A 250 pesos entrance fee per person allows you to stay in the event site for the whole day. You can purchase tickets at the gate, at any SM Ticketnet outlet, at ROX Bonifacio Global City, or at ROX Marquee Mall Clark.
Pilgrimage date, November 30, 2009. Visited the following churches of Pampanga:
1. Lubao Church (the oldest church in Asia)
2. Guagua Church
3. Betis Church
4. San Giullermo Church, and the
5. Pampanga Cathedral
No trip to Pampanga is complete without a side trip to Mt. Pinatubo crater. After devastating eruption in 1991, crater is now a beautiful lake. From Clark city it takes about an hour to reach Mt. Pinatubo Spa. Here you need to board 4x4 jeep that will take you on a one hour ride on Lahar rivers and will drop you for a further trek of three hours to the crater. There is another trek called "Skyway" that is shorter and said to be covered in an hours time. But the longer route is more rewarding.
Once you have reached the crater, you can either swim or have boat ride there. Keep in mind that your guide will not let you stay more than two hours on the crater as ultimately one has to return to the Spa before sunset.
Costs - I have paid PHP 2,000 inclusive of 4x4 jeep rental, tour guide, all necessary permits and delicious lunch on the crater. Transportation to and from Pinatubo Spa was my responsibility. Additionally, I had paid PHP 250 for boat ride in the crater lake and PHP 50 for car parking.
Though hard to find this place as it is far from Clark, still a nice place to visit and feel greenery all around. Its restaurant is on top of Club's offices and provides panoramic view of surrounding.
Across SM City in San Fernando is Robinson's Mall, another shopping mall chain in the country. Both malls, dominates the San Fernando landscape from the North Luzon Expressway.
Again, there's another Robinson's mall along Balibago district in Angeles City.
The City of San Fernando is an alternate shopping mecca north of Manila. SM City, the largest mall chain in Asia has constructed one of their malls just about the North Luzon Expressway toll exit gate to San Fernando, Pampanga, about 67 kms. north of Manila. Across SM City is Robinsons Mall, another shopping mall chain in the country. Both malls, dominates the San Fernando landscape from the Expressway.
But don't be confused as there's another SM City mall located at Clark Freeport Zone, located 17 kms further north in Angeles City.
This Catholic church with a beautiful pink facade and a highly ornate sanctuary is one of the most beautiful places of worship in Pampanga. While on a trip to the province it's so hard to miss as its beautiful domes are clearly visible on the main road right off San Fernando exit. Finding the right road that leads to the location can be tricky though.
And because it survived the tragedy of the Mount Pinatubo eruption in the 1990s, this half-buried church is even more interesting and more worth visiting. Try the shop within the complex too. They sell religious and non-religious figurines made from hardened volcanic ash of some sort.
A yearly event held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga has become more and more popular now on its 11th year and has attracted more visitors, locals and foreign alike.
We came here as early as 5 in the morning as the balloons take off at 5:30 in the morning. Visitors were all delighted at the sight of the balloons taking off one by one. The balloons come in different shapes, forms and attractive colors. Visitors were also treated and entertained well with other exciting activities which followed after the balloons take off like paragliding, airplane acrobatic shows, skydiving and kite-flying.
When visiting Pampanga, don't ever miss out the beautiful Mount Pinatubo. Geographically, the mountain is bounded by the provinces of Zambales and Pampanga. As a matter of preference, I placed it here in my Province of Pampanga page.
To get to Mount Pinatubo, all you need is a 4x4 jeep service provider. 4x4s are great for this kind of landscape - sand, rocks, hills and rivers. Prepare for all sorts of bumps though. Normal package includes transportation only (P800pp), from Angeles City to-and-fro the foot of Mount Pinatubo. A 2-hour hike separates the visitor from this point to the crater-lake.
The tourism office at Capas, Tarlac (a must stopover; for registration, that is..) will provide an Aeta guide for P700 flat rate.
