Let’s Go to Pampanga!

With only a few weeks left before students go back to school and rain to start pouring down heavily (hello, rainy season), let’s go and explore Pampanga. Pampanga is a province in the Central Luzon and bordered by Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, and Zambales. Its capital is San Fernando, and Angeles City is considered to be its highly urbanized first-class city.

So before everything goes back to “normal” and storms come to our country, here are a few places you may visit in Pampanga:

Sandbox at Alviera


Sandbox at Alviera, Porac, Pampanga maximizes the place’s sand-richness by being an outdoor adventure go-to. Experience Giant Swing, Philippines’ tallest swing, Aerial Walk Challenge, Avatar One, country’s first-ever roller coaster zip line, Outdoor Archery, and much more in Sandbox. This adventure place is a joint venture development of AyalaLand and LenioLand.

Sky Ranch Pampanga


If you want some adrenaline rush, go and visit Sky Ranch, which is just around SM Pampanga, and try their 22 rides. Some of the must-try attractions are Bungee Jump, Drop Tower, Loop Roller Coaster,  Space Shuttle, and Super Vikings. There are also child-friendly attractions for the kids who may be too afraid to try those breath-taking rides or maybe they are not yet allowed to ride those. You can also see a giant Ferris wheel known as the Pampanga Eye, only for PHP 150 per ticket!

San Guillermo Church and Betis Church


San Guillermo Church is a well-known tourist destination way before the catastrophic Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 as this Church is one of the oldest in the country. Also dubbed as “half sunken church,” this Baroque-styled Church at Bacolor Pampanga was built by Augustinian friars in 1546. Because of its beauty, this has been the primary location set of “May Bukas Pa,” an ABS-CBN primetime teleserye.


On the other hand, Betis Church or St. James the Apostle Parish Church is another Baroque-styled Church but in Guagua, Pampanga. This astonishing “Sistine Chapel of the Philippines” is one of the National Cultural Treasures in the Philippines. Betis Church was constructed in 1607 as a dedication to St. James. It was built with concrete materials only 1770 after a few fire broke out within the Church.

Pamintuan Mansion


The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and Angeles City local government led the inauguration of Pamintuan Mansion as the Museum of Philippine Social History last August 25. 2015. This 125-year-old mansion in Miranda Street, Barangay Sto. Rosario hosts different exhibits, collections, and artworks that showcase the daily lives of Filipinos. There is also a music room where you can listen to various songs as old as the one recorded in 1896. Pamintuan Mansion also became Gen.Emilio Aguinaldo’s headquarters when the seat of the government was moved from Cavite to Pampanga during the battle against the United States.

Pinatubo Museum


This educational museum was pioneered by the Center for Kapampangan Studies of Holy Angel University to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. You can see a mural timeline dating the history of Mt. Pinatubo years and years ago until its disastrous eruption on June 15, 2991. Pinatubo Museum is open to the public Mondays to Fridays.

Nayong Pilipino Clark


One of the classic destinations for tours and field trips, visiting Nayong Pilipino will give you a quick cultural and historical tour of our country. This 45-acre amusement theme park homes miniature versions of different iconic Philippine wonders. So if you don’t have the luxury of time and an enormous amount of money to visit all the marvels of our country, you can still see them in Nayong Pilipino Clark. You can also see an exhibit of Malakas and Maganda, an old Philippine legend on how the human race started, mini versions of different Filipino tribes’ villages, and replicas of some of Filipino heroes’ houses.


Five Fun Facts about Hot Air Balloons


Between the months January and February, a convergence of different aviators from all over the world would happen in the Philippines to witness the hot air balloon festival in Pampanga. In fact, it has been regarded as one of the Philippines’ biggest and most popular tourist events. As the biggest aviation sports event in the Philippines, this affair would usually last around three to four days at the Omni Aviation Complex in Clark Freeport Zone of Angeles City, Pampanga. Apart from the hot air balloon fiesta, the festival features events such as micro light and rocketry demonstrations, skydiving, as well as small plane fly-bys and fly-ins, so every individual has something to enjoy. Undoubtedly, though, the hot air balloon remains to be the heart of this entire affair.

So, when you are planning to visit this once-in-a-year occasion or are just curious about hot air balloons, it would bode you well to know some little-known yet fun facts about this up and coming favorite aviation sports event.

1.) The first hot air balloon passengers were farm animals

The maiden flight of the very first hot air balloon in 1783 was set to fly over the French court in Versailles in the presence of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. In a similar fashion to having monkeys in space, a selection of animals was chosen to test the effects of the flight. As a result, a sheep, duck, and rooster were hosted in its very first flight. It was thought that the sheep would show the effects of altitude on a land dweller, while ducks and roosters which are already capable of flight would act as controls in the experiment. The balloon rose to 1500 feet in the air and lasted eight minutes.

