Saturday, December 30, 2006

Mount Balungao Pangasinan (Part 1)

Going to the Mount Balungao Pangasinan

I always dream to go near this mountain which captivates the eyes of every passengers traveling to or from Manila. There is wonderful sight at the eastern part of the McArthur highway. It enhances the view of the ricefields and the sunrise.

Some of the adventurers got to the mountain through walking and riding "kuliglig" at the middle of the scorching sunlight. Let's join them by watching this video.

Regine Velasquez
Listen to Regine's greatperformance,
watch Asia's Songbird

Friday, December 29, 2006

Pangasinan's tourists attractions

Pangasinan tourists destination--Watch the grandeur of the Hundred Islands National Park, the white-sand beach of Bolinao, The Cape Bolinao lighthouse, the shrine of our Lady of Manaoag. The reporters here claimed that the swords used in the movies Braveheart, Gladiator, and Lord of the Rings were made in Pozorrubio.This video is from the TV Program "Trip na Trip".

martin nievera

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sabangan: A wonderful place in San Nicolas

I remember the rocky and dusty roads from barangay San Rafael to the town proper of San Nicolas in which Kalesa, a horse drawn carriage, was the main transportation early in the 80's.

"Insan dalian mo, hininihintay tayo ng kalesa ni uncle Berting", says my cousin.
Of course we would be having a picnic with my uncle Boy's 'kumpadres' in the place called Sabangan. This was a small river or in vernacular "ubbog" at the end part of San Rafael just before hitting the Agno river in the 80's. I was going there to play and swim with my cousins. It was our paradise during our childhood, a clear flowing water with fishes and shrimps. Also, collecting stones was my favorite, not a stone (pag-isiso) to rub our body.

How could I forget the food they presented. The "bunog" was one of the recipes. Also the "gabi" or "daludal" was cooked well to suffice my starvation that day. Unexpectedly,it was my first time to try the "jumping salad", shrimps that are jumping and are eaten alive.
It was more on playing in the water that day so time ran fast that we had to go home. Our ride again was Uncle Berting's kalesa. Though we stopped sometimes to grab fruits of Camachille that's along the way.

The best part of this travel was the "caterpillar" ride at the Ambayoan river. With the big rocks on the road, the kalesa trembled so many times that pumps my heart and my body alive as the horse keeps pulling us.

One of the place that's unforgettable, Sabangan. Is it still there today?

Monday, December 25, 2006

What Happened to Pantranco?

The eradication of buses mostly the routes going to Dagupan City from other towns like Pozorrubio, Binalonan, San Nicolas, and Urdaneta City is abruptly noticeable. Buses dominated the province for decades. But before they were pushed away by the most lean and comfortable vans, once upon a time there was a name which controlled the roads not only in Pangasinan but the whole northern Luzon.

Pantranco was the most popular bus company in northern Luzon. At the high peak of its speed in highways, it even surpasses what the Victory Liner is of today. It was not only in along the roads where Pantranco ruled but the prestigious and wide terminals it once have had which are bigger than malls were the evidence of being the "king of buses". Almost all the towns of Northern Luzon were covered by Pantranco.

It's been nearly two decades when all the terminals were closed but until now they call these places "Pantranco". In Manila the routes are still called: Cubao-Pantranco, Munoz-Pantranco, UP-Pantranco, and Lagro-Pantranco.

Ten years ago we passed those defected and rotten buses on our way from Bonuan Beach going to San Fabian. Also I always looked at the area along the stop light in downtown Dagupan that was the terminal of Pantranco which is now utilized as bus, jepneeys, and vans station.

It is really interesting for me because just recently I'd found out that the meaning of Pantranco is Pangasinan Transit Company. One of the fact that instigate me to write about it.

What happened to Pantranco? I don't have the accurate answer but the it is commonplace to hear, "It was owned by the Marcos cronies; when Marcos was gone so did the Pantranco".

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Juan dela Cruz Palaris: A Hero

The richness of our history cannot be denied. We had given a lot of space to the pre-Hispanic heroes who impacted our land. Several pages had been allotted to the kingdom Tawalisi which Princess Urduja ruled and the princess herself deserved a scrutiny.

While I was thinking what I am about to blog today, I came up with the name Juan dela Cruz Palaris. This man indeed deserves a place in the heart of all Pangasinenses. A man of valor and courage who fought for the freedom of Pangasinan.

Read more click here

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Princess Urduja vs. Prinsesa Kabontatala

Local historian Restituto Basa wants to change the name of the building that was after Princess Urduja? I disagree with this suggestion or proposal.

First of all, Princess Urduja has been a part of the history of Pangasinan. Whenever they mentioned Urduja they wouldn't forget Pangasinan. One of the reasons we are prominent worldwide is because of Urduja.

