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Local Wonders

Abe's Farm (Events Village Country Cuisine and Spa)
#98 Livestock Village, Brgy. Ayala, Magalang, Pampanga (at the foothills of Mt. Arayat)
Enjoy the culinary delights of Abe Restaurant right where it comes from - the gourmet province of Pampanga, in the town of Magalang where the famed writer and artist Abe Aguilar Cruz first saw the light of day and majestic beauty of Mt. Arayat. For particulars, please call Tel. Nos. (63 45) 865-1930 or call LJC Sales Office at (63 2) 506-8140 / 8141 / 710-7423 / 5267706 Mobile 0922-856-3467 or email sales@ljcrestaurants.com.ph Website: www.abesfarm.com.ph HOW TO GET THERE: From Manila, take the Angeles exit on the NLEX. Follow the Magalang road leading to the town plaza (15 mins), turn right after the Magalang Municipal Hall then head towards Brgy. Ayala, go past a resort on the left, go straight till you see the sign pointing to Abe's Farm.

The Mt. Arayat hideaway of Larry Cruz, the man behind the successful LJC Group of Restaurants. Journalist turned restaurateur and bon vivant just like his father, the late Pampango writer and painter E. Aguilar Cruz, Larry could be credited to have single-handedly revived the lackluster Remedios Circle in Malate way back in the late 1970s into a chic trendsetting landmark, with his flagship Café Adriatico. (Source: Ivan Henares: Ivan About Town)

Angat Hydroelectric Plant
Angat, Bataan
One of the country's largest dams, it supplies potable water and energy to Metro Manila and nearby areas. It facilitates fishing and boating in a man-made lagoon and hunting in the nearby area.

Angeles City Furniture Industry
Angeles City, Pampanga
Woodcarving and furniture making are two of the oldest professions in Angeles City as its local population has become highly skilled in the art over a hundred years, especially catering to Americans during the Clark Air Base period . A furniture village near Clark Field in Brgy. Cauayan showcases world-class quality furnitures owned by businessman Ruperto Cruz including factories for export-quality rattan and wrought-iron furnitures . Other towns known for this enterprise are the towns of Lubao and Guagua, particularly Betis made famous for its guitar-making industry. In fact Betis artisans are known to have produced the first wooden chandeliers installed in Malacanan Palace.

Apo Iru Gatbuca
Calumpit, Bulacan
Known as "Pottery Country", Apo Iru Gatbuca is the biggest producer of pots in the whole of Bulacan. So vast is the pot-making industry that most residents make their living out of pottery. Local artisans transform an ordinary mass of clay into an exquisite work of art - some of which are even made into glazed decorative ceramics.

AWECA Weavers International
Pulungbulu, Angeles City
The showroom of AWECA Weavers International (Pampanga’s leading wicker furniture and basket manufacturers and exporters) in Pulung Bulo, Angeles City, is one interesting place to visit. Clients of the company include Marks & Spencer, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and Macy’s.

Bacala Guesthouse
San Salvador Island, Masinloc, Zambales
The guesthouse sits astride a sand bar in the middle of the bay. It has the privacy and comfort of a resort plus the pristine white sand and crystal-clear water for swimming and snorkeling.

Bagbag Bridge
Calumpit, Bulacan
Site of the longest battle between the Americans and Filipinos led by Gen. Gregorio del Pilar which took place in April 25, 1899. The bridge still standing serves as a reminder of the valor displayed by the Filipinos who triumphed against the American forces.

Bale Dutung (Wooden House by Claude Tayag)
A must-see in the province of Pampanga is Claude Tayag's residence or more popularly known as Bale Dutung in Villa Gloria, Angeles City. A P1800 per head Kapampangan feast has to be pre-arranged as well and there must have at least 12 persons in a group. Claude has a shop in his house where one may buy bottled buro and taba ng talangka but the Claude 9 brand is also available in Pampanga supermarkets such as Essel Supermarket. One may also pass by Tita's or Pampanga's Best along Gapan-Olongapo Road for even more Kapampangan delicacies. (Source: Ivan Henares: Ivan About Town Blog)

Bamban Park
Bamban, Tarlac
The park was carved along the hilly area near the national highway in Tarlac and is quite visible from the road with its imposing grotto of Virgin Mary pedestalled on a hill. One has to hurdle a 100-step stairway before reaching the grotto. The area is characterized by stretches of roadside mini-restaurants and bonsai farms - all catering to commuters bound for the north. People visit the place to pay homage to the Blessed Mother or do mountain trekking on the side.

Basa Air Base
Floridablanca, Pampanga
Basa Air Base had its humble beginnings as a small airstrip built by the US Army Air Corps before the Second World War and was named Floridablanca Air Field. At the outbreak of the Pacific War on December 8, 1941, the air field suffered heavy damage under the Japanese bombers and zero fighters. It then became a major base of the Japanese during the occupation. In 1945, the US Army Air Corps once more occupied the airfield, enlarged it and made further improvements to accommodate the heavy-engine B-17s and B-24s which saw action against the crumbling Japanese forces. The air base was later renamed Basa Field in 1948 in honor of the late Lt. Cesar Basa, the first Filipino pilot who gallantly fought and died in an aerial combat in 1941 against the superior Japanese zero fighters. Its first aircraft were the World War II - famed F-51D "Mustang", C-47 "Sky Train" and L-5 and T-6 types of aircraft.

