Central Luzon is one of the leading growth regions in the Philippines. It is strategically located at the heart of Asia, and no other place with sea and air travel and cargo facilities can equal Central Luzon in terms of almost equal travel time in Asia. Its location has been central enough for the area to be the choice of FedEx's Asia One Hub and the United Parcel Services (UPS).
Only 66 kilometers away from Metro Manila, Central Luzon is the gateway to the Northern Luzon regions.
Central Luzon Region is located north of Manila, the nation's capital. Bordering the region are the regions of Ilocos, Cordillera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley regions to the north; National Capital Region and CALABARZON to the south; and of waters of Manila Bay to the south; South China Sea to the west; and The Philippine Sea to the east
It covers a total land area of 21,470 square kilometers, and is divided into seven (7) provinces, namely: Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.
There are thirteen cities which include: Balanga from Bataan; Cabanatuan, Gapan, Muñoz, Palayan and San Jose from Nueva Ecija; Olongapo from Zambales; Angeles and San Fernando from Pampanga; San Jose del Monte, Meycauayan and Malolos from Bulacan; and Tarlac from Tarlac.
Central Luzon region, also known as Region 3, comprises the largest plain of the Philippines; it is called most of the country’s rice supply. It is one of the most active and energetic regions in the Philippines. It is situated at the crossroads of Asia pacific. It serves as the gateway for European and American business organizations desiring to penetrate Asia.
Central Luzon is the only region in the Philippines that is accessible through three (3) international airports: Clark, Subic and the Ninoy Aquino International Airports.
A valid passport is required for entry to the Philippines. Generally, foreign visitors from countries with diplomatic relations with the Philippines are allowed to enter the country without visas and may stay for 21days provided their passports are valid for at least 6 months and they hold return tickets. When staying for more than 21 days, a Tourist Visa, which is valid for 59 days, is necessary. Permits and visas can be obtained from the Philippine Embassies and Consulates.
The following are allowed to enter the country without a visa for a stay not exceeding seven (7) days: holders of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports, holders of British National Overseas (BNO) passports, holders of Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) passports.
Further inquiries may be addressed to the Visa Division (tel. nos. (632) 834 3707 / (632) 834 4810, Department of Foreign Affairs or log on to www.dfa.gov.ph/consular/visa.htm.
A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travellers coming from infected areas
Hospitals in the country are manned by highly skilled and competent doctors and nurses and equipped with modern facilities. The unique Filipino brand of caring and compassion makes the Philippines’ medical services at par with the best of the world.
The country boasts of a wide variety of medical healthcare groups to choose from. Its healthcare system is largely patterned after the American model. There are private as well as government run medical facilities, hospitals and clinics all over the country. Hotels and resorts provide medical assistance as well. Towns and cities have health centers provide emergency medical attention.
To facilitate customs examination, visitors are advised to fill in the Baggage and Currency Declaration Form before disembarking. Visitors are allowed to bring in the following items duty- free: reasonable quantity of clothes and jewelry; two bottles of wine or liquor of not more than one liter each; 400 sticks of cigarettes or two tins of tobacco.
Visitors carrying more than US$3,000 are requested to declare the amount at the Central Bank of the Philippines counter at the customs area. Foreign currency taken out upon departure must not exceed the amount brought in. Keep all exchange receipts for record purposes. Departing passengers may not bring out more than P1,000 in local currency.
Airports and Facilities
The Philippines has four (4) international airports: the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Angeles City, Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Lapu-lapu City, Cebu and the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City.
Accredited taxis/car rental are available at NAIA. Metered taxis and rent-a-cars are readily available at the airport (Angeles, Cebu and Davao) to the city proper.
Hotel transfers: Hotel transport can be arranged with hotel representatives at designated counters at the arrival lobby of the airport.
Terminal Fee/Departure Tax
Airport fees of P750 (about US$11) for international flights and P100-200 for domestic flights (paid in Philippine pesos only) will be charged upon departure.
For Diosdado Macapagal International Airport terminal fee for international flights P600 and domestic flight P150.
The first half of the year, from January to May is the best time to visit the country. November to February is cool, while March to May is hot and dry. June to October is rainy, with the months between July to September characterized by typhoons. Average temperature is 78 degrees F/25 degrees C to 90 degrees F/32 degrees C; average humidity is 77%. Some parts of the country, such as Cebu, are warm and comfortable in all seasons and can be visited throughout the year.
For up-to-date weather information, visit the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and astronomical Services Administration (PAGSASA) website: www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph or call PAGASA 24 hour hotline (632) 4338526.
Light clothes, preferably cottons, are advisable. Jackets or sweaters are needed in upland areas. Casual wear is the rule although formal parties may require a suit or Barong Tagalog for men and a dressy frock for ladies.
When visiting churches or mosques, it is well to remember that shorts or provocative dresses will be inappropriate.
Visitors are also advised to bring walking shoes, sunglasses, sunblock cream, insect repellent and a wide brimmed hat.
The Philippines is eight (8) hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
The official languages are Filipino and English. Filipino, which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education. It is also the dominant language in business, government, the legal system, medicine, the sciences and education. A large percentage of the media such as television, newspapers, and entertainment are also in English. Eight (8) major dialects are spoken by majority of the Filipinos: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango and Pangasinense.
The Philippines has a democratic type of government.
Majority of Filipinos (approximately 83%) are Catholic, about 5% are Moslems. The rest are made up of smaller Christian denominations.
Currency and Credit Cards
Unit of currency is the Philippine peso, divided into 100 centavos. Bills are in: 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 pesos. Coins come in 5, 10, 25 centavo and 1, 5, and 10 peso denominations.
Next to the peso, the US dollar enjoys wide acceptance. Most foreign currencies can be easily exchanged at banks, hotels and authorized foreign exchange dealers. Remember to transact only with banks and licensed foreign exchange dealer. Always keep receipts of transactions.
For a complete list of registered foreign exchange dealers/money changers by the Central Bank of the Philippines, log on to www.bsp.gov.ph/banking/FXDMCRA_registry.pdf.
International credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, Mastercard, American Express Card and JCB are accepted in major establishments. It is advisable to use credit cards for major expenses.
Business and Banking Hours
Private and government offices are open either from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Some private companies hold office on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Most shopping malls, department stores and supermarkets are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily. There are 24-hour convenience stores and drugstores. Banks are open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, with automated teller machines (ATM) operating 24-hours.
The international access code for the Philippines is +63. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code. Major towns, cities and popular tourists’ spots are covered by GSM 900 and 1800 mobile networks. There are also providers that offer International Roaming. Phone units are rented in malls at reasonable price. Internet connections are available in hotels, Internet cafes and major resorts all over the country.
Internet facilities are available in most hotels and resorts and in several or cyber cafes all over the country.
Generally, tap water is not suitable for drinking in some areas. It is advisable to either buy mineral water or boil tap water prior to drinking.
An international driving license is valid for up to three months.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 60 Hz, Two-pin flat blade attachments and two-pin round plugs are used. A transformer is necessary for appliances with electrical current of 110 volts.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) has a 24-hour Tourist Assistance Unit located at T.M. Kalaw Street, Rizal Park, Manila. It can be reached at 524 1728 / 524 1660 or through its regional offices.
The DOT Region III office is located at Hilaga Village, City of San Fernando, Pampanga can be reached at (045) 961-2612 or 477-2499 or at the DOT Tourist Information Office located at Marlim Mansions Hotel, Balibago, Angeles City with telephone numbers (045) 625-8525 or 477-2498. For more information, please visit www.visitmyphilippines.com.
Important Telephone Numbers
DOT Information Center (24 hour)
524 2384 / 525 2000
DOT NAIA Office
DOT Tourist Assistance Unit
524 1660 / 524 1728
DOT Tourist Information Office – Angeles
625 8525 / 477 2498
Philippine National Police (PNP)
Public Information Office:
PNP 24-hour hotline
722 2353 / 722 9587
New Year’s Day
EDSA Revolution Day
Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor)
Last Sunday of August
National Heroes Day
Eid-ul-Fitr (end of month of fasting)
All Saints Day
During the Catholic observance of Holy Week (Lenten season), Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are declared as holidays.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
Aguman Sanduk (Fellowship of the Ladle)
Date: January 1
Venue: Minalin, Pampanga
The Aguman Sanduk of Minalin is celebrated in the afternoon at 2 p.m., January 1 (start at Sto. Domingo Church), while the rest of the country takes a break from the previous night's New Year revelry, and there's no one to catch the boys and men of this sleepy fishing town wear their mother's lipstick and put on their wive's dresses. The strange and largely secret tradition began in 1934; even Mayors and parish priests are said to have also joined hundreds of men who parade annually on the street in full transvestite bloom. At the end of the day they choose the Aguman queen, who is usually the ugliest of the cross-dressers.
Contact Person Office of the Municial Administrator
Tel. No. (63 45) 878-0306 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (63 45) 878-0306 end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (63 45) 878-0306 end_of_the_skype_highlighting / Mobile 0916-392-9404
Anao Town Fiesta
Date: March 13-15
Venue: Municipality of Anao, Tarlac
Founding anniversary of the town of Anao in Tarlac featuring events such as Miss Anao beauty pageant, street dancing, games called Laro ng Lahi para sa Kabataan, non-stop ballroom dancing and thanksgiving mass.
Contact Mayor Edgardo Felipe
Phone (63 45) 493-2023/
Date: September 29
Venue: San Rafael, Bulacan
The Angel Festival in San Rafael, Bulacan is an extravagant parade where thousands of young people dance on the streets as "angels dressed in colorful and magnificent costumes" and as symbol of the choirs of angels coming down from heaven to walk on the streets traversed by man. It is held on September 29, the feast day of the town's parton saint, San Rafael Archangel. Since 1992 when the festival started, the event never fails to draw the attention of a massive crowd to witness the angels dance. The annual celebration not only adds meaning to the rich cultural heritage of the town of San Rafael but also intensifies and deepens the devotion of people towards the Divine Healer amd Guide of the Christian pilgrim.
Contact Person Rev. Fr. Dennis Espejo
Tel. No. 0917-629-5285
Apung Iru Fluvial Parade
Date: June 28 - 30
Venue: Apalit, Pampanga
The Apung Iru Fluvial Parade in Apalit, Pampanga begins on June 28 when the ivory image of St. Peter, sitting on a papal throne, is transferred by boat from its permanent shrine in Brgy. Capalangan to Brgy. Sulipan, and culminates on June 30 when the image is returned. Thousands of devotees line both sides of the river shouting, waving leaves and flowers, and splashing in frenzy as the layered pagoda bearing the statue passes by accompanied by hundreds of boats. The floating pagoda, which bears the brass band and about 70 people dancing the traditional Kuraldal, is pulled along the river by swimmers who call themselves the Knights of St. Peter. During the fluvial procession, thousands of revelers on the riverbanks perform the annual shower of packed food containing boiled eggs, rice, and canned sardines meant for the swimmers. The annual event never fails to attract thousands of local and foreign tourists.
Araquio of Penaranda
Date: May 8
Venue: Penaranda, Nueva Ecija
Held every 2nd Sunday of May, in Penaranda, Nueva Ecija, the Araquio Festival is a traditional procession and dramatization of the finding of the Holy Cross by St. Helena and her son, the Emperor Constantine, where Jesus Christ was crucified. Similarly, the komedya or moro-moro carries on in some villages such as Poblacion (2nd Sunday of May), Las Pinas (May 11 - 12), Sto. Tomas (1st Sunday of May), San Jose (3rd Sunday of May) and Pinasahan (May 21-122). Dating back from the Spanish colonial period, the festival features vivacious beats of brass bands, spirited choreography and moving voices embraced with a daunting literary piece. Written in ancient Tagalog, the script tells about the feud of the Muslims and Christians that started over territories. It shows how Christians used the power of the cross symbolizing their faith in defeating the Muslims, who later retaliated by way of stealing the cross from them. Many battles preceded the retrieval of the cross, which in the end led to the Christening of the Muslims.
