If you’re visiting Manaoag in Pangasinan, you might also be interested in going to the nearest beach. That would be in San Fabian, which is about 30 minutes away from Manaoag.
There’s no direct public transport going there. So you have two options: first is to go there via your own vehicle. Second is to rent/contract a tricycle. There’s plenty of tricycles queued around Manaoag Church. You can talk to some of the tricycle drivers and make a deal with them to take you to San Fabian beach. In my experienced, I got to deal with a driver for Php300 to take me there for a one way trip. I also got his number so I can contact him to pick me up the next day as I planned to stay there overnight. Picking me up to take me back to Manaoag was another Php300.
It’s a public beach, so you can expect a lot of people there especially during the summer which is a peak season. Many people with vehicles are able to temporarily park by the sands or near their cottage but not too close to the water.
San Fabian’s ambiance
The beach has a fine black-sand and a long shoreline. Perfect for those who love long walks in the beach. There are also vendors going around on pedicabs or tricycles. They sell cheep food, snacks, ice creams, and beach toys for kids.
There are not much restaurants or even carinderias around. Which was a bit strange to me considering it could be a good business in a popular area. So it would be best if you bring your own packed lunch meals. Otherwise, you will end up buying food from sari-sari stores at a higher price than usual.
It can be noisy due to the volume of people. So this isn’t the beach for tourists looking for tranquility. It’s a family beach, so expect a lot of noises from kids, koraoke singers, and people who are generally having fun.
The quieter side of this beach
When I visited there, I noticed that there was a quieter side where there were less people around too. It is at the end of the beach further north where a river flowing in-land can be seen. I stayed there for a few hours just to enjoy the peace and waited for the sunset. Some people were there fishing and exploring.
Accommodations in San Fabian beach
Fun activities are also available. Some bangka owners also offer banana boat rides, mangrove explorations, island hopping, etc. Php1000 is enough for you to enjoy most of these activities. But this budget is assuming you’re in a group, since these activities are designed to cater to groups of people. It can be more expensive if you’re venturing into these alone.
There are plenty of rentable rooms, cottages, and resorts in San Fabian. And most of these are in front or just walking-distance from the beach. Prices depends on how big the room you’re renting is. It may also vary depending on the season. If it’s summer, then prices can definitely go higher.
Some beachfront cottages are rentable for Php2500 to Php3500 for an overnight stay. Half-day deals are also available. Electricity, lighting, and use of bathing rooms are included in the deal.
The room I was able to rent was a non-airconditioned room. Originally, the owner was offering it for Php2000 overnight. But I was able to haggle for Php1300. The room had its own bathroom, and had beds good for 4-5 people.
The garbage and littering problem
Unfortunately, proper garbage disposal is something most Filipinos have not mastered. A lot of people are littering and leaving garbage behind. The garbage varies from drinking cups, snack bags, beverage bottles, to many more.
Some locals, especially beachfront business owners, would clean up the mess in the mornings. I saw a few business owners raking litters in front of their cottages. But their efforts are only focused for their livelihood’s sake, and not for the community’s.
A starting solution would be for the local government of San Fabian to provide noticeable garbage bins near or along the beach. A clean up drive should also be spearheaded by LGU officials. Public awareness for environmental preservation should be initiated as well.
The LGU and the communities of San Fabian should act fast before their beach becomes a Manila Bay in the making.