We recently went to Pampanga via Philtanco Bus for a one day foodie adventure. Aside from being dubbed as the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines”, there are also many places worth to visit in Pampanga. Traveling to this province is made possible by the new Manila to Pampanga route of Philtranco. You may want to check out below some of our itinerary which might help you in planning. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and schedule that trip.Yahoo!!!
ST. JAMES THE APOSTLE, BETIS CHURCH
Betis, Guagua, Pampanga
For our first stop we went directly to St. James the Apostle Parish Church or also known as the Betis Church. I am fascinated with its interior more particularly the hand painted ceiling by the famous, Anac Baculud, a relative of Juan Crisostomo Soto, by the name of Isidoro C. Soto, who was mentored by Dr. Sijuco.
Betis Church is dubbed as the “Sistine Chapel of the Philippines”. The retablo or the classic altar will amaze your eyes from its intricate antique design. It is one of the 26 elite churches in the country that has been declared as National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum and the NCCA.
JB BETIS WOODCRAFT
Dalan Betis, Guagua, Pampanga
Who wouldn’t want to have these elegant masterpieces in their home. You will feel truly proud how talented the Filipinos are when it comes to hand-carved furnitures. Betis Crafts showrooms will make you feel like a queen. Take note there are sections in their showroom that’s good for your eyes only (no cameras allowed!). So if you think these pieces are already beautiful wait until you see more of their creations.
JB Betis Woodcraft are exporting their wood products all around the world. Most of their clients are luxury houses and hotels and even some international celebrities.
SAN GUILLERMO CHURCH
Cabambangan, Bacolor, Pampanga
The second church that we visited in Pampanga is also known as the half-buried church. San Guillermo Church is originally standing at twelve meters high due to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 the church facade was reduced into half of its original height. Its original door was buried in lahar. San Guillermo Parish Church is named after San Guillermo, the patron saint of Bacolor, Pampanga. Unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to see interior of the church, it is closed during our visit due to some renovation.
ALING LARING TAMALES
Our trip to Pampanga is incomplete without trying out their best-known delicacy, the Tamales. We stopped in the garage of Laring’s Special Kakanin, she started out selling her original tamales in 1972 and she is also known as “The Tamales Queen”. If it’s your first time to eat this delicacy, you may find it a little bit weird tasting but after some time you will find it enjoyable to eat. Tamales is made from rice flour topped with ham, hard-boiled eggs and chicken wrapped in banana leaves.
According to the Kapampangan history, it was inspired by the Filipino women who gathered themselves during elections and cooked Tamales while their men went out to vote. We watched how the Tamales was made, it is available everywhere in Pampanga but wouldn’t it be nice to try it from the Tamales Queen itself. I actually bought some pieces as pasalubong.
25 SEEDS RESTAURANT
2nd floor, Dycaico Ancestral House, Brgy. Sto. Rosario, Angeles City, Pampanga
Next stop is the 25 Seeds Restaurant for our lunch. This was a former mansion built in the 1920’s before it was renovated and turned into Chef Sau Del Rosario’s restaurant. The dining area is the former main sala of the house. It feels really homey while waiting for our food to be served.
25 Seeds represents the 25th year of Chef Sau in the food business. They have a small backyard farm where they get some of their ingredients. We were served with some Kapampangan cuisines with a modern twist. Honestly, it was a “busog-lusog” lunch. Take a peek below on what we ate at 25 Seeds.
If you’re brave enough and up for some exotic food try their Crispy Camaru or Crickets.
251 Miranda St., Angeles City, Pampanga
Don’t leave Pampanga without stopping by at Susie’s Cuisine for some pasalubong. It was established in 1972, they started out as a small canteen and eventually became the go-to pasalubong shop in the province.
Almost every kind of pasalubong is available here from kakanin, biscuits, pastillas, chicharon and many more. I’m sure you will never ran out of items that you can bring home to your family and friends. You can also sit down in their canteen-style shop if you want to have some merienda or even rice meal.
PAMINTUAN MANSION/THE MUSEUM OF PHILIPPINE SOCIAL HISTORY
251 Miranda St., Angeles City Pampanga
This house was built during the 1880’s as a wedding present for the son of Don Mariano Pamintuan and Valentina Torres.The Pamintuan Mansion has nine galleries that represents the different aspects of Filipino life. From the history of the said mansion, early clothing, textile and weaving tools.
Trivia: Did you know that in this same house, Emilio Aguinaldo led the celebration of the first anniversary of Philippine Independence and waved our flag from the second-floor balcony?
Touring around the house is like an actual time-travel back to the past.
You can also find inside the mansion the traditional Filipino houses, from the different architectural designs and furniture. Some traditional Filipino games, songs and even Philippine mythical figures were also featured inside the house.
By the way, don’t forget to climb the spiral staircases, it will lead you to the rooftop which you can see a nice view of the whole town.
CENTER FOR KAPAMPANGAN STUDIES
Holy Angels University, Angeles City, Pampanga
If you want to know more about the rich culture and history of Pampanga, include the Center for Kapampangan Studies in your itinerary. You can find this gallery inside the biggest university in the city, the Holy Angels University.
The 21 statues of patron saints in the Retablo represents the town of Pampanga. In the center is the Patroness of Pampanga, Virgen de los Remedios. On the wall is a brief history (Kapampangan Timeline) from the Stone Age to the 21st century. Feasts your eyes in their huge collection of photographs and artifacts which represents the rich culture of Pampanga.
ALING LUCING’S SISIG
Glaciano Valdez St., Angeles, Pampanga
It was too early for dinner, I thought I am still full but when I realized that our next stop is the Aling Lucing Sisig. I can’t contain my excitement. I’ve heard stories and good reviews about this famous Sisig house in Pampanga. Even Anthony Bourdain himself traveled all the way to Pampanga just to sample this Kapampangan specialty and even planning to include it in their restaurant in New York.
Aling Lucing Sisig is located along the road, everything is simple from their dining area, utensils and even the menu. Imagine it has been in the business since 1974.
Their sisig has no egg and mayonnaise unlike what we usually have in Manila. Just pure pig cheeks with liver and onion but there’s something about it that you can’t stop yourself from eating it over and over again. I was even tempted to order another one for take out.
Poblacion, Barrio Paralaya, Arayat, Pampanga
We’re almost ready to go back to Manila but we didn’t miss out the opportunity to also try the Pride of Arayat. The Kabigting’s Halo Halo is not your usual colorful cold treat. It has only three main ingredients, the sweetened kidney beans, carabao’s milk pastillas and corn. We had it for take out and consumed it inside the bus, I felt really cold that time but it was so good that the cold never bothered me anyway haha! Seriously, their halo-halo is a must-try!
Thanks again Philtranco for the wonderful Pampanga experience!
Today, Philtranco has a growing fleet of 250 buses that range from deluxe, premium deluxe to executive seater bus transport services. It has forged partnerships with Jam Liner and FastCat, to provide not only an alternative to air travel but also offer a more diverse passenger experience.
For bookings, reservations or inquiries visit www.philtranco.net