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The Relaxing River Cruise in Dagupan City
Last July 21, 2011 at around 4:00 pm (Philippine time) the members of the faculty and staff of the school where I earn a living decided to call it time out and tried the newly inaugurated Dawel River Cruise in Dagupan City. This is indeed a brilliant way to unwind from a hard day work and at the same time have a nice bonding among us.
The city is by the way nestled along the coastline mid-north of the province of Pangasinan, Philippines. For the record, the city made a milestone by virtue of smashing the Guinness World Book of Records for the longest Barbecue Grill category last May 3, 2003. Considered to be the home of the tastiest “bangus” or milkfish in the Philippines and in the world, Dagupan also pride itself as the center of trade and education in the northern region of the country.
Now going back to the thick of things, everybody are seemed pumped up and excited about the wonderful eco-tourism ride ahead of us. Picture taking are all over the place as soon we set our foot into the grounds of San Marino. Everybody is looking for a nice background to erect a wonderful poise worthy of perfect shots. The backdrops didn’t disappoint since the sculptures of huge milkfish embellished with paintings about the way of life in the city are scattered around the waiting area.
The sail will not be complete without of course the novelty boat powered by a motor which looks so native since it has roof that is made from “Nipa” leaves and can accommodate up to 20 persons.
A tourist guide came along and provided us with insightful information about the environs we are going to see on the trip.
Everybody was seemed very eager as we finally take our seat in the boat. Ah, the moment of truth came, its anchors away and we have a taste of the much-anticipated river cruise at long last.
The river cruise was off to a good start since we’ve witnessed the conservation efforts of the city government and its people bearing good fruits. The main artery of the river along with the stretch of trees and mangroves forms an enthralling panorama to see and behold.
I am happy to catch a sight of the mangroves on the area since these trees form the first line of defense against harsh weather and floods. Mangroves also serve as a sanctuary for small and spawning fishes. The city is host to 14 species of mangroves and it is indeed nice to know about this. There are also some species of birds that patrols the area, a good sign that the environment here is still healthy.
The water pollution is minimized even as the fish cages and pens are eradicated. Overcrowded fish cages and fish pens already caused massive fish kills in some parts of the country dealing a big blow to the fishing industry. Illegal settlers here were relocated and were provided with livelihood to give the river enough space to breathe comfortably.
Being a denizen of the city since birth, I can’t help but be proud and happy about the things that are unfolding before my very eyes.
Though it is not as massive and magnificent as the great Amazon River west of Suez the river provided us with things that money cannot buy like tranquility, building rapport and camaraderie and being close to nature once in a while.
The trip is sort of therapeutic since the balsamic breeze of air gently caresses you providing an instant relief from hustle and bustle of city life. Your eyes are also provided with the opportunity to feast on the swathe of breathtaking landscape.
Along the trip I learned something that truly amazed me and with the help of our guide I found the answer why the milkfish in the city is so mouthwatering and most sought after in the country. Unlike the other rivers in the country where the water is clear the color of the river in Dagupan is dark green an indicator that there are a lot of plankton and algae in the area which serves as nutritious foods for the feisty milkfish.
The journey also made us travel back in time to reminisce the good old days of trains and railroads. The remnants of the pillars and cornerstones of the bridge that connects the province of Pangasinan to La Union via a railroad lie calmly in the river. This is the same route where national hero of the country Jose Rizal had taken every time he traveled to the city to visit his first love Leonora Rivera.
Few minutes later the boat made an unexpected u-turn signaling that we will return to San Marino drydock. We are going back to the same path that just gave us some light moments and some shares of ohs and ahs.
Along the way, knowing that the trip will end soon, I seat alone in one corner of the boat, to further experience and savor firsthand the wonderful nature at work. I was so happy and impressed with the things I witnessed here.
After about 30-minutes of awesome display of unending beautiful sceneries, the trip came to an end. Its touchdown and how I wish I will return to this place soon. And why I shouldn’t make a return trip, especially when the river cruise holds a lot of promise in the near future.
The city government is bullish on its drive to spur robust tourism activities on its fold. They are planning to plant more mangroves and other trees in the area, have a floating restaurant to showcase local cuisines and set up a souvenir shop. To further make the trip enjoying even during the nighttime in the coming days light posts will be erected in the area. They are exploring on the possibility of breeding and releasing fireflies in the area too.
There are also plans that the river cruise will be spruced up with folk singers and dancers to give travelers more fun and excitement.
Things now look bright on this part of the city. It really gives you a great feeling that eco-tourism is now slowly making a dent in the city. Eco-tourism made wonders for Donsol, Sorsogon which is a popular destination for whale watchers from all corners of the world and why not in Dagupan City which is reputed to be the milkfish capital of the world and home to numerous species of mangroves.
I hope time will come that people will come in droves to the city to appreciate the river cruise since it doesn’t only provide employment on the people living here it also educate tourists about the importance of taking good care of mother nature.
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Suggested readings and awesome places to visit in the Philippines
- The captivating Mt. Pinatubo
- Paoay Sand Dunes Perfect for thrill-seekers and adventurers
- The Spectacular Bangui Windmills and Quaint Bojeador Lighthouse
- Pamilacan Bohol a Breeding Ground for the Charming Dolphins
- One of a kind adventures in Pugo, La Union
- Acuatico Beach Resort a Great Place to Frolic under the Sun
- The breathtaking Camarines Norte's beaches, adventure spots and festivals
- The Relaxing River Cruise in Dagupan City
- The Essence of Ecotourism