WHAT an unbelievable stretch of beachfront!
As far as the eyes could see, so devoid of trash, ugly stalls, souvenir stands and tourist-hunting hawkers! That was my first impression when I beheld the sight, as I awoke and lumbered out of the inn near where the baywalk started.
The dawn had already brought out its fair share of joggers of all shapes, including a handful of bronzed athletes wearing Philippine team track suits, and a few bicycle-riding youngsters just in on the whole thing for some girl watching.
At the far end of the shoreline, just beyond the baywalk and the designated bathing area (where a few early morning bathers had already indulged), two fishing boats had just come in from the sea with their haul of a few nights, and a small expectant crowd had gathered to meet them to sort through their catch. I thought, it was true after all, the early bird gets the worm.
This spectacle, on the whole, detailed the miraculously-clean public space called Lingayen Beach, accessible and surprisingly free for everyone to use and enjoy. This, nowadays, is extremely rare, considering the fact that, although beaches by law could not be owned personally, the practice is accepted and considered one of the integral foundations of the thriving tourism industry.
However, no glowing description can give it enough justice, because Lingayen Beach, and its already-famous baywalk should be hailed as a model for other tourist attractions; not only for the environmental efforts put behind it, but more important, for the province’s stance in maintaining and promoting its historical significance.
As proof of the latter, before one could reach the entrance to the beach, one would have to pass through an outdoor veterans museum where WWII relics of tanks, anti-aircraft guns, and a downed kamikaze plane are prominently displayed. Right nearby is a roofed photo exhibit showcasing the battle of Lingayen gulf, complete with extensive historical accounts.
On another level, its well-maintained baywalk is equally unique because, it extends up to and connects with another baywalk initiated by its municipal neighbor, Binmaley. The impact of this is that, environmentally and tourism-wise, the maintenance and monitoring of both sites by each locality, are naturally in sync, with the end result being, one continuous beachfront; marked by an extensive baywalk that is shared by the communities of both municipalities.
Located in the historical gulf of Lingayen in Pangasinan, Lingayen Beach is truly a lesser-known tourism venture that is worth emulating, and in fairness to other resorts with similar natural attractions as come-ons, it has little emphasis on generating profit. Instead, the preservation of the area’s rich history takes center stage, delegating to the sidelines a tourism potential singly-aimed at profit.