2.) The first pilots were almost condemned criminals

Louis XVI disliked the idea of being responsible for any potential fatalities when it came to choosing a pilot for the hot air balloon’s first flight. As a result, he wanted an expendable, so he selected a condemned criminal to fly the balloon. However, he was eventually convinced that the idea was not exactly very feasible. Instead, Jean-Francois Pilatre De Rozier and an aristocrat were chosen to fly the balloon for twenty minutes.

3.) There used to be a balloon duel

In the 1800s, the French believed in settling their differences in a rather peculiar way. When two Frenchmen were entangled in a love triangle with a celebrated opera dancer, they took their dispute to the skies above Paris for a duel. Both men aimed at each other’s balloons and after a while, shots were fired. One balloon was punctured resulting in its crash to the buildings below and the death of its occupants. The other balloon and its occupants were unharmed.

4.) An offering of champagne after flights was used to appease farmers

Though hot air balloons were becoming increasingly popular with the French aristocracy, the local farmers were not so receptive and were rather resentful when the balloons landed on their farmlands. The French aristocrats propagated the belief that farmers were scared of the balloons as they have a resemblance to dragons considering that smoke was used to power them. However, it was a lot more seemly that the farmers disliked having the hot air balloons destroying their crops. To appease them, champagne was used as a peace offering and a tradition was born.

5.) There is a glass-bottomed balloon

Christian Brown wanted to add a different edge to hot air balloon flights; he wanted people to be able to experience the skies above as well as survey the world below and so, the glass-bottomed hot air balloon was born in 2010. Imagine flying over land and seeing everything right beneath you. For some, it would be an exhilarating and thrilling experience, but some individuals might prefer to stay rooted in the ground as it is not for the faint of heart and people with acrophobia.


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Planning a Safe and Fun ATV Ride


As summer looms over us so are the endless possibilities of summer outdoor activities. These can range anywhere from outdoor beach sports to indoor sports activities. However, for some automobile enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers, this is the perfect time to venture into all-terrain vehicle riding or ATV riding for brevity. In fact, the Philippines has been making waves for hosting areas where riding ATV’s may be possible. This is a fun activity you can do outdoors during your leisure time and is not only limited to adults as everyone and anyone can do it, with enough safety precautions of course.
So, for those of you who are novices or even the experts in ATV riding and whether you are planning this as a Saturday afternoon hangout activity, or a weekday run in the seemingly endless and trail-less dirt terrains, planning ahead for your trip can it make it so much more fun and safe in particular.


Remember that you are essentially operating a machine (your mini four wheeler is still a machine after all) and like most machines, it would break down from time to time and would constantly need to be checked and maintained. This is a precaution, have your ATVs checked before riding them into terrains as you will never know if you might be driving one with a malfunctioning break. It is still better to be safe than sorry after all. Additionally, have a good look at your physical condition, being sickly and injured would make you unfit to ride an ATV, especially for those long and rough excursions.
Before heading out, make sure your quad is adequately prepared by checking all the fluid levels and condition. This includes oil, brake fluid and engine coolant on liquid cooled machines–pretty much like how you should check your cars before driving off with them. Peruse the tires and make sure they are not showing any signs of wear and also that you have the proper air pressure. Check your brakes, clutch and throttle cables, if they are adjusted and lubricated as necessary and that the battery and all lights are working if equipped. If you are not in good shape (physically or mentally) or your quad is not in good and working order, then you might as well forgo it as your trip may be precarious for your welfare and your health.


Admittedly, you would get yourself and your ride ready. But apart from that, you would need to have a list of essential items you should take with you including an emergency kit. This list will serve as your reference for you to plan your great ride. What your emergency kit should contain are the items listed down below:

*First Aid Kit
*Tow strap
*Tool Kit
*Tire repair kit with pump
*Spare cash and credit cards


Having a toolkit is extremely necessary and it does not even have to be very big. The kit that comes with your four-wheeler is usually found under the seat or behind a body panel on some older models has most of the tools you will need. If your ATV does not come supplied with one, then it is best you furnish yourself with one.


Long ATV rides are fun, but you should keep in mind to try and plan your stops beforehand especially if you are not familiar with the area you will be riding in. For unfamiliar places, try reviewing maps and pick places to stop in order for you to rest. Pick places with scenic views so that you can enjoy while you rest. Additionally, it is a good idea to let someone know where you are going and when you are expected to return so that if something untoward may happen, someone is at least apprised of your activities. If you are going to be late, contact those who you have notified about your whereabouts and update them what your new time of arrival will be.