Bataan Economic Zone
Mariveles, Bataan
The Bataan Economic Zone is a major industrial initiative that takes advantage of the area's easy accessibility to ocean-going vessels. Other major economic complexes are the Petrochemical Industrial Park, Bataan Technology Park, Hermosa Economic Zone and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

Bataan Export Processing Zone
Mariveles, Bataan
The country's largest export processing zone, where hundreds of foreign and local companies produce items for export.

Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP)
Morong, Bataan
Described as the solution to the Middle East oil embargo in 1973 and as a response to meeting the country’s energy demands, the Philippine government decided to build the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in 1976 but was stopped in 1979 at the height of the Three Mile Island disaster in the United States. Designed to produce about 621 megawatts of electricity with its so-called Westinghouse light water reactor, the construction resumed in 1981 and was completed in 1983 at a staggering cost of $2.3 billion. In 1976, for safety reason, the government chose the Westinghouse’s pressurized water reactor over General Electric’s boiling water reactor. Days following the Chernobyl accident in April 1986, the national government under the leadership of then President Corazon Aquino decided to suspend operation of the plant and was put under preservation mode under the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR). Despite never having been commissioned, the plant remains intact and maintained, including the nuclear reactor minus the Uranium. Among the issues raised against its operation was that it was built near major earthquake fault lines and close to the dormant Mt. Natib volcano. The Philippine government completed paying off its obligation on the plant in April 2007, more than 30 years after construction began. The government continues to maintain the plant at a cost of P40-P50 million a year. The management of its operator, NAPOCOR, decided in 2007 to open the plant to travel and tourism so that it would pay for itself. The core of the tour package is a close-up view of the huge reactor where the uranium is supposed to be locked in place. The Department of Tourism decided to provide technical and marketing assistance to help boost its tourism appeal. Included in the tour package is a visit to the Pawikan Conservation Center, Bataan Technology Park where the memorial shrine of Blessed John Paul II is enshrined, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (an 18th century old-town living museum, Balanga Wetland Center for bird-watching, Plaza Mayor de Balanga, Balanga market complex for local delicacies and the Mt. Samat Shrine in Pilar for WWII history tour. Vista Venice Resort in Morong offers standard accommodation facilities plus outdoor living facilities for team-building exercises. For further details, please contact National Power Village Hotel and Information Office, Mr. Mauro Marcelo, Tel. Nos. (63 2) 922-4034 / 921-3541/3304 Email mlmarcelo@napocor.gov.ph Website www.napocor.gov.ph or call your tour operator. You may contact the Bataan Provincial Tourism Center, (047) 237-4785/4476 E-mail bataan_tourism@yahoo.com or visit their website at www.bataan.gov.ph

Bren Z Guiao Convention & Sports Center
City of San Fernando, Pampanga
An impressive multipurpose complex with an air-conditioned 5,000-seat capacity basketball court and convention hall plus an oval for track and field competitions. The landmark in the province is a popular venue for concerts, conventions, including national and regional sporting events.

Bustos Dam
Bustos, Bulacan
The dam is one of the longest sector-gates in the world and serves as the huge reservoir of the Angat Hydroelectric plant at Barrio Hilltop. The dam was built in 1922 and serves as the source of electric power in the province and Metro Manila. It features a cool picnic haven with an inspiring scenery.

Camp General Servillano Aquino
Tarlac City, Tarlac
Formerly called Camp Ord, named after Lt. Col. James Ord, the place is now the home of the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. The complex was donated on September 30, 1940 by the Campania General Tabacos de Filipinas to the Commonwealth of the Philippines and was accepted on October 11, 1940, in behalf of the donee, Jorge D. Vargas, the then Secretary to the President. Adding to the historical significance of the place is the Eisenhower tree planted on July 4, 1939 by Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Chief of Staff of Marshall Douglas MacArthur, the military adviser of the Philippine Commonwealth.

Candaba Hanging Bridge
Candaba, Pampanga
It is known as the Candaba Suspension Bridge. The bridge's design and framework were patterned after the famous San Francisco Bridge in the U.S.

Candaba Swamp and Wild Duck Sanctuary (The Wetlands Candaba)
Candaba, Pampanga
The Candaba Swamp is located 60 kms north of Metro Manila. It encompasses about 32,000 hectares of wetlands located mostly in the town of Candaba, Pampanga, and is bounded by the towns of Baliuag, San Ildefonso and San Miguel in Bulacan, San Luis and Arayat in Pampanga, and Cabiao in Nueva Ecija. Situated at 11 meters above sea level, the swamp is the lowest point in Central Luzon. It acts as a natural flood retention or catch basin holding wet season overflows from the Maasim, San Miguel, Garlang, Bulu and Penaranda rivers, and draining into the Pampanga River. The natural retention capacity is approx 1.5 billion cubic meters. The swamp is the staging and wintering area for migratory birds from October up to April of every year. It is a significant part of the East Asia-Australiasian Migratory Flyway that includes Siberia, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, South Korea and Singapore. WHAT TO SEE: Migratory birds spend winter in the Philippines or pass through the islands on their way to points South and North on their return trip to their native habitats. Egrets and indigenous birds like the rare salaksak and batala can be observed especially during dry months when the fishponds turn to rice fields - when large numbers of egrets descend on shallow pools teeming with snails and small fish. In 1982, about 100,000 ducks were observed in a single day, thus having the largest concentration of birds in the country. In a 24-hour census conducted by the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) in 2008, a Philippine record of 17,000 birds were sighted. Some of the rare birds spotted were: the Shrenck's Bittern, Great Bittern, Coot, Eurasian Spoonbill, Purple Swamphen, and the Chinese Pond Heron. HOW TO GET THERE: The town of Candaba may be reached from 4 exit points in the NLEX: 1) exit Sta. Rita passing thru Pulilan and Baliuag; 2) exit Pulilan passing thru Baliuag; 3) exit San Simon; and 4) exit San Fernando passing thru Mexico and Sta. Ana towards Poblacion, Candaba. CONTACT INFORMATION: Office of the Mayor or Ms. Angel Pelayo - Ty (0917-803-0211), www.candaba.lovesnature.com or www.candabawetlands.com eMail: mun_of_candaba@yahoo.com or info@candabawetlands.com or angel.pelayo@candabawetlands.com Tel. No. (63 45) 632-1299 Mobile 0917-888-8794