Secondly, Dr. Jose Rizal claimed the location of the kingdom Tawalisi where Urduja ruled here in our province. Basa is like saying he is better than Rizal.

Thirdly, let us understand that Princess Urduja's story has inspired millions of people around the world especially women.

Furthermore, the story of the Princess is the crown jewel of the history of Pangasinan.

I know nothing of Prinsesa Kabontatala nor never read of her. To give her place in history by removing one that's already there is one act foolishness.

Local historian wants Urduja House renamed to Prinsesa Kabontatala

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The legendary Princess Urduja may soon be relegated to historical oblivion following the proposal of a local historian here to change the name of the building that bears her name into Princesa Kabontatala.

“Why honor Princess Urduja? She is not a Pangasinense,” said Restituto Basa, author of Footnotes on Pangasinan History and The Story of Dagupan.

The Princess Urduja building, which is located at the right side of the capitol here, is the office and official residence of the governor.

It was built in 1956 by the Gov. Juan de Rodriguez and named it after Princess Urduja, who, Basa said, was thought of as a Pangasinense.

“But modern scholars say Urduja is a Cambodian. So, we might as well change the name of the Governor’s Office to Princesa Kabontatala because she is our own,” Basa said.

Citing historical sources, Basa said Kabontatala (a Pangasinense word for “morning star”) was a daughter of a local chieftain that ruled Barangay Domalandan here during the pre-Spanish times.

He said Kabontatala was married by Chinese pirate Lim-Ahong, when he found his way to Domalandan after retreating from a battle against the Spaniards in Manila Bay.

“It was Kabontatala who and her subjects who helped Lim-Ahong dig a canal to help him escape from pursuing Spanish forces, who blockaded the mouth of the Agno River in Domalandan,” Basa said.

“And do you know that she is the ancestor of two Pangasinan governors?” Basa said.

According to him, Lim-Ahong and Kabontatala had a child named Quimson (a Chinese word for precious gold), and the late Governors Sofronio Quimson (1946-1950) and Francisco Quimson Duque were his descendants.

Duque, father of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, also served as Health secretary during the administration of President Diosdado Macapagal.

Rizal’s great grandpa

Basa also wants another building in the capitol compound to be renamed Manuel Facundo de Quintos from its present name Kalantiao Building .

The building houses the Provincial Employment Services Office, Provincial Nutrition Office and the Civil Service Commission field office.

“Again, Kalantiao is not a Pangasinense,” Basa said.

Kalantiao was a lawgiver from Ilolilo.

Basa said De Quintos, the gobernadorcillo of Lingayen in the 1850’s, is the great grandfather of national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

He said De Quintos’ was married to Regina Ursua of Cavite and Manila and they had a daughter, Brigida de Quintos.

Brigida married Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo, whose daughter was Teodora de Quintos Alonso, mother of Rizal.

De Quintos was born here.

“This is why Rizal may have spent part of his childhood in Lingayen,” Basa said.

Among Rizal’s descendants here include educator Margarita Hamada, who now runs schools here and in Dagupan City.

Basa said that it is important to rename the government buildings here properly “so that we will know our roots, so that we will know our past and we will value them.”

He added that there is no memorial yet to Victor Tomeldan, a provincial board member who helped then Gov. Daniel Maramba in building the capitol.

Tomelden is also the father of the late Sen. Geronima Pecson, the country’s first woman senator.

“The present generation hardly knows these people and by naming buildings after them, they will somehow ask about them,” Basa said.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Kingdom of Tawalisi: it seems it existed!

I grabbed this conversation from Anda Messageboard in the website

Dario Bernardino: Hello mga kababayan. Until now I am intrigue by the History of Pangasinan most importantly about Princess Urduja. Kababasa ko lang sa Medyo di clear kung totoo nga si URduja pero ano po masasabi niyo. Meron nga po bang elephants sa Western Pangasinan noon lalo dito sa Anda? Grabe ngayon ko lang naiintindihan.

To Dario Bernardino- that ancient fossil of elephant called "Mastodon" was indeed discovered in Anda,Pangasinan. If you go to Philippine National Museum, near Luneta Park, you can verify this info. You can check this also with the Archives Dept. of Philippine National Library in T. M. Kalaw, Manila. Actually it was published in a foreign book and a photograph of the bone was there, mentioning our town where it was found. One of the noted archeologist, the late Dr. Otley Beyer confirmed that mastodon roam this part of the land during the ancient time. Mastodon is similar to "mammot" which roam the earth from 3.75 million to 11,000 years ago. Anda land existed many million years ago. Regarding what you call the elephants during the time of Princess Urduja, I think there was mix-up on the research of this particular writer. What is factual is that there is really an ancient bone of mastodon discovered in Anda, Pangasinan.

