The Dagupan Blue Beach
A travel journal that will give you a pleasant view of people, places, food, culture, history and events from a refreshing perspective
2017 is the Year of Travel. Social media made sure of that. Do you agree? But there’s more to travel than the selfies, instagrammable photos, social media stories or snaps, boomerang and Facebook live. You have to experience it! Meet people. Appreciate culture. Relearn history. Challenge your palate. Savor each journey! If 2016 was a blast, 2017 looms to be the best travel year you’ve ever experienced. 2017 has 365 days and 7107 places to go to (7641 to be exact according to the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority or NAMRIA) and it is but fitting that we start traveling in our hometown.
Dagupan City which is synonymous to bangus or “betel” in the vernacular owes much of its bounties to its natural water system – its seven rivers (Calmay, Pantal, Bayaoas, Patogkawen, Tanap, Paldakit and Magueragday) and the Bonuan Blue Beach.
Bonuan Blue Beach which is just a few kilometers from the city proper is a stretch of beach that features a Japanese Garden, the Tondaligan Park, government buildings (including the BFAR in Brgy. Bonuan Binloc) and a large Mac Arthur Landing marker.
Bonuan Blue Beach is commonly known to many as Tondaligan Beach. This is a misnomer as tondaligan is a Pangasinan word for a place to rest or a place of recreation – meaning, a park. That is why the name Tondaligan Park is actually a redundancy. The park has changed names throughout the years – National Children’s Park, Ferdinand Marcos Park, Tondaligan Park, and Bonuan Blue Beach People’s Park.
The perfect time to visit Bonuan Blue Beach should start at around sunrise. Jog along the shore or simply stretch out your body and lungs to that rejuvenating early morning breeze. A sight to behold would be watching the managkalokor (fishermen using the kalokor or beach seine/dragnet method of fishing). One could buy the fresh catch directly from the fishermen, bring them home or have them cooked in one of the huts. It is also fun to see people getting cockles which are small seashells called gilitan or batotoy in the vernacular. I joined the adults and kids of the local community in the collection of the shells. The cockles I collected were cooked into seashell broth with ginger as the main ingredient.
One could bring the whole family and have breakfast or lunch near the shore. You could rent out tables or bring one. In one of our picnics, I brought a tent and an inflatable banana-shaped sofa bed. The water sports activities that can be done in Bonuan Blue Beach are: swimming, kayaking, skimboarding and even surfing if the waves permit. You have to bring your own kayak, skimboard and surfboard though as there are no provisions for rental of such as of the moment. One can also ride a boat for about 200 pesos. There are rare sightings of butanding or whalesharks during the months of May and June.
As you end your day, watch the beautiful Dagupan sunset along the breakwaters or commonly called “giant jackstones” by frequent goers as they resemble such structures. It is a favorite tryst for lovers and a refuge for the singles who shout to the sea; “walang forever!” Near the area is an abandoned building which is now adorned with beautiful murals and graffiti by young local artists who call themselves Biskeg Pangasinan. The artworks are of modern theme, are perfectly instagrammable and great for selfies complete with your “hugot” captions.
And the fun does not end here. A visit to Bonuan Blue Beach is also a virtual time machine. Historical events that would make you proud of your heritage happened here. Want to know more? Catch me again next week. Follow this column on social media as @thenorthvista. Feel free to react and/ comment or as the millenials say: “Pusuan mo Bes!”