Casecnan Irrigation and Power Generation Project
Rizal, Nueva Ecija
The P6.75-B Casecnan Multi-purpose Irrigation and Power Project in Nueva Ecija provides irrigation to more than 26,920 hectares of new farms in the municipalities of Munoz, Talugtog, Guimba, Cuyapo, and Nampicuan while at the same time generating some 140 megawatts of power for the Luzon grid that will supply cheap electricity to millions of people in Luzon including Metro Manila. The project is expected to increase the annual rice production to 834,000 metric tons of milled rice nationwide. With ample supply of water, fishponds in Central Luzon are expected to mushroom as farmers would be encourage to build fishponds for tilapia, bangus (milkfish) and catfish. It also gives additional irrigation water to the 55,000 hecatres of land in upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System by rehabilitating and enlarging canals and structures, including the dredging and lining of major conveyances.

Casiguran Virgin Coconut Wine
Casiguran, Aurora
Casiguran in Aurora is now known for propagating organic agriculture and espousing the practice of processing food the natural way. The munipality created in 2005 the Casiguran Producer Cooperative whose interest is to generate livelihood opportunities thru the production and marketing of vinegar as a source of health and physical wellness. These include Virgin Coconut Distilled Wine (Lambanog), and Coconut Vinegar (Sukang Niyog Puro) which comes from coconut sweet sap called "tuba" or coconut nectar and made to age for 60 - 90 days without chemical additives. These products are known for their medicinal values: high in cancer fighting anti-oxidants, natural appetite suppresant, reduces cholesterol level to prevent heart diseases, slows down aging process, and cures common ailments like stress and even dundruffs.

Central Azucarera de Tarlac
Tarlac City
The City of Tarlac takes pride in having a large sugar mill called Central Azucarera de Tarlac. This sugar mill helps boost the economy of the province. Special educational tours may be arranged thru their Industrial Relations Office at Tel. No. (63 45) 985-1995 Attn: Angelito Bautista (Industrial Relations Manager) .

Central Luzon State University
Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija
Located in the outskirts of the town Munoz, Nueva Ecija, the 658 hectares main campus of CLSU is famous for its old and shady trees, its model farms, its vegetables and ornamental plant garden. It has also facilities for swimming, basketball and pelota. Oftentimes, Nueva Ecija is referred to as the "Agricultural Center of Luzon" because of the presence of CLSU. The place was declared by the Department of Tourism as the agri-tourism site of Luzon. For further information, contact Dr. Rodolfo Undan (President), Tel. No. (63 44) 456-0107 loc. 125 eMail: clsu@mozcom.com URL: www2.mozcom.com/~clsu

Clark Education City (formerly Clark Expo)
Clark, Pampanga
With an initial investment of USD$60m, Clark Education City has transformed the more than 300,000 sqm campus of the former Expo Pilipino (or Clark Expo) into a 100% Australian-based learning environment that is suitable for both education and living experience. The school offers a unique combination of impeccably safe, modern, spacious and fully integrated training and living facilities capped with an array of exceptional faculty and professional support mentors. Being an Australian institution, Clark Education City meets the standards of the Australian education system called Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) and operates just as if it were located within Australia. Training courses offered include English language, Hotel and Resort Management (HRM), Automotive Technology, Engineering (Fabrication Trade), Electrical (Refrigeration and Air-conditioning), Healthcare Services, Business and Teaching English (TESOL). For further details, log on to www.clarkeducationcity.com.au

Clark Expo (now Clark Education City)
Clark, Pampanga
Clark Expo (formerly Expo Pilipino)in 1998 became the Philippine National Centennial Exposition and centerpiece of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898. The exposition is a celebration of the Filipino's history, culture, and achievements in the past 100 years, as well as aspirations for the next millennium. Its exhibits were discontinued during the administration of former President Joseph Estrada. Today, its 35,000-seat capacity amphitheater is a favorite venue for concerts, ecumenical services and political rallies. On December 8, 2005, Clark Development Corporation soft opened the gates of the sprawing complex to public viewing with trade exhibits, special events and concerts. The Department of Tourism - Region III mounted its Best of Central Luzon showcase at the entrance hall to feature the various tourism product offerings of each of the seven provinces in the region. Its grand opening is set for April 8, 2006.

