Adventures in the #NORTH

With the ever-expanding and growing tourism industry in the Philippines, each province never gets out of something new. They always have these fresh ideas of different perspectives and experiences to tickle the interest of the traveling community and maintaining their homegrown established destinations we could always come back to. The support of respective local government units and assistance from various organizations led to the increasing awareness of their tourism products, thus, spurring their local economies.

The Lakbay Norte 9, a multiday tour in the Northern Philippines, organized by North Philippines Visitors Bureau aims to promote more of the region’s exquisite and thrilling experiences and adventures. In the 5 days being with the tour, here are the activities we had in the provinces of La Union and Pangasinan.

Activities 

ADRENALINE PACKED

ATV in Lingayen

_DSC1947.jpg

A pioneering ATV adventure right at the heart of the expansive Lingayen Beach. Managed by TOL Adventures, the track is set on fairly flat sandy soil with the Lingayen Gulf as your backdrop. Perfect for first-timers, the ATV manager would assist you and give you an ATV driving lesson 101. Since you will be driving on an open track, there are guides that would assist you in the right path to avoid collisions.

TOL ATV Rental contact details:

  • Mobile: +63 916 748 3526
  • Email: tol.atv.rental@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @tol_atv_ph
  • Facebook:tolATVrental

Nalsoc Cave

Nalsoc Cave Bani Pangasinan Lakbay Norte 9.jpg

Spelunking adventure that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Located in the town of Bani, it is one of the must-visit spots, thanks to its developed accessibility. For about less than an hour from the national highway, you will reach its jump-off point, passing by scenic rice fields and rolling hills. The trail starts to a descending path leading to the main orifice of the Nalsoc Cave.

The caving activity is best for first-time spelunkers since of its fairly flat and easy trail. Be ready with up to knee-high waters inside the cave. Interesting structures naturally molded by mother nature for millions of years will greet you as you go deep inside the cave.

A colony of bats calls Nalsoc cave as their home. There are other residents inside the cave such as spiders and other insects. Remember not to touch any of the growing stalactites, as chemicals and microbiota from our extremities will hamper or totally halt the growth of stalactites and stalagmites. This activity will require you to don proper footwear to avoid slipping. There are many sharp and jagged rock formations inside the cave and slipping on to them is never a good idea. Always follow what your cave guide instructs you during your entire spelunking activity for your safety, learning, and enjoyment.

The cave is located in Brgy. Colayao, Bani, Pangasinan. 

Bani Tourism Contact Details:

  • Mobile Number: +63 967 254 9050
  • Email: breathtakingbani01@gmail.com
  • Facebook Page: Bani Tourism

Commute Instructions: Take any Bolinao bound bus and alight in Bani town proper, then proceed to the Tourism Center. For seamless travel experience, it is suggested to prearrange 2-3 days before arrival for the Nalsoc Cave spelunking adventure. 

Surfing in San Juan 

Surf La Union.jpg

La Union province, having a long coastline, enjoys beautiful breaks perfect for surfers. Ranging for beginners and competition zone, the town of San Juan is one of the forefronts in the Philippine Surfing community. Looking for a surfing location in San Juan, I recommend Sebay Surf Resort. They have beachfront accommodations and its own cafe facing the West Philippine sea. Highly recommended stay in San Juan is in Sebay Surf – enjoyed its hippy ambiance, plus it is a beachfront facility. 

Contact Sebay Surf Central:

LEARN

CURMA Pawikan

Curma Pawikan San Juan La Union Lakbay Norte 9.jpg

Central Underwater Resource Management Action or CURMA, an organization gearing to save the critically endangered sea turtles covering the coastlines of San Juan. Its main thrusts and goals are managed through coastline patrolling and education of the tourism and local stakeholders in San Juan, imposing rules and regulations to protect the nesting sea turtles and reporting of new nests. 

Sir Adamore has discussed to us the impact of the sea turtles in our ecosystem, including the species existing in the Philippine Archipelago and its life cycle. Discussed also are tourism and other human activities that disrupt the natural cycle of the sea turtles causing animal confusion leading to poor nesting activities and outcome, even its confused return to the sea. Since the sea turtles play a huge role in keeping the seagrass ecosystem state viable for fish spawning and control of the jellyfish population, CURMA stressed the importance of saving the coastlined and keeping it in its pristine state to foster the increase of nesting sea turtles.

