I was born and raised in Manila. In 2013, I met the love of my life, he’s an American. After a few months dating, we decided to live together and started a life in Pampanga since it’s one of a foreigner-friendly place. At first, I felt a feeling of homesickness but after a few months, I started to love my new place and consider it as my home away from home.
Pampanga is a fast developing province in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines. It is just a 1 1/2 hour drive by bus from Manila, if your own car it will just take you less than an hour to drive. Pampanga has what it takes to be a fun province to call one’s home. It offers a wide selection of tourist attractions and activities as well. Here are the most famous.
1. Aqua Planet
Aqua Planet sits on a 10-hectare property inside Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines. It is the Philippines’ newest and most modern water theme park with over 25 attractions suitable for guests of all ages.
Poracay Resort is a hidden paradise located in Porac, Pampanga. Set amidst the lahar-devastated town of Porac, Pampanga, Poracay Resort is fast becoming a popular destination. Be it a family gathering, an outing among friends or even a teambuilding activity, Poracay offers you the flexibility to cater to any occasion.
3. Zoocobia Fun Zoo
Zoocobia Fun Zoo offers a fun-filled activity for the family and educational attractions. It is an adventure zoo theme park that gives a variety of exciting and heart-stopping rides
4. Dinosaurs Island
It is the Philippines’ first- ever animatronics dinosaur theme park. The Dinosaurs Island is uniquely located on a forest trail in Clark Pampanga so as to strengthen and bring to life the dinosaur era
5. Hot Air Balloon Festival
It is the country’s biggest aviation gathering to witness a variety of colorful, and sometimes wacky, hot air balloons as they course through the sky.
6. The Sandbox
The SandBox is an outdoor adventure facility situated in Ayala Land’s massive Alvierra estate in Porac, Pampanga. Its most unique attraction is Avatar One, Philippine’s first roller coaster zip line that zigzags through a course 180 meters long and 12 meters high.
7. El Kabayo
It is a replica of an old Western town directly out of an American cowboy movie. Complete with mockup recreations of old Western establishments such as a saloon and a telegraph office, one would feel as if he has been transported to another country and era. Activities available are horseback riding, riding lessons, adventure and scenic trail rides, carriage tours, photo opportunities and shopping.
8. Giant Lantern Festival
This is an annual lantern festival held every December in San Fernando City to celebrate Christmas. Giant lanterns as high as 16 feet are displayed, bearing intricate designs infused with lighting technology. This fun festival (and the year-round availability of Christmas decoration) earned San Fernando the moniker “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.”
After a long and tiring day of sightseeing and a fun-filled activities, it’s nice to chow on Kapampangan’s authentic signature dishes that make them known as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. Here are some of their most famous dishes you shouldn’t miss.
A popular bar chow and main dish, sisig is made with chopped pig’s face and snout and pig’s ears, plus chicken liver. Invented by the late Lucia Cunanan who hails from Pampanga, the original Aling Lucing’s sisig is first boiled, grilled and fried before it’s served on a sizzling plate.
Buro or balo-balo is basically fermented rice (mixed with shrimp or fish) which is a popular condiment in Pampanga. Some find eating buro extreme because of its pungent smell and appearance. Once you overcome the thought of eating fermented rice, you might find eating buro delectable especially with deeply fried hito (catfish), mustasa (mustard greens), and boiled vegetables (okra, eggplant, etc.) on the side.
3. Betute and Camaru
Categorized as exotic or bizarre, the betute (stuffed frog) and camaru (crickets) are a favorite to locals. Kapampangan’s eat their frog whole, stuffed with ground pork meat, and then deep fried. And while others cringe when thinking of eating insects, Kapampangan’s just love their crickets cooked adobo style called camaru.
Murcon is a savory meat dish which is much like an embutido or meatloaf. Pampanga’s version of this meat roll is stuffed with sausage or chorizo, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, and queso de bola – making the flavor much richer and perfect for a cup of steamed rice.
5. San Nicolas Cookies
San Nicolas Cookies or Panecillos de San Nicolas is a simple pastry made from very few ingredients. What makes these cookies special are the intricate and embroidered-like design that was shaped in hand-carved molds. The taste of the Panecillos de San Nicolas is very milky, deliciously crunchy, and not too sweet. The cookies are best paired with a hot cup of Chocolate de Batirol or coffee.
6.Turrones de Casuy
Turrones de Casuy is a favorite and an age-old delicacy in Pampanga. It like a nougat-like treat made of chopped cashew nuts cooked peanut brittle style that is shaped in long sticks wrapped in an edible paper-thin wafer.
Truly, Pampanga is a haven for people who love adventures. If you’re worried about where to stay, the province has a lot of hotels from cheap to luxurious. Most hotels are located in Angeles since there’s a lot of foreigners residing or just visiting.