It wasn't so long ago when we last visited the province of Pampanga. Being near Metro Manila, Pampanga makes an awesome destination for a quick weekend getaway. It almost has everything any traveler or foodie will surely love. From delicious food to old churches and heritage houses to adventure sports and colorful festivals, Pampanga offers a wide range of activities that every traveler will surely enjoy.
Just recently, I was invited by NorthPine Land Inc., for an awesome Pampanga Day Tour. Our long day of exploring different tourist spots and attractions in Pampanga started with a short bus ride from Ortigas to the City of San Fernando - which just took a quick 1 hour trip via North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).
Montana Views (San Fernando-Mexico, Pampanga)
We visited the new development of NorthPine Land called Montana Views located in the borders of San Fernando City-Mexico, Pampanga. For over 20 years now, NorthPine Land, Inc. (NLI) has been a dynamic player in the real estate industry. Simultaneous with turning 20 this year, NLI also kicked off a new chapter in its business venture. The company is exploring new territories after years of dedicated efforts to change the landscape of South Luzon and Eastern Manila areas. This time, NLI sets its footprint in the Northern regions.
Earlier in July, NLI launched Montana Views, a promising property in the City of San Fernando and Mexico, Pampanga. This is NorthPine Land's maiden project in Central Luzon and North of Manila.
We got to see their expansive property and visit some of its beautiful model houses. If you want to re-locate in San Fernando - Mexico Pampanga, check out Montana Views.
San Guillermo Parish Church (Bacolor, Pampanga)
We then drove all the way to the town of Bacolor and visited the San Guillermo Parish Church. This old church was originally established by the Augustinian Friars and constructed the church in 1576. The church is now known because of the destruction brought by the lahar from Mt. Pinatubo's eruption that buried half of the church.
ALSO READ: 3 Reasons Why You Should Hike Mt. Pinatubo
Unfortunately, we were in a hurry and were not able to enter the church. But if you plan to visit this church, don't miss the Recuerdos Sagrados de Bacolor (Sacred Memorabilia of Bacolor) or Museum located within the church complex.
JB Betis Woodcrafts (Guagua, Pampanga)
Next in our itinerary is JB Betis Woodcrafts in Betis Guagua, Pampanga. It has several showrooms and a number of workshops. A tour of their workshop lets us see how their meticulously and intricately-designed furniture and other wood products were made.
We also got to meet the owners during our tour. One of the owners, Mrs. Butuin shared to us their humble beginnings and how they strive and worked so hard in showcasing to the world their finely-made wood products by exporting it to other countries.
Indeed, the town of Betis is the best place to shop for expertly-carved furniture and wood products. Check them out if you plan to build a new home and showcase the exquisite workmanship of the Kapampangans in your homes.
Betis Church (Guagua, Pampanga)
The St. James the Apostle Parish Church, commonly called as Betis Church is a Baroque-inspired catholic church located in Betis, Guagua, Pampanga. Declared a "National Cultural Treasure" by the National Museum of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, it is a must-visit when traveling to Pampanga.
Established in 1607 and dedicated to Saint James, the Apostle, Betis Church's main attraction are the original ceiling mural paintings that are really amazing sights to behold.
Cucina ni Atching Lilian (Mexico, Pampanga)
Just in time for lunch, we drove back to Mexico Pampanga and dine at Cucina ni Atching Lilian Borromeo.
Hailed as the guardian and steward of Kapampangan Cuisines, Atching Lillian Borromeo graciously welcomed us to her humble home where she prepared a delicious feast of some Kapampangan cuisines. My favorite? Of course, the Sisig! Yummmmm!!!
She also taught us how to make the San Nicolas cookies - from mixing to gently kneading the dough to flattening it on the cookie mold with a rolling pin.
And yes, I got to try it! And she also gave me a small sandok as souvenir. Yey!
READ ALSO: Where to Eat in Pampanga
Pamintuan Mansion (Angeles City, Pampanga)
The Pamintuan Mansion in Angeles City is the country's newest museum of social science and history. Located at Santo Entierro and Miranda Streets, it is part of the soon-to-be declared "heritage district of Angeles City."
Known as the venue of the first anniversary of the declaration of Philippines Independence in 1898, it houses several galleries that showcases the different aspects of Filipino life, culture and traditions.
The Pamintuan Mansion was built by Mariano Pamintuan and Valentina Torres in 1890 as a wedding gift to their son Florentino. In 1899, it served as the headquarters of Gen. Antonio Luna and the seat of the Philippine Republic. With its rich history, a visit to Pamintuan Mansion shouldn't be missed when traveling to Pampanga.
Center for Kapampangan Studies (HAU, Angeles City, Pampanga)
Holy Angel University's Center for Kapampangan Studies showcases so much about Kapampangan's rich history, culture and traditions. It is housed in a three-story structure; the first floor has a gallery, mini-museum and library. The second floor has the Archival Section and lastly, on third floor is the theater.
Vicente Manansala GalleryNot to be missed is the Manansala Gallery which showcases the different artworks of National Artist Vicente Manansala. Unknown to many, Manansala hails from Macabebe, Pampanga and his family donated an extensive collection of his works to the museum for other people to appreciate.
Pinatubo MuseumOne of the newest additions to the Center for Kapampangan Studies is the Pinatubo Museum. It opened last June 14, 2016 - the eve of the 25th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. The Pinatubo Museum features a mural timeline of the history of Mt. Pinatubo, a mural sculpture by Kapampangan artist Arnel Garcia, and various exhibits executed by researcher-artist Joel Mallari.
Toll House (Angeles City, Pampanga)
Lastly, before to go back to Manila, we had a very filling dinner at Toll House in Angeles City. We got to try their famous Baked Macaroni that their loyal customers loved since 1988. We also got to try their Tropical Chicken, which is like Chicken Pastel topped with rich mashed potato.
READ ALSO: Restaurants in Pampanga
We truly enjoyed this Pampanga Day Tour and made me appreciate the province even more. Truly, there are so many things to do, activities to experience and of course, food to eat when visiting Pampanga. We should be back again real soon!
This Pampanga Appreciation Tour was organized by NorthPine Land Inc. Thank you for inviting us to this very enriching tour of Pampanga!
To know more about NorthPine Land Inc. and Montana Views, visit their website www.nothpineland.com or call them at +632.637.1531.
Read full disclosure here.
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