It's really an informative answer by Anonymous. Well, someday I'll visit the Philippine National Museum. It makes sense to believe that there was really a kingdom in western Pangasinan.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bayambang's Sanitary Landfill

A 33 hectares worth P250-M? This will make Bayambang as the garbage capital of the Philippines. It will accommodate wastes from the nearby towns and provinces like Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, and La Union.

According to Abelardo Palad, president of the Waste Integrated Systems Inc. (WINS),

1. the town will experience economic boom once the project is already operating because it will have a share of P50 from every ton of garbage to be unloaded by every LGU. 30 trucks daily which a truck contains 10 tons.

2. Fertilizers would be produced from garbage that would be put in bags for sale to farmers.

3. There is also a plan to generate 40 megawatts of power from the garbage alone.

The only scare is this,

If the liquid called lechate that's coming out from garbage which, when not properly handled, might seep down the soil and enter the water table from where the people are getting their potable water, thus resulting in water contamination and diseases.

For those people in Bayambang, what can you say?

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The Case for Princess Urduja

by John Smart

Fact or fiction? The only first-hand, documented case given for her existence is the writing of one Ibn Batuta -- a Moroccan born, Islamic lawyer turned travel writer, who journeyed on a Chinese merchant ship from India to Canton – whose last stop before arriving in the Southern Chinese port was to visit the Kingdom of Tawalisi,in the year 1347. The main case for her non-existence is that she is described as having elephants as load bearers and, of course, we all know that there are no elephants in the Philippines. Right?

But first, who was Princess Urduja and what did she do that made her so important as to become the subject of a detailed 14th century travelogue and, more
recently, erudite historic debate?

If Batuta’s first-hand reports are correct, the Princess was a leader of such significant import that the lowland and highland tribes, from Mountain Province to Zambales,acknowledged her unifying power such that peace reigned throughout the central regions of Luzon for fear of retribution by her “red-breasted warriors” or kinalakian -- Batuta’s explicit description no doubt stems from the striking contrast
a topless, suntanned, copper-skinned woman must have offered when compared to those in his own country, who more timidly exposed their bodies in private and far away from any sunlight. The daughter of the King of Tawalisi, she was given charge over
much of his Kingdom after the King’s son failed to make an impact in battle and
left it to his sister to defeat a formidable enemy. She and her father are reported
to have been the recipient of tributes equal to those bestowed upon the King of
China (a significant accolade in the 1300s); together, they commandeered Chinese junks that trespassed waters under their control and audaciously negotiated reparations before releasing them back to the owners. She was unassailed in combat by any men who had thought to court her Urduja was by any measure a woman of substance,
learning and immense presence such that all who were subject to her governance lived peacefully and in awe of her power, which protected them from erstwhile enemies.
But . . . was she real?

First let us consider the elephants. Batuta actually wrote that, amongst other things, he was presented with “two elephant loads of rice”. Consider how you might describe to someone across the other side of the world the size of a jeepney-load of rice? If your intended reader had knowledge of elephants (they certainly did across much of South Asia and the Middle East – Batuta’s origin) then this would be a
useful simile to use, without the need for physical elephants to be present to transport the rice at hand. But . . .In Rizal province there can be found Elephant
Hill, so named for the remains of elephants found there in recent history. And, on Anda Island, off the north coast of Pangasinan (in the middle of what was then known as Tawalisi), during the last century, elephant remains were found while foundations for a house were being excavated. In other words, it appears to matter not whether the reference to elephants was unambiguous or as simile . . . beasts of the
elephant genome did indeed inhabit our islands.

Then, there is a question as to why a Princess in Luzon would have an apparently middle-eastern name: Urduja. This was the argument that I thought would most likely dispel my idolatrous vision of a true Filipino goddess. But then I chanced upon translations of transcripts from records of the Ibaloi tribes people (still living in the mountains of northern Luzon) and discovered that their orally preserved historical records, handed down since before the Spaniards rewrote most everyone else’s, laud a Princess Deboxah (pronounced Debuca) as being the founder of their tribes and who, they claim, is The Princess Urduja. Could “Urduja” be a simple
mispronunciation by our Islamic lawyer friend who, by his own account, arrived late for the party being thrown to greet his traveling companions? One can imagine Batuta
trying to translate the name most accurately above the cacophony of boisterous celebrations and, failing to find another Muslim (i.e. another sober) partygoer with whom to compare and confirm, phonetically recording people’s names (the written Philippine Baybayin script of the time was in any event based upon a phonetic, sanskrit style alphabet) for future transcription.

The only argument that seems to be potentially in favor of the naysayers is the nevertheless huge question of whether Dr. Jose Rizal’s computation of the distances, detailed in Batuta’s travelogue, cause the Kingdom of Tawalisi to be headquartered in or near Pangasinan. Despite a thorough trawl of literature referenced on the subject of Princess Urduja and Tawalisi, it seems nobody has been able to use Batuta’s records to definitively relocate the Kingdom.