The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival is held every year on the second weekend of February at the Clark Field Special Economic Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga. A 3 to 4-day event, you can watch the balloons being filled up with air and even walk inside one while it is on the ground (if the balloon crew will let you, that is...) The next Festival is scheduled for Feb 9 to 11, 2007. It is best to book a room overnight inside Clark so you could go to the airshow grounds early and catch the balloons being inflated, and then catch those huge gas burners blast propane flame into the inflated balloons to heat the air inside them and make them fly!
Located just by the Mexico Exit of NLEX, Lakeshore Residential Estates boast of a 5-hectare man-made lake which is wide enough for dinghy sailing and of course Radio-Controlled Sailing. The Country Club by the lake is open to the public and has dinghies, row boats and RC Sailboats for rent. On weekends, RC hobbyists are seen sailing - the colorful sails give give a contrast to the natural beauty of the setting.
Check also the 4-wheeled pedal-powered bikes that are for rent to go around the lake.
Mt Pinatubo has erupted in 1991 after sleeping for more than 600 years blowing its top and forming a big caldera creater which in due time was filled with water and a lake was born. (Ironically worth mentioning, Pinatubo is also credited for driving away technically the Americans from Clark and Subic.) Ever since, Mt. Pinatubo has become a favorite destination for hikers/mountaineers for a different experience.
The crater lake could be reached from the take-off point from Sta Juliana, Tarlac in a 6-hour trek via a dry river of lahar formed by the flowing water from the lake. The as-far-as-the-eye-can-see lahar landscape feels like you are in another world. Weekends are the usual throngs of hikers spending overnight at the campsite just by the crater. Guided day tours are offered by some operators which bring you midway the trail on a 4x4 vehicle ride plus the remaining less than 3 hr. hike.
A 4-day event in the month of February every year, the Hot Air Balloon Festival held at Camp Clark in Angeles City has attracted a lot of following through the years - on its 10th year this 2006. Clark is just an hour drive away from Manila making the event an attraction to mostly Metro Manila urbanites and foreign tourists. Participants come from as far as Finland, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and nearby Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and from the host - Philippines.
The main event is the everyday just-before-dawn Hot Air Balloon flights. For a fee, visitors could be treated for a few minutes 20-meter high ride on balloons. Other exciting activities during the festival are airplane acrobatic shows, rc planes flying, kite-flying and skydiving.
Food to try:
1. Pampanga Longganisa - 2 kinds: 1 is soury in taste and the best come from Arayat and the other kind "hamonado" in taste like the skinless type
2. Boboto - like the Mexican Tamales (a town near Sta. Ana is called Mexico)
3. Bringe (sounds like bring he) - green rice, this is actually glutunous thick rice with bits of chicken and other meat cooked in coconut milk.
4. Buro - fermented fish or shrimp with rice, soury in taste (eaten similarly like bagoong), best eaten with fried hito (mudfish)
5. Camaro (this is not a car but a food delicacy) - it's an insect similar to cricket, but this is clean and delicious due taken from the rice fields and cooked as adobo, a little crunchy but unique in taste. Not available all year round.
6. Gatas Damulag (Carabao's Milk) - by tradition, mixed with steamed or fried rice with salt added for taste, rice must be very wet with milk to be very tasteful.
7. Hot chocolate drink - made with ground cacao (cocoa) roasted with peanuts with milk and sugar. Best way to enjoy it, must be served hot and bubbly (use of the "batirol" or wooden beater). It's the bubbles that count.
8. Tibuk-tibok (heartbeat) - this is an almost white "kakanin" made of ground thick rice mixed with carabao's milk. It's so tender that a slight movement on this delicacy makes it appear like tiny heartbeats thus the name. The best is found at Susie's Cuisine in Nepo in Angeles City and also in San Fernando.
.... more to be added
If you are in the Philippines during the Christmas season, don't miss the Lantern Festival which showcases the craftmanship of the Pampangueneos.
Christmas lights --- dancing to the rhythm of music, adorned these gigantic lanterns.
Pampanga holds the record for having "The World's Largest Lantern"...
Paskuhan Village, San Fernando Pampanga, 2000, Philippines