August 11, 2012

Agoo- My Hometown

     Tale goes, a father called his son "Ago" to join him for lunch; the son upon hearing his name being called answered “O”. And it so happened that passers-by heard the resounding sound "AGO-O" and thinking that the place they just passed was called AGO-O, they relayed their experience to their companions and hence the name of the place was called "AGOO".

Dinengdeng Festival

   Agoo is a small and pleasant town of Ilocandia definitely not a significant tourist destination at all, but in reality a notable sights of a town that never sleep offering not just a beauty of creation, bounty of hospitality or roots of history and culture however needs a matter of appreciation.

       A little history aside that its part of Pangasinan before and not La Union like nowadays is the name which actually attributed to "aroo" or "agoho," a pine-like evergreen tree (Casuarina equisetifolia or Whistling Pine) that thrived in the western coast during the pre-Spanish Period. Agoo is also referred as “El Puerto de Japon” - the Japanese Port where good harbor for foreign vessels coming into Lingayen Gulf shaped, offering an access to a greater number of people and it was nearer to China and Japan result into a world of foreign trade.

     Want more about history? Of course no more (hehe) because it’s too much already! so let’s begin our journey from an old Agoo Arch warmly welcoming locals back and tourist in, with our first stop at the most significant building of Agoo, the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity which is a five-centuries-old Spanish church known to be a place of signs and miracles which at the same time also offers a good view of garden at its right, and Plaza de la Virgin on its left plus an underground cemetery for the late famous personality and a view of an old work of arts. Right across the church is Agoo Civic Center with a more than decade tree house in front- where big gatherings before like fiesta are situated and towards its left was the controversial Imelda Garden but sadly now converted into industrialized Agoo People’s Center and Square with a Mini Mall and at its right is a fenced garden of Museo Iloko(also presently controversial for industrialization purpose) also beside the Agoo Municipal Building, which houses religious artifacts, antique furniture, porcelain and miniature dolls.

Our Lady of Lourdes
        Aside that this was the oldest town of La Union, Agoo is also known to be a major religious center of the north, so if you’re not contented with the Mexican baroque inspired church to reminisce just straight ahead to the east road till you reach an old stairway called Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto where devotion of the people to their faith continues with the countless miracle stories attributed to Apo Caridad which includes the dramatic rise of Agoo from the rubbles of the July 1990 killer quake. And if lucky enough to find a local to guide you going to Apparition Site of the Immaculate Queen of Heaven and Earth through an Eco-Mountain Trail of San Antonio-San Miguel, a place where the 1990’s controversial Mama Mary with blood tears is and “Bukal na Balon” wherein it is the source of holy water use in the church, then it's a perfect place to recollect - for its quiet place with bonus Mt. Katayagan view that worth going too.

Eagle Of the North

   Eagle of the North- the symbol of Agoo, is also a must see where lot of tourist going to Baguio stopover to take picture or should I say picturesssss? located just North-East of the Town Proper on the renamed JOSE D. ASPIRAS Highway, formerly known as Marcos Highway after the deceased dictator.

   Fast food chain, Filipino and Chinese restaurants, and a shopping center are conveniently located in the town center to cater the needs of travelers and guests but when you get here, never ever to forget to grab something for snacks or pasalubong like tupig (a native delicacy made with glutinous rice and grated coconuts wrapped in wilted banana leaves and cooked over live coals), patupat (Glutinous rice dipped in sugarcane juice wrapped on weaved coco leaves.), bibingka (rice cake with shredded coconut and melting butter or margarine on top) and lot more around the area. Also, never dare to forget a chance to taste the luscious Dinengdeng of the town which is commonly sold in local eateries and in lieu to that Dinengdeng Festival occurs yearly every end week of April till first week of May to showcase more than hundred recipes of the popular Iloko meal plus street dancing competition, baratillo (different products sold on cheap prices) on sidewalks and a lot more to showcase through entire duration of town fiesta.

Fresh Catch From Nature

     Moreover before leaving the town, why don’t you go to “Batog” (Agoo-Damortis Seashore Park) a beautiful beach of glowing silver gray sands perfect for sunset viewing and if still early have a ride of Bangka available by negotiating to fisherman in exchange to gas their boat around 150 to 250 pesos depends on your charm (hehe) or stay for a night in nearby hotel and have a whole day picnic on cottages available along the beach side on the next day.

Boodle Fight With My Family at Beach

“So on your next north escapade, stop a halfway point for Baguio and the other Northern Provinces and wander around for an hour, then continuing your journey from gateway of a place to remember- my hometown.”

Boat Adventure Plus Fish To Go

Geographical Location and How to get here?
(Proximity to Major Cities)
  • 35 kilometers south of the RegionalCenter, City of San Fernando (30 minutes to 1 hour drive via local bus or aircon bus going to Manila or Dagupan) 
  • 49 kilometers west of the Summer Capital, BaguioCity (1 hour to 1 and 3o minutes drive via Victory Liner or Genesis going to Dagupan with via Agoo sign)
  • 40 kilometers north of DagupanCity (30 minutes to 1 hour drive via local bus going to San Fernando)
  • 235 kilometers north of Manila  (5-6 hours drive via Dominion, Florida, Partas, Viron or any bus line going to La Union or Ilocos)

For more info. about my hometown try to check the local site of Agoo: or if i miss something to go or to do please feel free to post a comment below, tnx in advance. ;)


Note: Some pictures and facts are from my friend-internet explorer... (peace and tnx.)

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