DAGUPAN, less than an hour's drive east of Lingayen, is the Philippines' capital of fish culture. One-fifth of the city's total area consists of fishponds for culturing bangus (milkfish), prawns, shrimps, crabs and mussels. This is also where they make much of the nation's bagoong (fermented fish paste). In honour of its fishy culture, Dagupan stages the Bangus Festival every April, the centrepiece of which is a street party featuring live performances on eight outdoor stages and bangus cooked on a giant barbecue grill, said to be the longest in the world; for details call the festival secretariat on Tel:075/522 7550. Every Filipino festival has street dancing: in this case participants dress up in bangus costumes and perform the intricate steps of traditional dance called Gilon! Gilon!
Dagupan is big, busy and noisy and not a tourist destination. The only notable beach, from a historical point of view at least, is Roman Blue Beach, where liberation forces landed on January 9, 1945. Features include the Japanese park and MacArthur Landing Marker, but it is not especially clean for swimming and there are no facilities. To get there take a tricycle (P5) from any of the bus terminals, from outside your hotel or from Rizal Street. Accommodation in Dagupan is limited, but you can try the Folren Hotel (Tel:075/522 0666; P700–2000) in the town centre on Rizal Street. It's in a noisy area, but the a/c rooms are spacious and have cable TV. Hotel Victoria (P500–1000) is within walking distance of the Philippine Rabbit bus terminal on A.B. Fernandez Avenue and has some of the cheapest rooms in town. They are slightly rundown but okay for a night.