And what of the source: Ibn Batuta -- a Moroccan born, Islamic lawyer turned travel writer. Have his other words from the same and subsequent manuscripts been questioned for their accuracy? Whilst some have suggested that he may have added some color to certain items in his chronicles, nobody has discredited his texts to the point that
any of his work is dismissed as fanciful or fiction. In fact his work has been hailed in most quarters as a “valuable record” of South East Asia at that time. If final confirmation is necessary, the renowned Philippine artist Fernando Amorsolo famous for his vivid scenes of everyday rural life and depictions of the beautifully romantic countryside in oil on canvas, saw the Princess as a fitting subject for a number of works. We are pleased to be able to reproduce one here with the kind permission of the current owner, Ms. Dorothy Francy. Thus, without veraciously tested evidence being offered to the contrary, it is my belief that Tawalisi, Princess Urduja, her "red-breasted warriors” and their descendants are integral parts of this patchwork quilt of an archipelago that the Spanish deemed worthy and desirable as conquest.

Long live the Princess!


Friday, December 8, 2006

In Search for a Princess

By Chit Balmaceda Guiterrez

Princess Urduja ancient accounts say, was a 14th century woman ruler of the dynastic Kingdom of Tawalisi in Pangasinan, a vast area lying by the shores of the Lingayen Gulf and the China Sea. Pangasinan was an important kingdom then, and the sovereign was equal to the King of China. Known far and wide, Princess Urduja was famous for leading a retinue of woman warriors who were skilled fighters and equestrians. They developed a high art of warfare to preserve their political state. "These womenfolk took to the battlefields because the male population was depleted by the series of wars which came with the rise and prominence of the Shri-Visayan Empire in the sixth to the 13th centuries," the accounts said. Strong and masculine physique, they were called kinalakian or Amazons.

The saga of this unique princess was the stuff of legend. Parents and teachers tell her story like they would a fairytale, or the biography of Gabriela Silang, an 18th-century revolutionary, or Tandang Sora, a granny who fed members of the Katipunan.

The legend of Princess Urduja can be attributed to the famous story of Mohammedan traveler, Ibn Batuta of India. In 1347 he was a passenger on a Chinese junk, which has just come from the port of Kakula, north of Java and Sumatra and passed by Pangasinan on the way to Canton, China.
Urduja, who had a particular fascination for the renowed "Pepper Country"--pepper being considered black gold then--was quoted by Batuta as saying, "I must positively go to war with that country, and get possession of it, for its great wealth and great forces attract me."

For a time, feminists tried to revive the Urduja story but were discouraged to learn that Batuta's account of the voyage to Tawalisi was labeled as either an intrigue or a fantasy. Scholars, considering the story absurd, declared Urduja a myth.

The Philippines' national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, in Dr. Austin Craig's 1916 paper
"Particulars of the Philippines' Pre-Spanish Past" was quoted as saying in one of his letters: "While I may have doubts regarding the accuracy of Ibn Batuta's details, I still beleive in the voyage to Tawalisi". He went as far as to calculate the distance and time of travel from the port of Kakula. Rizal's commentary was triggered by a scholar, Sir Henry Yule, who wrote in his time that: "Tawalisi may be found only in a Gulliver geography."

Today, years after scholars have passionately debated whether the 14th-century heroine is a product of mythology or history, Princess Urduja continues to fascinate Filipinos. In Pangasinan, the Governor's office building in the coastal town of Lingayen is called the Urduja Palace. So is a hotel along the highway.

Urduja's name still has great resonance among the Ibaloi, one of the major ethnolinguistic tribes in the Cordillera region. Dr. Morr Tadeo Pungayan, a respected scholar of Ibaloi culture and professor at the St. Louis University of Baguio City, said, "Linguistically, Urduja is Deboxah (pronounced Debuca) in Ibaloi. We've always had a woman named Deboxah from time immemorial among the genrations of Ibaloi. The name usually describes a woman of strong quality and character who's nobly descended. That name is an Ibaloi name. That's why Ibaloi trace their ancestry from Urduja".

The Cordillera tribes, also known collectively as Igorots, pride themselves as being the only ethnic group that doesn't talk about the origin of man according to Spanish chronicles. Among the tribes, genealogy and family history are orally passed history. The Ibaloi, just like other highland tribes, could easily trace their ancestry. This is ensured by their custom of naming newborns after ancestors to help keep their memory alive and evoke affection and protection.

"No Ibaloi will bear the name of an ancestor unless she's related," Dr. Pungayan explained. While the Bontoc tribe bestows the name of an ancestor to a grandchild, the Ibaloi style is namesaking the great-grandchild, he added.

