Pampanga: More than Just the Food Capital of the Philippines
Oct 29, 2015
Pampanga is one of the closest cities in my heart because of the scrumptious food and adventure. Upon arriving Clark International Airport, you wouldn't smell the scent where you came from when they open the doors of the airplane. Instead, you would smell a fresh garden scent because of the trees and wide fields in Clark.
Sometimes, Pampanga has gloomy skies because of the weather. However, you wouldn't see Kapampangans gloomy at all. I have to say that one of the happiest people are the Kapampangans because you would just see them having a smile on their faces.
I think one if the reasons why they're happy because of the color coded jeeps they have for transportation. Those jeeps have specific routes to follow to reduce traffic. Like the white jeeps are going to Hensonville, grey ones are on their way to check point Balibago, yellow jeeps go to Villa Angela and more. If you're wondering if they have taxis, they do but they're contacted ones which makes it really expensive.
Places there are easy to get to and easy to remember because Pampanga has only one main road connecting the different towns, and that main road is Mac-Arthur Highway. Thus, making Pampanga easy to memorize and you wont get lost for sure.
One of the reasons why people from all over the world come back to Pampanga is because of the food. Kapampangans cook different from your mom or your friend's mom. If you would remember your grandmother's cooking, that's how Kapampangans cook; the traditional old school cooking. Therefore making everyone's tastebuds fall in love and that's why Pampanga is called the food capital of the Philippines.
Pampanga has been famous because of sisig and they celebrate Sisig Festival every year. It's also famous because of the processed meat like tocino, and Philippine delicacies like pastillas.
There are a lot of historic restaurants in Pampanga that makes them really standout. One would be Camalig, one of the best pizzarias and home of the best chicken wings in town. They're located near Nepo Mall, they've been satisfying their customers since 1973, and their recipe still hasn't changed.
Another one would be the Aling Lucing's Sisig located at the Glaciano Valdez Street. They cook the traditional sisig in Pampanga. Sisig is made of grilled pig's ear and meat, chicken liver, onions, garlic, and spices. I have to say that their sisig is the most flavorful than any other sisig served all over Philippines.
There's also a small Vietnamese restaurant named 'Nyaman Na Pho', located near Angeles University Foundation. The restaurant's name is pretty funny for Kapampangans because 'Nyaman Na' is translated to 'It's really good' and the Pho is the rice noodle soup. Also their food is really affordable, it ranges from a hundred pesos to two hundred fifty pesos. So even if you're in the Philippines, you can still taste a bit of Vietnam.
If you're wondering where is the best place to eat breakfast, Perfect Loaf is the place to be. It's near Nepo Mall too and they serve the most scrumptious 'dinuguuan' and 'sotanghon' in Pampanga. What I love about this restaurant is they haven't changed the restaurant's look. I have to say that this is one of the oldest restaurants in town. Also, when you open the door, you would smell the freshly baked pastries they make. When you're there, don't also forget to try the cheese roll and banana bread too.
If comfort food in the afternoon is what you're looking for, you better not miss Tollhaus. This is the best place to order tropical chicken, lasagna, and baked mac. The creaminess of the sauce is something you won't forget. This is located near the biggest university in Pampanga, Holy Angel University.
When you're there, of course you wouldn't just go there to eat, but you would also be there for the history. Museo Ning Angeles is one of the museums in Pampanga. It's a preserved old white house in front of the Sto. Rosario Church where all of your questions of Kapampangan history will be answered. There's also a small museum inside Holy Angel University where you would see artifacts and also the history of the school.
You could also go to Clark Museum to see more history, artifacts, what the military used when they were in Clark, like choppers and guns. But every February, they celebrate the well known Hot Air Balloon Festival. It's one of my favorite festivals there because I can get to sit inside working jets in their displays and have a picnic with my loved ones. You can also get to meet the military and enjoy the air show.
If you're really adventurous, I recommend the Zoocobia, Sandbox, and Decawake. Zoocobia for the kid's adventure and if you're into exotic animals you can pet. Zoocobia offers the nature and animal experience for families and friends. Sandbox in the other hand is for people who likes adrenaline rushing through their veins. This is a unique getaway for everyone who loves outdoor adventure. Everyone in the family has something to do there from playground for toddlers to mini golf for grandparents. Decawake Clark is the newest attraction and water sport destination. So if you're ready to have a challenge, Decawake is the place to be. They also have night wakeboard if you want to avoid the sun but the best scene there is the view.
There are also a lot of resorts in Pampanga, one would be the Fontana Leisure Park. There are a lot of themed pools and slides there, there's a wave pool, giant slide, lazy river, and more. This leisure park is really a secured place because there are a lot of lifeguards. In this place, you can't resist to have a slash.
If you wanted to shop, there are a lot of mall to choose from. There's Marquee Mall, SM Clark, SM San Fernando, SM Pampanga, Robinson's, and more. Fashion in each store is really up to date which really makes you want to buy whats on the mannequin.
To those all nighters, Pampanga is also well known for the Walking Street at Balibago. One whole street is full of clubs and bars with different themes like Korean, high classed, country, and more. Restaurants are also available there. So if you caught up your favorite restaurant in Pampanga closing, go to the Walking Street. I recommend the shawarma place near the entrance because the meat they use is really flavorful.
Pampanga is really the place to be if you're up for an adventure, wonder of taste, and culture. I really recommend this to everyone because Pampanga will not disappoint you because it has a place for everybody which would really touch your heart.
Patricia Allen Eleonore Dobles