Clark Freeport Zone
Clark, Pampanga
Known as Clark Air Base before 1991, Clark was once the biggest American air base facility outside the United States as it served as a major destination and refuel/ transit point for US military aircrafts within the Asia-Pacific Region. With the expiration of the Philippine-US Military Bases Agreement in 1991, Clark was turned over to the Philippine government and declared a special economic zone. Today, Clark has been transformed into a world-class civil aviation complex, modern industrial estates, and tourism and trade center - an aerotropolis - that would catalyze the socio-economic growth of Central Luzon region, as well as the rest of the country. Clark was declared as a freeport zone by virtue of Republic Act No. 9399 and 9400 signed by President Gloria Macapagl Arroyo in 2007. For further information, please visit their web site at www.visitclark.com or www.clark.com.ph

CLSU Concrete Tank Culture for Tilapia
Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija
This one-of-a-kind breeding farm showcases intensive culture of tilapia in concrete circular tanks, with provisions for continuous water exchange and aeration. Each tank is stocked with 6,000 tilapia fingerlings. Estimated output is 1,000 kg. of table-size fish after four months of culture.

Cubi Point Bats
Subic Bay Freeport, Zambales
A horde of fruit bats hanging around tree tops are a must-see in Subic Bay Freport Zone. It is also a thrill to see them as they take off on their early evening hunt.

Dara Falls
Porac, Pampanga
An ideal place for picnickers. Its waterfall basin has a depth of 100 feet.

Del-Marco Marble Marble Products
Friendship Hwy., Angeles City, Angeles City
Innovative designs produced with precision craftsmanship. International selection of marble and granite varieties. Steel reinforcement permanently embedded for additional strength. Stoned carved and frabricated to the highest technical standards. "knockdown" designs for shipping and handling convenience. Owner, Mark Gillen, is an industrial designer who has specialized in a full range of marble work since 1986. Mark worked as a designer for ten years in New York, including several years with Vignelli Associates. A winner of a Best Product Award from the Industrial Design Society of America, his products have been marketed by the Museum of Modern Art Shop.

Dinalungan Deer Park
Dinalungan, Aurora
A strategic area where a man-made structure was built added with exquisite landscape combined with exotic plants, water hyacinths, water lilies and trees are home to the endemic Sambar Deer nurtured by an environmentalist couple. (Credit: Dinalunagn Tourism Office)

Dinosaurs Island at Clarkland
Clark, Pampanga
Clarkland is a park museum that is designed to offer visitors a unique interactive learning experience. It is situated in a 20,000 thousand square meter forested land with century old acacia trees. It offers 4 major attractions where guests will experience a one of a kind educational entertainment. Go back in time and see how dinosaurs come back to life again. Experience this dinosaur era, where gigantic and life-size dinosaurs roam the Dinosaurs Island in Clark. Be adventurous and discover the various dino-stories, watch the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex roam around the land with our guided tours and get up close with your favorite Brachiosaurus, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Iguanodon and Triceratops and other dino species. This theme park has been designed for us to understand better the dinosaurs and what transpired in the Mesozoic era. It’s time for us to go back in time and see the first inhabitants of our planet. It is the first ever animatronics theme park in the country that features life-sized dinosaurs and dinosaur exhibits. Entrance fee is P350 for adults, P250 for public school students and P300 for private school students. For further details, visit www.clarklandph.com. Open Monday to Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Diosdado Macapagal Intl Airport
Clark, Pampanga
DMIA, a sprawling 2,500 hectare area, has two 3.2 km long runways which are capable of accommodating wide bodied aircraft like the Boeing 747s, Airbus 300 series and military cargo planes, including the C-5 galaxy, a wide ramp area, apron and taxiway facilities as required for world-class standards. The visual and navigational aids permit the safe and efficient use of runways 24 hours daily in all weather conditions. The aviation complex meets the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards for Category I precision approach runway. It also rates as Category 10 for emergency services. What used to be called Clark International Airport was renamed to its present identity on September 28, 2001 as a fitting tribute to the statesman and renowned father of Philippine land reform, President Diosdado Macapagal. For further information, please visit their web site at www.clarkairport.com. Shuttle service: Genesis (Mariveles/Baguio/Avenida - Clark v.v.), Partas (Pasay/Cubao - Clark v.v.) and Philtranco (Pasay/Megamall - Clark v.v.) Phones: Genesis (63 2) 421-1425, Partas (63 2) 851-4025 / 416-2809 and Philtranco (63 2) 851-5420 / 5812 / 8077 / 8079

Everybody's Cafe
Poblacion, City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Everybody's Cafe is where Kapampangan food is available everyday in their turo-turo style display. Try out the pako salad, calderetang baka, morcon, chicharon bulaklak, tortang bangus, inihaw na hito or bulalo soup. For the brave, go further and savor the buro with hito (fermented fish paste with catfish), betute (deep-fried stuffed frog), camaru (fried cricket adobo), dumara (wild duck adobo) or pindang damulag (carabeef tapa). They have branches in the City of San Fernando along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Del Pilar, and Angeles City in Nepo Mart. (Source: Ivan Henares: Ivan About Town Blog)

Faith Orchids and Ornamental Plants
Mabalacat, Pampanga
Located at Brentwood Village, Mawaque Rd., Mabiga, Mabalacat, Pampanga, Faith Orchids and Ornamental Plants offers a wide variety of orchids and ornamental plants. For further information, contact Ms. Rosie Wang, Tel. No. (63 45) 332-2304 or Makati Office at Tel. No. (63 2) 843-0375 email: rtwang@yahoo.com

Fort Magsaysay
Palayan City, Nueva Ecija
Located in the province capital, Fort Magsaysay has a total area of 74,000 hectares. Being one of the biggest military training camp not only in the Philippines but the whole of Asia, Fort Magsaysay provide new breed of soldiers in different fields such as engineering, health care and education. Pahingahan Complex is the main attraction of the camp. Described as a mini dam, it offers a breathtaking scenery of natural rainforest and a huge lake.

