Sunday, February 11, 2007


Angalakan Beach is really a river along the boundary of Mapandan and San Jacinto in Pangasinan. Abet and his brother often swim there whenever they have the time. One time, they rode to the river on their bike with their friend Bonor. The bike’s fork was already bent and the pressure of 3 heavy loads finally broke it and sent its riders tumbling in the middle of the asphalt road along with debris from what has been a bicycle. It was their first bike --- light blue like the early morning sky with a battery powered siren. There will be no more pretending to be cops chasing a bad guy with Bonor after that. Abet was later baptized in the river as a Sabadista. The first image he saw after being immersed in the water was her crying mother.

Abet finished his 3rd and 4th grades in Mapandan where they lived in the other half of a concrete duplex house beside the church in front of the school. Every time Abet have the chance, he would go over to the other half to pluck a 20-peso bills, 50 pesos, then a 100 from the bag of the head teacher who lived there. He was sure beaten blue by Kid Buntal when he got caught but he did watched lots of movies in Dagupan and bought glasses of halo-halo with a scoop of ice cream on top at the Golden Peacock Restaurant with his loot.

The best thing in Pangasinan is the sea and there are plenty. Their favorite is the shallow beach of San Fabian. One time, a typhoon caught them swimming in Lingayen but they didn’t care. The rain poured but the sea was as gentle as the afternoon breeze. They played their hearts out until Eric was almost hit by lightning while clambering over the old Japanese battle tank displayed near the beach front. Going home, they passed by Binmaley where stalls selling kaleskesan, pigar-pigar, and fresh talaba lined the road.

It was during that sojourn in Pangasinan when Abet first heard of Precy’s power of mental telepathy. She have the means of knowing what is happening in another place without being physically present there. One night, she confronted Kid Buntal about an alleged “second woman” in Alaminos where he was assigned for some months. He denied this at first but a shocked Kid Buntal later admitted his guilt when Precy suddenly closed her eyes and, like an ancient Greek oracle, began describing the exact clothes he was wearing when he dated his girlfriend, the place they went to eat, and other information he thought he only knew. However, Precy never get to find out about the waitress at Dagupan’s Golden Peacock Restaurant.

Abet and his brother are Anggalogs in Mapandan although they speak fluent Panggalatok. On some nights, Precy will allow them to watch Pilingpiling Pelikula at a neighbor’s house. Abet’s lasting images of the town are an illegal recruiter jailed at the municipio, the body of a dead man who was stabbed by his son displayed at the dispensary, and the bloated stomach of a man who nearly drowned in the pisong. But what he missed most is the suman with a sweet sugary dip, the pieces of pancakes with a Star margarine-and-sugar spread, and the cold pineapple juice that they (i.e. his brother Eric and sister Cheche) snacked together at the town plaza.

National Heritage Site: Pangasinan’s Best Preserved Church

What were probably the first parochial buildings of what will be Calasiao’s Church of San Pedro y San Pablo Apostol were built under the supervision of Fr. Alonso Montero (OP) and later burned by the great Palaris in 1763. These were replaced by structures that were probably destroyed again by either human or natural calamities. Another church was reportedly built a few years before 1804 but this was again razed by fire in 1840. Fr. Ramon Dalmau (OP) initiated the rebuilding of the burned church that was continued by Father Misa (OP) until 1845. The church was again razed by fire in 1852 before its rebuilding was fully finished. Fr. Ramon Suarez (OP) had the church rebuilt again from 1853 until 1858, and also supervised the building of a new convent. The church is considered outstanding and one of the largest to be built and the best preserved in Pangasinan. It has been declared as a national heritage site by the National Commission on Culture and Arts.

PHOTOS (top to bottom):

1) Angalakan Beach today and 2) Abet’s baptism in the river 26 years ago.

3) The church (right) and the duplex house (left, partially shown) in Mapandan.

4) SAN FABIAN’S CHURCH OF SAN FABIAN, PAPA Y MARTIR. The Dominicans built the first church in San Fabian in 1717 immediately after its foundation. Fr. Francisco Ferrer (OP) supervised the construction of the present church from 1762 until 1765. It was razed by fire in 1856 and was rebuilt during the term of Fr. Juan Gutierrez (OP) from 1857 until 1860. The church sustained various damages during an earthquake in 1892, during the 1898 Philippine Revolution, and during the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese occupation in 1945. It was renovated in 1952 and further improved in 1977.


6) BINMALEY’S CHURCH OF NUESTRA SENORA DE PURIFICACION. The town of Binmaley lies between the cities of Dagupan and Lingayen. It is the best place to enjoy Pangasinan’s native dishes of kaleskesan, pigar-pigar, and fresh talaba.

7) DAGUPAN CITY’S OLD CATHEDRAL OF SAN JUAN APOSTOL Y EVANGELISTA. The Augustinians built the early parochial buildings that were razed by fire during Andres Malong’s revolt in 1660. The Dominicans took over in 1713. Fr. Pedro Rama (OP) initiated building the present church in 1816. The fa├žade of the church was destroyed during the earthquake of 1892 and was rebuilt under the supervision of Fr. Vicente Istegui (OP) in 1895. It has been extensively renovated since then.

8) ALAMINOS’ CHURCH OF SAN JOSE. Augustinian Recollects built the first church and convent in 1770 that were later razed by a fire in 1814. These were probably replaced by other structures. Fr. Manuel Busqueto (OAR) initiated the building of the present parochial buildings from 1837 until 1849, and continued by Fr. Jose Tornos (OAR) until 1878. Fr. Victorino Vereciano (OAR) supervised improvements on the roof and the floor in 1879 until 1893.


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