Lastly, it is better to ride in a group or at least with someone else as there are some things beyond our control while you are out on the trail so riding with a group or with others may help should anything awry happen.


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Culinary gems from Old Pampanga

Chef Gene Gonzalez will demonstrate how to cook traditional Pampanga cuisine on Feb. 6, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center.

Recipes include Adobo del Diablo (Kapampangan adobo) with a deep bronze color produced by constant simmering and deglazing of the pan with stock when a crust is formed; Menudo Sulipeña (oxtail stew), slow-simmered dish of oxtail, ham and chorizo Bilbao with brandy; Pato Al Caparas (duck with capers), braised duck with ham and liver; Pasta Juan, chewy coconut bars; and Princess Cake, layers of butter cake iced with buttercream.

Gonzalez owns and runs Café Ysabel at 455 P. Guevarra St., San Juan. Together with his chef son Gino, they run Buenisimo by Café Ysabel at Scout Tuazon cor. Scout Lozano, Diliman, QC.

For inquiries, visit www.themayakitchen.com or e-mail contactus@themayakitchen.com. The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center is at 8/F, Liberty Bldg., 835 A. Arnaiz Ave., Makati, tel. 8921185, 8925011 loc. 108, 0929-6796102.

Winter food show

Sixteen homegrown social enterprises take the spotlight in Food Philippines’ third participation in Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) on Jan. 17-19 at Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco, US.

“What food the Philippines will be bringing to WFFS are products that do not only stand out given their high food export quality, but those that advocate social, cultural and environmental stands,” says Rosvi C. Gaetos, executive director of Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry.

“It is already recognized that specialty food items from the Philippines are of premium quality—natural, healthy and functional.”

Participating companies include Brandexports Philippines Inc. with Peace and Equity Foundation, Eighth Wonder Inc., Fruits of Life, JUD Products Philippines Inc., Mama Sita’s (Marigold Manufacturing Corp) and Philfresh Corp.

The Philippine pavilion will be at the South Hall of Moscone Convention Center.


Top reasons why you should visit Pampanga ASAP

Located in the heart of Luzon and flanked by Bataan and Bulacan, Pampanga was the moniker given to this beautiful location simply because the natives in this place resided near river banks. The name given to the place was coined by Spaniards though originally, the place was called “La Pampanga”, the name stuck nevertheless. This place lies on the northern shore of Manila Bay and is classified as a first class, highly urbanized city. Furthermore, this city has a functioning government independent of the province.

There are innumerable and various reasons why this province which was honored as one of the eight rays in the sun in our national flag (for their outrage and revolt against the Spaniard domination) should be one of the places on your “to visit” list. This list aims to give you the top four reasons why you should book your ticket today and experience the wonder of this lush and less known paradise.

REASON 4: Leisure Parks, Casinos and Resorts

This locale is home to an array of leisure parks, casinos and resorts which is located in Fontana Clark, Pampanga which would play host to people who enjoy these activities. Looking for a place to try your hand? The casinos here are rather abundant and if after a night of gambling and drinking prove tiring to you, you could opt to visit one of its many leisure parks for the next day. Additionally, should you be looking for a place to unwind, or if you just generally want to spend the day with your family, look no further as the place is littered profusely with assorted resorts.


REASON 3: Verdant and visually appealing scenery

Tired of the city scenery you immerse and surround yourself in for seven days in a week? Would you want a different feel other than the concrete jungle you seem to see yourself stuck in? Visiting Pampanga might just solve your dilemma. This beautiful and luxuriant locale is teeming with copious trees and has some of the most colorful sceneries in the Philippines. Pampanga’s true beauty, with its vibrant waterfalls, abundant forests and hills, is more than scenery, it is an experience.


REASON 2: Rich in history and culture

The Philippines is a devout Catholic country, and being one of the incipient Christians of the world and Pampanga is no exception. In fact, the place has its ample share of historic churches that have withstood the test of time, these churches are filled to the brim with antique religious artifacts that are all rich in history. Pilgrimages are held in some of the churches and religious rituals are never scarce. In relation to this, during the Lenten season, a local man would have himself crucified on a Good Friday as an offering to God for saving his wife and unborn child during birth. This is one of the many reasons why a lot of tourists would flock the province.



Each locale has its own savory dishes to offer but Pampanga is especially different. In fact, Pampanga has been given its rightful honorarium for being the culinary capital of the Philippines. This place is home to the most savory chicken tocinos and longanizas. When paying this place a particular visit, a trip wouldn’t be complete without taking home some of their delectable tocinos.