Fruit and Vegetable Seeds Center (FVSC)
Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija
FVSC was established by the provincial government of Nueva Ecija with the support of the Department of Agriculture and Central Lzuon State University to develop quality fruits and vegetable seeds. The center has a 10-ha farm area for production with pressurized irrigation system, greenhouses, laboratory, conference room, and modern farm machineries.

Gross Ostrich Farm
San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija
Located in Brgy. Tagumpay, San Leonardo, Gross Ostrich Farm grows, breeds and propagates imported ostriches both for human consumption and for tourism such as sale of decorative eggs, leather wallets, colorful feathers and other by-products. Ostriches reach a height of about 7 - 8 feet, weighs 110 - 130 kgs, runs at a speed of 60 km/h, has a lifespan of 50 - 80 years and a breeding life of 20 - 25 years. Tha farm produces fillet meat at P600/kl, steak at P500/kl and stir fry at P400/kl. On-site farm visits to view the "big birds" in their natural habitat are organized for students and professionals alike. For further information, contact Liza Gross, Tel. No. (63 44) 486-4946 or eMail: ikegross@mozcom.com or grossostrich@yahoo.com

Grotto Central Cement
San Ildefonso, Bulacan
This place is memorable because of the grotto and statue of the Virgin Mary, the beautiful landscape, and the natural scenery.

Hacienda Luisita
Tarlac City, Tarlac
The Cojuangco-owned hacienda in Tarlac City houses the famous Tarlac Industrial Park where a growing lists of international export producing companies are located. It boasts of an 18-hole championship golf course, shopping malls, world-class restaurants, hotels, a Beverly Hill - type of residential estate and a vast sugar plantation. Also located in the complex is the Aquino Center and Museum.

Hanging Bridge
Marilao, Bulacan
A wooden bridge connecting Brgy. Lambakin and Brgy. Sta. Rosa. This place offers a scenic view of the surrounding area.

Hilaga Cultural Village
City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Located at the mouth of the San Fernando Toll Exit along the North Luzon Expressway, North Philippines Hilaga (formerly Paskuhan Village) was transformed into a cultural, historical, tourism, trade, and entertainment village by former Secretary Richard J. Gordon in 2003. Its design and concept make it a virtual show window to the cultural and historical heritage of the four regions of the North Philippines as well as a showcase for their indigenous products, and arts and crafts. The star-shaped pavilions at the center pays tribute to the skilled lantern makers of San Fernando which produces the biggest lanterns in the world. The complex features a 1,000-seat capacity air-conditioned pavilion for conventions and special events, an open-air ampitheater for outdoor activities, air-conditioned exhibit halls, trade booths, garden restos and an 60-seat capacity conference hall. In 2006, a theme park known as NATURE'S SANCTUARY (formerly Gardens of the World)was established to feature a living museum of flora and fauna. What to see: 63-m pond laced with ferns and lush tropicals with verdant Philippine giant ferns, tree ferns, cycads, costus, a good collection of aroids and many more; dome aviary with a flock of chattering lorie including the noisy and delightfully sociable golden and jendaya conures occupying the adjacent cone aviary; and a living gallery of flora and fauna. Contact Information: Tree Station Co. Tel. No. (63 2) 732-1663/712-3909 or contact Hilaga Village Admin Office at Tel. No. (63 45) 961-1894/963-5510 (Attn: Teresita Diapolet- OIC)

Hilaga Nature Sanctuary
City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Located within the Hilaga Village complex, this 3-hectare space of tranquility is aimed at connecting people to the world of tropical flora and fauna. A 63-meter pond laced with ferns and lush tropicals leads the visitor to its reception gardens. Here, the visitor is at once welcomed by verdant Philippine giant ferns, tree ferns, cycads, costus, a good collection of aroids and many more. As one steps into the park proper, a flock of chattering lorie await you from their huge dome aviary. Not to be outdone are the equally noisy and delightfully sociable golden and jendaya conures occupying the adjacent cone aviary. From there, a series of gravel trails meandering through a tunnel of canopy trees will transport the visitor to various living galleries of tropical flora and fauna. The Aglaonema Garden, so called for the accent plants used in Module I, provides refuge to rosellas and budgerigars. The Plantain Hill displays various interesting kinds of flowering ornamental banana plants, among them the blood banana and our 'abaca' plant. The Heliconia & Gingers Valley under the fine canopy of towering raintrees, cradle an initial collection of tropical wonders with such interesting names as Sexy Pink, Sexy Red & Sexy Yellow of the Heliconia sexy series, Lobsters' Claw, Firebird, Parakeet, Caribaea, Pink Torch, Red Torch and many more. This big garden section likewise envelopes the dome shelters for the crowned pigeons, considered to be the largest member of the pigeon family, the emerald doves which are considered to be the smallest in the world, two of the most ornate pheasants - the silver pheasant and the golden pheasant, the extremely graceful ringnecks with amazing color mutations and naturaly perfect feather conditions, and the suave and elegant alexandrines. Other galleries are The Araquis Hills with its huge dome aviaries for macaws, hornbills and African greys, The Plumeria Grove which shall play host to cattleya orchids, The Savanna - home to the ostrich and the cassowary, The Lagoon - playground to the waterfowls, The Grasslands, The Herbarium, Zen Garden and the Walk-thru Aviary which occupies the western potion of the sanctuary. The Walk-thru Aviary is an eight-dome walk-thru haven for beautiful free-flying small birds, most of which are grassflinches. The most colorful are the golden finches, most popular for their bright green back, yellow belly, purple breast and a face which is usually 75% black, 25% red and, in rare cases, with some yellow stones. The sanctuary has its own fernery which is a Conservatory of Philippine Endemic Ferns. It aims to provide a sanctuary for threatened and/or endangered endemic ferns via conservation and propagation works. Contact Information: Tree Station Co., Tel. No. (63 2) 732-1663/712-3909/0917-627-1603

Ipo Dam
Norzagaray, Bulacan
The place is a water impounding dam made famous by its name synonymous with gallantry, bravery and heroism. It is used as a reservoir for the La Mesa Dam which distributes water to Metro Manila residents. The green virgin forest and sky blue water make Ipo Dam an attractive place to visit.

