Pangasinan, the chief producer of salt in the Philippines, has one of the most captivating municipalities in the country: Lingayen.
Going around the capital town of Pangasinan can take around a day or two, depending on your pace. But if you would like to grasp more of its history, sites, and beauty, a week should be enough.
It’s a travel-worthy destination that lets you retrace our former presidents’ roots, learn the value of history and its heroes, enjoy the grey sands of a nearby beach, and more. Going on a capitol tour and visiting these eight spots is a definite must-try when visiting Lingayen.
1. Aguedo Agbayani Park
It was already dark when my friends and I decided to explore the nearby sites of Lingayen. We were staying at The President Hotel at the time, so we were near the capitol. It might have been nightfall already. But that didn’t stop us from going out, as our surroundings exuded such a peaceful and safe vibe.
After walking for five minutes, we finally arrived at the Aguedo Agbayani Park, a recreational area that was named after Governor Aguedo Agbayani. It was a long pathway fenced in by tall trees and lampposts, making it an ideal place to stroll and hang out.
2. Provincial Capitol Building
Located right across the Aguedo Agbayani Park is Lingayen’s Provincial Capitol Building.
You won’t need a tour guide to explore this part of town, as most of the sites are just walking distances from one another. Be enamored by this structure’s exquisite architecture, especially at nightfall, as its silhouettes and colors become more magnified by the lights that illuminate it.
Built in 1918 and rebuilt in 1945 (it was destroyed during World War II), the ‘kapitolyo’ also displays a few galleries that showcases historical materials. You should definitely climb up its grand staircase, all the way to the rooftop, to see a panoramic view of the municipality.
3. Veterans’ Memorial Park
Just a short walk from the Provincial Capitol Building is the Veterans’ Memorial Park. It was built in 1995 to help commemorate Lingayen Gulf Landing’s 50th anniversary (at the time of my visit in 2014).
The small, circular, open space made a huge impact on me, as its little gallery showcased an attention-grabbing display of war relics, such as actual airplanes and tanks.
4. Capitol Beachfront and Baywalk
Although it was already late in the evening, we still managed to drop by the capitol beachfront and baywalk right after dinner.
The beach, which was just a short distance from the Veterans’ Memorial Park, had fine and grey sands. The breeze was cool, and the beachfront was surprisingly free of trash. Of course, the beach looked way better during daytime, given the clear waters and subtle waves.
5. The Epiphany of our Lord Parish
If you love visiting Philippine Churches, and making wishes and sending prayers, then you will love the façade, altar and devotional paintings of the Epiphany of our Lord Parish (previously known as the Three Kings Parish).
This particular Lingayen church was built sometime in 1710. It was one of the few churches in Pangasinan where Catholicism was first introduced. If you’re a soon-to-be bride, and you’re considering doing a destination wedding, you might want to think about holding the ceremony in this place of worship, as it has a very long aisle (perfect for that dramatic walk).
6. Sison Auditorium
Our couple friend, who we had the chance of seeing get wed at the Epiphany of our Lord Parish, held their reception at the Sison Auditorium. The ballroom was built around 1926-1927, during the tenure of Pangasinan’s 8th Governor, Teofilo Sison.
If there is one thing consistent about Lingayen, it is their beautiful architecture. Just imagine a hall that is majestic in size, surrounded with pillars, along with a high ceiling that is ornamented with an elegant chandelier. It was definitely a classy place to continue wedding celebrations in.
7. Bagoong Factory
It’s a must to bring home a piece of Lingayen. That’s why you should try and buy some freshly-made local products such as bagoong (salted-fish), agamang (salted-shrimp), and asin (salt).
One of the many well-known stores that carry these goods is D.S. Bagoong Products by Maniboc. You can just take a tricycle and instruct the driver to bring you to Barangay Maniboc.
8. Fidel V. Ramos House
The last but not the least in your must-sees in Lingayen is the Fidel V. Ramos House. Located at Primicias Street, the house of the former Philippine president is also a short walk from the President’s Hotel.
One can check the interior of the residence by getting in touch with Mrs. Illuminada Vilda (the caretaker of the abode) through the Provincial Capitol Building. She will be able to give you a private tour inside the house, as well as share with you several mementos and stories about the Ramos Family, including FVR’s childhood and recognitions as an adult.
How To Get There
One of the fastest ways to reach Lingayen (and several other northern routes) is via Victory Liner. Their Lingayen-Dagupan bound buses ply daily from their Pasay and/or Cubao terminals.
A trip from Manila to Lingayen can take around 5 to 6 hours, depending on how heavy the traffic will be.
Where To Stay
If you would like to stay near the mentioned sites, you can book your stay at The President Hotel. Not only is it an affordable lodging, it is also an 8-minute walk to the beach.
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