A two-hour ride north away from Manila and you’ll find yourself in the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. While the province boasts a number of cuisines and delicacies that have become national sensations, it has much more to offer other than food. Here, we’ve put together a list of 19 places to check out that will prove that Pampanga is not just rich in food but as well as in culture.
Treat yourself to a relaxing spa day at Puning Hot Springs
If there’s anything you shouldn’t miss out on in Pampanga, it’s visiting Puning Hot Springs, a hidden gem that’s sure to complete your trip. After a 4x4 off-road ride to the resort, experience their outdoor sauna and have your body buried in real volcanic ashes. You can also opt to take a dip into 13 different hot springs ranging from 40 to 70 degrees filled with the waters from Sacobia River.
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Hike Pampanga’s most difficult trail
Trek to the summit of Mt. Arayat, an inactive basaltic volcano and enjoy a panoramic view of the province of Pampanga. At 1,026 meters high, it is considered to be one of the most difficult trails in Luzon and the only elevated land in the area.
Dine at The Souq
The Souq is considered as one of the best homegrown restaurants in Pampanga— and with good reason. Aside from serving various local dishes at affordable prices, the restaurant also doubles as a furniture shop. Anyone who appreciates good interiors and food will come to love this fine dining restaurant in San Fernando.
Make a splash at Aqua Planet
Beaches are fun and all but sometimes jumping into a big water slide and creating a huge splash in the pool are just about everything you need to enjoy a day under the sun. Aqua Planet is one of the newest water parks in the country. It’s a 10-hectare property that offers 38 different water slides and attractions that’s suitable for all ages.
Enjoy exciting outdoor activities at Sandbox
If you’re someone who takes fun and adventure seriously, then Sandbox might just be the perfect spot for you. They have a variety of activities you can choose from, from kart racing to wall climbing and a lot more. Be sure to take on the Aqua Dash challenge on their newest attraction, the Splash Tub. Who knows? You might even break the record for the best finishing time.
Wakeboarding at Pradera Verde
At just P250, you can already learn how to wakeboard at Pradera Verde. This is the place to go if you’re looking to avoid the long lines and crowds at more known wake parks in the outskirts of Manila.
Feel like a kid again at Sky Ranch Pampanga
Let loose and have fun experiencing all 22 rides at Sky Ranch. Must-try: the Pampanga Eye Ferris wheel, said to be the tallest and biggest in the Philippines at 65 meters high.
Sample authentic Kapampangan cuisine at Everybody’s Cafe
Kapampangans are known to be good cooks. It is the Culinary Capital of the Philippines after all. While getting a taste of all the local dishes will require a big empty stomach, willpower, and a whole lot of food hopping, Everybody’s Cafe is a good place to start. Our picks: Pancit Luglug and Morcon.
Take a dip in the waters of Miyamit Falls
Reaching Miyamit Falls involves a long trek so it’s definitely not for those who don’t love an adventure. While it may be a daunting task, the reward lies at the end of the trail where the twin falls stand above a basin of clear, cool water that’s perfect for a quick dip.
Immerse yourself in an animal-filled experience at Zoocobia Fun Zoo
It’s clear why a visit to Zoocobia will show you it’s not like most zoos. More than just a place to view animals, it’s a complete educational and interactive experience where kids and adults alike can learn a thing or two about the local animals including the Philippine Eagle Owl. There, you can also find camels, ostriches, and Bearcats. A plus, the zoo also has activities and attractions sans animals.
Get a taste of everything Filipino at Nayong Pilipino Park
Nayong Pilipino directly translates to Philippine village and as the name suggests, the park consists of replicas of famous attractions as well as traditional items that can be found across the country. The park also highlights the native villages and have mini performances in an effort to spread and preserve the rich Philippine culture.
Experience Ultralight Flying
Some places are best enjoyed with a view from above. Luckily, Angeles City Flying Club welcomes guests to experience ultralight flying. Though it is a bit more on the pricier side, it’s something to check off your travel bucket list.
Feast at the home of the original and first ever sisig
Sisig is one of the most well-loved local cuisines that’s become a staple in every Filipino restaurant and home. But the sizzling sisig we know and love today is all thanks to no other than Aling Lucing. What better way to celebrate the creation of the sizzling sisig other than trying the original?
Unwind at Prado Farms
Simple, cultural, and artsy—those are the three words that sum up Prado Farms. Apart from the Instagram-worthy backdrops that the resort offers, they take pride in their intent to promote natural and sustainable ways of living. Consequently, they welcome guests to join their Hacienda Day Tour where groups can go for a swim, bike ride, or maybe even learn how to make Kesong-Puti or Tsokolateh.
Catch the hot air balloon festival
Every second week of February, a hot air balloon festival is held at the Clark Freeport Zone. With a number of participants from across the world, it’s quickly become the biggest sport event in the country. Apart from admiring the colorful view of the hot air balloons above you, there are multiple flying activities that are in store for visitors. You might even score a ride up in the air.
Visit Pampanga’s very own Jurassic Park
Experience the mesozoic era with close encounters with life-size animatronic dinosaurs and giant reptiles at Dinosaurs Island. Don’t be so quick to dismiss a trip to this park though as it’s actually known to be enjoyed by both kids and adults.
Try your hand at target shooting
Mountain Clark Firing Range has a good selection of weapons to choose from. Other than the traditional target shooting, they have an archery and ‘shuriken area’ where you can train to become a ninja and throw ninja stars.
Historic Camalig Restaurant
Camalig was originally built in 1840 as a farm shed and was eventually turned into a restaurant in 1980. Since then, it’s become the home of the crowd favorite, Armando’s Pizza, one of the pioneering pizzerias in town. Throughout the years, Camalig has successfully preserved the Kapampangan culture not just through its dishes but as well as its interiors which is why it’s also considered as an attraction especially for history lovers.
Take a picturesque architectural heritage tour
Pampanga is not just famed for its cuisine but as well as its rich historical culture that’s evident in most of buildings and houses. Sites to visit: Old San Fernando Train Station, Henson-Hizon House, Guillermo Church, and Arzobizpado de Pampanga.
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