“It’s a road trip! It’s about adventure! . . . It’s not like we have somewhere to go.” ― John Green,
Finally found the perfect day-trip getaway: Visit Manaoag and have a food trip in Pangasinan! It’s been a while since I’ve visited Manaoag and heard Mass there. Milo has not been there yet. And I’ve been craving for good ol’ Bangus lately. Problem Solved!
Rented a van for 8 hours at 8500++ (I already knew we were going to exceed this time frame), and invited the whole gang along. Mom prepared boiled eggs and sweet bananas, while Milo stocked up on drinks for us. At 4 am, we were ready to go.
Picked up Mama (Milo’s mom) at Marilao where she also brought fresh-from-the-oven Pan de Sal. After an early Silog breakfast at a nearby 24hour Jollibee, we were finally on our way to the North.
Going to Pangasinan is easier today, thanks to the connecting expressways. No need to pass by the other towns with the tricyles and trucks on the road. Just take NLEX to Dau, SCTEX, then TPLEX to Urdaneta – dulo to dulo – and you’re now in Pangasinan! That took about three hours from Manila.
At Manaoag, there are early morning masses at 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10am. We were already there at 9am, but since it was a bit crowded in the parking area, we waited for the 10am mass instead. We took the time to take pictures first and take Sofia on a walk. The weather was quite cool and the mass was very solemn, so we were able to pray and offer our intentions. I told Milo that since it was his first time, he gets to pray for his three wishes 🙂 Our Lady of Manaoag has a devout following, as our Lady has been known to grant wishes from the faithful who visit and pray to her.
We almost didnt catch the priest who blessed the crowd with holy water, so we followed him outside where there is a blessing area, near the tank of holy water. He said a prayer for Sofie and our family, and my heart was glad. Everyone offered candles also and said our prayers before heading out.
We passed by a lot of food vendors on our way to Dagupan and Calasiao. Road trips would not be complete without the food trip on the way, so we stuffed ourselves with native tupig, sweet grilled kakanin, and some banana chips on our way to lunch.
Our favorite restaurant in Dagupan is Dagupeña, famous for their best-tasting Bangus! We ordered their Pakbet, Binagoongan Pata and Sabaw na Halaan which were bestsellers too. The restaurant can be quite crowded during lunchtime, so best to come early or call for reservations.
Before heading home, we dropped by Calasiao for their famous puto. There’s a street around the corner near the plaza where all the puto vendors are. A kilo costs about 80pesos only! We “hoarded” a bit for Lola and Tatay, and before going back to the road.
It was a long day, we spent about 15 hours on the trip. But everything was worth it, because we spent the day with family.