Binalonan, Pangasinan: My Mother’s Hometown

BINALONAN is a place I’m familiar with. Why? Because it is the ‘crossover’ town where my mother was born and raised. Eventually, she got married to my father in the town’s cathedral. I am also thankful to the fact that I have a simple family side, which keeps me grounded. I have the best of Filipino family balance 😛

Lanelle's home-cooked Pinapaitan - The Best!
Lanelle’s home-cooked Pinapaitan – The Best!

For years, I struggled on how I can possibly feature Binalonan in my travel blog without being too personal about it. Shall I feature how my cousins make the best Pinapaitan in the world? My love-hate relationship with the typical provincial life? The ever tasty Binalonan Longganisa for breakfast, lunch and dinner? So it will be my intimate relationship with food still!

Then I thought of the reclusive flying school, which I’ve been dreaming to visit for a long time. How can I possibly go inside the vicinity?

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Then the opportunity came.

I was in Dagupan working when Kara asked me if I would like to join the group of print and online media to Binalonan for a Familiarization Tour. I checked the itinerary. I’ll miss the first part, but I can travel to Binalonan by night time to participate for the next day highlights.

 

Aerial Tour of Pangasinan courtesy of WCC Aviation. Yep,  we're flying on top of the Hundred Islands!
Aerial Tour of Pangasinan courtesy of WCC Aviation. Yep, we’re flying on top of the Hundred Islands!

Having an airfield in a quiet town is surprising to many. Like what I mentioned, I’ve been curious about the WCC Aeronautical and Technical School. The main purpose of this trip is to explore one of Eastern Pangasinan’s biggest schools with the hope that we’d be given the chance to fly in one of the aircrafts. We’re actually in for a good treat since we were given the opportunity to do an Aerial Tour of Pangasinan!

^ Feature on Longganisa Festival

Food is the main reason why I look forward to weekend trips to Binalonan when I was younger. My relatives, particularly Tita Lorna cooks the best Ilocano dishes especially when it comes to Pinapaitan and Igado. It is one skill that I haven’t inherited from my mother side. All my cousins are good in the culinary part, but hey, I appreciate every dish presented to me and I even ask for extra rice (all the time!).

For me, Binalonan Longganisa is the best in the Philippines! Even my companions in the trip will agree with me 😉

I’m particularly curious where they will take us for the morning tour. I was surprised upon learning that Barangay Moreno is one of the town’s moneymakers with its ‘backyard industry’.

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Raw sugar cane
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Traditional fermentation of sugar cane vinegar (Baak)

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The traditional production of natural sugar cane is still being practiced in Binalonan. Most of the products are being repackaged by companies outside Pangasinan and sell it on higher prices.

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I know for a fact that the production of Banana and Sweet Potato Chips in Pangasinan is making good money and is even exported in other places.

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Do you love munching over the Ilocos Chichacorn? Well, some of the products for sale are are processed in Binalonan and repacked in Ilocos!

Hot na Hot na Chichacorn! Php35 lang!
Hot na Hot na Chichacorn! Php35 lang!

Since I already had the opportunity to visit the WCC Aviation Campus, I grabbed opportunity to invite my nephew since he aspires to fly planes and be a pilot when he grows up. Hopefully, this short trip will give him more determination to pursue his dream!

Aim High and Fly High!
Aim High and Fly High!

Street dancing makes every fiesta in the Philippines an enjoyable one. Representatives from elementary, high school and college compete by showcasing colorful outfits and endearing dance moves ’till they reach the town plaza. My cousins used to participate as dancers when we were younger.

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Binalonan-Fiesta-Street-Dancing1
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So what’s my dream for Binalonan? I am happy with the recent developments as far as education is concerned. In a way, it will affect the influx of tourists coming in. The existence of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) is a big help. I just hope that more business owners in the field of food and travel will invest and provide jobs for the locals.

Sweet memories of Binalonan still lingers on my mind. I don’t normally stay there for long, but I know I have a place to run to when the need arises… like when I’m craving for Ilocano dishes 😛

Have you been to Binalonan in Pangasinan? I apologize as instead of writing the usual travel guide, I end up publishing another food post!

3 Comments

  1. Raph said:

    Great post! Binalonan is also my mom’s hometown, and I visit our ancestral house in Brgy. Capas about once a year, and I don’t blame you if this has turned into a food post. People from Binalonan are good cooks, and yes I agree, the longganisa is really awesome! I guess I am lucky because my dad’s home town is Batac, Ilocos Norte, which is also famous for their longganisa and empanada. I grew up enjoying some of the best longganisas in the country.

    June 16, 2016
    Reply
  2. Mac Oribello said:

    My wife and I retired about ten years ago and we have been spending six months of the past ten years in Binalonan. Although we are not active in the social life of Binalonan, we participate in the interchange of social norms with our neighbors , who we are proud to say are our friends. In America, the social interaction is different from what we found in Binalonan. If I am yearning for pizza, I drive over to Urdaneta and satisfy my craving. We do not have the aura of the big city in Binalonan and we are grateful for that. I spent some time in Wash, DC and in San Francisco and in Indiana, and I can assure you that one can enjoy and hate the cutthroat’s attitude that one must develop in order to survive. My wife and I survived and now we have Binalonan to come back to.

    During one of our neighborhood discussions, somebody brought up the idea of the government installing an intersection light regulating traffic on the highway. We all got heated putting forth our dimes’ worth on our own reasons why and why not a traffic light. For me, it means the government can employ more people with the absence of the light than with the light. There are no steady jobs in Binalonan and one can see dynamic young people with that gleam in their eyes willing to start only to be brought back down. There is a steady outflow of people. My solution is to educate our young with jobs that they can use to earn a living. Then the tide will slow down the drugs and keep people honest!

    April 15, 2017
    Reply
  3. Dean Jimenez said:

    Proud Binalonian here! I just stumbled upon your site as i accidentally entered a WCC training aircraft’s body number (RP-C1972). This post is really on point! GREAT GREAT GREAT!
    Also, I am a student Pilot of WCC and this made me smile! Cheers!

    You Should visit our town again! 🙂

    September 28, 2017
    Reply

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