It was hard to leave the comfort of Baguio’s The Manor, but we had to go. However, we of course wouldn’t leave without eating platefuls of their breakfast servings first. This must be the best breakfast buffet I have ever digged into.
Our Lakbay Norte coach was waiting for our heavier selves as the sun starts to top the pines of Baguio. We’re off for a three-hour ride to Pangasinan!
We alighted at Dagupan to try out their newest attraction, a river tour not unlike that of Bohol’s river cruise. The difference here is that there’s no buffet included on the raft but the tour is free (you’ll just have to arrange it with the local tourism department).
Lakbay Norte wouldn’t be Lakbay Norte though without food, so instead of the usual buffet, we got some local treats in the form of various kakanins.
We plied the greenish water of Dawell River then transferred to a smaller boat to visit a bangus farm. I’m really not into boat transfers since I find it to be quite a chore with my bulges and all, but this one proved to be easy.
The group alighted at a fish pen and lined up on the narrow clay ledge of the mangroves to witness how the locals harvest the world famous Dagupan Bangus. Cameras snapped up and down the line as the guys submerged at the murky waters of the pen closed the nets on the fishes. It was an interesting splashy and muddy affair.
The tour wouldn’t be complete without tasting the freshly harvested milkfishes, and that we did after planting a few mangrove trees along the banks of the river. Trayfuls of inihaw na bangus were waiting for us as we docked. Complimented with fish bagoong and calamansi, I can honestly say that it was the best bangus I’ve tasted ever, no exaggeration.
Our next activity was to eat again. Less than an hour after our bangus overload, we were again treated to some more at Matutina’s in Urdaneta. We somehow manage to still stuff ourselves with pork barbeques, pinakbet, nilasing na hipon and another round of inihaw na bangus. The eating just never stops.
Getting heavier and heavier, we again boarded our groaning bus and zoomed off to Tarlac to do some speed-driving at Kart City.
The group was briefed on the rules of speeding before we donned our helmets. Again, true to Lakbay Norte’s spirit, we had plates of pizza while we were being instructed what to do.
It was five in the afternoon as we put on our helmets and slammed on the accelerators. I asked a fellow Lakbay Nortier if there might be a chance that the kart might somehow flip if we overspeed on turning, he says that according to Mario Kart, it is possible.
So with lessons from playing Gran Turismo on my old Playstation in mind, I grabbed my own helmet and pressed hard on the accelerator.
Go karting is super fun! We did a race relay that lasted for an hour before we were called back to the lounge for dinner. The sixth and last meal of the day comprised of crunchy crispy patas, fried chickens, noodles, squids and kare-kare.
To burn all those calories, we ordered not a few bottles of beer and passed the mic around for a night of singing, hooting and cheering in front of a videoke.
L A K B A Y N O R T E 3 S E R I E S
ON THE ROAD: LAKBAY NORTE 3 CAVING AT NORZAGARAY & BASS FISHING AT PANTABANGAN DAM
TOPLOADING & WHITEWATER RAFTING AT KALINGA | SHOOTING LANDSCAPES & SURFING AT THE BLUE LAGOON
PADDLE BOARDING & BIRDWATCHING AT PAOAY | HIKING AT HOLCIM’S ECOTRAIL & AIRSOFT AT BAGUIO COUNTRY CLUB
RIVER CRUISE AT DAGUPAN & GO KARTING AT TARLAC | JUNGLE SURVIVAL, SPA TIME & PINOY HENYO AT SUBIC
PUNING’S HOT SPRINGS & LUBAO’S PRADO FARM
HOW I JOINED LAKBAY NORTE 3 LAKBAY NORTE 3! | PICKED 4 LAKBAY NORTE 3!
LAKBAY NORTE IS AN ANNUAL MEDIA FAMILIARIZATION TOUR AROUND NORTH LUZON
ORGANIZED BY NORTH PHILIPPINES VISITORS BUREAU