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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Summer 2017: Top Getaway Destinations Near Manila

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“Looking at the beauty in the world, the first step of purifying the mind” -Amit Ray (Meditation: Insights and Inspirations)

As March enters 2017, so does the promise of a scorching summer to come. Gone are the cold and breezy days replaced by humid morning temperatures with equally hot nights. On the months ahead, we will be bidding our sweaters and long-sleeved tops goodbye and saying hello to cropped tops, bikinis, the distinct smell of the beach and our favorite pair of aviators. Indeed, as for March ushers in a new season, everyone will be welcoming in the happiest and sunniest season of the year, summer. This is the season most individuals would love to get away from the perpetual hustle and bustle of the city and experience the calm and quiet of the countryside or the vibrant life at the beach. Unfortunately, if you are operating on a tight schedule, it can be hard to negotiate a vacation in between your work commitments.

Not to fret, however, as there are a lot of destinations near Manila that would not even require an overnight trip. So, if you are planning for a summer excursion, there is no need to look far, here are the weekend getaways near Manila you can visit for a short and brief holiday:

1.) Minalungao National Park (Nueva Ecija)

Take a break from the usual crystal blue waters and enjoy something a little bit different such as the emerald green waters of Penaranda River in Minalungao National Park. As the summertime draws in, it is the perfect time to visit this place. Owing to the less rainfall of the season, the river is calmer and clearer making it safer for rafting, cliff jumping and even swimming. If trekking is more of your thing, the 16-meter limestone walls flanking the river are as equally inviting as the river is. If a quick trip is on your weekend itinerary, Minalungao is easily accessible with only a 3-hour ride from Manila, and it is friendly to your pockets as well.

2.) Taal Heritage Town

If you are looking for the feel and ambiance of Vigan without having to book a plane ticket or driving for seven hours, then all you would need to do is head to Batangas. The beautiful ancestral homes and gorgeous architecture of Tall Heritage Town in Batangas are reminiscent of Vigan and would take you back to a place you can only see in history books and black and white albums. It is easy to get charmed by the place’s hundred-year-old knickknacks and vintage pieces that you would not only get a well-deserved break but a trip back in time as well.

3.) Corregidor

History buff and enthusiasts would enjoy Corregidor as it is the perfect place for a slice of culture and history. This province in Cavite has diverse activities to offer, but its main attraction is definitely the rich and colorful history from World War II. But apart from that, Corregidor has pristine nature trails, its own beach, and wildlife. Lastly, it is not that far from Manila (only an hour away by boat). If you are looking for a bit of history with a little culture in solitude thrown into the mix, this place is perfect for you.

4.) Baler

Though it is not exactly what you would call near (driving to Baler would take you a few extra hours), it would all be a matter of perspective once you arrive and set foot and Baler where a myriad of activities awaits you. To surfers and trekking enthusiasts, this place is paradise, and for someone looking for the perfect synergy of nature, culture, history and adventure, this place is the ultimate escapade. If you are looking for an unlimited array of activities to do in such a short time, Baler should be your top pick.

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Four Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone

 

“We travel initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel next, to find ourselves. We travel to open up our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world…and we travel, in essence, to become young fools again–to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” -Pico Iyer

Solivagant (adj.) wandering alone

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Travelling alone has always been something that has enthralled us. The idea of exploring a foreign place all by ourselves paints a very enchanting picture on our heads, yet very few of us would actually have the guts to push through with a solitary venture. Not all of us would attempt a solo travel for the reason that we are accustomed to having at least one person with us. The company would offset our fears of wandering about in a new place and would also provide us with the necessary companionship we so crave when we are traveling in foreign places.

However, travelling alone is an experience by itself than everyone should try at least once of their lives. The feeling of having only yourself as company and relying on no one else but you for decisions can truly be liberating and completely rewarding in a way few other experiences in life can match. So, if you are contemplating about having a solo expedition, these reasons below might convince you to push through with it.

 

1.) It makes planning easier

Travelling with a group means you have to take into account everyone’s preferences and decisions. You can all universally agree to doing the same things or some people would adjust their itineraries to suit another individuals preferences. When you travel alone, you have the freedom to choose whatever it is that you want to do. You may have bucket lists of places that you want to see and when you travel alone, you are at liberty to see them. Whether it is gourmet dining at a fancy restaurant, cliff diving in a foreign place ,scuba diving in foreign waters or any outdoor activities in the Philippines, nothing would hold you back from doing as you wish.

2.) You will meet new people more easily

Travelling alone makes it easier for you to interact with strangers and befriend them. Likewise, it is much easier for them to initiate a conversation with you too seeing as you do not have a horde of people crowding you. Travelling alone gives you the opportunity to make contact with the locals and discover more about their lives and the way they live. It also paves the way to lasting friendships for some.

3.) You become more accommodating in life

When you travel alone, you would realize that itineraries are nothing more than broad pictures or general plans of what you can do on a trip, but they should not dictate what you should and should not do. The important thing is, you get the most out of your trip. Remember, not everything will go into plan and at times you would wake up late or miss the tour group. In any case, you should not be disappointed, see this as a welcome opportunity to explore instead.

4.) It would boost your confidence

Travelling alone would enable individuals to be more in touch with themselves. It is an opportunity for self-contemplation and introspection and as a result can be a catalyst for boosting your self-confidence. When you are on a solo travel, you are mostly left to your own devices and would have no one else to rely on but yourself–for information, situation assessment and decisions. Each time you make the right decision, your sense of confidence and autonomy would soar.

 

Travelling alone might come off as a daunting experience to anyone who is accustomed to travelling in groups or at least with a companion. But, undertaking this refreshing experience of self-discovery can be a one-of-a-kind sabbatical in a way that you return home a new and better person than you were before. Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and enjoy your solitude at least once in your life. After all, it might sound clichéd, but the best company in the world is no one else but yourself.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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REASON 1: GASTRONOMIC FEAST

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.

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