Surip has a station of the cross to cater to devotees and a beach for relaxation. (Photo courtesy of Bani Tourism Office)
BANI, Pangasinan -- Stations of the Cross perched on a hill by the white sand beach here is a popular destination among thousands of Pangasinenses during the Lenten season.
Situated in Barangay Sentro Toma, some 15 km. away from the town proper of Bani, Surip beach derives its name from the local term for “peep”, as it overlooks the vastness of the West Philippine Sea.
Municipal Tourism Officer Rommel Dulay, in an interview on Thursday, said some 4,853 local tourists, mostly from the first district of Pangasinan, and as far as Tarlac and Nueva Ecija, visited the place last year.
“We are preparing for more tourists, especially the devotees, who will spend their Holy Week here,” Dulay said.
The place has a chapel where a Holy Mass is celebrated before devotees climb the hill for the Stations of the Cross.
Dulay said the Stations feature statues that depict the life and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, and on top is the Redeemer’s Cross.
“The place is open to the public. It does not charge any fee as of now, but we advise the visitors to please bring their own personal water container as we are discouraging disposable water containers to prevent trash in the area. And also to bring food and masks or handkerchiefs they could use since some roads going to Surip are still under construction,” he said.
Dulay further said the local government of Bani is renovating the comfort rooms, and putting up signage in time for the Holy Week next month.
During Lent, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, Municipal Engineering Office, and a volunteer riders’ association will be present to assist and ensure the safety of visitors.
“There will be water stations, medical stations at the area, and a tourist assistance center at the town proper to assist visitors,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dulay said the devotees may also enjoy the white sand beach of Surip with its pristine waters at the foot of the hill.
A resort here rents out cottages for PHP300 to PHP500 for day use, as well as rooms for overnight stay for PHP3,000 to PHP6,000.
“This is also the campsite for the Archdiocese of Alaminos City, which conducts its annual youth camp here,” he said.
Dulay asked visitors to maintain the peace and cleanliness of the area as the town advocates for sustainable tourism. (PNA)