The rainy season may be in full force but this should not stop you from exploring. Like what I have previously shared, local travelers shift inland during this time of the year so expect a lot of hiking, waterfalls, and lake shots on social media. But the beach is not exactly out of the picture just yet because there are a lot of beach spots in the country that you can enjoy whether the sun’s out or not.
If you are looking for a quick beach escape from the city, the province of Pangasinan is great place to consider and explore. It has a unique mix of coastline and inland attractions that can definitely excite any type of traveler. It is also blessed with a number of natural attractions that has charmed a lot of its guests and the quaint little town of Agno definitely makes its own mark.
Agno is a charming municipality located along the western coast of Pangasinan. It is a thriving community whose main livelihood is focused on farming and fishing. The town of Agno came under the radar of local tourism because of its unique rock formation along its coast, facing the West Philippine Sea. Unknown to many, the town has a collection of old houses considered as part of the country’s cultural heritage.
St. Catherine de Alexandria Parish Church and Convent
At the heart of the town of Agno is the St. Catherine de Alexandria Parish Church. The Spanish-period church started its construction in 1834 and is just one of the century-old churches in Pangasinan. The church is not the typical old Spanish period church that you usually come across in old towns. Its simple facade is highlighted by an image of St. Catherine de Alexandria which serves as the main focal point of its design. A small belfry serves as the highest point of the church.
The simplicity of the church’s design seeps in to its interiors. Its thick walls and high ceilings give the church an imposing impression of a solid fortress. Its two-tierred retablo serves as the main highlight of the church. The wooden lofts extend along the side walls of the church, a common feature of Spanish-period churches in the country.
The only lavish part of the design that you won’t miss out are the amazing stained glass windows of the church. You will find these artworks on all window panes of the church.
Adjacent to the church is the convent which is also a part of Agno’s cultural heritage. The convent was constructed in 1845, a few years after the first church foundation was laid down.
A few kilometers north of the town is a cove that is a popular beach spot in Agno. Agbatanen Beach, judging by the line of cars parked along the road, is a favorite chill spot by the locals in the area. The cream-colored sand glistens under the sun as saltwater trickles down from the sea to a mini-lagoon separated by a mound of sand. The older kids, meaning the adults, enjoy taking a dip by its shores while the smaller ones prefer the calmer waters of its “lagoon”.
On the southern side of the cove are rock formations that serves as a good dramatic backdrop for beach shots. This is where you will also find a small area where you can snorkel and enjoy the underwater scene of Agbatanen. Or you can opt to just sit back and enjoy the panaromic view that it offers.
Guests can opt to stay overnight and rough it out in Agbatanen. There are open air huts that you can rent for a day or overnight or you can also pitch a tent by the beach.
Umbrella Rocks of Agno
If Alaminos has a hundred islands to boot and Bolinao has its lighthouse to show off, Agno’s gem and pride are its Umbrella Rocks. These interesting rock formations were molded by nature for centuries creating a rock sculpture with a wide top and a slim stem and base. This creates an image of a huge umbrella propped onto the sandy shores of Agno, hence the name - Umbrella Rocks.
The best time to explore Agno’s famous rocks is during the sunset. The dramatic setting of the sun and the dramatic rock formations are perfect for that silhouette shots.
Unlike Abagatanen Beach, the shoreline in the area have black/grayish sugary sand. There are also cottages that can be rented overnight or you also opt to pitch a tent so you can also opt to spend the night here if you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere.
Post Travel Notes
There are a lot of small town wonders in the Philippines and, most of the time, these are the communities where most of us live on or have spent most of our childhood. All we need to do is just get curious enough to walk along our streets and you will be surprised with what we can uncover about your locality. Like what they say, do not be a foreigner in your own backyard. Explore and uncover the beauty of your place. You do not need a guest to introduce a tourist destination in your town that was simply your playground when you were young.
As of this writing, I am considering going back to Agno. I have touched up on Agno’s natural attractions but I missed out on a trove of cultural treasures of the place. It would have been another enriching experience if I was able to also cover a walking tour of the town to feature its collection of preserved old houses. On the hindsight, it serves as another good opportunity to head back to Agno.
Hmm... who is up to exploring Bolinao, Agno, and Anda?
Getting there: Victory Liner and Dagupan Bus have direct bus trips to Agno, Pangasinan. There are cottages for rent in Abagatanen Beach or near Agno’s Umbrella Rock Formation for those who wish to stay overnight.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.