Manaoag is a municipality located in Pangasinan which is also subdivided into 26 barangays. In a 2020 census, the town’s population was just a little over 76,000. It is a popular pilgrimage site for Roman Catholics as it enshrines a 17th-century ivory statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the title of Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Manaoag or “Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag”.
Commuting to Manaoag
Going there can take just about 4 hours. From Cubao, you can take a bus from the terminals along EDSA. A one way trip can cost more or less Php400, with prices depending on which bus company you’d prefer. If there are no buses heading directly to Manaoag, you may also take a ride going to Dagupan City and ask to be dropped off in front of Magic Mall. There should be tricycles and jeeps available there that can take you to Manaoag.
Life in Manaoag
Manaoag is considered as a “first class” municipality which means there is a lively economic progress in the town. There are markets, schools, banks, hospital and clinics, hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, businesses, and residences.
A huge part of its economy is dependent to the influx of tourists and pilgrims to the shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag.
Going to Baguio from Manaoag and other destinations
From Manaoag, you can go to Baguio City in 3 hours if you’d take a bus. There’s a Victory Liner bus that pics up passengers around 11am and another one at 2pm. Pick ups are at the front street from the shrine. The fare costs Php132 for a non-airconditioned bus. But this buses can be full and there’s a chance that you’d be standing during the journey. So some tourists head back to Dagupan City first to take a bus ride to Baguio from the terminals there.
You may also take a shuttle van service from Manaoag going to Baguio that can cost over Php300.
If you’d like to see the nearest beach, you can take a tricycle to San Fabian beach. Just ask the tricycles drivers, which are many around the church, if they can take you there for an agreed price deal. The journey can take 30 minutes.
At 4pm, there’s also a bus that picks up passengers besides the city hall going to Cubao . If you’re not able to catch it or would rather leave on a different time, you may also head to Dagupan’s terminals where you can get a ride.
Sights in Manaoag
The main tourist attraction is the shrine. The Minor Basilica of Our Lady Of The Rosary Of Manaoag draws thousands of religious pilgrims and has been a great contributor to the local economy.
Vendors are a common sight around the church. They sell souvenirs such as candles, rosaries, and other religious items. They also sell foods like fruits, puto, bagoong, and tupig.
Urbanization has become gradual. Hotels, restaurants, and other businesses has continued to come to this town and has provided convenience to both locals and visitors. More roads have also been built connecting the town with an easier route to other municipalities and cities.
Taxis are still rare in the area, so the most common way of commuting is by jeepney or tricycle.
A small park erected in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal is a good meeting spot for people.
Manaoag’s town hall is just situated in front of the church. Most government offices like the police station and fire station are close to the church’s vicinity as wall.
Local businesses are often seen mingled with the owner’s residence. There’s a wide range of goods and services around the town and it’s just a matter of asking some locals regarding where to find the things you need.