It was my first time to step foot in Pangasinan. During our arrival, we were welcomed by Dagupan City Tourism office and our good friend, Mica, Dagupan-local and travel blogger behind Senyorita.net.

Our plan for the morning: a relaxing river cruise along the scenic Dawel River, which courses through thick mangrove covered wetlands of Dagupan City.

Cruising along Dawel River in Dagupan City, Pangasinan
Dagupan’s Dawel River Cruise: Bangus Harvest and Mangrove Swamps

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Dawel River Cruise of Dagupan City, Pangasinan

Dawel River Cruise is somewhat similar to what is being offered in other tourist sites like the Loboc River Cruise in Bohol. The natural scenery is not exactly same though, so it’s worth checking out both.

Dagupan’s landscape has more of coastal wetlands with a wider and more complex natural waterways.

It was refreshing to know the city government launched the Dawel River Cruise. I thought it was an excellent way to experience the natural beauty of Dagupan and learn more about lifeblood of communities along the Dawel River.


Me, Mica, and Ed. Photo by senyorita.net

We started our cruise from the ferry landing found at one end of the Dawel Bridge.

Colorful giant bangus sculptures at the Dawel River Cruise Wharf.
Just a side note: I was surprised to discover air-conditioned toilets at the wharf – a refreshing and strange place to hide away from the tropical heat :)

Ready for Boarding

Spacious floating raft docked at the wharf
Raft with dining seats/tables

We boarded one of the smaller boats so we could reach the fish ponds faster. Along the way, we saw thriving mangroves and passing birds.

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Start of our river tour of Dawel

Dawel River Cruise - Dagupan City - Pangasinan - (012712-113810)Onward to the fish pens where local bred bangus

Photographer’s paradise

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I’m no bird expert but I think this is a migratory heron.

Dawel River Cruise - Dagupan City - Pangasinan - (012712-113732)Mangroves and emerald green waters

Harvesting Bangus

Hidden behind the wall of mangroves along the riverbanks of Dawel are extensive fish ponds for Bangus (milkfish) production. Dagupan is known as the Bangus capital of the Philippines.

We witnessed the spectacle of locals harvest bangus using nets fenced around one of the big ponds.

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Bangus harvest in Dagupan
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Dagupan bangus is reputed to be tastiest in whole archipelago. Locals explain that active tidal movement of sea water and continuous natural flow of fresh water downstream maintain a fresh living grounds for fish and other aquatic creatures.

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Fish frenzy. They jumped and flipped crazily to escape but were no match for the nets manned by the locals.
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Ed transferring fish, which was to be delivered back to the wharf and grilled for our lunch.
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Lakbay Norte travelers planting mangrove seedlings.

Bangus frenzy

Upon arrival back at the wharf, we were greeted by trays upon trays of yummy grilled bangus, fresh from the harvest.

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Bangus overload x_x
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Bangus grilled under the Dawel Bridge
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Lunch Buffet of grilled bangus and small crabs

At the time of our visit, the Dawel River Cruise was offered for free by the Dagupan City Government. Visitors need to contact the city tourism office to check for available schedule beforehand. The usual tour takes around 45-minutes.

Dagupan City Tourism Office

website: http://dagupantourism.com/
phone: (075) 515-6196
email: [email protected] or r[email protected]

Pinoy Travel Bloggers enjoying the Dawel River Cruise in Dagupan: Mica  from senyorita, me from abmot-ah, Gael from thepinaysolobackpacker, Ed from soloflighted, James from journeyingjames, Angel from lakwatsero, Christian from lakad-pilipinas, Kara from TravelingUp , Karlo from KarloDL, and Ivan from Ivan about town. Photo by Ivan about Town.