Dagupan Blue Beach Part III – The Tondaligan Park
A travel journal that will give you a pleasant view of people, places, food, culture, history and events from a refreshing perspective
ONE of the natural treasures of Dagupan is just 3 kilometers away from its heart – the Bonuan Blue Beach. Its sandy shore and shallow coastline makes it ideal for family activities like swimming and picnics. Plus the beach is known for its historical significance: The MacArthur Landing. This is probably the reason why in its adjacent shoreline, the Tondaligan Park originally known as National Children’s Park was designated as a national park by the late President Disodado Macapagal through Proclamation No. 98, Series of 1963 pursuant to the Public Land Act, which reserved the land for parks and playground purposes with the city as administrator. Amendments include Proclamation No. 473, s. 1994 that allotted a portion for building complex site purposes of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Proclamation No. 1302 s. 2016 for the city’s Waste Management Facility.
A portion of the 72 hectares national park is the Japan-Philippine Friendship Garden. It features a memorial marker, two ponds with small bridges, a rock fountain, grass lawn and park benches. The memorial marker was constructed in August 1975 during the administration of the late Mayor Cipriano Manaois, through the efforts of Susumu Fukuda, Takeaki Yazaki, Suburo Chin, Harunobu Katsu, Masayoshi Itoh, Susumu Ishikawa, Shohei Okada, Shigeyoshi Takana, and thousands of other Japanese. As written in the marker, it was dedicated to the heroism and valor of all soldiers during World War II.
At present, you can see inside the premises: the Mayor’s Guest House, the Mayor’s Pavilion, two Chinese Gazebos, and a beachfront walkway. The Chinese gazebos named Sunshine Alay Lakad Club Gazebo were built in August 1998 during the term of former Mayor Alipio Fernandez, Jr. thru the Tondaligan Japanese Park Foundation Inc. with Voltaire Arzadon as chairman. These gazebos were donated by prominent Chinese-Dagupenos and the Guanzon Foundation. The Beachfront Walkway where the gazebo facing the beach is located was a joint project of the Tondaligan Japanese Park Foundation Inc. and the Supreme Student Council of Computronix College thru donations of Bonuan Association of Southern California and several Dagupenos. The Entrance Gate Walkway was donated by the members of the Tondaligan Japanese Park Restoration and Beautification Committee. The Mayor’s Guest House and the Mayor’s Pavilion were built in 2010. Today, they are used for different activities and can be rented for a minimal fee.
I remember during my childhood that busloads of tourists from other provinces flocked to Bonuan Blue Beach every summer for its “fine stretch of beige sand beach sheltered by graceful coconut trees” as described in the 1988 publication The Philippines: Pearl of the Orient.
In a recent visit to the beach, I saw the dismantling of makeshift sheds and unauthorized extensions of the sheds. I was elated to know that this is to pave way for the redevelopment plan by Mayor Belen Fernandez with the backing of Congressman Christopher De Venecia. Part of this plan is the limiting of the number of sheds to 50 as well as the construction of a bay walk. These and more is something to look forward to for Dagupan City to regain what we were known for before as “The Gateway to the North.”
“…always @ your SiRVis!”
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