So today Kuya G and Atsi T took H and I in Auntie M’s minivan on a “lazy hawaiian” style tour of the Lingayen Gulf coastline in Pangasinan province. I’m saying “lazy hawaiian” style here to mean “reasonable,” because Filipino style provincial travel would be waking up before dawn, sleeping in the car, driving the entire day, being unrealistic about the drive time, arriving at the destination late and without reservations, and then repeating the whole thing in reverse for the return trip. So forget Filipino style! “Lazy hawaiian” style is the greatest.
We drove through San Fabian and reminisced about the old railway that used to bring visitors from Manila along the eastern coast of the Lingayen Gulf all the way up to Ilocos, before they gave up on it in the 60s. We stopped at a roadside bike shop which had dramatic lighting from skylights. I told my sister to find an ugly bike that works really well, one that will get you places without getting stolen.
Our next stop was Dagupan, which in the morning is a couple of notches below “bustling.” We had breakfast at Pedritos and I theorized that whoever serves ketchup with embutido really doesn’t enjoy embutido. We got some gas also, and stopped at a cash machine.
There was a side mission to CSI, which is a hyper market. We bought water, candy, and a fabulous romantic parasol for Atsi T.
Our next stop was the provincial capital Lingayen, which was kind of peaceful and beautiful. There was a wide, long beach with baseball fields and picnic areas and a memorial to the Japanese Occupation and the MacArthur landing and Liberation and also the unnecessary bombing by the Americans after Resistence fighters had already busted their asses to tell them that the Japanese forces had already completely retreated from Pangasinan. Actually they were nicer about the unnecessary bombing than I would have been. If I wanted to hang out in Pangasinan for a little bit, I might choose Lingayen. Anyway, at the beach I put my feet in the Lingayen Gulf and watched a bunch of kids sort the fish from the shrimp after the nets were emptied. We also saw fishing boats that looked an awful lot like the ones in the paintings from 100 years ago, same shape.
Our next stop was Alaminos, which is a resort town as it is near the Hundred Islands national park. In early January on a Tuesday it’s a pretty chill place, though. We got some supplies at the market and then chartered a motor boat for four. We ended up on Quezon Island, and the first order of business was to explore the karenderia on the second floor of the terrace. We ordered liempo, some pinakbet, a large Coke, and two plates of araraosep (sea grapes) with tomatoes, which are my favorite. This araraosep was a little spicy.
A couple of us splashed around in the water later, and a couple of us hung out on the beach. Hundred Islands is really a beautiful place to hang out and play in the water the whole day. The islands are beautiful and the facilities are really very nice when it’s not crowded.
A boat ride back to land, and then we got back in the car. If I were my sister I’d hang out in Alaminos for a couple of months, learn Pangasinan and maybe work in the tourism industry for something to do. I like that place. On the ride back, we busted open a bag of chicharron, and it was magical; the flavor was complex and subtle. Seriously. Best chicharron ever.
On the ride back through Pangasinan province we learned a lot of Pangasinan words and phrases, some that we forgot already like “masturbation” but also some that we like to talk about a lot: hunger, gluttony, mosquitos, etc. We also got clarity on words we had known but never knew that we knew. Mangiras. Ageyet. Buwag. Kuwatit. Ambagel. Naerasanak la. Mamanganak ni. Baoninato say pusa.
My sister practiced the whole subject pronoun paradigm with predicate adjectives. We also started creating a stupid Adele parody.
Dinner was at Silverio’s back in Dagupan by the river. We had two kinds of sinigang, calamares, adobong pusit, and chop suey.
The photos below were taken by my sister.