[Dagupan] 8-Ride Diary of How I Went Home After Eating Street Food

"Travel bloggers usually write articles describing how they enjoyed the place, the food, the people and the experience but not so many write about the not-so-comfy behind-the-scenes part of the journey, like this."

This is a documentation of what happened last 01 July 2014, Tuesday. This is more of a personal diary than a how-to-and-where-to travel post. I've come to that point where I just want to break free and exhaust myself without any clear benefit yet I still don't consider it a waste of money, time and effort. Before this trip, I slept past midnight due to the insomnia-inducing charisma of the social media and the internet in general and woke up by 6 am. So the total time I spent for sleeping is actually short of 5 hours. I am doing this against my will because I have to be an early bird to catch an early bus bound southward; that'll be a broken trip to Dagupan.

[DAGUPAN] So this is my destination today


After some failed real-life adventures focused on career development and self-fulfillment, I've finally moved on. Never have I written a new article on this blog for the past 5 weeks (and I only had a few for the past months) because of some life puzzles that I failed to solve. But the bright side of those circumstances is I became super strong and more realistic.

The First Ride: Easy Level

Those are the thoughts clinging inside my head as I am inside a Cubao-bound Viron Bus slouched on the left couch just behind the driver's seat. Two other passengers are seated on the right wing. My drooping posture seemed like indecent for the standards of the two guys right beside me so I transferred to the back seat, couched and took advantage of the travel time to sleep.

There are waking episodes along the way and for that first time I woke up, the once empty bus became frenzied with passengers and someone is already seating beside me. The last time I was awake, there are only 3 passengers including me. After that short opening of my eyes, they immediately turned back to hibernation. Fast forward, I've finally reached the Damortis junction in LA UNION

LA UNION

FAST FACTS: This Ilocos province has coastline that garnered the title "Surfing Mecca of the North". But La Union is more then the surfing. It also has cultural sites and eco-tourism destinations.

PHOTO: Ma Cho Temple in San Fernando City, La Union..
and this is where I'm gonna drop off. 

The Second Ride: Hunger Games

It was already 11:30 in the morning and the sun's heat is on its peak. I trespassed into a store improperly occupying the shoulders of the road manned by a bald adult man in a lousy blue shirt to keep away from the scorching heat of the sun rays. The man had no reaction maybe because I am not the only commuter trespassing within his property to get a shade and he is now used to it.


I didn't take any breakfast. Great thing I was able to bring a Fudgee Bar with me given yesterday by the mother of my patient who goes to the hospital every 28 days to get a painful intramuscular injection of a 10-ml dilution of benzathine penicillin G using a wide-bore needle at Gauge19. At least I have something to eat.

Actually, the reason why I am going to Dagupan is unclear. All I know is I am going to meet a fellow travel blogger Micaela of Senyorita.net since I have told her beforehand that I'm going to Dagupan anytime soon. The time has just come. At first, this should be a business trip but the task was given to another person. I had the reason to rejoice for not doing that job and spend the day at home sleeping. Yet, I don't know why I still want to go on my own expense without any clear thing to do there. In fact, I can cancel the meet-up with Mica anytime if I want to. But there's no turning back, I'm now entering PANGASINAN

PANGASINAN


FAST FACTS: Pangasinan is home to the Lingayen Gulf, a World War II battle field and the Hundred Islands of Alaminos.

PHOTO: St John the Evangelist Cathedral in Dagupan City
.

My friend Mica texted me where I am now and I told her I'm an hour away (I was still in #BAUANG

#BAUANG

FAST FACTS: Bauang is a first class partially urbanized municipality in the Philippine province of La Union. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 70,735 people, making Bauang as the most populated municipality in La Union. - Wikipedia

PHOTO: Sts Peter and Paul Parish Church
that time). That 1 hour turned out to be almost 2 hours. An excruciatingly long wait for both of us who are already very hungry. Of course, we're meeting for a lunch.

When I saw the Dagupan welcome arch, it at least relieved me from the pressure that I'm reaching Dagupan for nothing. Mica will be leaving by 2pm for a meeting so I have to be on time. But the bus is sloth as a result of a high noon traffic jam that adds agony to my hungry stomach. Gladly, I reached Dagupan few minutes after 1 pm.

The Third Ride: Tricycle Diaries

I immediately took a tricycle then instructed the driver to bring me to Lyceum Northwestern University's School Canteen because my friend is already waiting there hungrily. 

I got lost. I didn't know where is the canteen in spite of the fact that the trike driver brought me inside the campus. I asked a student dressed in full-white (maybe under an allied health course) then she pointed out the canteen using her pointing finger and her lips duck-faced to the direction of the canteen.

The canteen was a typical school canteen with several sets of dining tables. I was looking for my friend Mica and I spotted her with cervical spine flexed as she was busy looking on her mobile phone. "Hey madam!" I told her with an excited voice but she didn't hear me. For the second attempt to get her attention, I sat down on the chair next to her and again I said, "Hey ma'am!" Then she finally noticed me.