Aurora Foundation Day
Date: Feb 13 - 19
Venue: Baler, Aurora
The most awaited event during the celebration of the annual Aurora Foundation Day is the so-called 'Karansa': a Street Dancing Competition where the concept of cooperation and unity called 'Paatag' prevails as the overall theme of the day's hilarious activities. The weeklong activity includes singing and dancing competition, parade of the eight towns of the province with matching thematic floats and beauty queens, Search for Bb. Aurora and a streetside tourism and investment exhibits. The festival culminates in a beach party and fireworks display. A wreath-laying ceremony takes place at the foot of the monument of Dona Aurora Quezon before the end of the festival. Contact Person Christopher Gonzales Tel. No. (63 42) 209-4373/4211
Aurora Surfing Cup
Date: February 12-15
Venue: Baler, Aurora
Every February, the province of Aurora plays host to the Aurora Surfing Cup, which through the years, has established a steady following of local and international surfing enthusiasts. The province boasts of internationally recognized surf sites such as Sabang Beach (beach break), Cemento Beach (reef break), and Charlie's Point (river mouth break). The best waves in these areas come around October to March. Contact Person Christopher Gonzales Tel. No. (63 42) 209-4373/4211
Belenismo sa Tarlac: The Art of Making Belen
Venue: Province of Tarlac
The campaign to create an annual tourist attraction for Tarlac and at the same time develop a Belen-related cottage industry while preserving the religious importance of remembering the birth of Jesus Christ has gained ground with the launch in December 2007 of "Belenismo sa Tarlac," a project initiated by a group led by Ms. Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay that seeks to transform the province into the "Belen Capital" of the Philippines. Belenismo in Spanish means "the art of making Belen, a representation of the Nativity scene in which the Holy Family (Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus) is visited by the three wise men who came to the manger through the guidance of a star. During the Yuletide season, entries to the competition ranging from larger than life-size, personal, monumental, to dioramas are displayed in various places around the province while the smaller dioramas are housed at the Museo de Tarlac. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer dated December 25, 2007, authored by Russell Arador)
Calumpit Libad Festival
Date: June 23
Venue: Calumpit, Bulacan
The colorful event is celebrated on June 23, the day before the fiesta, when a fluvial procession in honor of the town's patron saint, St. John the Baptist, is held on the Pampanga river which is made more festive by the presence of a host of decorated pagodas and bancas of every barangay. While the procession goes on, people dance while townsfolk watch in merriment along the riverbanks, and the traditional "Basaan" (water splashing) including the throwing of plastic-packed food keep people on their toes. Contact Person Office of the Mayor
Tel. No. (63 44) 425-4136
Date: February 28
Venue: Mabalacat, Pampanga
Held every 3rd week of Feruary as part of the month-long celebration of the town fiesta of Mabalacat, Pampanga, the event is named after the first chieftain known as Caragan of the said town who happens to be an Aeta and married to a Mabalaquena named Laureana Tolentino. The highlight of the festival is the street parade featuring all of Aeta culture and heritage. Contact Information: Pampanga Arts and Culture Office, Tel. No. (63 45) 961-0538 / 963-0107
Date: December 5, 2009 (Movable)
Venue: Sta. Rita, Pampanga (Parish church patio)
The annual Duman Festival is a culinary exposition cum cultural show where people can eat the best Kapampangan food "al fresco" and in the comfort of traditional and contemporary Kapampangan songs and performances under the shadow of the Sta. Rita Parish Church. The festival is also in honor of the local delicacy called Duman. It is a Christmas delicacy that is made from young gluttonous rice which is a variety of palay. It originated from the tradition of pounding and winnowing unripe glutinous rice (lacatan) and turning it into a light pale gold or green delicacy called "duman." The glutinous rice is harvested just before it gets ripe and continuously pounded amidst song and merriment. During harvest, mature kernels fall off. (Source: Sunstar Pampanga, issue 11/30/08)
Date: October 1 - 31
Venue: Angeles City
In celebration of the twin fiestas of La Naval and Pyestang Apu. Several fun-filled activities are undertaken during the month of October, among which are: Capampangan Food Festival, Parade of Floats, Cultural Nights at the Museo ng Angeles courtesy of various religious and private organizations, Kundiman ning Angeles-Rigodon de Honor, Fiestang Culiat Car Show, golf tournament, boxing match, children's olympics, and of course the now famous Tigtigan at Terakan Keng Dalan every last Friday and Saturday of October. For further details, please contact Angeles City Tourism Office, Tel. No. (63 45) 322-0507/7231/7238/893-2212 loc 195
Giant Lantern Festival (Ligligan Parul)
Date: Saturday before December 25
Venue: City of San Fernando, Pampanga (SM City Pampanga)
Rising at 18 feet in diameter and fitted with close to 7,000 bulbs that blink on and off through a number of rotors in sync with a medley of Filipino Christmas songs, these giant lanterns let out not less than 10 designs that feature geometric shapes, flowers, fans, cones and hearts glowing in all colours of the rainbow. The exhibition is usually capped by the opening of the innermost circle in half to reveal in full bloom what the lantern makers designed to be the showcase of their presentation like the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the grand applause from a crowd estimated at 20,000 each year. The festival is participated in by some 8-10 villages of the City San Fernando in Pampanga with each one creating its own design, colour combination and interplay of lights and sound. The city is known as the lantern capital of the Philippines.
Date: February 6 -7
Venue: Candaba, Pampanga
One of the more colorful events in Pampanga, the Ibon Ebon Festival (literally means 'bird - egg') initiated by Mayor Jerry Pelayo features the municipality of Candaba as the home of thousands of migratory birds from different parts of the globe, and at the same time showcase its growing duck-egg industry. Among the activities featured during the two-day event include: street-dance performance by Tribung Dumara and other schools' contingents, exhibits and trade fair at the Ms. Earth Park, bird-inspired fite flying exhibition, itik race and boat race along Pampanga river.
