Urdaneta City, Pangasinan: The Gateway to the Northern Philippines
Welcome to Urdaneta City!
Urdaneta City, Pangasinan: Gateway to Northern Philippines
Urdaneta City is very strategically located in the central part of eastern Pangasinan, and is traversed by the Manila North Road (formerly MacArthur Highway) virtually bisecting the locality into the west and east side. It is bounded in the north by the muncipality of Binalonan, south by the municipality of Villasis, east by the municiality of Asingan and west by the municipality of Sta. Barbara. It is the gateway to Baguio City, to San Carlos City in Central Pangasinan, the provincial capitol Lingayen and Dagupan City in Western Pangasinan and the northern Luzon provinces, beginning with the city of San Fernando, La Union. It is also easily acessible to Tarlac City and Angeles City by bus and by car. Nearby airports include Loakan Airport in Baguio City, San Fernando International Airport and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in the Clark Special Economic Zone (next to Angeles City). However direct flights from Manila have been discontinued. The only option is the regional airport located in Binalonan, Pangasinan which also operates a charter flight service from Manila. However, from Binalonan, it leap frogs to several other destinations in the north. Check out their website at: (http://www.skypasada.com)
History and Culture
On January 5, 1858 the municipality of Urdaneta was borne in the eqastern part of Pangasinan. History links this city to that famous aide of Spanish explorer, Ferdinan Magellan - that is - Father Sinon de Urdaneta, a soldier, navigator and cosmographer after whom the city was named.
Another priest helped found Urdaneta, that is, Father Nicolas Manrique Alzonzo with the help of hardy pioneers from the Ilocos provinces. The begining was the clearing of a vast forest that was Urdaneta then followed by the erection of the Urdaneta Roman Catholic Church and convent, followed later by a fluorishing village organized into a town which later became the municipality of Urdaneta.
Other theorists, however are of the opinion that the name Urdaneta stems from the term, "Organeta," meaning "little organ" or "Little unit" considering that at that time the place was composed of portions of barrios of adjacent towns where travellers and traders converged.
Today, Urdaneta City still serves as a strategic point of convergence for travellers and traders north of manila, linking several key cities and provinces. It became a city in 1997 by virtue of Republic Act No. 8480.
Video about the Sanctuary I.T. Building at Urdaneta City
Real Estate and ICT hub
Urdaneta City is home to the Sanctuary I.T. Building along MacArthur Highway, The Sanctuary I.T. Building is the only Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) proclaimed I.T. Building in Pangasinan. Ursdaneta City is being pushed by the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) as one of the major potential locations for offshore outsourcing services.
A city is designated as an ICT hub if it meets telecommunications (i.e., two telecommunications providers with the availability of high-speed fiber optic facilities with IGF capabilities), power, water, housing, education and manpower requirements of the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.
The Sanctuary I.T. Building already houses Urdaneta City's first two call centers, FFG Telemarketing, a Filipino-Canadian outbound call center and EIE Inc., a Filipino-owned website services marketing firm. For more information on the Sanctuary I.T. Building and their clients, check their website at: (http://urdanetacity.org)
Hotels in Pangasinan
Hotels and Accommodations
Pangasinan hosts several Department of Tourism-accredited hotels, resorts and restaurants. However, Urdaneta City is the most strategic and logical place for travellers to base themselves to explore the entire region (please see the map). The jewel in the crown of Urdaneta City's hotel industry is the Lisland Rainforest Resort which provides regional specialties, ballroom dancing and wine over a balcony overlooking the remains of a large patch of rainforest. According to 100 Resorts in the Philippines, there is “no hotel with such charm in the immediate vicinity of the Hundred Islands National park which is one (1) hour away by car. Address: 182 San Vicente, MacArthur Highway, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan. Telephone: (6375) 568-2962; Fax: (6375) 568-2938 Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Extremely popular and well-known to budget-conscious travellers is the Hotel Sanctuary which is located in the heart of Urdaneta City, right along Macarthur Highway which positions itself as “a three-star hotel with five-star service,” and also offers delicious local meals and packages tours for tourists to nearby locations. Address: Sanctuary I.T. Building, MacArthur Highway, Barangay Nancaysan, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan. Telephone numbers as follows: Pangasinan office: (+6375) 656-0021 and Metro Manila office (+632) 359-9503 and cell phone: (+63908) 122-9020. Call or look for: Mrs. Sonia Labuanan or Ms. Cathy Espina. Email: email@example.com
Things to do in Pangasinan
In keping true to its role as a central toursim hub, Metro Urdaneta is at least thirty to fourty minutes away from many eco-tourism and other fun activities. Within metro Urdaneta, one can visit the Balungao Hot Springs, go river rafting or canoeing down the mighty Agno River in Rosales, go mountain biking in the foothills of “Marlboro Country” in Umingan or engage in water sports in the reservoir formed by damming the Agno River at the site of the San Roque Multi-Purpose Project in San Manuel.
Snorkeling, fishing and scuba diving may be enjoyed at the Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos which is one (1) hour's drive away from Urdaneta City. The Hundred Islands National Park is a cluster of about a hundred islands. These islands are situated off Alaminos City at the Lingayen Gulf. The largest and the best known island is Quezon Island while the other islands are small and only visited once in a while by foreign and local tourists. The bigger islandshave beaches where visitors can spend the day campaing and picnicking
The islands that offer facilities are:
- Quezon Island with viewing decks, toilets and picnic sheds.