Then we ate for a lunch. Meals reserved and served were litson paksiw and bamboo shoot dinengdeng type. We rushed the lunch a li'l bit to beat Mica's appointment time. After the lunch, she toured me around her Alma Mater then went on our own ways.

After the meet-up I have no idea what to do now in Dagupan. I sat for a while in front of the PhilHealth Regional Office near the school looking for people passing by the street. I was sitting at the edge of an elevated sidewalk garden feeling how hot in Dagupan is. It was excruciatingly hot. The agony worsened as I drool looking at the PhilHealth building with some employees wearing coats to give them warmth since inside this building is winter. How I wanted to enter the building but I have no business to do there for today, although I have entered this building for previous official transactions between that office and the institution I represent.

The Fourth Ride: The Jeepney Ride

Thinking what to do, I decided to go to the city downtown and rode in a jeepney. Still, I don't know where this jeepney is going. I sat down beside the jeepney driver thinking where to go. I just went with the flow. I saw the main streets of Dagupan teaming with commercial establishments. Suddenly, the jeepney is slowing down and most of the passengers are alighting. I looked at my right, it was Nepo Mall. Since I just wanted to follow where these locals are going, I also alighted from the jeepney and entered the mall. At least, it is cooler inside.

As I enter the mall, I saw a woman drinking a buko shake, I craved for that so I searched for that stall but I didn't buy. I opted to kill time so I took the escalator and did shop-hopping. I saw a CD-R King Branch ridiculously filled with a lot of goods from computer chips, mobile phone casings, pot holders, stuffed toys and many more not related to computers and of the digital market. This branch has evolved to be like a department store.  Near the CD-R King is a store for ukay-ukay. I checked out the jeans section but I didn't find something worth to buy at P250.00.

On the other side, I saw a store crowded by college students. It was a book store! This store sells back-issues of magazines (cheaper of course) and some books by Anne Rice, Dan Brown, JK Rowling and John Grisham! There are also handful of Almanacs, dictionaries and Guinness Book of World Records back issues. This is fiesta! All books are on sale! I took this opportunity to buy. At least, I discovered a shopping mecca in Dagupan. This book store is a shopping mecca for book lovers, especially for the novels. This is one of the greatest things that happened to me this day. After purchasing a book, I went to the buko shake store to finally satisfy my craving - medium size at P45.00. P.S. I was a bit lonely when I saw that the cinema in this mall has closed. I should have watched "The Transformers: Age of Extinction."

The Fifth Ride: to Downtown

I went out the mall sucking the buko shake using a straw. I slowly consumed that chilled buko refreshment while deciding where to go next. Since I can not decide where to go, I again rode in a jeep and come what may where this one will lead me.

Since most of the passengers are already alighting at the middle of the road in a traffic jam, I also followed them. I alighted near the Malimgas Market for a high noon walk. I saw the wet market and some rice vendors across. I noticed a funny store name printed on a tarpaulin: Las Bigasan, Nevada.

I am not sure what I am doing. In fact I can just relax home, sip a coffee or just write my first blog entry after 5 weeks of hiatus but I am here, in a hot high noon, walking around the city for an unknown reason (maybe to just kill the time, and hopefully to find something interesting) and probably wasting time and effort.

I reached the Jovellanos and Zamora Streets, my favorite streets in Dagupan since here is where the street foods are situated. Street dining is also present here, the city plaza, some seafood vendors and the old SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST CATHEDRAL

[DAGUPAN] Cathedral of St John the Evangelist: Overgrown Time Trail

TEASER: "Now I've found the gap. That tube leading me to sanity on travel is now patent."
. I immediately went near the grill and ordered these cheap street foods ranging from 3 pesos to 15 pesos each.

Jovellanos and Zamora Streets in Dagupan

[DAGUPAN] Jovellanos corner Zamora Streets

St John the Evangelist Cathedral, Dagupan

[DAGUPAN] Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral along Zamora Street


Trying most of the food displayed killed much of my time. I was enjoying like I did before. I don't know why eating these street foods suddenly became a worthy activity making my Dagupan trip a waste of money, time and effort no more! This is the reason why this is my favorite street in Dagupan. It has no traffic jam, peaceful, relatively cooler and some parts are closed to vehicles.