Date: Jan 6
Venue: Sasmoan, Pampanga
The Kuraldal of Sasmuan occurs during the week of the town fiesta on January 6, when Kapampangans from neighboring towns gather in front of the chapel of St. Lucy and dance for favors all night. As soon as the mass ends at 8:00 p.m., the rowdy entry of the brass band signals the start of non-stop dancing that lasts till 3:00 a.m. Barren women are said to get pregnant after the festival. What is unique about this event is the mix of pagan and Christian elements shown in the tribal beat that the crowd dances to, and the rowdy adulation around the statue of St. Lucy. Contact Person Lilibeth Yambao Tel. No. (63 45) 900-0306
Venue: Tarlac City, Tarlac
Malatarlak Festival, held in Tarlac City, derives its name from a Negrito word which means grass that grows abundantly in the area. The grass family contains plants of vast economic, ecological and historical importance including wheat, rice, rye, corn, barley, sugarcane, bamboo and an array of grassland species. The festival features various contingents of school children garbed in grass-inspired costumes - painted with black soots - all merrily dancing to the beat of local tunes and ethnic instruments made of bamboo. Contact Person Wilfredo Toldanes Tel. No. (63 45) 982-4051/1923
Obando Fertility Dance
Date: May 17 - 19
Venue: Obando, Bulacan
Devotees from all over dance their way to find a lover or be rewarded with a child on the feast days of San Pascual Baylon, Sta. Clara de Asis and La Concepcion de Nuestra known as Virgen de Salambao every May 17 - 19. Be enthralled by rythmic dances of men and women accompanied by traditional brass bands - all garbed in Filipiniana attire.
Pagoda sa Wawa
Date: 1st Sunday of July
Venue: Bocaue, Bulacan
Held annually on the 1st Sunday of July in the town of Bocaue, the festival features a fluvial parade in honor of the miraculous "Krus sa Wawa". A huge pagoda bearing the image of the Krus accompanied by some 200 devotees symbolizes a dramatic tradition inspired by centuries-old tales. It is believed that the mounting of such a festival assures the agricultural town of Bocaue a bountiful harvest. Pagoda sa Wawa, in the truest sense, is an exploration of the medium of the water or the river to dramatize the meaning of Christianity in the lives of the local folks. Legend says that a wooden cross was seen drifting along the Bocaue River one day of July, in the year 1850. Found at the intersection of two tributaries, the cross was left to float by a local fisherman named Crispin Mendoza and tested on which direction it would go. And when the tide led it naturally to the direction of Bocaue, it was brought immediately to the church to become the parish's principal object of veneration, eclipsing on most occasions the original patron saint of the town, Saint Martin of Tours. Boat races, nine-day prayers, games, revelry and races are all done in the river before the Miraculous Cross is transferred to the church where it will be enshrined for the entire year. Contact Person Rommel Villanueva (Municipal Administrator) Tel. No. (63 44) 692-1234/3038
Date: Month of May
Venue: San Miguel, Bulacan
The festival is a tribute to one of the town's famous sweets - pastillas de leche (carabao milk candies). The town was formerly known as San Miguel de Mayumo, so called because it was renowned for the sweets made there. Among the events in the festival are demonstrations on pastillas cooking and the craft of making pabalat, the lacey pastillas wrappers made of rice paper.
Date: November 29-30 (movable)
Venue: Brgy. Nagbalayong, Morong, Bataan
Pawikan Festival in Brgy. Nagbalayong, Morong was organized to intensify the information campaign and generate public awareness on the importance of endangered baby Olive Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys Olivacea are the smallest in the world) in our eco-system. The weeklong celebration is highlighted by a ceremonial releasing of Pawikan hatchlings in the blue waters off South China Sea , street dancing competition where participants are dressed gaudily in turtle-like clothing, walk for a cause, trade fair, beach volleyball, graffiti painting contest, sand castling contest, coastal clean-up project, seminars and other activities. The event is a joint project of the provincial tourism office, Bataan Tourism Council Foundation, Inc., municipal tourism council and LGU of Morong. Contact Person Caesar Cuayson / Christina Banzon Tel. No. (63 47) 237-4785/2413
Paynauen 'Duyan' Festival
Date: April 19 - 23
Venue: Iba, Zambales
Paynauen Festival in Iba, Zambales which commemorates the provincial capital\\\\\\\\\\\\'s founding anniversary (founded in 1611) traces its origin from a Zambal word which means rest or pahingahan - the ancient name of Iba before the Spanish conquistadores founded the village on the shore of the Bancal River in 1611. The festival is the brainchild of Vice Mayor Benjamin Farin, Jr. It features photo competition and exhibit, sand sculpture competition, skate boarding, 2-cock derby, carabao race, beauty pageant, kite flying, banca race, boxing tournament, street dancing / Duyan Parade, among other activities. For info, eMail at firstname.lastname@example.org Contact Tel. No. (63 47) 811-2597/2910
Philippine International Hot-Air Balloon Festival
Date: 2nd Thurs-Sun of February
Venue: Clark, Pampanga
Held every 2nd weekend of February in Clark, the annual festival features air-sporting events like hot-air balloon competition, aircraft maneuvers and precision flying, ultralights, RC Demonstration Flying, sky diving, aircarft rally, rocketeering, flag jump, balloon bursting competition, kite flying, trade fair, carnival rides and nightly concerts. The participation of international hot-air balloons from all over the world draws thousands of people to the site to witness the early morning balloon fly-out and late afternoon fly-in. The festival was initiated by the Department of Tourism in 1994 by then Secretary Mina Gabor to rescucitate the fledgling spirit of the Kapampangans - only three years following the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. The tourism regional office led by Regional Director Ronaldo Tiotuico handled the initial stages of the project in cooperation with Clark Development Corp. and the local government of Angeles City before turning it over to the Hot Air Balloon Club of the Philippines under the leadership of Capt. Joy Roa of Air Ads, Inc. in 1999. For information on the current festival, visit www.philballoonfest.net or http://www.philskies.net/library/pihabf2008/ or send query to email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Contact Person Air Ads, Inc. (Capt. Joy Roa) Tel. No. (63 2) 833-3264 / 831-4939 / 551-2780 Fax No. (63 2) 831-4939 or call mobile : 0929-314-9191 Website www.flyaai.com or www.asianairsafari.com
Pulilan Carabao Festival
Date: May 14 - 15
Venue: Pulilan, Bulacan
An annual festival featuring hundreds of water buffaloes (carabao) parading along the streets of Pulilan followed by a throng of colorful floats and farming machines - all celebrating the feat of their patron saint, San Isidro de Labrador. The popular beasts of burden are cleaned and waxed to an ebony shine, their horns festooned with garlands of flowers, and and made to take a bow before the town church by performing the traditional genuflection - an incredible feat that never fails to mesmerize local and foreign visitors. One week before the the feast day, a number of agri-related events are held in the town to primarily focus on and promote the economic development programs of the local government. Farmers hold contest such as carabao races, best crops competition and other folk children's games. Prizes are at stake for the best-looking carabao, the most skillful and the cleanest, the best themed-cart float, among other events.
