Dagupan City, my beloved hometown, once again is staging what has become one of the most exciting fiesta celebrations in Luzon – the annual Bangus Festival. Started in 2002 by Mayor Benjie Lim, the Bangus Festival celebrates Dagupan City’s prized and precious product – the Bonuan Bangus, the source of much of the city’s wealth, much of the people’s livelihood and a great deal of the people’s pride. It is truly the treasure of Dagupan City and all of Pangasinan. I should know: I grew up in Bonuan (and was bronzed by the Bonuan Blue Beach) and I have also been blessed by the Bonuan Bangus when it became one of my first businesses 5 years ago. It is the business that allowed me to quit my job. :)

The Bangus Festival is from April 8 – May 1. Celebrate with us!

This year’s Bangus Festival kicks off on April 8 and culminates on the 1st of May – the country’s labor day holiday and also our town Pista’y Dayat (Sea Festival). In the past, the Pista’y Dayat has been the main draw of Dagupan City every May 1st, with locals and tourists all heading out to the Bonuan Blue Beach and Tondaligan Beaches to cool off in the summer. The Bangus Festival was initiated to complement the Pista’y Dayat, but now the Bangus Festival has become a main event in itself.

Throughout the month-long Bangus Festival, there will be various activities with the bangus as centerpiece: The “Bangus Ed Carosa” (Bangus Parade), a Bangus Art exhibit, a Fishing Contest, the “Bangus Run Takbo para sa Kabuhayan” (a fun run), “Langoy Bangus” (a swimming competition on the pool and in the river waters), “YugYugan Ed Bangus Fest 2011″ (a dance party), the Bangus Fest Talent Show, the “Gilon Gilon Ed Dalan” (a street dance party/parade), a Miss Gay Bangus Festival Queen (a gay pageant), the Bangus Rodeo (where locals try to catch bangus with their bare hands), the “101 Ways to Cook Bangus” cooking contest, and the festival highlight – the  ”Kalutan ed Dalan” (Bangus Street Grill). (See calendar of activities at the end of this post.)

Kalutan ed Dalan (Ihawan sa Daan; Longest Bangus Grill)

The “Kalutan ed Dalan” is a Bangus festival tradition wherein the entire stretch of our city’s downtown AB Fernandez Avenue is closed to traffic and lined from end to end by grills with glowing charcoals and Bonuan bangus for grilling. Last 2004, the city was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for staging the longest barbecue of the world and got for the city the title too as the Bangus Capital of the World.

Gilon Gilon ed Dalan (Sayaw-Sayawan sa Daan)

One of the more admirable things about this year’s festival is the effort of the current city mayor Benjie Lim to “bring the festival back to the people.” Mayor Lim really sent the message out to our kabaleyans that the festival is ours and as such, we should take an active part in it, and naturally, benefit from its fruits – in terms of business opportunities. This is a change from previous years where the organization of the festival was limited to only a few business interests, as such it did not become a real community effort. I do not endorse Mayor Benjie Lim (or anyone for that matter), but I like what he endeavors to achieve this year. When the festival started, it was held in AB Fernandez Avenue. It was moved to the Jose de Venecia Highway in the last 2 years to accommodate the business interests of a few; but now, it’s going to be back where it was born and where it belongs.

Come celebrate with Dagupan City and all of Pangasinan! Visit our city from April 8 to May 1 and join in on the festivities of the city I am very much proud of.

See you there!

(Look further down for Calendar of Activities, Hotel Accommodations, and How to Get to Dagupan City.)

