Thursday, June 21, 2012

One of the Best things 2.0

Day 2: Into the heart of Pangasinan (Alaminos and Lingayen), May 25

Credits: All photos were grabbed from Precious Bustamante.

Often, when people discover where I spend my Christmas and Summer vacations, the first thing they ask is or rather, assume is "(Edi) Nakapunta ka na sa Hundred Islands?" (So, you've been to hundred Islands?) And I tell them with frustration, "Di pa nga eh." (No, not yet.) That's it. Goodbye. End of conversation.

I, myself, wish that I could tell more about this place. This place is one of the Philippines prized tourist spots even before. It has been written down in history books as one of Pangasinan's pride. However, we have never visited it. It seems so near yet so far.

Honestly, it is quite far. From our town, it's a pretty tough 2 hour drive not counting our visit to Lingayen.
We swooped by the province's Capitol (sounds like Hunger Games, hehe!) to have a little bit of history. Here are some pictures.

The entrance

The Main Entrance
This Capitol hall was recognized having one of the best facades in the country. Even if they are the province's capital, they refused to officially be a chartered city because they wanted to preserve the culture and identity which can be lost once this happen.

If the facade was wonderful, it is the same with the interior. We've seen a charming chandelier and an elegant staircase leading up to Gov. Espino's office. We were allowed to take pictures in his office.

At the Staircase
In the Gov's office

By the Official Seal of Pangasinan (you can hint of the elegant staircase ahead)

The Stripes team
Another surprise from my cousins and sister is this identical sailor-inspired shirt from Penshoppe! We look like triplets. Actually, my sister and I look like we have couple shirts. Especially when we just randomly wear the same shirt again unintentionally (It happened 2 times already, one during our Pagudpud trip.). Haha!:)) I realized that my sister is too generous when she have money. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?Hmmm..

If the structure and interior design was already satisfactory, the breathtaking view of the Lingayen gulf is even more refreshing.

Lingayen gulf

Camera in my hands. My sister.

Me, Donna, Kuya Eugene, Ate Presh, Aunt Mae, Uncle Roger, Aunt Perla, Mom, Aunt Ada

Donna, DJ, Ate Presh, Me and Kuya Eugene

Kuya Eugene is one of the funniest guy I know. Wee're so glad to have him in our company because he never run out of funny gestures and jokes. He even made popular amongst us the "Amazing pose!" Even if Kuya Lyndon is not around, we were happy to meet a new friend in his person.

The gulf is only a few jumps away and being a beach girl, I can't help but yearn to feel the water again. But time is constraint, we still have Alaminos to go to.

We also visited the theatre near the Capitol. It has become the Cultural Center of the North, all cultural undertakings are done inside this hall.

In the Theatre

The Boys. The Fascinating guard at the center.
This guard is a plus-plus for me! We were pleasantly surprised that he talks and acts like a tourist guide. We had second thoughts if he really is a securit guard or a guide. He replied with pride that he only does all what he could do for Pangasinan. Be it a guard, a guide, an electrician, etc... He knows things even my Mom didn't know about being a true blue Pangasinanse. So proud of you, Kuya! Keep it up!

Off to our Main event! Island hopping at Hundred Islands!

At the gates. Gali-la means "Let's go!"
Another thing I'm looking forward to is having the boat ride. I just like the feeling of splashing water on you and of the galloping boat while on the waves.

Perfect view

Big chunks of islands

One thing I like about the islands is that they are well-preserved. You can only land on 4 islands because they are the only ones with ports (you've already seen 100 islands by then). Even from afar, you can already see the thickness of the trees.

A cave!

Our first stop was the Governor's island. It deserves to be the named so because it really is THE island, why? It has the most amazing overview of most islands. But before that, you have to take 250 steps, steep steps, to be at the top.

Ridiculously photogenic

Hike up!
The trek was hard and long but look!

Count how many islands!

One funny/irritating experience atop, we felt hot so we bought ice cream from our "tour-guide," we were so surprised because the prices are just so crazily high! Five to six times higher than what is normal. Crazy!

Anyway, we also went to the cave in the island.

Kulit Family pics
Gov's Island
Then, we went to the 2nd island. The second Island is on Marcos Island, where we practice snorkeling.

Just a reminder

The water taste saltier than what I was accustomed to at a beach. It was also my first time snorkeling so, I was getting a feel of my snorkel still. We practiced a bit then we headed to the snorkeling place at Quezon Island. You can also snorkel here but it is more advisable if we are already expert divers or snorkelers because of the waves and depth.

When we reached Quezon Island, we didn't waste time and we jumped off our boat to start snorkeling. I wasn't at all confident because water keep getting in my goggles that I cannot see. Until I saw a fish, it gave me the will to explore more and be with them. I was really excited about it!

A second go!

Yes, that's me having a second go at snorkeling! I loved the feeling of snorkeling. It's like you have a one-on-one date with nature wherein you have your own little world with what you see. There really isn't much to see but there's just this something that pulls me into doing it again and again. Maybe it's just the adventurous side of me or what but I really felt connected with the marine life then.

After freshening up, we drove 2 hours again to eat late lunch at the city. We ate at Pedrito's. We were impressed with how fast their service is.

After seeing most of Hundred Islands, at last, I can finally say something. If I could say anything about Hundred Islands it will be about how I thought it was a hundred times better before. Maybe I'll come off to you as somewhat a late bloomer in traveling because I have only visited this place recently. Maybe you don't find Alaminos as attractive as it was before. But I still write about it because the beauty I saw gave me an inspiration, maybe same with what you had a long time ago. 

If there are still people like me who still appreciate Hundred Islands despite its seemingly deterioration, there is still hope that this can change perceptions about the place and be united in working towards the betterment of this place. Let us not forget completely Hundred Islands. At least once again, revisit Alaminos and be more generous in contributing to this place.

There. 4 more days!:)

Loves, Carmi!♥

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