A book on the history of Benguet province, written by Anavic Bagamasbad and Zenaida Hamada-Pawid, shows the Benguet genealogy tracing tribal family lines from the year 1380 to 1899. The book says, "The extent of inter-settlement alliances is climaxed in the memory of Tublay informants with the reign of Deboxah, Princess Urduja, in Pinga. She's acknowledged as the granddaughter of Udayan, an outstanding warrior of Darew. Her death signaled continuous decline of kinship and alliance between highland and lowland settlements."

The Darew mountain range is remembered as the earliest settlement in the mining town of Tublay. The close relations between the Cordilleras and Lingayen are well-accounted for in Batuta's chronicle. It said that the Kingdom of Tawalisi was very extensive, including the vast areas up to the fringes of the Benguet mountains and the Cordillera ranges in the east of Luzon.
Th ruler, Batuta further said,"possesses numerous junks with which he makes war upon the Chinese until they sue for peace and consent to grant him certain concessions."

Despite recent research, however, most academicians remain cold to oral history, saying that such accounts still have to pass through stringent rigors of scholarship.

Today, some historians consider the issue of Urduja's historicity as closed. Compounding the issue is the lack of archaelogical evidence on the existence of the Shri-Visayan Empire. In fact, other aspects of Philippine history are being doubted,too, especially since the late William Henry Scott, an American historian in the Cordillera, proved that the so-called pre-Hispanic laws--the Kalantiaw and Maragtas Codes--were faked or invented by psuedo historians who only wanted fame or riches for themselves.

Dr. Jaime Veneracion, the University of the Philippines head of history department, said that the old Chinese scripts which may have chronicled Urduja's kingdom have remained inaccessible for their archaic language and calligraphy.

But history buffs like writer Ed Reyes remain undaunted. He says: "The researchers aren't conclusive, given the fact that the Philippine history has only been covered in writing for the last 500 years".

Filipinas Magazine June l999
*Re-printed with permission from Filipinas magazine
Visit their website at

The Agno River

The Agno River is a river in the Philippine island of Luzon, in the province of Pangasinan. It originates in the Cordillera Mountains and empties into the South China Sea via the Lingayen Gulf. The river is 275 km long.

The Agno River is the main drainage system of the area and has a catchment area of 5,952 square kilometers. It is the third largest river in Luzon (next to Cagayan River and Pampanga River) and the fifth largest river in the Philippines.

The Agno is the largest Philippine river in terms of drainage area and discharges around 6.6 cubic kilometers of fresh water into Lingayen Gulf, or almost 70% of the total fresh water input into the gulf.

The headwaters of Agno River are at the slopes of Mt. Data in the Cordillera Mountains at an elevation of 2,090 m, where it drains Cretaceous to Paleocene igneous basement rocks, and marine siliciclastic and carbonate rocks. Of its total length, about 90 kilometers runs through mountainous terrain and canyons.

As the river descends following a southerly course, it exhibits a braided channel pattern. It then transforms into a southwest-directed meandering river as it crosses the Central Luzon Alluvial Plain. From its confluence with the Tarlac River emanating from the south, the Agno River then veers northward while draining the eastern flanks of the Zambales Mountains.

The Agno's principal tributaries include the Pila, Camiling, Tarlac and Ambayoan Rivers. The main branch of the Agno River is Tarlac River which originates from Mount Pinatubo (elevation 1,745 m) in Tarlac and joins the Agno River at Poponto Swamp near Bayambang. The swamp has an area of about 25 square kilometers and temporarily retains flood waters from the Tarlac River.

After passing through mountains at an average elevation of some 2,000 feet (180 m) ASL, the Agno River forms a vast alluvial fan and delta called the Pangasinan Plain, a historically vital ecoonomic hub on Luzon Island.

A number of faults of local and regional significance cut across the river. Joint systems are also found in the area. These faults and joints reduce the rock strength and rock coherence through which water could pass or slippage could occur.

The Philippine Fault-Digdig Fault System, which has been assessed as the causative fault of the July 16, 1990 earthquake, San Manuel Fault, Bulangit Fault and the San Roque Fault are some of the major fault lines crossing the river.

Flora and fauna

Spanish explorers who documented the catchment area of the river in the 16 th century say the mouth of the Agno was an extensive marshland with rich alluvial soil. It was thickly covered with mangrove and nipa palm trees which served as habitat to many marshland wildlife species.

But the catchment area is now severely deforested. Primary forest has almost completely disappeared apart from a few areas above 800 m ASL. The forests have been replaced by grassland and riceland.

Flora and fauna

Spanish explorers who documented the catchment area of the river in the 16 th century say the mouth of the Agno was an extensive marshland with rich alluvial soil. It was thickly covered with mangrove and nipa palm trees which served as habitat to many marshland wildlife species.

But the catchment area is now severely deforested. Primary forest has almost completely disappeared apart from a few areas above 800 m ASL. The forests have been replaced by grassland and riceland.