After the discussion, we are treated with plant-based sandwiches and refreshing beverages by SIFCAR, a refreshing way to end a meaningful learning experience. 

For sea turtle release schedules, see below contact details: 

 

JB Bernal Bagoong Factory

Bagoong Factory Pangasinan Lakbay Norte 9.jpg

Thanks to its natural higher than normal air salinity, the town of Lingayen is a lucrative location in manufacturing a Filipino staple seasoning or sidedish (whichever you categorized it) – the bagoong or fermented fish paste. JB Bagoong’s production team has already grown to more than 100 staff in current payroll, through the years.

This is the best place to purchase or possibly horde these native products at its lowest market price. We were given a peek to its production area, and able to see workers preparing the bottles and caps, bottling to labeling and packaging.

You can contact them if you wish to be a distributor

 

Pangasinan Capitol

Pangasinan Capitol Building Lakbay Norte 9

Erected proximal to the sea, the site itself is already a tourist destination. Its beautiful facade rimmed with greenery is a perfect backdrop for your selfie. The capitol building features an example of Neoclassic American Architectural design. Leading to the building core is the picturesque spiral stairwell adorned with a classic stunning chandelier.

We are given access to the official hall where sessions are held. The interior design features original wooden fixtures and accents with a high ceiling.

A rooftop stair access leads to a view deck overviewing the surrounding park and the Lingayen Gulf.

Pakwan Festival Bazaar 

Bani Pakwan Festival 2020 Lakbay Norte 9.jpg

Bani’s crowd-drawing event led us to check their bazaar. Teeming with kiosks featuring native and homegrown products, we are able to learn different skills that Bani locals have. We are able to witness the actual creating of a bamboo steamer, I am awed on how the woman effortlessly shaped and molded the steamer using her hands and few tools. 

Since watermelon is the main star of the festivals, we are able to try different varieties and ways to serve the refreshing fruit. 

 

FAITH-BASED

Agoo Basilica

Agoo Basilica Lakbay Norte 9.jpg

One of the prominent facades in the town of Agoo, one would really notice its beautiful architecture and its timeless beauty.

This church has a unique feature, a columbarium buried underground where prominent people are laid. Nuns and priests are the one in priority to be buried here.

The church interiors feature elegant ceiling and dome, window glass mosaics, intricate chandeliers and an awe-inspiring retablo. The church is located in front of the Jose D. Aspiras Civic Center, and beside the national highway. 

Quick Facts:

  • Official Name: Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity
  • Founding Year: 1578
  • Architectural type: Mexican-Baroque

 

Ma Cho Temple

Ma Cho Temple La Union Lakbay Norte 9.jpg

A distinguishing iconic oriental structure that made it to the tourism map of La Union. The temple sits atop on a higher elevation and has a commanding view of downtown and the sea. Be amazed at the beautiful architectural details and experience on how the locals pay they respect here. Would advise to be cautious and to respect their regulations their.

The temple is of Taoist faith to the Chinese sea goddess Mazu. It is located in San Fernando, La Union. 

Quick Facts:

  • Year Built: 1977
  • Elevation: 70 meters ASL

 

RELAXATION AND BLISS

Oldwoods by the Sea

84574533_189158498863052_3755289910634872832_n.jpg

A splendid multilevel resort perched on a hilly and rocky terrain offering a spectacular view of the West Philippine Sea. The resort offers a quiet and secluded ambiance perfect for couples, family or corporate getaways. With its individually designed theme rooms and superb outdoor amenities, it is a true getaway that you would surely enjoy. One that is noticeable is the many stairways designed with driftwoods connecting different room levels. 

Old Woods by the Sea blog review Lakbay Norte 9 (8)

The accommodations and amenities are designed to blend with natural elements already existing in the area. Imagine walking under decades-old trees and more greeneries that are truly relaxing and rewarding. 

Also, they offer buffet breakfast which is served early morning until 10:00AM. 

Old Woods by the Sea blog review Lakbay Norte 9 (3)

The resort features:

  • Individually themed spacious rooms
  • Elegantly designed Reception
  • Open Air Cafe and Dining Area
  • Multiple Pocket Instagrammable Gardens
  • High Ceiling Function Halls

The resort is located at Sitio Olanen, Dacap Sur, Bani, Pangasinan and cellular signal is weak (in some areas within the resort) to none with both networks. 

