Pangasinan Travel Guide

Itinerary, Things to do, How to get there and more

A province in the island of Luzon, Pangasinan is the third biggest province in the Philippines. The province got its name from “asin” -- “Pangasinan” means “the place of salt” -- owing to the rich salt beds the province is known for. Composed of 4 cities and 44 municipalities and diverse cultural heritage, Pangasinan boasts of lovely sandy beaches, fascinating caves, charming waterfalls, scenic landscapes, extensive coastline for fishing, beautiful old churches, delicious native delicacies and its crown jewel, the famous 123 islands and islets called Hundred Islands, also one of Luzon’s highlights. The primary verbal communication is Pangasinan language followed by Bolinao, Ilocano and Tagalog. English is also widely-spoken.

Where to go in Pangasinan

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Abrac Beach

Patar Bolinao, Pangasinan, Ilocos Region, 2406, Philippines

Balingasay River

Balisangay Bolinao, Pangasinan, Ilocos Region, 2406, Philippines

How to Get Here

Private vehicles and buses are the primary transportations when going to Pangasinan. If coming from Manila, one has to take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) for a 4 to 5 hours of travel time.

Travel time from other provinces:
· From Clark, Pampanga – 3 hours
· From Subic, Olongapo – 3.5 to 4 hours
· From Baguio City – 2 to 2.5 hours

Entry points:
· From Manila – via Urdaneta, Mangatarem or Bayambang
· From Zambales -- via Infanta
· From Baguio City – via Sison or San Fabian
· From Nueva Ecija – via Rosales or Umingan

There a number of bus companies going to this province such as:
· Victory Liner – this bus company has buses that runs every hour from Manila going to Alaminos., one of the provinces’ cities
· Five Star
· Dagupan Bus
· Santrans
· Genesis
· Partas
· Viron

Almost all bus companies charge less than Php 500.00 per one way. Jeepneys and tricycles are aplenty in the province for commuting to one area to another.

Popular Food

Bolinao has a unique “kakanin” cooked inside a bamboo with banana leaf as the cover and is called ‘binungey’. Also called as bamboo cake, binungey is made of sticky rice and eaten with brown sugar.

(c) @chekenn /

Almost every province in the Philippines has a delicacy attached to its name. For Pangasinan, it is the sweet and chewy tupig. It is made of ground glutinous rice and coconut strips, wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over charcoal, giving it a distinct taste.

(c) @jagarnet /

One of Dagupan’s traditional dishes is made of tender carabao’s meat and innards in a delicious hot broth called “kaleskes”. It is a dish that is comparable to ‘papaitan’. Once cooked, animal fat or “sebo” is mixed into the hot soup for that “quirky taste”.

(c) @yelyadz /

Another popular dish in Pangasinan is pigar-pigar; a simple dish made of thinly sliced beef meat and liver, deep-fried and served with fresh slices of onions and cabbage. The dish came originally from Alaminos, but is now sold commonly in the province, especially in Dagupan where it is one of the city’s dominant street foods.

(c) @abypee /

Best Time to Go

Best time to visit Pangasinan is during the months of January to March. Tourists pack the beaches of the province during the months of April and May. Ordinary weekends also saw the flocks of tourists going to the Shrine of Manaoag.

The merry month of May is the celebration of Pangasinan’s Mother of All Festivals – the week long Pista’y Dayat, a thanksgiving festival that celebrates the bounty of the sea. It is also during this month when it highlights the milk fish aquaculture industry of the province through the much awaited Bangus Festival. Both festivals add up to the excitement of going to Pangasinan in summertime.

Sunblock and light weight or loose-fitting clothes are the top pick when exploring “The Place Where Salt Is Made”.

What to Do

Go island hopping
Visit the much celebrated Hundred Island National Park in Alaminos. Camp or stay overnight in any of the 4 major developed islands and enjoy different activities like snorkeling, kayaking or simply take pleasure in sunrise and sunset viewing.
Explore the Lingayen Capitol Area
Considered as the most beautiful capitol in the country, marvel at its impressive architecture and formality. Located near the capitol is another beautiful architecture, the Orduja Palace, the official household of the governor. Some parts of the palace are open for public viewing with no entrance fees to be collected. Another point of interest is the Veterans Park. It’s an open museum that tells the story of the province in the course of WWII.
Spend a day at the beach
Pangasinan has beautiful and raw beaches perfect for beach lovers. Explore the beaches of Bolinao and have a dose of vitamin sea.
Visit the Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine
The province is synonymous with the church located on a hill in the town, the celebrated Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag. A pilgrimage site, the basilica is often filled with devotees and tourists even on ordinary days.
River cruising on Balingasay River
Pangasinan’s answer to Bohol’s Loboc River Cruise, Balingasay River Cruise is a relaxing activity, where aside from enjoying the scenic views along the river, a hearty dining experience also goes with it. Feast on delicious local cuisine while cruising through on one of the Philippines’ cleanest bodies of water.

Estimated Costs

Depending on the place of origin and destination, travel to Pangasinan is roughly 4 hours to 6 hours. Bus fare is Php 459.00 on an aircon bus and Php 351.00 for an ordinary bus.
Resorts and hotels are scattered all over the province. A budget room starts at Php 700.00 while a first class accommodation is priced at Php 6, 000.00 plus a night.
Carenderia and eateries abound in the different towns which can save you some money. An austere meal costs around Php 75.00 while a splurge can cost Php 350.00 to Php 400.00.
Tourist Attraction Entrance Fee
Starts at Php 40.00
Tricycle Fare
A DIY tour in Bolinao is possible by chartering a tricycle that can carry 3 to 4 passengers and costs around Php 1,200.00 to Php 1,500.00. It covers a day of exploring Bolinao’s attractions like Patar Beach, St. James Church, Cape Bolinao Lighthouse and the Enchanted Cave.
Jeepney Fare
Php 8.00 minimum fare
Boat rental
Island hopping can be done by renting a boat and boat rental fee starts at Php 1,200.00 to Php 2,000.00.
Average price per day
Php 800.00 – Php 1,300.00