Not just the Sandbox in Porac and the hot-air balloon festival in Clark, there are still so many things to feast your eyes on while in Pampanga. In fact, every town in the province boasts of a destination, a festival or an observance to the delight of those who get to witness them. Enough of the blah; here are the other equally interesting things to see in Pampanga.
1 Nayong Pilipino sa Clark
Located on Centennial Road, Nayong Pilipino is an outdoor living museum that showcases the Philippines and its culture. The heritage theme park houses replicas of the houses of our heroes (Dr. Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini and Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo); replicas of ethnic villages (Aeta, Maranao, Kalinga and Ifugao); replicas of famous churches (Barasoain Church) and life-size sculptures of Philippine legend characters (Malakas at Maganda and Maria Sinukuan), among others. It also has an in-house museum. Thrice daily, a rondalla plays for the guests.
2 Dinosaurs Island
Considered as the 1st animatronics dino park in the country, Dinosaurs Island features over 30 life-size dinosaurs. The park aims to provide a glimpse of what it was like living in the Mesozoic era with moving and running tyrannosaurus rex, brontosaurus, triceratops, rhinoceros, iguanodon, etc. around the park. There is also an in-house Fossils Museum that houses dinosaur skeletons and other related artifacts. The park offers a Safari Ride where you can observe the dinosaurs from a distance, that is if you don’t want to get real close to them.
Dubbed as Clark’s nature and conservation park, Paradise Ranch refers to an eco-friendly project with the goal to protect the environment and save wildlife. Inside is a swimming pool, parks, gardens, an aviary and a camping site. It also features Little Baguio, Butterfly Kingdom, and Zooper Zipline. The aviary allows guests to take closer looks at ostriches, peacocks, and its Ibong Adarna. Actually, the aviary is a part of Zoocobia Fun Zoo which is the first attraction that you will see upon entering Paradise Ranch. The zoo features animal shows and allows animal feeding. It also has its very own Zooc rides – the only gravity cars in the country.
4 Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino
More specifically called the Fontana Water Park, this first-class resort has a total of 10 swimming pools. The major attraction at the park is the Wave Pool that produces 6 different kinds of waves up to 3 ft. every 30 minutes. Aside from the kiddie pool, the park has Water Factory and Pirate Ship. The latter is equipped with 6 kiddie slides and swashbuckler.
5 Historic Camalig Restaurant
The Historic Camalig Restaurant is dubbed as the home of Armando’s Pizza (Ang Pambansang Pizza). Not just the food itself, the main crowd drawer is the history behind the restaurant. It was built in 1840 and used to be a grain depot. Inside is like a museum with framed photos of the old town and the renowned families in the area as well as household artifacts. At the second floor is the Galleria Olivia that features paintings of some of the well-loved Kapampangan artists.
A baroque church in Guagua, the Betis Church is actually called the St. James the Apostle Parish Church. Betis Church is also known as the Sistine Chapel of the Philippines because of the intricately designed ceiling paintings which are basically trompe l’oeil artwork. Another major attraction is its retablo. Betis Church also features an artesian well and church bells created by the famous bell maker in the country, Hilario Sunico.
These are just six of the must see things and places in Pampanga. This is how you must explore Pampanga as well as other provinces in the country – one destination, attraction or celebration at a time! That is when you will truly appreciate how endowed our country is.
/// Written by Justin Torres, The Philippines