GBT Travels: Exploring the Beauty of PAMPANGA
Pampanga, originated from the word “pangpang or pampang” which means “riverbank”, is known for its vast contribution in history, heritage and even exemplary culinary creations-the reason why the province is called the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines”. If you’ve been to Pampanga, then most probably you’ll know what I mean. (Now I’m craving for Sisig!-one of Pampanga’s popular dishes).
This 218,100-hectare province located in the central part of Luzon houses 20 municipalities, which were divided into 4 districts. Pampanga’s main industries are farming and fishing- producing specifically rice, corn, sugarcane and tilapia. Wood carving, handicraft, furniture making are some other popular industries as well. To add on to these are handcrafted lighted lanterns, or popularly known as “Parol” here in the Philippines.
It’s been a while since I last visited and toured Pampanga. And just recently, NorthPine Land Inc., one of the country’s trusted real estate companies, organized a blogger’s familiarity tour and invited me to experience the beauty of Pampanga once again.
Despite the bad weather, the tour pushed through as scheduled and did not stop us from enjoying. It was a smooth and informative drive all the way to Pampanga as we were primed with some of Pampanga’s history and other general facts by our tour guide, Sir Richard Burgos.
MONTANA STRANDS MODEL PARK
For our first stop, we headed to the Northpine Land’s Montana Strands Model Park. Just in case you didn’t know, Northpine Land Inc. also built several other community real estate projects not just in Pampanga, but also in nearby locations such as follows:
- CAVITE: Kahaya Place, Greenwoods Village, Wind Crest, Kohana Grove
- LAGUNA: South Hampton
- ANTIPOLO: Forest Ridge
- PASIG City: Lexington
- PAMPANGA: Montana Views, Montana Strands
Going back to the tour, I was able to see three of the 4 model houses-Madison, Sandy, and Trinity(Ruby not included), each were fully furnished and has complete set-up that will give every possible buyers and visitors the feel and ambiance of a home.
The Montana Strands’s actual retro-modern-inspired community is located at Brgy. Calulut in San Fernando City Pampanga, which is just 1.5 kilometers away from NLEX Mexico Exit. Thank God for expressways! it’s much easier to reach it in less time.
Northpine Land Inc. also just recently had their groundbreaking rites for their Lifestyle Hub that will soon rise at the Montana Views property. The said Lifestyle Hub will give different provisions to its homeowners such as Basketball court, Fitness Center, Children’s Playground, Swimming Pool, a Wifi-equipped Lifestyle center, Function/Multipurpose area, Kid’s playroom, entertainment room and snack bar. Wow! so much in store for every homeowners of Montana Views!
“In over 20 years, Northpine Land remains as a groundbreaker of innovations. We create lifestyle options that enhance the quality of living. This Lifestyle hub is probably one of the best amenities Northpine is bound to create. We are excited to see this rise in the near future.” says Ferdinand Macabanti, NLI General Manager
ROLREN’S LANTERNS AND GENERAL MERCHANDISE
Christmas is fast approaching! in just a few days, aside from hearing Christmas carols, we will see lots of colorful lanterns hanging from the street lights, houses and establishments. Speaking of lanterns, Pampanga is best known for this craft not just in the Philippines, but also to some parts of the world. It is also where the famous Giant Lantern Festival is happening every December.
For our 2nd stop, we went to Rolren’s Lanterns and General Merchandise, one of the largest parol suppliers in PH.
The story of this Parol business is very humbling. Just imagine, before venturing into this industry, Rolando “Parol King” Quiambao, 0wner of Rolren’s Lanterns was a former Janitor and OFW. He even worked as a jeepney driver.
He started a small lantern business in 1986. 5 years later, his business took off. But nature has taken its toll, Mt. Pinatubo’s violent eruption has taken Pampanga into a catastrophic situation. After the devastating wrath of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, mayor Reynaldo Aquino commisioned Mr. Rolando to decorate the city’s lamp posts, making those lanterns a symbol of hope, especially those who were directly affected by the disaster.
Rolren’s Lanterns and General Merchandise sells different kinds of parols made of different materials. They have lanterns made of capiz, they have wooden christmas symbols and many more. And the best part is… it is way affordable. About Php300-Php1000 difference from those selling in the metro.
RolRen’s Lanterns and General Merchandise
Address: 1142, 11th Ave., Unisite Subdivision, Del Pilar, City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Telephone numbers: (045) 963-1710 / (045) 862-5156 / (0922) 821-6959 / (0932) 853-0272
Lunch time! Time to taste once again some authentic and mouth-watering Kapampangan dishes. It was a different kind of outdoor dining experience as we savour on good food in the middle of a fish pond at Apag Marangle, which means “hain sa bukid”. I love the ambiance of the place, it’s like you are in a farm, very native.