Since the Agno River basin is characterized by mountainous topography, the flood runoff estimated annually at about 6,654 million cubic meters reaches the plain in several hours in the river mouth in about a day. Average annual rainfall varies from 2,000 mm in the neighborhood of Tarlac to 4,000 mm in the upper reaches of the Agno River.

The Pangasinan Plain suffers from recurrent and destructive floods. The catastrophic floods of July-August 1972 and May 1976 inundated the entire Pangasinan Plain, including the flood plains of the Tarlac River.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the national weather bureau, has established a flood monitoring and warning center in Pangasinan.


The Agno traverses several towns in Benguet province where some 35,000 indigenous Ibaloi, Kankanaey and Kalanguya people live. The Ibaloi people of Benguet regard the river as sacred because it gives life.

Barangay Dalupirip, Itogon in Benguet province is held sacred by its people. Portions of the land serve as the burial grounds of their ancestors. The place holds great historical value and is considered one of the remaining seats of Ibaloi culture.

Archaeological sites were discovered at Sitio Camanggaan, Barangay San Roque in San Manuel, Pangasinan and in surrounding areas. Yields consisted of tradeware and earthenware shards and Palaeolithic and Neolithic stone tools.

Economic importance

The river has three hydroelectric plants: Binga Dam in Itogon, Benguet (29 km upstream); Ambuklao Dam in Bokod, Benguet (37 km upstream) and the San Roque Dam in San Manuel, Pangasinan. Binga has been operational since 1960 and Ambuklao since 1956.

There are several mining concessions in the upper reaches of the river.

The government has also established the Agno River irrigation system to provide irrigation water to some 60 to 100 square kilometers of ricelands in Pangasinan.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Pangalatok: mixture of Persian and Turkish languages?

I discussed recently about my disbelief of the location of Tawalisi in Pangasinan. And if Tawalisi was in some other places, then Princess Urduja's story could never be traced back here.

Our province had already accepted the arguments of Dr. Jose Rizal. On the other hand, I want to point out something on the account document of the travels of Ibn Battuta assuming that Princess Urduja was a history and not a myth.

It was mentionend, "...whilst the Lady of Tawalisi herself is made to speak not only to the traveller but to her own servants a mixture of Turkish and Persian..."

This princess spoke a mixture of Turkish and Persian. If the account of Princess Urduja is history, it makes us to wonder what happened to those languages. Had they not imparted the languages to the next generations, whereas, the princess existed in the 14th century?

Though, I for one do not understand any Turkish and Persian words, it is fascinating to think that none of the Pangasinense speaks any of those langauges today.

Something came into my mind when I was pondering about this mixture of Turkish and Persian languages. Could the mixture of Turkish and Persian languages be the dialect that we called now "Pangalatok"?

Has anybody of us heard any Turkish and Persian languages abroad and compared it to "Pangalatok"? And if these languages have similarities with "Pangalatok", we can truly claim the history of Princess Urduja and Tawalisi in Pangasinan without doubt.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Tawalisi in Pangasinan?

I have an insatiable longing about the history of this province. Talking about the history, we cannot neglect what our textbooks in schools are saying about Princess Urduja who was undeniably sculpted in our minds as the province hero. Everytime we talked about Princess Urduja we have to mention Pangasinan.

Who is Princess Urduja? "Urduja was a princess who was the ruler of a city called Kaylukari in the land of Tawalisi mentioned in the travel account of Ibn Battuta (1304 - possibly 1368 or 1377 C.E.), a Muslim traveler from Morocco who was on his way to China. Princess Urduja was described as a daughter of a king named Tawalisi of a land that was also called Tawalisi. The ruler of Tawalisi, according to Ibn Battuta, possessed many ships and was a rival of China, which was then ruled by a Mongol dynasty. Ibn Battuta sailed for 17 days to reach China from the land of Tawalisi."

Our Capitol's name is "Urduja Palace". A statue of Princess Urduja stands at the Hundred Islands National Park. And there was the the Urduja hotel in Urdaneta City. Almost all of us believe the story of Princess Urduja.

But I got a problem with our history. With the sources I read, I am doubtful about the location of the story of Princess Urduja. We've come to live with what they taught us without understanding the source. Here's the full text in the Cathay and the way hither on the Travel of Ibn Battuta interpretted by Henry Yule.

This Tawalisi is a great difficulty. The French translators say, " The Isle of Celebes, or rather perhaps Tunkin;" Dulaurier, "The coast of Camboja, Cochin-China, or Tunkin ; " Lassen, "By this name no place can be meant but Tonkin ; " whilst Walckenaer identifies it with Talual, a small island adjoining Bachian, one of the Moluccas. This last suggestion seems to have been based on the name only, and all have been made in connection with the assumption that the Mul-Jawa of our author is Java, which we have seen that it cannot be.