Pyestang Tugak (Frog Festival)
Date: October 7-9, (movable)
Venue: City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Started in 2003 to perpetuate the beautiful traditions that emerged through the years in catching and cooking frogs that used to abound in the rice fields of Pampanga. The citizens of San Fernando have reserved a special day every year to honor this amphibian because of its important contributions to the environment, the economy and culture. It also resembles the Fernandino in many ways, including its resiliency.
Date: August 22-25
Venue: San Luis, Aurora
The Sabutan Festival in the town of San Luis, province of Aurora highlights the importance of growing palm trees locally called Sabutan on the community's economic wellbeing. The raw material which grows on mountain terrain and forest land is used to weave a variety of useful products and ornamentals like hats, placemats, fans and even native dress - all made of Sabutan. The exclusive art of weaving Sabutan is handed down from one generation to the other. The festival features native dance presentation among school children, trade fair, cultural shows and exhibits.
Date Dec 3 - 9
Venue: City of San Fernando, Pampanga
The Sinukwan Festival relives the Kapampangan spirit with a weeklong calendar of cultural revivals capped by a grand street-dance parade in the City of San Fernando, with some 21 towns outdoing each other to the tune of "Atin Cu Pung Singsing", It features hordes of gaily-dressed and gaudily crowned Pampangenos, native music and rituals. Organized annually by the Save Pampanga Movement, the festival memorializes Aring Sinukwan, an ancient mythical god, who is the epitome of Kapampangan culture. Activities include photo contest and exhibits, food and arts showcase (Lutong Kapampangan), Kapampangan singing competition, serenata and beauty pageant.
Sibit-Sibit Summer Festival
Date: April 25 - 27
Venue: Olongapo City (Brgy. Barreto)
The name Sibit-Sibit was derived from the name of small paddle-driven bancas used for fishing during the early days when Brgy. Barreto was yet called Sitio Maquinaya. During fiestas, fisherfolk hold banca race using pure human strength to win the competition. Today, the festival competition includes motorized banca race and sail boat competition to add fun and excitement to the activity. In the summer of 1996, the idea came to mind when then barangay Kagawad Carlito A. Baloy set sail to stage the 1st Sibit-Sibit Festival at Driftwood Beach. It was held yearly but later was shelved for various reasons. The event was revived by the city Government under the leadership of Mayor James J. Gordon Jr. in 2006.
Singkaban Festival (Linggo ng Bulacan)
Date: Sept. 8 - 15
Venue: Malolos City, Bulacan
Known to many as Linggo ng Bulacan, the festival is a celebration of the arts and culture for the patron saint of the province, the Fiesta of Our Lady of Victory and is held at the provincial capitol grounds, Malolos City, on September 8 - 15 of every year. In conjunction with this, the annual Singkaban Festival is held. Singkaban is an acronym for "sining at kalinangan' (art and culture). It celebrates also the anniversary of the first Philippine Congress established on September 15, 1898 at Barasoain Church. Festivities include a 'balagtasan' (debate or declamation patterned after the poetry of Francisco Balagtas), folk dances, 'kundiman' (Filipino plaintive love song), Indakan sa Kalye (street dancing), and Lakan at Lakambini ng Bulacan beauty pageant. The event also showcases Bulacan's products - fireworks, plants, and delicacies like puto, inipit and pastillas de leche. In 2008, the provincial government made a bid to establish the LONGEST PASTILLAS (Carabao milk candy) in the Guinness World Record under the category of 'amazing feats' at 202.6 meters long, 5 inches in diameter (more than 4,000 kilos to prepare, 12,800 liters of carabao milk, 1,600 kilos of sugar and 200 volunteers to shape and wrap the longest candy bar).
Sto. Nino Festival
Date: Jan. 25
Venue: Malolos City, Bulacan
The biggest expression of devotion to the Holy child Jesus in the entire Luzon island. The event features a week long celebration cum exhibits, a procession featuring more than a hundred caros of diverse images of the the Sto. Nino. Contact Person Divina Quetwa
Tel. No. (63 44) 662-7635/791-7335/662-7635
Subic Karakoa Festival
Venue: Subic Bay Freeport, Zambales
In honor of the warship Karakoa, a warship built by the Pintados tribe, SBMA sets the stage for a unique festival filled with colorful floats, parade and motorcade called Subic Karakoa Festival. It is meant to complement the annual Philippine Motorsports Festival and the Karakoa Food Festival. Contact Person Nida Rojo Tel. No. 63 47) 252-4123/4242/4194/4196/4195/4561
Date: April 25
Venue: San Jose City, Nueva Ecija
San Jose City prides itself as the "Onion Capital of the Philippines" and is a leading producer of onion, garlic, rice and vegetables. Every year, on the fourth Sunday of April, the people of San Jose dance through the main street in a colorful, enchanting celebration of the blessing of the harvest. On festival day, the streets are filled with contingents of dancers outfitted in striking, multi-hued native costumes. Exotic rhythms of improvised musical instruments fill the air as the dancers gyrate and sway to the beat of life. Special activities included are: beauty contest, tourism and trade fair, awarding ceremony and cultural shows. Contact Person Lito Buenaventura Tel. No. (63 44) 511-1744
Date: June 24
Venue: Aliaga, Nueva Ecija
Taong Putik originated from a unique practice of the devotees of Saint John the Baptist in Bibiclat, Aliaga, Nueva Ecija. Their bodies are completely coated with mud and adorned with vines, banana leaves or dried coconut leaves to hide their identity and as an act of humility and penance. The ritual starts as the curtain of the early dawn rises on June 24 - as the streets of Bibiclat becomes the stage for the unfolding of the performance of the devotees of the Fiesta ni San Juan Bautista. The Taong Putik (mud men) ask for alms and candles from the people and offering them at the church during the special mass celebrated at 7:00 in the morning. Devotees are also known as "San Juan or nag-sa-San Juan" by the townsfolk of Aliaga because they imitate Saint John the Baptist who hid his role as the chosen one to baptize Jesus Christ by wearing animal skin to deceive those who were after his head. A special mass and procession follow, with the taong putik in attendance. Thereafter, they wash up, symbolizing rebirth, They dress up and partake of the fiesta food and drink, music and merrymaking.