Kapampangan Cuisine
Province of Pampanga
Must-tries are the Kapampangan halo-halo places in various places in the province. In fact, there are three distinct halo-halo varieties in Pampanga. These are Guagua (Razon’s), Angeles (Corazon’s) and Arayat (Kabigting's and Jurado's) halo-halo. It must also be noted that Kapampangan halo-halo is distinct from the other halo-halo served in the country because it uses only three or four ingredients or sahog. However, the richness of these ingedients more than compensates for the number of types thrown in the glass. Arayat for example is distinct for its pastillas, crushed beans and saging combination; Guagua for its macapuno, saging, and leche flan; while Angeles is distinct for its mais, saging, pastillas and crushed beans combination.

Also check out Aling Lucing's at the Crossing (Henson Street, Angeles City) which is the birthplace of Pampanga sisig and the steakhouses in Marisol Subdivision, Angeles City. Luring's of Guagua (with branches all over Pampanga) serves some of the best barbeque and other grilled meat products. Ikabud (the contracted form of ika kabud which translates as only you) is another restaurant that serves grilled food and is located in Hensonville, Angeles City.

If you want to try out everything, go for Smorgasbord, the buffet Kapampangan lunch and dinner offered at Partyland (MacArthur Highway and SM City Pampanga) and Holidayland (Gapan-Olongapo Road) both in San Fernando. (Source: Ivan Henares: Ivan About Town Blog)

Mt. Pinatubo Wellness Spa
Location Capas, Tarlac
Address Brgy. Sta. Juliana, Capas
DESCRIPTION A fascinating oasis amidst a picturesque pastoral environment framed by rolling hills and mountain ranges, this new product in health tourism offers a first-of-a-kind model in fitness therapy and wellbeing: from a relaxing body wrap on sulfur-laden hot volcanic sand, to a revitalizing dip in a thermal bath and foot spa, and finally to a soothing Shiatzu body work in a 100-pax capacity massage parlor - all made possible after a day's sweltering trek to Mt. Pinatubo. The wellness center also serves Korean/native cuisine cum grillery in a 200-seat capacity open-air restaurant plus a souvenir shop and soda fountain serving health products to the intrepid explorer. PINATUBO TREK: Trek to the crater of the world-famous Mt. Pinatubo. Spectacular views, towering lahar canyons, cool mountain springs and cascading waterfalls make that trip up the volcano an experience to remember. Drive on board an all-weather vehicle for one hour, disembark and trek for maximum of two hours to the crater, view the tranquil yet majestic 2.5-km crater-lake. Or bathe yourself in any of the six sulfur-filled thermal pools at Sitio Tarukan. Cap your day with a generous fishing expedition at Tambo Lake before proceeding to the wellness spa. HOW TO GET THERE: From Manila drive towards the North Luzon Expressway to Sta. Ines toll plaza in Mabalacat, Pampanga. Take the MacArthur Hwy towards north up to Capas, Tarlac. From the Capas town market, turn left to Brgy Sto. Rosario and follow a 22-km backcountry road to your final destination in Brgy. Sta. Juliana. PINATUBO TREK CUM SPA (all in one package) Rates: US$ 25/pax (includes 4 x 4 ride, trek to the crater or dip in hot sulphur spring pools in Tarukan, foot spa, thermal bath and lunch); additional US$ 10 (hot sand bath) and US$ 10 (Shiatzu massage) or a total of US$45-50 per person (all inclusive). Rates are subject to change without prior notice.
Accreditation Not accredited
For information on Pinatubo Wellness Spa,
Contact Information: Capas Tourism Office, Tel. No. (63 45) 925-0154/925-0112 loc 109 (Tourism) loc 124 (Office of the Mayor) or Telefax (63 45) 925-0408 (Direct Line to Office of the Mayor) Attn: Marissa Vidal (Capas Municipal Tourism Officer) Mobile 0918-285-3019 or emial: marissavvidal@yahoo.com.

For renting all-weather vehicle, call Edwin Manalang (Angeles City), Mobile No. 0910-722-7575 or Jude Lenon (Sta. Juliana), Mobile No. 0920-803-5647/0920-576-2769 or call Wendell Mercado (Sta. Juliana), Mobile No. 0919-608-4313 or 0921-587-6291.

For information on P.D.C. Spa Town (Pull Travel Destination Corp.), call Tel. No. (63 45) 615-0454 (Admin office) or Website: www.mtpinatubotour.com. Also call Alejo Marquez, mobile 0910-980-7609 and Lydia de Guzman, mobile 0909-759-1300 for details.

