Pangasinan identifies 4 towns, city as tourism focus areas

By Hilda Austria

June 13, 2024, 1:49 pm

<p><strong>VIEW FROM THE TOP</strong>. The view of the mountain ranges of Caraballo Mountain from Barangay Malico in San Nicolas, Pangasinan. The village is among the provincial government’s focus areas for tourism. <em>(Photo by Hilda Austria)</em></p>

VIEW FROM THE TOP. The view of the mountain ranges of Caraballo Mountain from Barangay Malico in San Nicolas, Pangasinan. The village is among the provincial government’s focus areas for tourism. (Photo by Hilda Austria)

MALASIQUI, Pangasinan – The provincial government of Pangasinan has identified four towns and a city in the province as its focus areas to further boost the tourism industry.

These areas are the towns of Bolinao, Lingayen, Manaoag, San Nicolas specifically the village of Malico, and Alaminos City.

In an interview on Wednesday, Pangasinan Governor Ramon Guico III said some of the provincial government’s major projects have started in these areas.

“Kumbaga focus na lang natin, hindi pwede ‘yong fire at will kung saan tatargetin. Dapat targeted
efforts towards these areas (It should not be fire at your will to hit the target. We should have targeted efforts towards these areas),” he said.

Guico said Bolinao and Alaminos on the western part of the province have established themselves as tourism areas.

“We only need accessibility for the western areas of focus,” he added.

Among the projects for the western area is the PHP800-million Bolinao Airport project, which will be designed to have a 1,500-meter runway that is large enough to accommodate propeller-type commercial aircraft like Airbus 320.

The land acquisition for the airport project is ongoing while the phase two will expand to 2.5 kilometers taxiway for smaller aircrafts, ramp, apron and terminal as well as the roads going to the main road that needs development.

Guico said the construction of the Bolinao Airport project will further boost the tourism industry in the first district of Pangasinan, which boasts of white sand beaches, salt farms, the Balingasay River and the giant clam breeding area, among others.

Another focus area is the Lingayen town, the capital of the province where the seat of the provincial government is located.

“We had so many guests thinking they have a place to stay but it is always not enough so there’s a need to really develop it. We have to improve it since it’s the government center so we capitalize on the MICE (meetings, incentive, conferences, and exhibitions). A lot of things are happening here since it is a government center,” Guico said.

A PHP100 million worth of development project is currently ongoing at the provincial capitol grounds to improve its landscape.

Guico said he is proposing a ferry system to connect Lingayen town and the Hundred Island National Park for easier accessibility to both areas.

Manaoag town is also part of the focus areas, and the provincial government wants to address the insufficient number of facilities and accommodations.

The town is known for the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, which draws millions of tourists annually.

The PHP34-billion 42.76-kilometer Pangasinan Link Expressway (PLEX), being constructed by the San Miguel Holdings Corporation, will connect the province’s eastern and western parts.

The village of Malico in San Nicolas has been included as among the focus areas amid the territorial issue with Nueva Viscaya.

“We have to insist because really that is our own territory. We have to establish that really it is Pangasinan, since even the people there acknowledge that they are from Pangasinan,” he said, but declined to elaborate on the projects lined-up for the area.

The province has declared the disputed mountainous village of Barangay Malico as the "Barangay Summer Capital of Pangasinan” to reinforce its claim over the area.

The mountain village is attracting tourists due to its cold weather, mountain range view, waterfalls, and sometimes a sea of clouds -- plus its historical value in World War II.

The village, situated on top of the Caraballo Mountain at 1,675 meters above sea level, greets tourists with a cold breeze with the fresh scent of pine trees especially from December to February and sometimes extends up to the first week of March.

Tourist arrivals in the province rose to 8.4 million in 2023 from 2022’s 6.8 million due to “opportunity, cost-effectiveness, and availability of destinations.” (PNA)