Mindanao Times

Lingayen lingers

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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.

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