Mabalacat Furniture City
Mabalacat, Pampanga
A factory complex of furniture exporters and manufacturers, export-quality furniture made available at dirt cheap factory prices. Among the showrooms are those of Vienna Furniture (contemporary and craftsman furniture using local treated wood and other native materials such as sulihya and rattan) and More Than A Chair (classical wood furniture with a touch of modernism, combined with upholstery, rattan, bamboo, leather and a wide choice of local and imported veneer wood), and samples of furniture from Angeles City manufacturer VICO Design (modern eclectic sculptural iron furniture combined with unique painting and texturing, upholstery and resin) and Diretso (run by a Dutch group based here in Pampanga, specializing in modern contemporary upholstered furniture combined with wood and iron), with its factory in Del Rosario, City of San Fernando. For reservation, please call Lisa Samia at (045) 8930092 to 93. (Source: Ivan Henares: Ivan About Town Blog)

Mabalacat Rock Carving Enterprise
Mabalacat, Pampanga
Some 5 years following the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, local folk in Mabalacat found new livelihood in gathering pumice rocks and stones along the Bamban river and converting these thru hand craftsmanship using chisel and pure energy into stone castles, small pagoda and other works of indigenous folk art. The biggest rock formation sells at P300 while smallest at P75 apiece. Many times, these local entrepreneurs sell sacks of pumice rocks to traders who in turn use them in "stone-washing" denim jeans.

Macabebe Wood-carving Industry
Macabebe, Pampanga
The wood carvers of Macabebe have made their town famous all over country, especially among antique dealers and fine art enthusiasts, for the beautiful traditional workmanship and artistry that inform their woodwork as may be found in the many varieties of life-size religious icons, altar pieces, free-standing sculptures, and other figurative sculptural pieces in wood now considered important folk art, sold in many stores and workshops all over town.







 

Local Wonders

Magsaysay Dam
Mayantok, Tarlac
This dam, named after the late Pres. Ramon Magsaysay, boasts of crystal-clear water from the mountain and a scenic view of surrounding areas.

Marble Making Industry
Tabang, Guiguinto, Bulacan
As early as 1992, the Marble Association of the Philippines (MAP) conceptualized the establishment of a common service facility for processing marble tiles, and to serve as a training center for marble producers. This took the form of a polishing line for the processing of export quality marble tiles targeted to respond to the high demand in the export business. The Marble Center offers polishing services with a complete line of equipment from Italy including the provision of consultancy on the proper technical procedures in extracting blocks from limestone deposits. Contact information: MAP Marble Center, TESDA Compound, Tabang, Guiguinto, Bulacan, Tel. No. (63 44) 794-2947/690-0061

Marcos Village
Mabalacat, Pampanga
An authentic Ayta village complete with their tribal rituals and customs.

Masinloc Boardwalk
Masinloc, Zambales
The site serves as a marine park and at the same time a playground and a favorite site for arts and cultural programs.

Masinloc Marine Conservation Project
San Salvador Island, Masinloc, Zambales
Considered as the main ecotourism destination in Masinloc, the project was adjudged as the "Best in Local Governance" in 1997 by the Local Government Academy and the Asian Institute of Management under the Galing Pook Award.

Meycauayan Jewelry Art
Meycauayan, Bulacan
The intricate craftsmanship and painstaking creative dedication that the town's jewelers pour into their creations have made the town the leading producer of silver and gold jewelry in the country. As a living museum of the town's famous jewelry art, the Philippine Jewelry Center was built to showcase the craftsmanship of notable goldsmiths and silversmiths. The edifice has an area of 2,100 sq. m. (three storey) seating on a lot of about 1,000 sq.m. located inside the Provincial Sports Complex in Pandayan, Meycauayan, Bulacan. It is about 2 kms away north of Maycauayan Municipal Hall and 30 kms away north of Quezon City. It serves as a one-stop service center for jewellers of Bulacan and other provinces. Facilities such as training center, display room, common service and laboratory facilities, and business center serve to complete the formation of an innovative concept in global competition. Contact information: Philippie Jewelry Center, Tel. No. (63 44) 228-2611/721-0178 eMail: mjia@bulacan.ph

National Manpower Youth Center
Guiguinto, Bulacan
A center formed by the national government to help out-of-school youth by training them for jobs and livelihood projects.

Pampanga's Best
Brgy., dela Paz Norte, City of San Fernando, Pampanga
The story goes that Mrs. Lolita O. Hizon’'s neighbor, a meat vendor, had some unsold pork at the end of a market day and, not wanting to let these spoil, asked Mrs. Hizon'’s help in cooking them. Mrs. Hizon came up with a formula to cure the meat; she revised the traditional Capampangan pindang (fermented pork), causing the pork to acquire that unique salty-sweet taste that we have all come to love. She called it tocino, derived from a Spanish delicacy that is sweet. Eventually, she refined the formula and the processing procedures that caused the birth of Pampanga’s Best Tocino – the original version of what has now become a national favorite. So, what started out as just a neighborly gesture to help a friend has turned out to be the cornerstone of a business and a staple item on the Filipino breakfast table. The manufacturer of tocino and longganisa, hotdogs, hams, bacons. For details, contact Ma. Charina Quiwa, Tel. (63 45) 636-4280 to 83 loc. 227 or (63 2) 928-1905 / 925-4171 or log on to www.pampangasbest.com.ph.

Pampanga Agricultural College
Magalang, Pampanga
Located at the foot of Mt. Arayat, this state-owned college is the center for agri-based education in the province. It has model farms, housing facilities for its faculty, conference pavilion and a swimming pool for local residents. Its prestine natural environment make way for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Among the activities that may be launched here is a mountain trekking adventure to the heights of Mt. Arayat or a refreshing dip in a natural spring resort close by.

