My brother and I used to camp a lot. That was only up until two years ago, though. Last year I became so busy that we didn’t have much time to go camping! My only break came when I went glamping in Sri Lanka. And my, that really put in the “glam” in “glamp”. We stayed in tents, but there were all sorts of luxury in them. It was like having a hotel room in a tent!
Recently, I joined Lakbay Norte and got to stay at Clark’s El Kabayo for a night. It was glamping all over again, but this time the emphasis really is in camping! It’s raw and close to nature, even though we’re in the middle of one of the more advanced metro districts in the country.
About El Kabayo Clark
As the story goes, El Kabayo is the fulfillment of a childhood dream. People born before the Internet and before social media would remember the massive influence of Western TV shows to the Filipino audience. Gabby, the self-proclaimed and rightful Sheriff of El Kabayo, was among those who grew up wishing he could hop on a horse and chase away the bandits like his TV heroes. As luck would have it, Gabby’s latent cowboy tendencies were sparked by a visit to real US Western towns in a cross-country trip. A short time later, El Kabayo rose as a bastion of law, order, and good Wild West fun in the wilds of Clark Freeport Zone.
Check out some of the cool things you can do at El Kabayo:
Train to notch an arrow like an Indian (or at least try to — it’s pretty hard!). Head to the archery to see if you can channel your inner William Tell (or Crazy Horse, take your pick) and impress everyone back home!
In real life, much of the cowboy’s life was spent on the trail. It’s hard, it’s rough, but it’s fulfilling. At El Kabayo, you get an approximation of that sans the hardship with rides through the grassy trails this side of Clark. There are two, two-and-a-half, and three hour rides you can choose from. They come complete with snacks, too!
Horse Drawn Carriage Trails.
For the bonny lass who don’t like horseback riding, you can taste the pioneer lifestyle in carriages instead! It’s a bit like those rides in Intramuros, but more raw. There are standard 30- and 60-minute rides, but extensions are available.
Bonfires are a great way for cowboys of old to huddle around, stay warm, tell stories, and enjoy themselves. El Kabayo organizes their own communal bonfire as part of the glamping experience, complete with fun activities. And yes, that includes roasting marshmallows!
It’s all more fun with friends and colleagues! El Kabayo also organizes team building activities. The rustic environment is a welcome change for those tired of urban scapes, too.
Explore the Old Western Town.
El Kabayo really spared no expense when putting together this Old Western setting. It feels like you’re roaming around in a set of The Lone Ranger or some other cowboy/cowgirl movie!
The traditional locations are also found here. There’s a saloon that serves food and drinks (try their Wagyu burgers!). During our visit, we also had cold cuts and cheese courtesy of Amante Ribs. You would have to coordinate with El Kabayo beforehand if you want this (booking contact details are below). Amante’s barnyard-style place also offers a mouthwatering buffet and great barbecues!
There’s also a general store that sells all manners of cowboy-related souvenir items. Yes, that includes pellet six-shooters! There’s a separate convenience store for those all too real times when you forget to bring something important in your glamping trip.
There’s a place for the horses, too, where you can watch them be fed and groomed (or do these yourself). There is even a town jail, which is just one of the many photo ops around! There are also photo ops on horseback, and dressed in a Western attire (cowboy or Indian, you choose).
El Kabayo also offers a tour of the locale as a guided day tour, but if you’re glamping here then you’re free as the wind to roam around.
Planning to go here? Here’s what you need to know
1. Even if it’s an Old Western setting, you don’t need to worry about going to the bathroom. There are shared facilities, including toilets and portalets. There are also two closed showers at one end (complete with toilets) and an open shower.
2. You can always drop by here for a casual visit, but if you will be glamping you have to book in advance so they can prepare the stuff you need. To book, you can contact them through their email (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) or their mobile number (09165199149).
The cowboy town is located along Gil Puyat Avenue, corner Panday Pira Avenue. It’s impossible to miss it! It’s around 4 kilometers (2 minutes) from the Mabalacat Gate of the Clark Freeport Zone. To get here, just take the NLEX and exit at Sta. Ines. Continue to the right road that takes you to SCTEX. At the SCTEX entrance, take the first right, which leads to the first exit (Clark/DMIA).
You know you’re on the right track when you see a bridge with a guard post on your right, and then another guard post on your left. Turn left when you see this guard post, and you will see both Clark Expo and Clark Racetrack. When you reach a rotunda, and will eventually pass Texas Instruments. At the end of the road, turn left on Gil Puyat Avenue.
You’ll be greeted on your left by a traditional row of single-storey Western structures, behind a parade of flags from around the world. So if ever you have the itching to don your cowboy hat, spurs, and six-shooters, head over to El Kabayo to find the frontier of your childhood. It’s wild, it’s fun, and it’s a one-of-a-kind experience!