Ulo ng Apo Festival
Date: Month of October
Venue: Olongapo City
Olongapeńos celebrate the Ulo ng Apo Festival to commemorate the city's remarkable history. The festival, celebrated annually during the month of October, is highlighted by a mardigras with famous celebrities from Manila, live band shows, street dancing contingents performing along Magsaysay Drive. The festival is spearheaded by the Olongapo City Business Club Inc. in coordination with the city government.
Zambales Mango Festival
Date: April 23 - 26
Venue: Iba, Zambales
The event is a celebration of a bountiful harvest of mangoes and other agricultural products which the province is so known for. It is aimed to highlight the must-see attractions and places of interest in all its towns. Among the activities during the event include Hataw Saya Street Dancing Competition, trade fair and exhibit, Lakbay Zamables Cycling Competition, PINAKA Product Display, Mango Fruit Stand Competition, Agri-Karera ng Kalabaw, Huli Mo, Biik Mo, Alaga ko si Bantay Competition, Sand Sculpting Competition, Mango Mixing Bar-tending Competition, Mango Ultimate Dance Showdown, Mango Jam and Pie Making and much more. Contact Information: Zambales Provincial Tourism & Investment Office, Badit Guevarra, Tel. No. (63 47) 811-7221/7216/7218 Website www.zambales.gov.ph or www.visitzambales.com
The province was named after President Manuel L. Quezon's wife, Aurora. Quezon, the first president of the Philippine Commonwealth, was born in Baler. Aurora was first explored by Juan de Salcedo in 1571, when he reached Casiguran and Baler from Laguna. In 1609, a Franciscan mission was founded in Baler. In 1735, Baler was destroyed by a tidal wave from the Pacific Ocean. The surviving inhabitants decided to move to higher ground. In 1814, the village of Binondo was founded away from the coast. Baler was a part of Nueva Ecija until 1902, when it was ceded to Tayabas, the former name of Quezon province. During the commonwealth period, when President Quezon unexpectedly visited Binondo, he named it Aurora in honor of his wife. In 1951, municipalities now comprising the province were organized into Aurora, a sub-province of what had then become Quezon. The municipality of Aurora was changed to Maria Aurora. On August 13, 1979 Aurora became a separate province by virtue of Batas Pambansa No.7.
Aurora is a province blessed with an abundance of tourist attractions. It has its share of historical sights such as the home and resthouse of former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon. The province also has a beautiful Catholic church and several historical markers. Its natural attractions include picturesque waterfalls, lush greenery on mountainsides, and panoramic beaches. Surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, mountain climbing and trekking are only some of the activities a tourist can enjoy in Aurora.
How to get there
Aurora can be reached via two road networks - the Canili-Pantabangan Road and the Baler-Bongabon Road. Genesis Transport with terminals in Manila and Pasay City offers daily morning trips from Manila to Baler. Travel time is approx 8 hours. For those coming from the northern provinces, D Liner buses stationed in Baguio take 8 hours to reach Baler. Buses, jeepneys and private vans stationed in Cabanatuan Central Terminal in Nueva Ecija take two hours to reach the southern-most town of Dingalan, and four hours to reach Baler.
Picnicking in the valleys of Aurora could be one delightful activity for tourists. One could pick out a nice area in the IFRC Nursery and Falls, where a mantelpiece could be set in between a twin falls, and enjoy sumptuous broiled delights from the sea and fresh tropical fruit. Other mountainous areas are filled with tiny falls, springs, and rivulets where picnics are ideal.
Aurora is a paradise for surfers, with its long coastline exposed to the Pacific Ocean. The sport was made famous in the Province by the classic film Apocalypse Now. The scene in which U.S. soldiers are surfing was filmed here, and the production crew left behind surfboards for the locals to use. The locals of Baler claim that the surf is sometimes so huge that they could hear it all the way from the provincial capitol building, some 1.5 km away from the coast.
There are numerous surfing points in Aurora, but the municipality of Baler offers most of the more accessible surfing areas with good accommodations.
Baler is also home to the country's largest Filipino surfing community, numbering about 50, although there are only some 20 surfboards in the entire town. The local surfers are always friendly and hospitable to visiting surfers, and it pays to learn from their experience with the waves in the area.
Aurora has an abundance of shallow coral reefs, where a snorkeler can enjoy the myriad forms of coral and undersea life. The beauties of the reef that stretch throughout the lengthy coastline are still waiting to be discovered.
Aurora has many prime spots waiting to be discovered by an adventurous scuba diver along the reefs and coral-lined shores. The main snag to the sport is the lack of scuba diving equipment and air compressor units for oxygen tank refilling.
But if you care to bring your own equipment, you may find scuba diving in Aurora to be a most rewarding experience... and you may be among the first divers to explore the untouched reefs in the deeper reaches of the province's coast.
Aurora is a prime spot for mountain climbing and nature trekking activities, with its large forest reserve areas, its vast lowlands and foothills, and the presence of the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges.
