Well, frankly… The Province of Tarlac is really not known for tourism. Historically, Tarlac is just a stopover destination for some travelers bound for northern parts of the country like Baguio City and the provinces of Ilocos region to relieve themselves from the long drive.
But what they don't know is that Tarlac can actually offer various activities.
TARLAC TRAVEL GUIDE: 8 Tips and Tricks for First-time Travelers
1. Where are the best places to stay in Tarlac?
For travelers who have bigger budget, I recommend La Maja Rica Hotel (check rates online), V.E.S. Food Resort and Villas (check rates online), Azaya Resort (check rates online), Microtel by Wyndham - Luisita (check rates online), and San Isidro Farm House (check rates online).
But for outdoor geeks, I suggest you can do camping at Tarlac Recreational Park (See Hotels in Tarlac) and sleep under the stars.
BOOK YOUR HOTEL IN TARLAC BELOW:
2. Where to eat in Tarlac?
As a Tarlaqueño, for me this is one of the hardest questions to answer every time I am asked about my province.
Here’s a thing, Tarlac cuisine is actually a melting pot of different flavors from our neighboring provinces. BUT what I can promise is that we have our "better" versions of what they offer.
You can visit Nay's House for "luto ni nanay feels." Want some seafoods? You can try Dampa sa Tarlac and Isdaan Floating Restaurant in Gerona. Sisig? Lechon? Victor's Barbeque & Letchon Manok will be the best for you. Want to relax? I recommend Urban Brew and Caffroozzo. Classy? Primadeli Ristorante. Sweet tooth? You must try the cakes and pastries of Urdu Restaurant & Bakeshop. Feeling healthy? I personally recommend one of my favorite places in Tarlac - Good Earth Garden Cafe. They offer good organic food. Promise!
3. Best places to visit in Tarlac?
I suggest Capas National Shrine, The Aquino Center and Museum and JSJ Goat Farm.
The iconic Jesus sculpture in Monasterio de Tarlac is also a must. And of course two of the best tourist destinations in Tarlac, the Kart City Tarlac and the Taksiapo Wall of Isdaan Floating Resto.
ALSO READ: Isdaan Floating Restaurant in Gerona, Tarlac
4. What are the must-do activities in Tarlac?
As I said, Tarlac Province is known for its eco-tourism. Some of these are: Timangguyob Falls, Ubod Falls and Mt. Damas in San Clemente, Tarlac.
Trekking at Mount Pinatubo and Mt. Telakawa in Capas, you can also do the San Jose Circuit challenge (Mt. Tangisan, Bungkol Baka, Kawayan) in San Jose town. You can also try the ATV, Biking, Zip line, swimming, and other outdoor activities in Tarlac Recreational Park.
ALSO READ: Capas ATV Adventure Ride
5. What are the "Secret spots" in Tarlac?
We have ANZAP twin falls, Whitewater Kayaking Adventure in San Jose, Tarlac, Nambalan River in Mayantoc and Bueno Hot Spring in Capas,
ALSO READ: 3 Reasons Why You Should Climb Mt. Pinatubo
6. How to get around in Tarlac?
You can tour around the city by riding a jeepney, bus or tricycle. But for some places, I personally suggest that you bring your own or rent a private car as you have to travel just go to these places to another.
7. What's the best pasalubong from Tarlac to bring back home?
Aside its diversity with dialects such as Kapampangan, Ilokano, Tagalog, Zambal, Pangasinense, the province also offer various delicacies that you can bring back home.
From the western part of the province, you can have their own version of bagnet or the chicharong camiling. You can also buy some wooden products from woodinspiration crafts.
From the northern part, you can buy quality lanterns from Gerona town; where they actually celebrate the Silawan Festival or the festival of lights.
On the eastern part, you can try their version of chickacorn.
And from the southernmost parts, you can try the different versions of Tinapa or smoked fish in Capas town such as tamban, tilapia and bangus.
Among others: kakanin like tupig, iniruban, kapit. The town of Anao also offers ylang-ylang perfume.
8. Where to shop in Tarlac?
Betty's Native Cakes and Susie's Cuisine.
But like what they say, if you really want to know how locals live, you must visit their public market. Most of these products actually can be found in markets, but there are some products like the tinapa, tupig and lanterns are being sold along Mac Arthur highway.
The local tourism office is really working hard to promote the eco-tourism of the province for the past few years. And I think, it's a wise move since at least 1/3 of the province is composed of hills and mountains.
So next time, don’t just stop to rest. Try to discover the Province of Tarlac!
This was written by a young and aspiring Tarlaqueño photographer, Jaypee Ibay Bugayon. Get more travel tips from Jaypee by following him on his Instagram account @japebugayon where he shares his travels and adventures around the Philippines.
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