth around 30 minutes of your time. The tourism infrastructures are not yet well developed but there are several resorts near the white beach. There is an old lighthouse that stands on a hill near the beach which is the landmark of the place. Going farther from the shoreline are cliffs and picturesque rock-formations. Moreover, the locals are friendly and helpful to the tourists. Certainly an idyllic place for a vacation get-away.

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