The Province of Pampanga with its 19 municipalities and three cities with Angeles City as one of the country’s most exciting real estate markets, has many tourist attractions in addition to its local cuisine boasted as one of the best in the Philippines. Its first class infrastructure along with healthy business climate contributed to its popularity as a tourist destination.
Pampanga’s growth to progress has not been easy. The removal of the US Clark Air Base and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the early 1990s had hurt the province significantly. It has recovered from these incidents though and has risen to its status now. A huge section of the North Luzon and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressways (NLEX and SCTEX) run through the province, routes that facilitate ease of travel between Pampanga, its neighboring provinces and Metro Manila. In addition, its most urbanized city, Angeles is home to Clark International Airport – Metro Manila’s secondary gateway.
The province offers tourists attractions ranging from water and adventure parks, nature to historical and aeronautical displays. Here are some of the famous tourist attractions to visit while in Pampanga.
1. Puning Hot Springs, Brgy. Sapang Bato, Angeles City
Puning Hot Springs is a wellness facility located in an area considered to be an Aeta ancestral land. The lush vegetation surrounding the park offers an invigorating experience to visitors who can relax by taking a dip in one of their 11 natural hot springs or two heated pools. Visitors can try new spa experience which uses hot sand which is said to be therapeutic, or they can try the mudpack area using mud made from Mount Pinatubo.
2. Fontana Water Park, Clark Freeport Zone
Fontana Water Park is a water-theme park as its name implies. It is a family-oriented park that boasts of 10 water park features, the most popular of which is a wave pool that can produce six kinds of waves as high as three feet. Big Horn which is another big attraction can take riders on a floating tube that twists and turns before splashing into a four-foot-deep pool. The park’s other exciting water rides are the lazy river, three giant aqua thrill slides, water factory, an Olympic-sized pool, a hot spring and lagoon pool, water cottage slide, and a kiddie pool.
3. The SandBox, Porac
Located in Ayala Land’s massive Alviera estate in Porac, this outdoor adventure facility is an extremely exciting and challenging leisure park for those seeking different outdoor adventure. Avatar One, its most unique attraction and the first in the Philippines is a rollercoaster zipline that zigzags through a course of 180 meters long and 12 meters high. Giant Swing, the country’s tallest swing is also a favorite along with the Aerial Walk Challenge, an obstacle course of nets and rope walkways that will test your agility, balance, and flexibility up in the air. Adventure Tower, a 15-meter structure that offers rappelling, wall climbing, and free falling will put your courage to test. There are other attractions such as ATV rides and outdoor archery.
4. Zoocobia Fun Zoo, Mabalacat
This unique zoo and theme park is located in a 50-hectare facility that includes a labyrinth and garden maze where you will see animal topiaries as you find your way out of the maze. There is also a gallery full of stuffed animals preserved by their expert taxidermist. In addition to live species of animals, the most exciting is their gravity car track which has a unique steering and braking system. The first in the Philippines and patterned after the Skyline Luge in Singapore’s Sentosa Island, this ride will allow riders to maneuver the gravity car down its 400-meter track, testing one’s agility and skill to the limit.
5. Dinosaurs Island, Mabalacat
Dinosaurs Island is the closest thing Filipinos could get to Jurassic Park. Aside from learning more about these prehistoric animals when they visit the Fossil Museum and World of Fun, visitors can get up close and personal to the extinct creatures (albeit through their replicas) by hopping on Adventure Ride and experience how it was to ride a dinosaur. If you want the thrill of being chased by a dinosaur, take the Jurassic Safari Ride as they pop their heads into your tramcar, or watch their 7D Screen Theater for a different encounter with the dinosaurs. Another famous attraction is the Wonders of the World area to explore the replicas of the world’s popular tourist destinations.
6. Nayong Pilipino, Clark Freeport Zone
After all the excitement of the adventure parks, you can visit Nayong Pilipino for more Philippine history. Located on a 45-hectare estate, the park contains the country’s most well-known sights. There is a miniature version of Magellan’s Cross and Chocolate Hills. There are also statues of our national heroes and political figures. The Mabini House contains mini-museum of Pampanga artifacts during the Paleolithic Age, Neolithic Period, and the Metal Age. There is also a Rizal House and the mansion of President Emilio Aguinaldo as well as museums of Spanish culture, religious museum, and Philippine museum.
For additional fun, you can go fishing and boating in a lagoon. Get a glimpse of the culture of our indigenous people by visiting a Tuwali House in the Aeta and Ifugao Village.
A trip to Nayong Pilipino is a sure fun and educational experience for kids and adult members of the family.
7. Air Force City Park, Angeles City
Aside from being a recreational facility, this park showcases actual fighter aircrafts used during World War II. Kids and adults enthusiasts can climb some of the actual aircrafts on display. There are outdoor playgrounds where kids can play and have fun, while those who would rather read can head to the park’s libraries. There are also picnic areas for friends and families may enjoy their meals and enjoy the afternoon sun.
8. El Kabayo, Clark Freeport Zone
American cowboy movie enthusiasts will find this park fun and exciting. Visitors can experience a cowboy’s life in mockup recreations of old Western establishments such as saloon and telegraph office. If you’re up for some horseback riding, there are riding lessons, adventure and scenic trail rides, carriage tours, photo opportunities and shopping. This park is located at Gil Puyat Avenue corner Panday Pita, Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City.
9. Mount Pinatubo Trekking
For trekkers and mountain climbing enthusiasts, trekking to Mount Pinatubo is a must-experience. Although not exactly in Pampanga, the trip to this volcano which became famous due to its massive eruption in 1991 starts in the province. Very much quiet nowadays, tourists can see the world’s largest lahar canyon, which can be viewed via a trek to the volcano’s crater and enjoy their lunch by the shore of the crater’s lake.
10. Sky Ranch – San Fernando
Enjoy the fund and excitement with family and friends in this fun-filled amusement park located in a 10,000 sq m area adjacent to SM City, San Fernando, Pampanga. Sky Ranch features over 20 exciting attractions including its gigantic ferris wheel known as the Pampanga Eye. This is reportedly the tallest and biggest ferris wheel in the Philippines, standing at 213 feet and 164 feet wide.
Other rides include the Drop Tower, Super Viking, Loop Roller Coaster, Gear Shifter, Field Runner, Sky Cycle, Express Train, Sky Race, Safari Train, Wonder Flight, Pop Ups, Dragon Parade, Mini Viking, Space Shuttle, Kangaroo Jump, Convoy Tour, Canoe River, Double Deck Carousel, Bumper Boat, and Happy Sky.