It seems to me impossible that Tawalisi should be Cambodia, Cochin-China, or Tunking, for two conclusive reasons (1) that the voyage from Mul-Jawa to Tawalisi occupies seventy-one days, and is considered by our traveller's shipmates an unusually good passage ; (2) that the last thirty-seven days of this time are spent on the passage of the Bahr-al-Kdhil, disturbed by neither winds nor waves, a character which in this case we should have to attach to the China Sea, the very metropolis of Typhoons.

But I do not find it easy to get beyond a negative. Indeed, considering that Killer-Karai is the real name of a port in South India, and that Ur duja is a name which our author in a former part of his travels has assigned to one of the Queens of Mahomed -Uzbek Khan on the Wolga, and has explained to mean in Turkish 'Born in the Camp,' whilst the Lady of Tawalisi herself is made to speak not only to the traveller but to her own servants a mixture of Turkish and Persian, a faint suspicion rises that Tawalisi is really to be looked for in that part of the atlas which contains the Marine Surveys of the late Captain Gulliver.

Putting aside this suspicion, no suggestion seems on the whole more probable than that Tawalisi was the kingdom of Soolo or N.E. of Borneo. "Owing to some cause or other," says Crawfurd, "there has sprung up in Soolo a civilisation and power far exceeding those of the surrounding islanders. A superior fertility of the soil, and better means of maintaining a numerous and concentrated population, has probably been the main cause of this superiority ; but whatever be the cause, it has enabled this people not only to maintain a paramount authority over the whole Archipelago (i. e. the so-called Soolo Archipelago), but to extend it to Palawan and to the northern coasts of Borneo and islands adjacent to it." Adopting this view, we should have the Bahr-al-Kali:it in the sea between Java Borneo and Celebes, where hurricanes are unknown, and stormy weather is rare. And, the time mentioned by Ibn Batuta, if we suppose it occupied in the voyage from the upper part of the Gulf of Siam through the Java Sea and Straits of Macassar to Soolo, a distance of some 2,200 nautical miles, over a great part of which the ship had to be towed, would seem much less improbable than if the course were to Cochin-China or Tonkin. The naval power of Tawalisi is one of the most prominent features in the narrative, and the Soolo people have been noted throughout the seas of the Archipelago for the daring exploits of their piratical fleets from our earliest acquaintance with those regions. It would seem also from Ibn Batuta's expression, "the load of two elephants in rice," that elephants were used in Tawalisi. Now the elephant is alleged by Dalrymple to exist in Soolo, and though Crawford doubts the fact, there seems no sufficient reason for his doubts. It is known, moreover, to exist in the adjoining part of Borneo, which may have belonged to Soolo then as it does now, and though not used now it was found in a domesticated state at Brunei by Magellan's party in 1521. These are the only portions of the Archipelago east of Sumatra in which the elephant is known.

Jose Rizal disagreed with the scholar Henry Yule who said:

"Indeed, considering that Killa-Karai is the real name of a port in South India, and that Urduja is a name that our author in a former part of his travels has assigned to one of the Queens of Mahomed Uzbek Khan on the Volga, and has explained to mean in Turkish 'Born in the camp,' whilst the Lady of Tawalisi herself is made to speak not only to the traveler but to her own servants a mixture of Turkish and Persian, a faint suspicion rises that Tawalisi is really to be looked for in that part of the atlas which contains the Marine Surveys of the late Captain Gulliver."

In a letter to A.B. Meyer of the Dresden Museum, Dr. Jose Rizal wrote:

"I cannot accept Yule's suggested suspicion that Tawalisi may be found only in Gulliver's Geography. While I have doubts regarding the accuracy of Ibn Batuta's details, still I believe in the voyage to Tawalisi. There are details that only the reality of the statements could have furnished, details which could not have been invented -- like the change in the government of Kailucary, previously ruled by the son of the King, etc. Besides, what possible interest could Ibn Batuta have had in falsifying? In this travel account, he introduces nothing in favor of his religion or to himself, nor does he mention new marvels or entertaining adventures. The traveler had visited so many and such beautiful countries much more interesting than Tawalisi. He would not go out of his way to discredit them in order to invent an insignificant incident. That after his return he tried to embellish his travels with some exaggerated and fanciful details is possible. But imagination, love of the marvelous or a certain confusion produced by the multitude of things seen can equally well have been the cause.

"The principal data in which I think this ought to be sought are the distances, which do not vary with time and I give preference to these over details regarding names and customs. Travel from Kakula, in Mul-Java, to Tawalisi usually took 74 to 84 days. Ibn Batuta spent 71 days, 34 going under sail and 37 days rowing. From Tawalisi to Canton was 15 days with a favorable wind. These details argue for Ibn Batuta's veracity since travelers usually make the lands they invent remote.

