- 1 What to see in Pampanga
- 2 How to get there
- 3 What to See and Do
- 4 Where to stay
- 5 Festivals
What to see in Pampanga
Pampanga is a province up north which known for its rich history, past, heritage and various historical structures which give meaning to what the Philippines really is. It is also called the culinary capital of the Philippines, and many often go there to get a taste of the province’s amazing and unique cuisine and dishes. vIt is definitely a must visit place for locals and tourists alike because there are so many things to do, its hard to ever get bored. For those who want to visit and get a taste of what life is like up north, here is a complete guide on what to see and do in Pampanga as well as how to get there.
How to get there
Pampanga is located up north, therefore you need to travel up in order to get there. If you’re driving with your own car or a private vehicle, here are the steps you need to follow:
1.) Travel up north from Manila
2.) Drive through the R-8 route, the fastest route of all the available ones despite the congestion
3.) Pay the toll fees
4.) Finally arrive in San Fernando, Pampanga
If you aren’t going to be driving via private vehicle, or just prefer public transportation, then here’s how to get to Pampanga doing so:
1.) Take buses which are passing through Pampanga (Victory Liner, 5 Star Buses, etc.,)
2.) Pay the bus fare (around 150-300 pesos, depending on the bus line of your choice)
3.) Take the bus and arrive in Pampanga.
Another option for those who are coming for places further away from Manila are to get to Pampanga via plane. Here’s how:
1.) Book a plane ticket heading to the Clark International Airport in Pampanga
2.) Ride the plane and arrive, driving to other Pampanga destinations from Clark
What to See and Do
There are endless destinations and sights, as well as activities to partake in when in the amazing province of Pampanga. Here are some examples which are well-loved by tourists and visitors as well as locals alike.
If you happen to be an animal lover, then Hansa Toys is a great destination for you. Located in Clarkfield, Pampanga, Hansa Toys is one of the top toy manufacturers in the world who specialise in making realistic animal stuffed toys that children and adults alike are sure to love. They make toy replicas of a large variety of animals, such as rabbits, bears, lions, giraffes and more.
Their creations are so popular that they are shipped internationally to worldwide zoos and have gained the favour of numberous celebrities, and even President Arroyo herself. If you would like to organise an educational tour, you can do so albeit it is only available for large groups of people and a minimum of 25 persons, so be sure you gather lots of interested people if you want to see the inner workings of the popular toy manufacturer.
If you would like to visit or contact Hansa Toys, here are the company’s contact information
Hansa Bldg. Andress Soriano St.
Clark Freeport Zone, Clarkfield
(045) 599 3333
Aqua Planet is a large waterpark located in Clark, Pampanga. It boasts 25 different attractions that individuals of all ages are sure to enjoy, such as the spiral slide, super bowl, flow rider and more. All of these activities make Aqua Planet a very awaited attraction.
It had its soft opening recently this 2017 but will fully be opening its doors to the public in January 2018. It is extremely popular so it would be a good idea to save the date and get their early with your friends, family and loved ones if you want more time to enjoy the brand new water park. Aside from the different water activities it is also a place to eat, shop, and drink making it a fun place for anybody despite their age.
Clark Freeport, Mabalacat
3. Comercio Central
Located in Clark, Comercio Central is the place to be for people who love shopping and finding great deals. Comercio Central is a place which the locals and even tourists flock to to get a taste of the great food, drinks, and other items on sale. Here you can find green markets which sell delicious fresh vegetables and fruits, wet market stalls that sell fish and meats and even more- the possibilities are endless. Not only that, but visiting is also a great way to immerse yourself in Kapampangan culture and really get to feel as if you’re a local, all while shopping until you drop.
Clark Parade Gounds, S Osmena, Mabalacat, Pampanga
The 4D Theater is not your ordinary movie theater. It seats around 40 people and you won’t be watching any old regular movie here, you will be watching a documentary which centres around the lives of the Pampanga and Clark citizens after the catastrophic and wide scale eruption of Mount Pinatubo which affected and changed the lives of many. It is also an inspiring documentary which shows just how the people of Pampanga rose above this eruption and became the society and have the culture and heritage they do to this very day, which is why the documentary is entitled “Rise Above The Ashes”.
Overall, if you want to get to know more about the history of Pampanga and its roots, the 4D Theater is a good place to visit. Not to mention, their couches for watching are extremely comfortable and the sound and light effects will make you feel as if you’ve gone back in time and lived through the historic eruption itself. Another plus is that entrance is fairly cheap, for only a hundred pesos per head! It is located right beside the Clark Museum as well.
The 4D Theater is open from 9 AM to 3:30 PM Mondays thru Sundays, but the hours may differ on holidays.
