Adverstisements still promise quick work visas for Filipinos to go get out of town, but for the off-the-beaten track traveler, the provinces of the Philippines is exactly where you want to be.
Hire a driver in Manila and have him double as a body guard (don’t be alarmed — every tourist has one). Pangasinan, a province in southern Luzon about three hours northwest of Manila, offers a blend of local authentic Filpino culture with modern conveniences like air conditioning, iphones, lush resorts, and—of course—Jollibee.
English is the standard language of all signage and everybody speaks both English and Tagalog. Catholic Churches abound from when the Spanish colonized the region. Lush vegetation, banana trees and palm trees, grazing cows. Caribou, rice paddies, street vendors drying rice and corn on the side of the road.
Notice the architecture. The little towns include Tayug, Natividad and Asingan. Between this towns, you’ll enjoy the sights of ride paddies, chickens crossing the road, caribou and even goats skinned on the said of the road.
It’s nothing like the modern-day bustle of Manila. It’s rustic in Pangasinan. Life slows down enough for you to admire the environment. Still, the locals of Pangasinan are as aware as their counterparts in Manila thanks to satellite televion, there was a time when people here had very little exposure to the outside world. When white people came to visit, local children would ask: “Have you no blood?”
Today, with the advent of satellite TV, iphones and travellers, Pangasinan knows all about the outside world, so tourists are no surprise. Their food is exquisite and you’ll enjoy modern conveniences alongside the history.
Each city tends to have a town hall, town square, a cock fighting ring and a basketball court. Churches abound, 85% of Filipinos are Catholic from the Spanish times. The Iglesia Ni Christo churches are common too.
To get around, you can also choose to use the tricycles or Jeepnies (History of Jeepney.) On the way back, splurge on lunch at the floating resort. But without further ado, here is the visual experience of Pangasinan and specifically the towns of Natividad, Tayug and Asingan: