“I'm sorry that I'm both your umbrella and the rain.”
Nope, this isn’t a drama post. Originally, it was a PPRD outing for nine. Just to see the famed Umbrella Rocks of Agno and then hit the beach. But almost half backed out the last minute. This trip almost didn’t happen, but we the remaining survivors (AJ, Kuya Jojo, Ralph, Jhee-Ann and me) still decided to push it despite the attrition and those pa-fall like Patricia.
Located in the Western coastal part of Pangasinan, sandwiched by the towns of Burgos and Bani, Agno may still be a sleepy town yet boasts of white-sand beaches and beautiful rock formations. It was named after a swamp tree called “Agno Casto”, which grows abundantly in the area and is used for medicinal concoctions to relieve pain and illness.
The road is still being constructed going to its two popular tourist attractions – the Umbrella Rocks and the Abagatanen Beach. Hopefully it will be completed late 2016 or early 2017. By then, it is expected to usher in more tourists.
It rained the night before our arrival in Agno, and unfortunately our van got stuck for a while in a mud near the narrow dirt road going to Umbrella Rocks. Buti na lang at nagbayanihan ang mga tao doon sa pagtulak ng van.
We arrived safe and sound after six hours of night land travel from Manila to Umbrella Rocks Beach Resort. Owned and managed by the municipal government, it is so far the only operational resort in Agno with nipa huts and room accommodations. It is strategically located on Sabangan Beach, and just a few steps away from the Umbrella Rocks – a cluster of colossal boulders and rock formations eroded by nature through time, most of which are shaped like giant umbrella and mushroom.
There’s a hill by the beach, accessible via paved stairways. On the summit is a non-functional lighthouse. For security purposes, anybody who will get caught entering it will be penalized with a hefty fine of P2,000.
After we settled, a jeepney full of locals arrived. They were supposed to go to the neighboring Abagatanen Beach but since the road is still under construction (only motorcycles and tricycles could pass thru), they just decided to have their outing at the resort. It was our cue that we need to start walking going to Abagatanen.
It took us almost an hour to reach Abagatanen by foot, passing by cliffs overlooking the West Philippine Sea, rice field, hills and a very kind manong who has a horse, na isa-isa naming sinakyan. User-much talaga kami.
When we reached Abagatanen, we were so amazed with the crystal clear water of the beach. Pero pinakamasaya si Jhee-Ann because it was her first time to see a white sand beach. Abagatanen is a small fishing village, so there is still no hint of commercialism in the area, except for the native cottages for rent and a small sari-sari store owned by a kagawad, where we had our lunch. Our group was also the first to arrive so solong-solo namin ang beach.
On the rear side of the beach, we found a lagoon and more rock formations. We saw a group of local boys, taking their turns at rock diving. E medyo nainggit kami slight, so we also tried. Kaso lang may isa sa amin na first time pa lang gagawin yun. Si Bes di pala marunong lumangoy, muntik na siya malunod bago maakyat ang rock, at nung nasa tuktok na siya, na realize niya na di pa pala siya ready ma-fall. So ayun, muntik na abutan ng sunrise bago nakatalon.
Back at Umbrella Rocks, we rented one of their native huts for overnight stay (P500 for 12 hours use/ P1,000 for overnight stay). It would have been much comfortable had we brought with us pillows and blankets. Since the resort doesn’t offer any food and drinks, we have no choice but to cook our own dinner. AJ prepared inihaw na liempo and fish stuffed with tomatoes and onions. The next day before going back to Manila we dropped by Bes’ home in Bani. We were treated to an unforgettable seafood feast plus fresh fruits lovingly prepared by his mother.
At kahit di kami kumpleto, we still managed to tolerate each other’s company, and enjoy the wonderful scenery, the friendly waves and fresh air, the Videoke, and the shrimps. This was also sort of our farewell bonding with the kids. In fact, dito nga na-establish sa Agno ang Bes Company.
And yes, you can sit with us!
How to get to Agno:
1. From Cubao or Pasay, take Agno-bound bus (Five Star, Solid North or Dagupan Bus) and get off at the town proper of Agno.
2. But since Agno buses have limited trips daily, another option would be to take Alaminos or Bolinao-bound bus, and get off in Alaminos and ride another jeepney to Agno.
3. From Agno town proper rent a tricycle (good for 3) going to Umbrella Rocks (contact no. of the resort - 0918-4783654) and Abagatanen. It may cost P600 or more, two-way.