The Governor's Island with accommodation facilities for those who would like to stay longer.
The Children's Island which has bathrooms, camping and sleeping areas.
Visitors to the Hundred Islands can better enjoy their vacation with water sports facilities offered for rent at the Lucap Waterfront for activities like jet skiing, windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, parasailing and big game fishing. Telephone number: (+6375) 551-2246.
Best Beaches of Pangasinan:
● Abrak Beach in Bolinao has huts for rent for the budget conscious and several resorts for those with bigger budgets.
● Tambobong Beach, also in Dasol has pristine waters and a fishing village serves as a backdrop.
● Colibra Island, in Dasol has a beautiful shoreline; clear waters that is good for for diving and snorkeling. The island’s beach however has no shade. So be prepared to get a dark tan.
● Tondol Beach in Anda town offers a long stretch shallow and calm waters. Ideal for sunbathers.
● Arnedo Beach also in Bolinao offers several resorts, some with surfing facilities with reasonable rates.
How to get to Pangasinan:
Your fastest route from Metro Manila is to take EDSA from ShoeMart North and get off on the Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and from NLEX trasnfer onto the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and getting off at Hacienda Luisita which has a series of internal roads leading straight to MacArthur Highway and on to the towns of Rosales and Villasis and ultimately Urdaneta City (travel time is about 3 to four hours). If you want to shave an hour off the trip; it is strongly suggested that you leave Metro Manila by four a.m. before traffic starts to build uo and then catch an early breakfast at Hacienda Luisita where there is a Pancake House, Starbucks and Jollibbee waiting for travellers.
Catch a bus from Manila going to Alaminos, Pangasinan. From center of Alaminos City, there are tricycles and jeepneys that ply the 3 kilometer route to Lucap town where the Public Assistance Center for the Hundred Islands National Park is located. The center also accepts reservations for accommodations to the islands. From the center, motorized boats (banca) can be hired for a trip to the islands.
Buses that ply the Manila - Pangasinan route:
● Dagupan Bus Line (Quezon City to Dagupan) New York St., Cubao Tel # 929-6123, 727-2330
● Victory Liner (Quezon City to Dagupan & Alaminos) Cubao, Q.C. Tel # 727-4688, 727-4534
● Five Star Bus Line (Pasay City to Dagupan & Bolinao) Tel # 833 8339, 833 3009
● Viron Transit
● Solid North
● Philippine Rabbit (Quezon City to Dagupan & Bolinao) EDSA, Q.C. Tel # 734-9838, 734-9836
● Philippine Rapid Manila to Dagupan & Bolinao)
Charter flights from Manila are quite pricey at PhP 60,000.00 for a round trip charter flight from Manila to the regional airport in BInalonan, Pangasinan. A better bet is to make your way by land to Binalonan and then use that as a jumping point to explore the rest of northern Luzon via their very reasonable packaged flights. Check this out at: (http://www.skypasada.com)
Power Generation Hub
Near Metro Urdaneta is the municipality of San Manuel, which is the site fo the 345 megawatt San Roque Multipurpose Project, considered to be the biggest man-made dam in Southeast Asia. Also within Pangasinan is the 1200 megawatt Sual Coal Fired Power Plant, with both power generation projects supplying power to the Luzon Grid. Power transmission facilities within metro Urdaneta are provided by the Pangasinan Electrical Cooperative (PANELCO III) for household, comemercial and industrial users.
Pangasinan aims to become an ecologically balanced and environmentally stable world-class center for tourism, trade, agriculture and industry in the Asia-Pacific region. Pangasinan is the biggest province in the Ilocos Region, covering an area of 5,368 square kilometers. Much of the land is flat and devoted to agriculture and the province has the highest amount of irrigated fields in the region. The Lingayen Gulf is a rich fishing ground and is a major source of marine products. The mountain ranges to the east and west of the province are sources of mettalic minerals like gold and chromite and non-mettalic mineals like clay, limestone, silica and guano. With the support of more than 61 technical institutions, the labor force can adequately respond to the needs of traditional as well as highly specialized manufacturing activities.
Urdaneta City has one (1) government owned hospital, four (4) private hospitals, including the state-of-the-art SacredHeartHospital along MacArthur Highway. The city has one City Health Office that delivers health services. As of 2006, UrdanetaCity also established ten (1) Botika ng Barangay outlets to bring quality but affordable medicines within the reach of the people in the communities. It also has several well-equipped pharmacies.
Considered one of the biggest financial centers north of Metro Manila, Pangasinan itself has 110 rural banks, 63 commercial banks, 17 savings and mortgage banks, 8 specialized government banks as well as 251 non-banking financial institutions catering to the financing needs of the province, with Urdaneta City hosting branches of most of the major commercial banks.
Urdaneta City earned its name as the “Bagsakan” (trading post) of Pangasinan because it serves as a drop-off point for the various fruits and vegetables coming from the different municpalities in Pangasinan and nearby provinces. The City's central market practices pure laissez-faire or free enterprise where nobody controls the prices of goods and commodities; unlike in other areas where there is cartelization or price control. Because of this level playing field, traders and market vendors from all over Luzon come to this city to buy goods and sell these to the different towns in Pangasinan and other luzon provinces. UrdanetaCity is also the site of the largest cattle market in Northern Luzon; cementing its role as the region's most significant trading hub.