Lakbay Norte 9: What to do in La Union and Pangasinan

Our Victory Liner bus at the PTT SCTEX

Lakbay Norte returns for another year of exploring and discovering the up and coming destinations in Northern Luzon. For this year, the Northern Philippines Visitors Bureau took us around La Union and Pangasinan.

Inside the traffic control room
Inside the traffic control room

But first, a stop to check out the NLEX facilities at the Balintawak Toll Plaza. The NLEX Traffic Control Room has a wall full of closed-circuit televisions, where they can keep track of vehicular traffic, accidents, and stalled cars from the 126 cameras they have installed along the whole stretch of the expressway.

Walking on the catwalk to the toll booths
Walking on the catwalk to the toll booths

We were also given a close look at the toll booth operations, which can only be accessed via a steel catwalk that spans the distance from the NLEX offices to the Balintawak Toll Plaza and the toll booth annex.

Our Victory Liner bus at the PTT SCTEX
Our Victory Liner bus at the PTT SCTEX

It was smooth sailing in NLEX, with a lovely burst of colors from the flowers on the island in the stretch along San Fernando, Pampanga. We had a short stopover at the PTT SCTEX for a quick toilet break (so grateful for clean restrooms with an adequate number of stalls!) before proceeding with our drive to La Union.

What to do in La Union

Many tourists visit La Union to surf, but if you’re not into that, there are still plenty of things that you can do!

See the crypt of the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity

Agoo, La Union

The Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity in Agoo
The Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity in Agoo

The Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity is a historical church in the town of Agoo. Founded in 1578, the original church was just a simple structure made of nipa. Throughout the centuries, the church was destroyed and rebuilt several times due to earthquakes. The current structure was rebuilt after the 1990 earthquake, with only the bell tower remaining from the 1893 construction.

The tomb of Jose D. Aspiras in the basilica's crypt
The tomb of Jose D. Aspiras in the basilica’s crypt

The Basilica has an impressive facade with a huge wooden door, carved with the Ten Commandments in Hebrew. The interiors and the altar are also quite magnificent. Visitors can also check out the crypt under the altar. Access is through the side entrance, going down two flights of stairs. The crypt has a small chapel and a small exhibit of religious relics from saints from all over the world. Of course, there’s also the tomb and crypts for Agoo’s prominent residents, like Jose D. Aspiras and Manuel Luna.

Be one with nature at Agoo Eco Park

Sta. Rita, Agoo, La Union

The agoho tree lined road inside the Agoo Eco Park
The agoho tree lined road inside the Agoo Eco Park

A popular picnic spot for locals, the Agoo Eco Park is a developing ecotourism destination, and it’s already looking very promising! You’ll be greeted with agoho trees that line both sides of the road as you enter. The agoho trees, also known as aroo, are very similar to pine trees, and give a nice shade and are spaced evenly, so you can also hang a hammock in between. It’s a short walk to the beach, where they are still constructing facilities.

Ask for guidance at the Ma-Cho Taoist Temple

Quezon Avenue, San Fernando, La Union

Praying for guidance at the Ma-Cho Temple
Praying for guidance at the Ma-Cho Temple

Whether you’re in need of a guidance or not, a believer or a skeptic, you can still enjoy the Ma-Cho Temple. A Taoist temple dedicated to the goddess Mazu, it sits atop a hill and faces the Lingayen Gulf. It’s an impressive structure, and has a really great view from up there, so that alone is worth the stop.

Pick grapes and sample wines at Uvas Cafe and Lomboy Farms

68 MacArthur Highway, Bauang, La Union

You can pick grapes, sample and pair wines, and buy souvenirs at the Uvas Cafe
You can pick grapes, sample and pair wines, and buy souvenirs at the Uvas Cafe

Lomboy Farms is the pioneer in grape farming in the Philippines, and it’s only recently that they have started delving into winemaking. At Uvas Cafe, you can sample the wines made from their grapes, as well as wines made from other local fruits like guapple. You can sample these wines with fruits, nuts, crackers, and cold cuts as you look out at their vineyard.

Learn about the pawikan mentality at the CURMA Community Center

Great Northwest Compound, Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union

Learning about the turtle conservation efforts by CURMA
Learning about the turtle conservation efforts by CURMA

Found inside the Great Northwest Compound, the CURMA Community Center hosts a number of activities, including Acu detox, guided relaxation, music meditation, and of course, learning about their pawikan advocacy. Coastal and Underwater Resource Management Actions (CURMA) is a program of SIFCare (Science of Identity Foundation’s Community Assistance for Responsible Existence), and has released over 12,000 sea turtle hatchlings since 2010.