The variety of terrain coupled with the abundance of clear streams, waterfalls and vegetation can make for a trekking experience as unique and challenging as one can plan. Trekkers are advised, however, to consult local officials in the municipalities to ensure that the area is safe beforehand.
Aurora Quezon Marker
Not far from the Lt. Gilmore Marker and the Baler Catholic Church is the historic marker built in honor of Doña Aurora Aragon Quezon, the wife of Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon. Aurora Quezon was known for her untiring efforts in social welfare, especially for the benefit of the people of Aurora province. Like her husband, she was born in the town of Baler. She died in an ambush on the mountain roads of Nueva Ecija leading to the province that now bears her name.
Baler Catholic Church
The structure is an old church with a simple facade. Here, the last Spanish garrison of four officers and 50 men was besieged by Filipino insurgents from June 27, 1898 to July 2, 1899. This was the last pocket of resistance of the Spanish Armed Forces to surrender to American troops. This is also where the La Campana de Baler, an ancient bell, was used and later stored as a relic.
Located in the Poblacion of Casiguran town, Ermita Hill provides an enchanting view of the entire Poblacion, the dark blue coast of Casiguran Bay and the barrios nearby. Aside from its magnificent landscape, Ermita Hill is known as a sacred haven for religious activities by devotees of the Miraculous Mother Mary, of whom a life-size statue is situated in a grotto on top of the hill. Under the Spanish rule, a Watchtower was built to guard the town against possible attackers. Governor Bella Angara-Castillo (then a Congresswoman) appropriated funding for the prevention of erosion of the hillside and its beautification.
This beach is covered with smooth rocks of various sizes and darker color. This beach is an area called Bunga Point or Ampere Point, where local residents flock to Okotan Cave, a time-honored locale for forecasting the weather. The Pacific waves, upon hitting the shoreline cave, produce an explosion, the intensity of which, according to local lore, determines the intensity of the incoming weather.
Off the coast of Barangay Zabali, Baler
Two small but imposing islands lie south of the islet of Dimadimalangat. These islets jut straight from the sea like bullets, with shrubs, small trees and other greenery growing on top surfaces. Kingfishers, gulls and hawks use these islets as lookout points for fish. Towering waves relentlessly pound the base of the formations, challenging even the most intrepid of rock climbers.
Balete Park & Millenium Tree
This park contains a 600-year-old balete tree that was designated the official "Millennium Tree" of The Philippines. It is the largest tree of its kind in Asia, and it would take 60 grown men, holding one another at arm's length, to encircle its gigantic trunk.
Due to its age, the tree's thick roots have grown above ground, such that caves have formed under various sections of the trunk. This unique tree has generated national media attention and is now the most visited tourist spot in Aurora.
Barangay Real, San Luis
Natural terraced steps overflowing with spring water best describe the Banyu Springs. A mass of ferns surrounds the springs, which stretch up to a hundred meters toward the source of the spring, hidden amidst shrubbery. Because a cement quarry located under the spring flow was exposed and weathered due to the constant flow of water, the cement settled into a terraced formation.
Barangay Borlongan, Dipaculao
Borlongan Beach, like Ampere Beach, is covered for several kilometers with gray pebbles and smooth, fist-size stones. This makes Borlongan beachfront different from most other beaches.
Casiguran Sound is a bay nearly enclosed by the Casiguran landmass and the cape of San Ildefonso. Only a kilometer-wide inlet serves to connect the sound to the sea. Its very location provides protection from the typhoons that seasonally ravage most of the province. Casiguran Sound is also unaffected by the monsoon winds that blow from October through February, making it an ideal spot for windsurfing, should facilities be available. For the time being, bring your own windsurfing equipment.
The area has its share of white beaches and numerous places for relaxation. Many foreigners have taken advantage of the natural placidity, having built vacation homes along the coast.
Cemento Beach & Reef
Barangay Cemento, Baler
White sand, seashells, and crushed corals carpet the stretch of Cemento Beach. From October to February, waves tower up to 14 feet high, making for excellent and challenging surfing, as experts from Europe, Japan and Australia can attest. The area is recommended for expert or professional surfers as the waves break at the reef and are of the right-hand break type. The surfer is advised to wear wetsuits for protection.
The area is also suitable for snorkeling and wall diving during the calm season from April to June. Finally, Cemento Beach is a popular haven for lobsters and other marine species.
Barangay Pimentel, San Luis
Barely a hundred meters away from a dirt road passable to most vehicles, Cunayan Falls is one of the more accessible falls of Aurora. The falls strongly sprays from a cliff where greenery and even some flowers grow, creating a great contrast against the white and light gray gravel sand area washed out by intermittent floods. The falls flow into a crystal clear stream tinged only by the blue reflection of the sky and its mild temperature makes it ideal for baths. The gravel bank of the stream is a sandy area suitable for picnics.
Off Barangay Dibut, San Luis
The wide Dibut Bay coast affords numerous sights-island formations, peninsulas, short stretches of beaches, and imposing cliffs. One formation, appropriately named "Birhen" (meaning "virgin"), resembles the Virgin Mary praying amidst the waves. Since Dibut Bay is not a favored spot for the fishing industry, tourists may catch a glimpse of the magnificent Hammerhead shark and Mako shark. For diving enthusiasts, moreover, Dibut Bay is the perfect place to test out your latest flip.
Dicasalarin, San Luis
With beaches, hills, a peninsula, a Grotto of the Blessed Virgin, coves, caves, a cave-pool and reefs; Dicasalarin Bay; while small in area, offers hours of recreation and relaxation for the entire family.
Barangay Zabali, Baler
From the islands collectively known as Lukso-Lukso, one can hike to the white coral beach of Barangay Zabali. Digisit Beach stretches to about a kilometer in length. The upper landward shore is mostly sand, while the water shores are barricades of corals forming a protective reef that prevents strong waves of the Pacific from smashing onto the shore. The area is good for diving and, during calmer months, snorkeling.