I love their Ginisang Mais soup with crunchy chicharon. I could eat that all day! Their Crispy pata is also superb! and lastly, the Ginataang camote dessert is ❤️❤️❤️.
Address: Jose Abad Santos Avenue, formerly Olongapo-Gapan Road, Santa Barbara Bridge, Bacolor, 2001 Pampanga.
Telephone Number: 045 436 1600 | 0922 888 05684
SAN FERNANDO TRAIN STATION MUSEUM
Built 1892, the San Fernando Railway Station is part of the 195-kilometer railway system of Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan, the first railway system in the Philippines and one of the 5 train stations which can be found in Pampanga.
The place also has some shares in the history. This place is where Dr. Jose Rizal meet the new members of La Liga Filipina from Pampanga, June 27th, 1982. Another one, do you remember the 102-kilometer Philippine Death March which happened year 1942? where Filipino and American prisoners of war during World War 2, marched from Bataan to Capas, Tarlac. In this very place, San Fernando Railway Station, became their final stop before the prisoners were transferred to the Camp O’Donnell. Whew! this place really gave me chills.
Year 1988, the said train system operations ended. And today, the old railway station became a historical museum through the efforts of the local government, which houses different items, memorabilia, and even statues illustrating the scenarios of the past which happened in this exact location.
SAN FERNANDO TRAIN STATION MUSEUM
Address: San Fernando, Pampanga
Telephone number: (045) 961 5684
CLARK MUSEUM & 4D THEATRE
Another place to enrich your knowledge. Clark Museum. This museum houses different displays, artifacts, replicas, scenic dioramas from war-based history during American occupation specifically in Clark Pampanga including the ancient lives of Filipino locals (pre-colonial and post-colonial-after revolution). Not just that. Remember the Mt. Pinatubo Explosion?, one of the greatest and violent volcano eruption in the world, Clark Museum has a handful of information on that matter and how Clark rised up from the ashes, it’s economic progress and many more.
They also have quite a bunch of art gallery collection where different paintings and even sculptures created by local artists are for sale. Such beautiful creations.
One of the highlights in our tour within Clark Museum was the 4D Theatre. It’s a 48-seater theatre that offers a different kind of learning experience. There, we watch the “Risen from the Ashes”, a 20- minute documentary film which highlights Clark Pampanga’s rich history up to the present. The Clark Museum and 4D theater is open from Tuesdays to Sundays(9:00 am to 4:00 pm).
CLARK MUSEUM & 4D THEATRE
Address: Clark Freeport, Mabalacat, Pampanga
Telephone number: (045) 599-2854
MATAM-IH AUTHENTIC KAPAMPANGAN CUISINE RESTAURANT
And for our last stop, another restaurant that offers a wide-range of authentic Kapampangan dishes, Matam-ih Authentic Kapampangan Cuisine Restaurant which is located at Clark Freeport Zone. True to its meaning, “Matam-Ih” which means “delicious” in Aeta dialect, really delivers mouth-watering food to crave for. And for the record, I super love their Kare-kare! Matam-ih! They also offer exotic dishes made of crocodile, frog, and even kamaru. uuuugh!. I only tried a little of the fried crocodile meat and it was ok. I’m still psyched with the other two. I just can’t. Haha!
We also challenged a fellow blogger, Rain De Ocampo to try out the crocodile meat. Hahahah it was hilarious! Another fun part was, Northpine Land Inc. awarded some food GCs to those who tried eating at least one of the exotic dishes.
Their food attendants on the other hand, are genuine members of the Aeta and Abelling indigenous communities of Capas which I find very nice. Nice in the sense that Matam-ih restaurant is giving employment and is helping them to make a living.
Overall, our dining experience was 👍👍👍. Would like to go back and try out their other dishes because they have a lot on their menu. Will definitely pig out! haha!
Matam-ih Authentic Kapampangan Cuisine
Address: E Jacinto, Clark Freeport, Clark Special Economic Zone, 2023 Pampanga, Philippines
Phone: +63 45 4992382 | +639213664889
Northpine Land was very generous to give us this pasalubong to take home. The popular cheese bread from L.A Bakeshop. Believe me, the aroma of this freshly-baked cheese bread is heavenly!. I can’t stop sniffing it promise. Amoy pa lang masarap na! But wait till you taste it. You will definitely love it. I love it as it is, but if they will make the bread more softer and chewy, it’s gonna be PERFECT.
It’s not just good cheese bread that they are offering, they have other breads and short order dishes that I would love to try out. Maybe on my next trip to Pampanga.
MacArthur Hi-way ,Dolores City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Landline #: (045) 436-0133
I know that there’s so much more to see, learn and explore in Pampanga. I can’t wait to do another tour there. Thank you so much Northpine Land Inc. for this opportunity. It was a fun and memorable trip. ❤️❤️❤️