Across the Shores and Over the Hills of Surip

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

surip beach

In Sitio Olanen, more than a thirty-minute ride from Bani's Poblacion, lies the unassuming beach of Surip. With a shoreline that, according to the locals, is dictated by the sea's "mood," changing from coral bits to pebbles then to sands, this unfrequented site exudes quiet charm.

At sundown, one will come to know why Bani was once hailed as Pangasinan's Golden West. The dramatic rock formations along the beach provide a stunning canvas for the sun's color-play.
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The shores take on a golden glow as the sun sets in Surip

Away from the intrusion of city lights, the night sky in Surip beach is mottled with stars. The glints of light ever increasing as one stares on.
surip beach pangasinan
Nothing says "good vibes" than a bonfire in the beach

Come morning, the sea pulls away and reveals rock formations a few steps from the shore. A handful is covered in seaweed, most are dotted with shallow pools, "trapping" some kind of sea creature – a sea urchin, colorful fingerlings, and even a little squid!
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Dramatic rock formations covered in seaweeds reveal themselves when the tide is low
surip beach
A tiny squid is "trapped" in one of the shallow pools in the rock formations
surip beach
The shoreline of Surip is lined with many limestone formations

Related Adventure: The Flavors of Bani

As one walks the length of Surip's dynamic shoreline, one will also understand why Bani is a Hall of Famer in the Search for the Cleanest Coastal Municipality. Even when locals maintain that the beach is not as pristine as it used to, the only litter one will find is a here-and-there dried twig.
surip beach
These are the only litter you'll find in the beach

There is a couple of seaside beach resorts in Surip, but its entirety remains as public property.

Further out into the sea, Bani's fisher folks benefit from its bounties. Bani is not only the "Pakwan Capital" but is also one of the few places in the Philippines still practicing traditional (and sustainable) fishing. The yellow fin caught here could rival that of General Santos and Sorsogon!

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Bani's waters are blessed with bountiful marine life

Related Adventure: A Trip Down Mangrove Lane

Meanwhile, perched on a plateau overlooking the West Philippine Sea, is Surip's pilgrimage site. Originally the resting place of the matriarch of the political Navarro family, the site now features a white giant cross and a rendition of La Pieta.
giant white cross
Surip's pilgrimage site is originally the resting place of the matriarch of the political Navarro family
surip bani pangasinan
The site features a white giant cross and a rendition of La Pieta.

Surrounding the plateau is a thriving forest. Encounters with deer, civet cats, and geckos are quite common. The rest of the year, the place is rarely kept so as to deter wanton activities – the site is, after all, easily accessed and secluded for the most part. But come Holy Week, in preparation for the influx of pilgrims, it undergoes a major tidying up.
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One of the stations of the cross at Surip's pilgrimage site
surip pilgrimage site
A gecko peeks out of a branch in one of the trees inside the site's forest
On the site's thousand-step "Via Crucis," an annual Archdiocesan Penitential Pilgrimage is held every Holy Tuesday – a tradition that started in 1975 and draws devotees from as far as Metro Manila.

Related Adventure: Angel Cave

surip pangasinan
The pilgrimage site overlooks the West Philippine Sea
Surip – its beach and its pilgrimage site – is one of the many attractions Bani, Pangasinan has to offer. Consider Bani as your next destination and you're sure to take home experiences and stories like no other!

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