Clark Freeport, Mabalacat
5. Clark Museum
The popular Clark Museum is located right next to the 4D Theater, so you can visit the two to your convenience because of how close they are. The admission to the museum only costs 100 pesos but if you happen to be a women, it’s completely free thanks to a Gender Development program that Clark is putting into place.
The Clark Museum is home to many different historic artefacts, but it specialises in the history of the American occupation since Clark used to be a United States air base in the past. But other than that, the museum also showcases details and presentations of lives in the ancient Philippines before the Spanish occupation as well as the historic eruption of Mount Pinatubo. The Clark Museum is a must-see for World War history buffs as well as people who just want to get to know more and get in depth information about Clark, the entirety of Pampanga, and the culture and heritage of the people there.
The Clark Museum is open from 9 AM to 3:30 PM Mondays thru Sundays, but the hours may differ on holidays.
Clark Freeport, Mabalacat, Pampanga
6. Mount Pinatubo
When people hear the word Pampanga, often what comes to mind the the Mount Pinatubo, an active volcano which caused one of the most wide-scale eruptions and ash falls not only in Philippine history, but also for the entire world. You can get a Mount Pinatubo tour and explore the crater lake as well as get an amazing view of the volcano itself. The hike there is long but surely worth it, because you will get to see one of the most popular and sought after wonders of the Pampanga, and of the Philippines.
It is located on the tri-point boundary between three provinces: Zambales, Pampanga, and Tarlac.
Clark isn’t just a place for museums and historical sights, but it’s also a great place to visit for golf lovers who would like to play in a serene, fresh location out of the city. The Clark SunValley Country Club and Resort boasts a beautiful and large golf course which players will be sure to enjoy for hours and hours on end. On weekdays, the cost for using their course is 3000 pesos while on weekends it is 3500 pesos.
T-304 Jose Abad Santos Avenue
Clark, Pampanga, Philippines 2009
Where to stay
When in Angeles, Pampanga, the Azzurro Hotel is a wonderful place to stay given that it is located at the very heart of the city, making it accessible to the different sights and malls, as well as other prominent locations in the city. The rooms are neat and clean and the staff are very friendly, which will make you feel at home even in the province up north. But really, the best part about this hotel it its prime location in the middle of everything, making it a great booking for those who want to explore and get around.
4895 Manila N Rd, Balibago, Angeles, 2109 Pampanga, Philippines
(045) 331 1333
Another thing that Pampanga is known for are their popular and dazzling festivals. Here are a few examples which are popular in the province, and are known for attracting sizeable crowds to their beautiful exhibits.
Hot Air Balloon in Lubao
The Hot Air Balloon Festival in Pampanga is one of the most popular events not just in the province but also nationwide. It occurs every year and will be happening in February this coming 2018. It’s best to get there early to avoid the traffic and the crowds and in order to have more time to see the spectacular hot air balloons. Aside from the exhibition of the balloons, there are also fun activities for people of all ages to enjoy, such as paragliders, skydivers, radio controlled aircraft and more activities that involve the sky. Overall, it is a very fun event thousands of people look forward to every year and with good reason, so be sure to mark the dates on your calendar and bring a camera.
Giant Lantern Festival
The Giant Lantern Festival which takes place annually in San Fernando, Pampanga is another event to watch out for. Because of the showcasing of giant Christmas lanterns during the holiday season (specifically held during the Saturday before Christmas Eve), the city of San Fernando has been dubbed the Christmas capital of the Philippines. Here you will be able to see hundreds of Filipino-made Christmas lanterns and see which one of the many entries will be chosen as the winner of the festival. It is a great festival to visit come Christmas season and is sure to put everyone to awe, children and adults alike, and have them further appreciate the Christmas season and Filipino handiwork.
Another event location in the capital of Pampanga, San Fernando City, the Sinukwan Festival aims to showcase the Kapampangan culture, traditions, and heritage through showing many of their traditions and with the help of flamboyant parades which will show visitors just how proud the citizens of San Fernando are with their culture. Here you will see the locals dance through the streets in their traditional Kapampangan wear, dancing traditional Filipino dances and overall just celebrating their roots.
This festival which is celebrated in November is done in order to commemorate and remember the great eruption of Mount Pinatubo. The locals go barefoot and step in the soft mud, holding hands as if to reenact walking over lahar, all acting as one to help each other evacuate despite origin, race, or social class. They also celebrate by doing street dances all over the towns and on the second day of the Makatapak Festival, those participating will also partake in the feast of Virgen La Naval, which also happened to be buried during the Mount Pinatubo eruption. Overall, this festival is a showcase of Kapampangan spirit, strength, as well as camaraderie and you definitely don’t want to miss it.