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HOMETOWN SNAPSHOT

Cruise chance to see city beyond ‘bangus’

/ 08:55 PM January 31, 2012

DAGUPAN CITY – Drawing about 40,000 tourists since it was launched last year as part of the annual Bangus Festival, the Dawel River cruise would now include unique attractions showcasing this city’s culture and history to bring the attraction’s value a notch higher.

Drawing inspiration from Bohol’s Loboc River cruise, this city would like to set its river cruise apart. And what better way to do it than by highlighting the city pride, the Dagupan “bangus,” city officials said.

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An exposure trip to the fish ponds, where tourists can feed bangus and learn how it is raised, marketed and processed, is being discussed by tourism officials.

Right now, only a glimpse of the fish ponds of Caneng Farms can be seen during the ecotour.

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Bangus sculptures greet tourists at the wharf at the foot of the Dawel bridge in Barangay (village) Bonuan Gueset.

The Dawel River cruise, which takes about 45 minutes, showcases the city’s serene waterways lined by mangroves and fish ponds hosting migratory and local birds. It passes through the Dawel and Watac-Mamalingling Rivers, tributaries of Pantal and Bayaoas Rivers.

Tourism officer Rose Teng Mejia said there was also an increasing number of migratory birds being seen in the area.

The cruise also presents a glimpse of history as visitors see the ruins of the bridge that supported the tracks of the Philippine National Railways’ northern Luzon line (Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan).

Though most of the former settlers in the river cruise’s path were resettled, small wooden houses painted green and brown to match the mangroves are along the waterway. Residents continue to fish and catch mollusks in the mangrove areas.

Three native hut-inspired boats and two smaller boats can accommodate 25 people for a trip. A bigger boat can carry 40 to 45 passengers for the cruise. Eight employees man the river cruise operation, including boat operators and ecotour guides.

The river cruise is offered to the public and visitors for free, but city officials may charge minimal fees in the future. Marla Viray, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: Annual Bangus Festival, bangus, Cruise, Dagupan City, Dawel River cruise, fish ponds, Hometown Snapshot, Tourism, Travel
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