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Lingayen Gulf

The Lingayen Gulf is an extension of the South China Sea on Luzon in the Philippines
stretching 56 kilometres (35 mi). It is framed by the provinces of Pangasinan and La Union and
sits between the Zambales Mountains and the Cordillera Central. The Agno River drains into
Lingayen Gulf.
History
Main article: Invasion of Lingayen Gulf
During World War II, the Lingayen Gulf proved a strategically important theatre of war between
American and Japanese forces. On the 22 December 1941, the Japanese 14th Army under
Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma landed on the Eastern part of the gulf at Agoo, Vaba,
Santiago and Bauang, where they engaged in a number of relatively minor skirmishes[1] with the
defenders, which consisted of a poorly equipped contingent of predominantly Filipino and
American troops, and managed to successfully invade and occupy the gulf. Following the defeat,
the next day General MacArthur issued the order to retreat from Luzon and withdraw to Bataan.
For the next three years, the gulf remained under Japanese occupation prior to the Lingayen Gulf
Landings.
On 9.30 AM, January 9, 1945, the US 6th Army conducted an amphibious landing on the gulf,
following a devastating naval bombardment, with 68,000 troops landing on the first day alone
and a total of 203,608 in subsequent landings along a 20-mile (32 km) beachhead, stretching
from Sual, Lingayen and Dagupan (XIV Corps) to the west, and San Fabian (I Corps) in to the
east. The total number of troops under the command of MacArthur was reported to have even
exceeded the number that Eisenhower controlled in Europe[2].
Despite their success in driving out the Japanese army stationed there, they suffered relatively
heavy losses, particularly to their convoys due to Kamikaze suicide attacks. From January 4 - 12,
a total of 24 ships were sunk and 67 damaged by Kamikaze planes, including the battleships USS
Mississippi and USS Colorado (accidentally hit by friendly fire), light cruiser USS Columbia,
and minesweepers USS Long and the USS Hovey [2]. Following the landings, the Lingayen Gulf
was turned into a vast supply depot for the rest of the war to support the American and Filipino
assault on Manila.
Commemoration
On January 9, 2008, Gov. Amado Espino, Jr. and Vice Gov. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas
institutionalized the commemoration to honor the war veterans. The resolution named January 9
as Pangasinan Veterans’ Day. In the 63rd anniversary commemoration of the Lingayen Gulf
Landing, President Fidel Ramos appealed to US President George W. Bush for 24,000 surviving
war veterans, to pass two legislative bills pending since 1968 at the US House of Representatives
– the Filipino Veterans’ Equity Act of 2006 and the Filipino Veterans’ Equity of 2005 sponsored
by former Senator Daniel Inouye.[3]
Features
The gulf has numerous islands, the most famous of which are in the Hundred Islands National
Park. This tourist attraction features 123 islands, the majority of which are relatively small in
size. A number of cities are found along the gulf's coast such as Dagupan City and Alaminos City
in Pangasinan, and San Fernando City in La Union. Lingayen, the capital of Pangasinan also lies
on the shores of the gulf.
Economy
Fishing and salt-making are the primary industries on Lingayen Gulf. In fact, the name
Pangasinan literally means “place where salt is made” in Tagalog. Salt is collected from
seawater through evaporation, leaving the crystalline salt behind.