I think there was a time in Philippine tourism when we had a “Zipline Craze”. After a few successful ziplines in Davao, Bukidnon and my favorite, Lake Sebu, suddenly, a lot of province I had visited to wants to add a zipline as their attraction. In my head I was screaming “Not another zipline!” as a tourism officer enthusiastically shares their plan on site. In Pangasinan, there’s Balungao Hilltop Adventure view that claims to have the longest zipline in the country at 1.4km long. Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve heard of the municipality of Balungao. If not for Lakbay Norte 5, this would remain out of my radar. And guess what? We get to try their zipline and more.
The guard seemed puzzled that a guest would be heading to the beach as early as four a.m. “Mag sho-shoot lang po sir! (I’m gonna shoot some photos sir!)” I said. “Ah cge sir! (Go ahead sir!” he replied with a smile as he unlocks the side door. It was the main gate from El Puerto Marina Beach Resort and its a few meters walk to the beach walking, by the resort fence on a dirt path. The nocturnal salty air got stronger as I near the shore. I seemed to have stirred the attention of a resident dog who doesn’t stop barking seeing (or was it smelling) my presence there. Another guard doing his round saw me and I sent a quick wave to let him know I saw him there and start setting up my tripod for a shoot. The landscape was well-lit by the waning crescent moon. I wanted to shoot stars but this dreamy and solemn landscape will do. Lingayen beach in all its vast morning-glory unseen in slumber.
A 4–5 hours drive in a private van from Manila to western part of Lingayen, in North Pangasinan led us to El Puerto Marina Beach Resort. A resort that seemed to be at its lonesome on the western end of Lingayen Beach. Secluded and far-flung. Within its gate and fenced property is a fairly large area. There’s enough parking space for at least 5 vehicles. There’s a fishing pond, a pavilion for dining and if you look closely by the reception counter, a small pond with an arapaima.
There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.
It was just last weekend when I got invited to stay for a night in Lingayen, Pangasinan. It was an invitation hard to pass as the last time I was in this area was during a Lakbay Norte tour. It was an easy, sort of laid back escape spending most of our time at this wonderful resort called El Puerto Marina Resort and got to see the preparation for the 70th Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Allied Force Landing. The weather was just wonderful that time, cold, sky was clear amidst the partial full moon brightening up the landscape. I missed the milky way that I wanted to shoot so I just waited for the sunrise. I really like the beach in Lingayen. It may be gray but it was really wide and the sand was really fine. It was really pleasant to walk around barefoot. With time in my hands, I had some crazy idea popped into my head and shot this one. This Nikon Shot was to document the surreal morning experience I had with this wonderful morning landscape while I Spotify at the “Smooth Morning” playlist. Shot with the Nikon D7100, check out the settings below.
The afternoon was easing down from the height of activity early morning. From the Patupat factory at Pozorrubio, we drove to neighboring town of Manaoag to visit its famous church. I’ve heard about the Manoaog Church ever since I was little since it is one of the most visited churches in the country due to its many miracles. It’s about 400 years old since the arrival of the original Ivory Image of Our Lady of Manaoag which was brought in from Spain via Acapulco. We were given at least 15 minutes to go around the church.
It’s downtime after a few hours of extreme activities from PUGO Adventure in La Union. Indeed everyone seemed to have fun on that stop as our bus was a lot quieter this time with people snatching some sleep as we head to Pangasinan. Our next stop was the Patupat factory in Pozorrubio. Patupat is a native sticky rice Pangasinan Ilocano delicacy. It’s much like the other glutinous rice made as snacks or desserts like suman and tupig but on a different form and preparation.
It was 7 days, 1798 kilometers, 9 Conventions and Visitors Bureau (CVBs), 8 provinces in 4 regions, 26 people on one bus on a trip around Northern Luzon. This is the Lakbay Norte Familiarization tour held January 24-31, 2010. I’ve always wanted to do a horseshoe loop of north Luzon and I was glad I was able to do it with the help of North Philippines Visitors Bureau. It was packed, tiring but also fun and exciting. For those who would like to try the similar route, this would be a great reference on what to expect.