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Pampanga Travel Guide

Itinerary, Things to do, How to get there and more

The first Spanish province in the country founded in 1571, Pampanga is known as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. A part of Region 3, its capital is San Fernando City. Situated in Central Luzon, the name ‘Pampanga’ originated from the term “pampang” which means riverbank where natives live during that era. Noted for some of the most famous culinary creations like tocino and longganisa, Kapampangans, the province’s locals are celebrated craftsmen as well. The province is known for ‘parols’ or Christmas lanterns and its people are excellent wood carvers and furniture makers. Fishing and farming are the other two main industries aside from handicraft. Pampanga is also a home to two Philippine Airport Bases – the Clark Air Base in Angeles City and the Basa Air Base in Floridablanca. It is also making a name as a tourist destination with heritage churches and shrines, a number of historical landmarks, world class theme parks as well as natural parks.

Where to go in Pampanga

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Air Force City Park

Clark Freeport Mabalacat City, Pampanga, Central Luzon, 2010, Philippines

Aqua Planet

Clark Freeport Mabalacat, Pampanga, Central Luzon, 2009, Philippines

Bale Herencia

Lakandula St. Angeles City, Pampanga, Central Luzon, 2009, Philippines

Bale Matua

770 Sto. Rosario St Angeles City, Pampanga, Central Luzon, 2009, Philippines

Bayanihan Park

M.A Roxas Highway Balibago Angeles City, Pampanga, Central Luzon, 2009, Philippines

Center for Kapampangan Studies

Holy Angel St Angeles City, Pampanga, Central Luzon, 2009, Philippines

Clark Air Base Hospital

Lily Hill Street, Clark Field, Angeles City Clark Freeport Mabalacat, Pampanga, Central Luzon, 2009, Philippines

Clark Museum

Mabalacat City, Pampanga, Central Luzon, 2010, Philippines

Clark Veterans Cemetery

Clark Freeport Zone Manuel A. Roxas Highway Mabalacat, Pampanga, Central Luzon, 2010, Philippines

How to Get Here

By air
There are 2 runways in the province, namely, the Basa Air Base which is for military use and the Clark International Airport (CRK) inside the Clark Freeport Zone. Also known as the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport or DMIA, the airport serves local and international flights to and from Pampanga.

List of airline companies flying to DMIA or Clark International Airport are:
· Philippine Airlines
· AirAsia Zest
· AirSwift
· Airtrav
· Asiana Airlines
· Cathay Dragon
· Cebu Pacific
· Jetstar
· Emirates
· China Eastern
· Korean Air
· Qatar

Depending on the destination and the airline company, an airfare ticket from DMIA-CRK starts at Php 2,100.00.
By land
Road transportation is available via a number of bus companies serving the province of Pampanga. Expressways (North Luzon Expressway and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway), national highways, national and provincial roads provide entry to this booming province.

Several bus companies are making their way to Pampanga and fare usually starts at Php 102.00 and can go higher depending on one’s destination:
· Victory Liner
· Genesis
· Five Star
· Saulog
· Bataan Transit

Popular Food

Bringhe is to Pampanga as paella is to Spain. It uses glutinous rice and made tastier by putting in native chicken, coconut milk and luyang dilaw or turmeric. Boiled eggs and green and red bell peppers are added as garnish to this delicious native dish.

(c) @thefatgourmand / instagram.com

An exotic food, ‘betute’ or ‘tugak’ are rice field frogs stuffed with ground beef and deep fried.

(c) @im_ariesjoie06 / instagram.com

Similar to sinigang, but bulanglang Kapampangan uses native guava that gives that appetizing sweet and sour taste to the broth. The dish can be cooked with prawns, bangus belly or pork and best partnered with shrimp paste or fish sauce.

(c) @edithbr_21 / instagram.com

Also known as Panecillos de San Nicolas, San Nicolas cookies are simple pastry, but very tasty with milky taste, crunchy and with the right amount of sweetness. What make San Nicolas cookies special are the elaborate design on the cookies that was shaped in hand-carved wooden molds. Best paired with hot chocolate or coffee for a snack.

(c) @meowbykate / instagram.com

Best Time to Go

Best time to visit
Just like the rest of the country, Pampanga enjoys wet and dry seasons. The wet season starts in May up to October and the rest of the year is dry season. If you happen to be a bird watching enthusiast, October to April are the months to go to Candaba and see different exotic birds as the place is known to be the staging and wintering area for thousands of migratory birds.

There are various festivals in the province to check out like the Giant Lantern Festival that happens in December, the San Pedro Cutud Festival during Holy Week and the crowd drawer Hot Air Balloon Festival in February. Best time to explore the nook and cranny of the province during the cool months of December, January and February.

What to Do

Visit old churches and historical landmarks
Pampanga has a lot of old churches worthy to spend some moment to reflect and admire its aged architecture. One of which is the Betis Church or the St. James the Apostle Parish Church, Pampanga’s oldest church built around 1660 found in Betis, Guagua. It is a Baroque-inspired church declared as a National Cultural Treasure. There are other must-see churches in the province.
Explore the different parks and sports activities
Pampanga has a number of welcoming parks and open spaces for diverse activities. From photography session to international sports events, the province will surely pump up your adrenaline in no time at all. For instance, the Clark International Speedway is home to national and international motorcycle races.
Eat, eat and eat
What better way to learn the history of the Culinary Capital of the Philippines? Eat and partake on Kapampangan’s delectable dishes. From sisig to betute to local buro or fermented rice and fish mixture, Pampanga is one incredible food destination for all.
Discover the province’s natural attractions
See and surprise yourself with the province’s gems like the world’s largest lahar canyon and the five lovely waterfalls for an exciting water and nature adventures.

Estimated Costs

Tricycle fare
Ride starts at Php 30.00 depending on your drop off location.
Jeepney fare
Php 8.00 minimum, and can go as high as Php 15.00 to Php 35.00 per person.
Average price per day
Php 800.00 – Php 1,100.00
Transportation
Depending on how you will reach Pampanga, the province is easily accessible either by air or land. Bus terminals are located in Pasay, Cubao, Rizal Avenue in Sta. Cruz and Caloocan and the buses usually depart on an hourly basis. The buses from Manila going to Pangasinan, Ilocos and Baguio pass through Pampanga.

For private vehicles, it is roughly an hour ride via NLEX from Balintawak going to San Fernando Exit.
Accommodation
Pampanga has a wide selection of hotels, from the charming B&Bs and inns to apartelle to hotel resorts, there will always be a place that will suit your budget. Price starts at Php 480.00 to Php 1,800.00 a night.
Food
Dining in Pampanga starts at Php 100.00 to Php 450.00 per meal.
Tourist attraction entrance fee
Php 150.00 – Php 500.00

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