Old Woods by the Sea blog review Lakbay Norte 9 (2)

Contact Details: 

Surip Beach

Surip Beach Bani Pangasinan.jpg
Enjoying the sunset (Photo by Tina Punzal)

About less than an hour’s drive from the town center of Bani, you will be led to this serene beachfront property featuring developed parks and accommodations. The beach features lots of rock formations perfect for your selfie backdrops.

We arrived here during the golden hour and was able to experience another spectacular sunset. 

 

Agoo Eco World Fun

Agoo Eco World Fun La Union Lakbay Norte 9.jpg

Fronting a beach stretch, this Agoho trees laden park is one of the destinations were locals and tourists relax and enjoy its amenities. It has a small lake where grazing cows can find hydration, view of the nearby mountains and a mangrove forest featuring a raised walkway. The Agoho trees exude pine tree-like characteristic, however, of different tree species. 

A small lake seats in between the tree line and the sea, forming a wide clearing for grazing cows and enjoying the expansive view of skies linking the sea. This is the spot in the park I did really spent most of the time during our visit. A paved road continues until you reach the shoreline, a usual gray sandy beach with existing huts for visitors to rent during their stay. You can try to fly a kite from here. 

The park is located in Sta. Rita, Agoo, province of La Union. 

 

Thank you to our Lakbay Norte 9 Sponsors:

lakbay norte sponsors

83687222_175561213673257_5248206837483831296_n copy
Lakbay Norte 9

29 thoughts on “Adventures in the #NORTH

  1. WOW NA WOW talaga lahat ng mga pinakita mong lugar , beautiful places here in the Philippines only, natural beauty ika nga😍👏mayaman tayo sa kagandahan ng ating kalikasan.
    Dito sa Pilipinas napakaraming magagandang lugar , the adventurous place, like in Palawan , pinaka gustong-gusto ko ay yung TABUN CAVE isang isla ito duon sa Quezon Palawan, very amazing inside the cave💖 at yung sa Estrella falls ito ay nasa Palawan pa rin napakagandang lugar ng mga ito. At yung sa may BATO-BATO mayroong HOT SPRING ito ay ginawa nilang swimming pool, wow na wow ang lugar ko sa Palawan👏👏👏💚💛🧡💜💙💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great list! My favorite is definitely San Juan La Union. Nice surf spot, stunning Tangadan Falls, and relaxed and chill beach vibe. Cant wait to visit the other places in the list

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, your blog post makes me want to go there and explore especially the BAGOONG FACTORY! OMG! for sure the best ang lasa nila.. I really want to visit La Union after reading your blog, looks like a fun and beautiful place to stay!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You blog post is detailed and encouraging to visit that place. When I saw those caving photos, I remember my challenging Sagada experience. With tears filling up my eyes, leggings torn and muscles aching, I managed to finish the 4 hour caving.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ang ganda naman dito! Would love to go to La Union na! The post is well detailed for first-timers! Great guide here! Would love to read more from you!

    Like

  6. i just realized i have been missing a lot coz i havent to most of the places here. ang dami dami pala talagang magandang puntahan sa north ano? sana maisa isa ko din ito one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I sometimes forget how we have so many beautiful destinations in the Philippines that are just waiting to he discovered and explored. I’m thankful to blogs like yours for giving people like me the motivation to travel all around the country.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! Didn’t knew there are lots of tourism spots in Pangasinan like the Nalsoc Cave. I’ve been to Pangasinan before but only to Manaoag church.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I like that you highlighted the different activities that you can do in the North! I haven’t been to most of these places! But they sure look interesting. The pine trees in Agoo looks beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Exceptional travel guide! I love how you take your pictures and bring out a region’s nature through photography. I am that friend who buys all the souvenirs so what grabbed my attention the most is the Pakwan Festival Bazaar, lots of cultural finds!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. OMG your post is making me crave even more to go back to the Philippines as soon as I can. Hope these businesses are doing okay during these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. i was drawn to your cave experien ce. if we are just to explore our country, andaming pwedeng gawin. and that Agoo church!!! amazing architecture!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been to san juan, la uniom a couple of times and seeing your pictures makes me miss it even more! Also very curious about these other places you featured! So many things to learn about then and so many things you can do!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s