Dilasag, a municipality at the northernmost area of Aurora, offers a coast with kilometer upon kilometer of white sand beach alternating occasionally with forests, hills, and cliffs. Its undeveloped features and natural attractions offer tourists the sensation of discovering something new and unspoiled. Inaccessible to most transportation, Dilasag Coast is a true getaway.
Off the coast of Barangay Cemento, Baler
This rock formation is actually a small island just a few meters away from the reef shore of Barangay Cemento and serves as a point identifying the southernmost tip of Baler Bay. During low tide, this islet becomes a peninsula, of sorts, where one could walk and wade from the reef shore to this natural rock formation. Around this island are reefs for the more daring divers.
Along Dicadi Highway
Dinadiawan Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Aurora, with a fabulous view of the Pacific Ocean, the lush, diverse forests of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, and the rock formation along the shoreline. And, Dinadiawan Beach is resort-free.
Dingalan Bay View Site
Barangay Tanawan, Dingalan
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Tanawan,\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" as the place is called, means \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"viewsite.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" Upon approaching the border of Dingalan and Nueva Ecija, one passes through an area sloping upwards. At its peak is Dingalan Bay View Site. Undeveloped, except for a solitary nipa hut and several electric poles, the area provides fantastic view of the town and the blue bay, as well as the green mountains and the igneous rock formations. Dingalan Bay is a total contrast from the hot, dry and brown environment of Nueva Ecija. One would be amazed by the almost sudden emergence of greenery that overlooks Dingalan upon reaching the Bay View Site. Dingalan Bay View Site is a perfect place for photography and picnicking.
Barangay Dimatubo, San Luis
The crystal clear water of Ditumabo Falls gushes endlessly, flowing and twisting among countless rocks and boulders. The trek to the falls traverses several kilometers through the river and over a few steep mountain trails surrounding the falls on both banks. Occasionally, the trekker will unavoidably come upon fallen or cut logs that serve as either natural bridges or obstacles. Approximately 140 feet high, the falls are surrounded by huge cliffs-an unforgettable sight for nature lovers!
A dozen caves along the seaside cliff of Paltic, Dingalan, are constantly pounded by Pacific Ocean waves. A few mini-beaches serve as docking points for bancas and during the calmer months of April to June, one can maneuver a small banca inside the caves. Aside from a small waterfall that trickles outside one of the caves, the site would seem deceptively ordinary. A close inspection inside one of the caves, however, reveals a delightful natural waterfall gushing from an underground stream. Another cave showers water, giving the impression of an indoor rainstorm. The shore facing the cave steeply descends and is immediately immersed in the deep sea. Rare marine life such as giant turtles and some sharks patrol the area. Local fishermen have spotted more interesting undersea life along the coral reefs a few hundred meters southeast of the caves. The hills that encompass the north and south of the cliff show well-groomed grassland continually caressed by the sea breeze.
Off the coast of Barangay Zabali, Baler
At least three islets comprise the rock formations known to the locals as \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Lukso-Lukso.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" One of these small islands is connected to the mainland and at low tide you can see white grainy sands, crushed corals and numerous seashells, some inhabited by hermit crabs. This island formation is the southernmost point and is accessible to vehicles coming from Baler. The sea bottom and undersea reefs around these islets are reportedly good areas for diving, and during calm months, snorkeling.
Motyong is a popular beach filled with fine white sand. There are no resorts in this area. However, there are few private resthouses. There is a private airstrip located nearby, however, and plans are underway to make it into a full-sized airport, making Motyong ideal for possible resort investment.
Pimentel Falls ( National Irrigation Authority (NIA) Watershed)
The NIA watershed is a small dam built beside a picnic area in San Luis. The water below the dam is clear, with a greenish reflection of the vegetation surrounding the pond. The place is a coconut plantation covered with short carabao grass and some shrubbery, making the place ideal not only for swimming but for picnicking as well.
Barangay Sabang, Baler
Located on this long stretch of gray sand beach are several resorts namely: Angara\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Beach House, Bay\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Inn Resort, MIA Surf and Sports Resort and Baler Guesthouse and Restaurant, which, offer accommodations near the beachfront and provide food, relaxation, and respite for swimmers and surfers.
From March through June, the waves are relatively calm providing a good beachfront for swimmers and an excellent challenge for expert windsurfers. The months from October to February bring in the large waves for beginner surfers to learn the basics with relative safety from scratches, since most of the beach is sandy- bottomed. Undertows, which are helpful to surfers and dangerous for non-swimmers, do occur in certain areas.
The most popular surfing point is found right in front of Bay\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Inn, where beginners brave the moderate waves and regular surfers practice. Lindy\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Point, found further north along Sabang Beach, is a highly-prized secret spot among local surfers.
Sierra Madre Mountain
Parts of Aurora Province
This mountain range covers a large part of the province of Aurora. In fact, apart from the Aurora coastline, the mountain range is where the flora and fauna of the province is concentrated. Waterfalls, rivers and crystal-clear streams of varying sizes are located within, if not adjacent to, the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. Activities such as mountain climbing, photo safaris, birdwatching, ecological studies, or simply picnicking could be rolled into one by taking trails recommended by local nature trekkers.
White Beach (Dingalan)
This two-kilometer long beach has numerous shells and corals scattered along the entire length of its southern half, which is approximately one kilometer long. The shore is made up of coral reefs that gradually slope into the sea, and a bit farther from the shore is a sudden drop into the sea bottom. This area has a variety of undersea flora and fauna for divers to observe. Brain corals, sea urchins, hermit crabs and even an occasional lobster may be seen in the reef site. The northern half of the beach is of brownish white sand and is an excellent place for swimming. The whole White Beach area is bordered on the landward side by a long hillcrest with bushes and trees scattered from the foot to the top of the hill. Off-shore coral reef formations provide interesting spots for diving.
MIA (MAKE IT AURORA) SURF & SPORTS RESORT
Barangay Sabang, Baler
The MIA Surf & Sports Resort offers various accommodations. Five VIP rooms have their own flush toilets, showers and electric fans. There are also seven single rooms and four double rooms. There is a restaurant with a seating capacity of 100. The resort offers facilities for horseback riding and rental of equipment for surfing, windsurfing and snorkeling.