"With these two data, and knowing the average attainment of Ibn Batuta's ship was from eight to 10 geographical leagues (15 of these to the degree) -- from the Maldives to Bengal, 43 days, from Bengal to Barahuagan 15, we may trace two arcs, one from Canton with a radius of 180 geographical leagues -- on the supposition that with favoring winds the day's sail might be 12 leagues, and the other arc from Kakula (between Java and Sumatra) of 430 leagues 7 radius -- calculating that by oars the speed would only be half. The intersection of these arcs, we should find, would be exactly in the neighborhood of the northern part of the Philippines."

Rizal was the voice then, so our history books follow. If Rizal was right

1. Where are those Turkish and Persian- speaking Pangasinenses?
2. What happened to the elephants which existed in Pangasinan? It would be harder to believe than the story of the Princess.

Are we just content with what Dr. Jose Rizal had to offer or Henry Yule had more substance?

If Tawalisi is not in Pangasinan, our history is wrong and there should be no Princess Urduja.

You can post your comments.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Whatever happened to Puyao?

I am still wondering why the beautiful place called "Puyao" is not very popular now a days. It was a nature gifted where many had chosen to held their picnics, relaxations, and adventures in the 80's and 90's.

Located at the eastern part of the town of San Nicolas, Puyao had transfixed the eyes of thousands because of the awesome river that flows beside the mountainous terrain. Coupled with the large rocks that a tourists can hang in and take photos at the middle of the river, it was an astounding place. The trees that stood near the water had given such comfort to the people. Also the clear water couldn't stop anybody to swim and enjoy.

It was not only the river, rocks, and trees that factors in. The mountain also had a great impact why many wanted to go there. Groups can have an adventure by climbing.

In my recollection, Puyao had one time the venue of National Boy Scout Jamboree. Since then I haven't heard of this place anymore.

What happened? I just really don't know the answer.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

The death of buses

We have seen in our eyes the rapid death of buses. Seven years ago buses rule the roads of Pangasinan. It was the best transportation possible then.

However, unexpectedly the days of buses in Pangasinan are over. It was trounced by a better and more comfortable vans.

Passengers have chose vans over buses for many reasons. Vans contain only about 14-16 passengers and usually it goes to the terminal without any stops. It is also fully air-conditioned. Most importantly it takes half the time of the buses to travel.

It is great that vans seized the roads.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Life riding in a bus 7 years ago

I got to wait 15 minutes for the bus to leave going Dagupan. Along the way the bus had to stop 20 to 30 times to pick-up and unload passengers until it reaches Manaoag. The vehicle had to fill up the all the seats, this would take 15-20 minutes and sometimes more.

While enjoying the view outside as the bus moves smoothly after two minutes, someone yelled "PARA!". My head went forward unexpecting the urgent stop. Three minutes later, I saw two students waving their hands in the roadside. "Again!", I said angrily as it picked up.

Suddenly we passed a smoky area. Stinky! A garbage dumpsite was being burned. Oh no, my perfumed was dissolved immediately. Instantaneously, the dust came hovering us, the road was under construction.
It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes from Pozzorubio to reach Dagupan City.

All the showered I got early now was filled with perspiration, dust and dizziness as I walked to get a ride going to the school. The Estee Lauder was changed into Stinky Lauder. It was really an awful travel when riding in a bus. Importantly, as long as I reach my destination I would be happy inspite all the time wasted.

Riding in a bus is exciting but excruciating.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Pangalatok a derogatory word?

Some of our fellow Pangasinenses are discussing in the web about the eradication of the word "pangalatok" as refering to the people . According to them it is a slang word that is demeaning and derogatory. They claimed that "pangalatok" means "Pangasinense sira tuktok". They are instigating us to join them and completely remove the wrong usage of the word in any conversation.

What's the big deal? My friends called me "pangalatok" because I speak the language. They don't even know the "... tuktok" as some claimed to be. In the eyes of the people outside our province, most of them know nothing about "...sira tuktok" but of the language spoken by us.

Here's a conversation in a chatroom

Jill: Where are you from?
Jack: Pangasinan
Jill: Pangalatok ka?
Jack: No, Ilocano ako
Jill: I thought all of you in Pangasinan speak Pangalatok.

The common knowledge of the people outside Pangasinan is that "Pangalatok" is a language. Jill thought that Pangasinenses speak only one language. They might often used "Pangalatok" as to the people but without derision or malice.

Which came first? I don't have any historical sources on the origin of the the word "pangalatok". But it is common sense to say that "pangalatok the language" existed first before somebody gives the meaning "pangalatok as ... tuktok". That means pangalatok is not coined from "Pangasinense sira toktok". With these statements, Pangalatok that refers to the people is neither offensive nor insulting nor derogatory at all though it is misused by many.

It is wiseful to tell that "... tuktok" is not the meaning of Pangalatok.What if we change it to "Pangasinenses magaganda buhok"?