The scene at El Puerto Marina, a leading resort in Lingayen, capital of Pangasinan, was festive.
There were balloons all over, cars and vans, young men and women preparing themselves as if for some lark, brass bands blaring; and loud, pulsating rock-disco and Latino music over the outdoor sound system.
Then all the vehicles and their passengers, with much fanfare, filed out and headed in the direction of the town center.
It was a motorcade actually, out to spread the word to all and sundry that the resort’s ambitious Aquatica Marina Waterworld, after many months of preparation (and still not a 100 percent-complete) was finally going to be inaugurated.
El Puerto Marina, a short walk to balmy Lingayen Beach, is known for its leisure and team-building facilities, spa, restful tropical ambience, picturesque native cottages, good accommodations for families, and a much-photographed swimming pool with a sculptural “monster” with its tongue—which serves as a slide—sticking out.
Aquatica Marina Waterworld boasts of a clutch of swimming pools, large and small water slides, huge buckets creating waterfalls, winding or simply cascading; sturdy picnic huts made of coco lumber and bamboo slats ,and capped by a huge, sculptural mural of stone, its back to the sea and facing a low pool of onrushing water.
The theme park is about 90-percent complete, with owner Flor Verzosa promising a “raging river” in the future.
Among the entertainers, the lifeguards, clad in simple white shirts, stole the show with their precision dancing and somersaults.
Gov. Amado Espino was present during the opening ceremonies. And Aquatica Marina, according to Provincial Tourism Officer Malou Elduayan, “was an important tourist event not just in Lingayen but all over Pangasinan.”