Wondering where to go with your family or friends for a quick weekend escapade? Why not go to the Philippines’ culinary capital, which is none other than Pampanga? Just about an hour drive from Manila through North Luzon Expressway, Pampanga is known for its diverse range of mouth-watering Kampampangan dishes that have won not just the palates of Pinoys all over, but foreigners as well. Some of the notable ones include the ever popular Sisig, Bringhe, Bopis, Kalderetang Kambing, Menudo, Bulanglang, and Lumpiang Ubod.
Beyond being a culinary haven, Pampanga also makes for an excellent hub for adventures and activities. So if you are sold with the idea of going here for the weekend, here is a Pampanga tourist spot list that you can tick off.
Go on a Cultural Tour at Nayong Pilipino
First in our Pampanga tourist spot list is Nayong Pilipino in Clark Freeport Zone. This cultural theme park sits at a 3.5-hectare estate and features the replicas of some of the country’s famous landmarks, including Barasoain Church, Chocolate Hills, Magellan’s Cross, and the residences of heroes’ Dr. Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini, and Emilio Aguinaldo. You can also explore the authentic houses common in Bicol, Batanes, Mountain Province and Mindanao, and learn about the culture and daily life of indigenous groups like Ifugao, Aeta, and Kalinga people.
Aside from showcasing many of the country’s well-known sightseeing spots, other features you can enjoy at Nayong Pilipino are the performances of different traditional Filipino dances; “changing exhibits” that range from paintings to sculptures; water activities; Filipino-made products; and themed festival events.
Address: Centennial Road, Clark Field, Mabalacat, Pampanga
Learn About Pampanga’s Rich History at the Center for Kapampangan Studies in HAU
It is always nice to know about local culture and history when you travel because it gives you a glimpse of what a place and its people are all about. So when in Pampanga, be sure to drop by at the Center for Kapampangan Studies, which is located inside the Holy Angel University in Angeles City.
The primary advocacy of the center is to study, preserve, and promote the culture and history of Kapampangans. This is why it combines a museum, library, theater, archives, publishing house and research center in one place. While in here, check out the extensive collection of books, memorabilia, and journals about Pampanga and its people. It is also a good idea to visit the Pinatubo Museum, which is the newest addition to the center, where you can see a mural timeline of Mount Pinatubo’s history and exhibits of Kapampangan artists Arnel Garcia and Joel Mallari.
Address: Holy Angel Street, Angeles City, Pampanga
Discover the Wealth and Diversity of Filipino Culture at Pamintuan Mansion
Many of the museums throughout the Philippines feature the work of national heroes and political events that shape the country. If you want something that focuses more on the social history of Filipinos both in the past and present, Pamintuan Mansion is the Pampanga tourist spot you should visit.
The 125-year-old mansion in Angeles City was inaugurated as the Museum of Philippine Social History in August 2015. It used to be the seat of government of the First Philippine Republic from May to July 1899 under the leadership of General Emilio Aguinaldo. It also became the headquarters of General MacArthur in November 1899 and the base of Japanese kamikaze pilots during Second World War.
The iconic mansion-turned-museum features nine galleries, each of which depicts different aspects of the Filipino way of life. As such, you can find various information and memorabilia about the construction and history of the mansion itself; different textiles, accessories, and weaving tools of the Philippines; various clothing styles from past to present; architectural styles used across the archipelago; 19th century bedroom furniture; Filipino musical compositions; traditional Filipino games; Philippine mythological creatures; and traditional kitchen utensils, daily market scenes, and contemporary food.
Address: Santo Entierro and Miranda Street, Barangay Santo Rosario, Angeles City, Pampanga
Try Thrilling Activities at SandBox
Sandbox in Porac, Pampanga is a sprawling destination for those who love adrenaline-pumping rides and attractions. So if you want to let all your stress out, this is the Pampanga tourist spot you should not miss.
If you want an experience that will take you high literally, ride the tallest giant swing in the Philippines with two of your friends or family and be prepared to be rocked back and forth 10 meters above the ground. You can also do the Aerial Walk Challenge, which is a course of high ropes and nets that will put your stamina, flexibility, and agility to test. Or, if you want try something more daring, Avatar One, which is the first roller coaster zipline in the Philippines, is the ride for you. This 180-meter zipline course takes you 12 meters high and it doesn’t run on a straight line but a series of zigzags that is sure to leave you feeling breathless.
Other exhilarating rides and attractions to be enjoyed here include the ATV or UTV ride; the 15-meter Adventure Tower; Splash Tub; City Kart Racing; and Outdoor Archery.
Address: Alviera Subdivision, Sapang UWAK Rd, Porac, Pampanga
Bask and Dine in Puning Hot Spring & Restaurant
More than two decades ago, Mount Pinatubo erupted, ravaging the towns in Pampanga and the livelihoods of Kampapangans. Recovery was not easy, but over the years the province, along with its people, proves its resilience, resourcefulness, and ingenuity. These are apparent from the development of new communities, businesses, and attractions that cropped up in the area and found ingenious ways to bring Pampanga to its former glory and vibrancy.
Puning Hot Spring and Resort is one of those businesses that has found a way to breathe new life to Puning, which was one of the areas badly affected by the 1991 eruption. Because the area is considered home by the Aetas, this resort provides a source of livelihood for these indigenous people.
The recreational facility has 11 hot spring pools where you can dip in for some good old-fashioned relaxation. It also has a sand spa where you will lay on a heated bed of fine volcanic ash and be covered in sand. Accordingly, this can help improve blood circulation on top of making you feel relaxed. While in this Pampanga tourist spot, you should also try out their 4×4 off-road ride, which will take you through beautiful river gorges and lahar landscapes.
Address: Sitio Target, Barangay Sapang Bato, Angeles City, Pampanga
As you can see, Pampanga is not just about delicious food. It is also an enclave for destinations that have historical and cultural importance as well as attractions and activities that are sure to give you an exciting and enjoyable time with your family and friends. We have barely scratched the surface with the Pampanga tourist spot list provided above. There is more to this gem of a province in the northwest of Manila that is just waiting to be explored. Mekeni king Pampanga!