Dagupan Street Food

[DAGUPAN] Fried Pork Liver at 3 pesos per chunk

Dagupan Street Food

[DAGUPAN] Tokneneng (stuffed eggs)

Dagupan Street Food

[DAGUPAN] Chicken intestines (and they call it Chicken Nuggets)

Dagupan Street Food

[DAGUPAN] Official 'sawsawan' - spiced vinegar with cucumber

Dagupan Street Food

[DAGUPAN] Tokneneng version 2.0


So I went to Dagupan just to eat a street food I can buy anywhere? Well, good question. I don't want to believe but a qualified answer for this is a YES. So after eating street foods what now? Nothing. I sat down on a sidewalk alley thinking where to go next until I just decided to go to Mangaldan and #SAN FABIAN

#SAN FABIAN


FAST FACTS: San Fabian is a coastal town in Pangasinan and the first thing that comes my mind whenever I hear the town's name is their local product oyster.

PHOTO: Pails of oysters along the San Fabian Highway
. So I asked a woman standing at my left side where to get a ride to Mangaldan. So she advised me to take a jeep and drop-off at Nazareth hospital.

The Sixth Ride: to Nowhere

I again took a jeepney and requested the driver to bring me to the place advised by that woman. I was waiting while inside the running jeep. But all the passengers are gone. I am now the only passenger left. I asked the driver where is Nazareth. "Uhhh! Nakalimutan ko sir!" he exclaimed.

[DAGUPAN] I was confident to take a semi-selfie since I'm the only passenger


So I'm lost. I am now in Tondaligan and I am seeing the blue beach where Douglas McArthur docked during the World War II. Uh. What a day. So I waited for another round until this jeep went back downtown. I told the driver to just bring me to a place where I can get a ride to La Union since I am dropping my Mangaldan plans due to the heavy downpour of rain. The driver dropped me to a place along the road and instructed me to walk straight ahead.

The Seventh Ride: Post Street Food

Yes! I can finally go home and sleep. You know I was so tired, I'm lack of sleep and thirsty. I badly wanted a rest! I searched for a terminal. I saw a van terminal but these vans are bound to Bolinao, Lingayen and other destinations west of Dagupan. I was disappointed. I continued my searching until I saw another terminal, this time buses are bound to La Union. Yey!

But the outgoing bus is not going to La Union. It terminates only to San Fabian. I'm now tired. I waited for the next bus and joined the rush of passengers craving for the best seat in spite of getting wet from the rain.

Just before the bus' departure, I was drowsy. Inside this ordinary bus is so crowded, hot and noisy. It was totally enclosed because of the rain. I have no access for a fresh air. It was so suffocating that it was almost hard to breath. The center alley of the bus is filled with passengers in standing position. Inside was a mess and a definition of discomfort.

In spite of the situation inside the bus, my body craved for sleep. Thanks to the closed bus window. Now rain water won't enter the bus and I at least have something for my head to lean on to. In a flash, I fell asleep but occasionally woke up whenever my head falls down and the cycle goes on. I lean on the window, my head falls down, I wake up then see people around looking at me. Again, I lean on the window, my head falls down, I wake up then see people around looking at me. That is my sleeping pattern inside this bus that I can not even imagine how I managed to sleep. That cycle went on and on until I reached my destination, #SAN FERNANDO

#SAN FERNANDO


FAST FACTS: San Fernando City in the regional center for Ilocos Region.

PHOTO: Ma Cho Temple
, La Union. But this is not yet home. 4-5 more hours and it's now 8 PM.

As I alight off the bus in front of the waiting shed in the city plaza, I saw a big crowd of passengers waiting for a bus, mostly students. Whoahhh! This is a night to kill!

The Eight Ride: [insert subtitle here]

I waited for a bus for 1 hour. That next bus is also crowded. But I didn't mind about it. All I wanted was to go home. Standing position is the only remedy while I carry my shoulder sling bag. I need to do this. Inside this bus is another discomforter. I am squeezing with passengers shoulder to shoulder, butt to butt, back to back. Worse, these people are worn out like me. They emit different kinds of smell, different versions of repulsive odor.

Since I can not sleep while standing, some thoughts are running in my head. I realized I should have relaxed at home. But I am here, holding my breath to get rid of different kinds of odor. I am not complaining since this is really how I travel, not most of the time, but very very often. I'm used with this kind of situation but it is actually my first time I think to write an article about the behind-the-scenes of my adventures. Travel bloggers usually write articles describing how they enjoyed the place, the food, the people and the experience but not so many write about the not-so-comfy behind-the scenes part of the journey, like this.

I was lucky that after around an hour, one seat beside me was vacated. At first I offered the seat to a girl in white collar shirt but she opted to give the seat to me. I said "Naks, thank you!" After that, all I know was I was able to get a good sleep.

I reached home almost 1 am. I asked myself what I really wanted to do. I actually have a work tomorrow. I skipped doing my reports for this day's trip. In fact, I postponed doing my reports for tomorrow's meeting with the chairman and the board directors. I opened my computer. Poured down a hot water to my cup of coffee, opened my facebook, relaxed and said to myself, "What a day! The street food was great but I miss this coffee more than anything else." ▬ end
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/THIS POST IS PART OF A SUB-SERIES/

Dagupan #TownExploration Series

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