If you are on a holiday, Pampanga has a number of destinations that will surely enchant history and culture buffs. All these locations can easily be reached by vehicle from Abé’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga.
Angeles City has a number of historical spots that bring you a greater appreciation of Philipine history.
The Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies houses a research center, museum and gallery, and theater that offer public access to materials on Kapampangan culture and history. The old Pamintuan Residence was venue for the first and only celebration of the first anniversary of Philippine independence. It also served as seat of the short-lived Philippine republic. For an overview of the rich cultural history of Angeles City, Museo ning Angeles regularly features exhibits on the town’s history, culture and tradition and its people.
The Holy Rosary Parish Church is more than a hundred years old, having been built by landed families, small farmers and tenants from 1877 to 1896. It served as a military hospital by the US Army during the Filipino-American War.
Along busy Rosario Street stand a number of historical homes. The Founder’s House is the oldest structure and the best preserved ancestral house in the city, having been built by Don Angel in 1811 using salvaged materials from his older house. The Deposito was built in the 1800s to serve as a depository of costly silver gilt floats used in the town’s religious processions. The Bale Herrera was built in 1860 by a family of carpenters from Vigan, Ilocos Sur. The Camalig is a restored granary that lie between two of the oldest houses in Angeles. It was built in 1840 by Don Ciriaco de Miranda, the first gobernadorcillo of Angeles. Don Ciriaco’s ancestral home, the Nepomuceno Ancestral House, was built in 1840. The house was inherited by Don Ciriaco’s niece, Doña Agustina Henson de Nepomuceno.
Angeles City is known for its woodworking and furniture making, two of the oldest professions in the city. The local population have been practicing these craft for over a hundred years, especially when they catered to the needs of American servicemen stationed at Clark Air Base. A furniture village in Barangay Cauayan in Clark Field showcases export-quality rattan and wrought iron furniture. Other towns in Pampanga known for woodworking are Lubao and Guagua. Betis woodworkers are known for its guitars, as well as the wooden chandeliers hanging in Malacañang Palace.
Those who want to experience the Aeta way of life should visit the Marcos Village in Mabalacat, Pampanga. Visitors will be able to observe Aeta tribal rituals and customs.
The Hilaga Cultural Village in San Fernando, Pampanga is a one-stop village that offers a capsule look into the cultural and historical heritage of the Northern Philippines. Originally created as the Paskuhan Village, a showcase of Christmas-themed arts and craft, it now showcases local crafts from four regions in the Northern Philippines.
For those who are nature-inclined, there are two major natural landmarks in Pampanga. Mt. Arayat in Arayat town is a dormant volcano that rises up to 1,026 meters. It is believed to be the home of Mariang Sinukuan, a fairy who protects the mountain’s vegetation and wildlife. The Candaba Swamps in Candaba town, a haven for bird watchers, is a sanctuary where thousands of birds from China fly to during the winter months. Best time to visit is from October to January.
Those with an interest in churches and colonial architecture have a lot to see in Pampanga. Sta. Catalina Church in Arayat town, built in honor of St. Catherine of Alexandria, is known for its classical architecture. Apu Chapel in Angeles City is the shrine of Our Lord of the Holy Sepulchre (Apung Mamacalulu). Devotees from all over Pampanga flock to the shrine on Fridays to venerate the supposedly miraculous image of Jesus Christ at rest in the sepulchre. The Holy Rosary Cathedral in Angeles City was built during the late 19th century by forced labor. It was used by the Americans as a military hospital during the Filipino-American War. St. Catherine Parish Church in Arayat town is one of the oldest churches in the province known for its classical architecture. St. Andrew Parish Church in Candaba town is known for simplicity in its design. The San Bartolome Church in Magalang town was first made in the early 17th century and has moved locations two times owing to an uprising and natural calamity. The Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando is known for its architecture, as well as being the site where President Emilio Aguinaldo and his Cabinet viewed the Philippine Revolutionary Army. Sta. Lucia Parish Church in Sasmuan town honors Sta. Lucia, who is believed to be a miraculous saint.
There are a number of destinations in the province that might interest day tourists.
The Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) was home to the American Clark Air Base, the biggest American air facility outside the United States before 1991. With the expiration of the Philippine-US Military Bases Agreement in 1991, the facility was turned over to the Philippine government and declared a special economic zone. It now hold a world-class civil aviation complex, modern industrial estates, and tourism and trade center. Expo Pilipino, located within the CSEZ, was the centerpiece of the commemoration of the Philippine Independence Centennial in 1998.
The Pampanga Agricultural College in Magalang town has model farms, a conference pavilion, and a swimming pool open to the public. Nature lovers may use the college as the start of a trek up Mt. Arayat.
San Fernando City has a number of religious festivals during the year. The Cutud Lenten Rites held on Good Friday includes a re-enactment of Christ’s passion and death culminating in the actual crucifixion of some devotees. On the other hand, the Sinukwan Festival during the first week of December is a weeklong celebration of Pampanga’s Foundation Day. On Dec. 3, the city is busy with the annual Giant Lantern Festival, when Christmas lanterns are paraded and operated for the public’s amusement.
Angeles City also has a number of festivals during the year. The Fiestang Kuliat held every October is a combined celebration of the La Naval Fiesta and Apo fiestas and Tigtigan at Terakan keng Dalan. Every February, a Hot Air Balloon Festival is held at Clarkfield.
For those seeking adventure trips in Pampanga, there are a number of choices. The Angeles City Flying Club offers a flying tour of the province via Ultralight aircrafts. The Angeles City 4-Wheelers Club has guided treks through Mt. Piantubo’s lahar landscape. See the Lahar Canyons, Gate of Heaven and other sites around Mt. Pinatubo. If you are physically inclined, then the Annual Pinatubo Trek held on Nov. 30 is the event for you. Hundreds of participants trek to the volcano crater to commemorate its eruption in 1991. For those who want something less strenuous, Omni Aviation has a Mt. Pinatubo Sky Tour that gives tourists a bird’s-eye view of the extent of the volcano’s effect throughout Central Luzon.