Discover local artists at Ciano Umok

Palugsi-Limmansangan, Bauang, La Union

Ancestral house turned gallery cafe, Ciano Umok
Ancestral house turned gallery cafe, Ciano Umok

It’s a bit out of the way, but Ciano Umok is worth the detour, especially if you’re an art lover. This gallery cafe is the brainchild of Cesar Dumo, who wanted to bring the arts close and accessible to the people. The house, turned gallery is home to his own art, as well as works by other local artists. When you visit, you must also try their one-of-a-kind halo-halo!

What to do in Pangasinan

There are plenty of things to do in Pangasinan, but if you want to go beyond the usual, here are some ideas.

Get up close and personal with the animals at Farm Cradle

San Raymundo Barangay Hall, Balungao-Santa Maria Rd, Balungao, Pangasinan

One of the friendly goats at Farm Cradle
One of the friendly goats at Farm Cradle

If you love animals, or if you’re a family with young children, a visit at Farm Cradle is highly recommended. The farm has a huge variety of animals: goats, cows, camels, alpaca, water buffalo, horses, rabbits, chicken, ostriches, geese, and peacocks. Apart from the animals, there are also ATVs, bicycle zipline, and obstacle course inside the farm.

Bar hop in Dagupan

  • Mint Kitchen Bar: 2/F Metroplaza Dagupan, AB Fernandez Ave, Dagupan City
  • Ugly Daddy: 409 Tapuac Rd, Dagupan, Pangasinan
Cocktails at Ugly Daddy Resto bar | Photo credit: Paul Benzi
Cocktails at Ugly Daddy Resto bar | Photo credit: Paul Benzi

Dagupan has a lively nightlife scene, and if you’re up looking to unwind, try out these two local favorites. Both have great cocktails and great food. Ugly Daddy Restobar has live music, DJ, and occasionally hosts an open mic night. Mint Kitchen Bar also have live music and an exclusive karaoke room.

Ride an ATV at Lingayen Beach

Pangasinan Provincial Capitol Complex, Lingayen, Pangasinan

ATV at the Lingayen Beach
ATV at the Lingayen Beach

The Pangasinan Provincial Capitol Complex has been a usual stop for all trips to Lingayen, but Tol ATV Rental brings in something new: ATVs that you can drive up around Lingayen Beach. Right now, they are still finalizing the routes for their future tours, but you can experience driving and riding the ATV right there at the beach.

Hoard bagoong isda at the JB Bagoong factory

238 Don Claudio, Lingayen, Pangasinan

The many kinds of bagoong and patis you can buy at JB Bernal Bagoong Factory
The many kinds of bagoong and patis you can buy at JB Bernal Bagoong Factory

There’s no better place to stock up on good quality bagoong isda (or patis) than getting it straight from the source. JB Bernal Bagoong Factory in Lingayen offers different classes of bagoong isda and offers them wholesale for really cheap prices. If you’re also looking for sea salt, you can purchase a 1-kilo bag from here for only Php 30.

Try spelunking for the first time at Nalsoc Cave

Bgy. Colayo, Bani, Pangasinan

It's a steep climb down to the cave mouth, but it's a relatively easy walk inside
It’s a steep climb down to the cave mouth, but it’s a relatively easy walk inside

Nalsoc Cave offers beginner spelunkers a very easy and safe introduction to the activity. The cave spans a distance going all the way to the next town, but the only areas available for tourists are only up to the start of the moderate trail.

The local government strongly recommends registering with the barangay officers, and they can connect you with a trained guide and a tricycle driver (if you don’t have a vehicle with you).

Watch the sunset from the Redeemer’s Cross or Surip Beach

Bani, Pangasinan

Sunset at Surip Beach
Sunset at Surip Beach

These are two great vantage points to see the sun as it sets. The Redeemer’s cross offers a great view from above, but it gets dark quickly after the sun has set, so mind this if you are driving from here. Surip beach down by the coast also has great views, and interesting coves to explore while waiting for the sun to set.

Learn about organic farming at Our Farm Republic

Torre 2nd, Mangatarem – Urbiztondo Rd, Mangatarem, Pangasinan

Organic cherry tomatoes ripe for the picking at Our Farm Republic
Organic cherry tomatoes ripe for the picking at Our Farm Republic

Our Farm Republic offers training in organic farming, but if you’re not into that, you can drop by to visit and explore their farm. They have a pick and buy system, where you can get a basket, pick the veggies and fruits you like, and have it weighed to bring home your fresh, organic produce to enjoy at home.

Lakbay Norte is an annual media familiarization tour made possible by the NLEX Corporation in cooperation with the North Philippines Visitors Bureau and sponsored by the Department of Tourism – Region 1, Victory Liner, Belo Medical Group, PTT Corporation, Café Amazon, UNILAB, Locally, and Klean Kanteen.

Watch: NLEX Lakbay Norte 9: Best Things to do in La Union, Philippines

Searching for the best hotels and affordable flights? Check out our complete list of affordable hotels and resorts via Agoda or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new tourist attractions in Pangasinan and La Union? Please follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, and TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

Comments
Loading...

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More