Bangus Festival Calendar of Activities

Date Festival Event
April 8 Motorcade

Opening/Mass

START of PHOTO CONTEST

Auto Electronic Show1

Home and Appliance Trade Fair

BANGUS ED CAROSA

April 9 RIVER CRUISE

Auto Electronic Show

2nd Mayor BSL Cup) Shoot Fest 1

Badminton 1

Café ed Park

Bangus Art exhibit

Pisasalamat

Dagupan’s Best

April 10 Auto Electronic Show2

Dagupan’s Best

2nd Mayor BSL Cup) Shoot Fest 1

Café ed Park

Badminton 2

April 11 Fishing Contest (Mabilay lay ilog ko)
April 12 Mangrove Planting

Dagupan Graffiti Art Walk

April 14 Mangrove Planting

Sculpture Painting Contest

April 15 HALO HALO FEST

Pigar – Pigar Fest 1

April 16 Dagupan’s Best

Bangus Run Takbo para sa Kabuhayan

Golf Tournament

Pigar – Pigar 2

Kapamilya Caravan

YugYugan Ed Bangus Fest 2011

April 17 Dagupan’s Best

Pigar – Pigar 3

SUNDAY MARKET

Drag race

On Road Vuelta Bike Race

April 18 Kick boxing
April 19 Mangrove Planting

Boxing

April 24 EASTER SUNDAY

Dagupan’s Best

Easter Egg Hunt

TV SHOW

Start of Wall Climbing

Bangus Fest Talent Show

April 25 Unveiling of the new City Seal

Langoy Bangus 1 (Pool)

Bikini Open

April 26 Langoy Bangus 2 (Ilog)

Miss Gay Bangus Festival Queen

Party/Concert

April 27 Handog ng Bombo Concert
April 28 GILON GILON ED DALAN

Miss Magic Pagaent

April 29 Bangus Rodeo

101 WAYS TO COOK BANGUS

BATTLE OF THE BANDS

Iwata Visitors

April 30 Dagupan’s Best

KALUTAN ED DALAN

Grand Fireworks

Off Road Mountain Bike

Takbo para sa KKK Marathon

Off Road Mountain Bike

May 1 PISTAY DAYAT (Sea Festival)

BODY BUILDING

PHOTO CONTEST EXHIBIT

BICYCLE WARS

Dagupan’s Best

Looking for other things you can do on your own in the city?
Here’s a Top 10 Things to SEE, DO, or EAT in Dagupan City. :)

Past Festival Photos:

Gilon Gilon ed Dalan (More Sayawan)

How to get to Dagupan City:
1) By Bus: Take the Victory Liner (Pasay or Cubao Stations) or Five Star Bus Liner’s buses heading for Dagupan City. It’s a 4-5 hour trip. Get off at the bus station in Dagupan City (the last stop), and just roam around town via the Downtown Jeepney or the tricycles.

2) By Car: Take NLEX, then take the Mabalacat exit (last exit), then follow the road to up to Urdaneta City. In Urdaneta, take a left at the Urdaneta-Calasiao Road, then when you hit an intersection (where there’s Jollibee, a Toyota Showroom and the Pangasinan Regency Hotel), take Caranglaan Road until you hit Perez Blvd. That’s Dagupan City Proper. Just follow the route of the Downtown jeepneys to go around town.

Hotel Accommodations:

Pangasinan Regency Hotel
Judge Jose de Venecia Avenue, Dagupan City, Philippines
+63 75 517 6232 ?

Star Plaza Hotel
Near Quintos Bridge, Dagupan City, Philippines
+63 75 523 4678

Floren Hotel
Rizal Street, Dagupan City, Philippines
+63 75 522 0666 ?

Gelymar Travelers Inn
54 Perez Boulevard, Dagupan City, Philippines
+63 75 522 0282 ?

Dagupan Garden Hotel
958 Lucao District, Dagupan City, Philippines
+63 75 523 4439 ?

Arizona Inn
Dagupan City, Philippines
+63 75 523 4766 ?

Lenox Hotel
Rizal Street, Dagupan, Philippines
+63 75 515 8889 ?

Rose Plaza Inn
Bonuan Boquig, Dagupan City, Philippines
+63 75 523 5455 ?

City De Luxe Hotel & Restaurant
Lucao, Dagupan City, Philippines
+63 75 522 9276 ?


The author, Tristan Mirasol, is owner/author of the blog Ten Minutes, Tops! and promotes travel via the travel club he co-founded called ClubTravelNOW!.