Pantabangan Dam
Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija
Built in 1974 along the Pampanga River to serve as reinforcement against flood, and provide irrigation, additional electricity in the entire Luzon island, the 1.61-km long, 107-meter high dam now supplies irrigation waters to farmlands in Nueva Ecija and adjoining provinces, and electricity to the Luzon power grid - after the construction submerged Barangays East and West Poblacion, Villarica, Liberty, Cadaclan, San Juan, Napop-Napon, Marikit and Conversion out of the $340-million World Bank project. Then President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the release of fish varieties into its waters so people displaced by the project could tap the dam for future livelihood. Today, about half of the town's more than 25,000 residents survive on fishing. The complex consists of two hydroelectric plants - the Pantabangan Hydropower Plant, which produces 100 megawatts and its subsidiary, the Masiway Power Plant, which generates 12 MW of hydroelectric power. In 1996, the national government started building a 27-km tunnel from the Casecnan River in Nueva Vizcaya to irrigate an additional 50,000 hectares of land and generate 140 MW more of hydroelectric power. The project started operations in 2001. As a result of its growing fishing industry, the local government instituted its famous Pandawan Festival, its bid to boost the local economy thru tourism related activities. Pandawan comes from the word "Pandaw" (fish harvest) and "Pagdalaw sa Pagaani" (visit during harvest). The place offers a scenic view of the surrounding area. The serene blue sky glimpses the 1.61-km long dam enveloped by the picturesque Sierra Madre mountains. The dam's clear water is the sanctuary of tropical marine life and an inviting site for jetskiing and fishing. Tourists will also appreciate the dam's engineering wonders. Pantabangan was the first town established during Spanish regime. Augustinian friars occupied the region Northeast which was drained by tributaries of the Rio Grande in 1701 and during that time it was also an agricultural land. They lived by means of farming and fishing. After the decade, Pantabangan was converted into a large river (dam) that irrigates the lower part of Nueva Ecija down to Bulacan and Pampaga. In short, Pantabangan sacrificed the wealthy agricultural land for the good of other constituents. It offers standard-class accommodation at Best View Hotel and Restaurant, with its spa and beauty salon, swimming pool, tennis court, and water sports amenities.

Pawikan Conservation Center
Location Morong, Bataan
Located in Brgy. Nagbalayong, Morong, Bataan is the site of a community-based Pawikan Conservation Program devoted to the preservation and propagation of endangered marine turtles aptly called Olive Ridley turtles or Lepidochelys Olivacea. Manned by former poachers and turtle egg collectors who turned into conservation advocates, the Program's mission is to secure the eggs laid during the nesting season (between September and January) and transfer them into the hatchery to facilitate breeding and to contribute to the regeneration of the fishing grounds. Some 30,000 hatchlings have been released in Morong as of 2005 (since 1999) by a community-based conservation center formerly supervised by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM). The UN Development Program since 2001 has provided funds to the community for conservation work and maintenance of an office. Many tourists go to this sanctuary during the nesting season and especially during the Pawikan Festival to be able to get a chance to witness the endangered sea turtles struggle to shore at night to lay their eggs. During the Pawikan Festival, tourists are even able to "adopt a turtle" and personally hold and release a baby turtle into the sea. Contact: Manolo Ibias Mobile 0906-615-5546 or Nida Valdez Mobile 0928-718-5721Tel. No. (63 47) 237-4476 / 4785 Email bantay_pawikan@yahoo.com

Philippine Carabao Center
Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija
The Philippine Carabao Center was created in 1993 as an offshoot of the Carabao Development Program, through Republic Act 7307 enacted in 1992. It is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, mandated to "conserve, propagate and promote the carabao as a source of draft animal power, meat, milk and hide, to benefit the rural farmers". Services at the center include: artificial insemination, bull loan, production of quality breeding animals and germplasm, technical assistance and training and carabao-based enterprise development. The center breeds and cross-breeds, through artificial insemination, animals called Murrah Buffaloes, a species of the dairy type from India, Bulgaria and some countries like North and Latin America. At the center, the male carabao (water buffalo) weighs 750 kg and counting while the female yields 17-20 liters of milk a day. These water buffalos at the gene pool look hugely different from the native carabaos that weigh and average of 350 kg while native dam gives a milk yield of a average of 1.5 liters per day. As of 2009, about 3.3 million native and crossbred carabaos were used mainly for draft purposes in sugarcane plantations and rice and corn farms, and for hauling. Through the PCC's 13 stations across the country, technology transfer on the care and production of carabaos, and teaching and encouraging rural families to engage in carabao enterprises are also pursued. The genetic transformation being done by the PCC, after conducting thorough research and development is through the production of semen from imported bulls and its distribution for artificial insemination to native carabaos. The center also uses reproductive biotechnology called embryo transfer technology, or the test-tube technique. It takes three generations or 15 year to produce quality animals from cross breeding or to attain 87.5 percent genetic purity for the improved breed of native carabaos. Visit www.philrice.gov.ph/pcc or www.pcc.da.gov.ph

Philippine Rice Research Institute
Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija
The Philippine Rice Research Institute or PhilRice at Maligaya, Munoz, Nueva Ecija is a government - owned and controlled corporation that aims to to develop high-yielding and cost - reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos. It is the central agricultural environment station - the only one of its kind throughout the country. It was created to develop and implement a natural rice research and development program, sustain the grains made in rice production and solve location-specific problems of the rice industry. A variety of rice wine is produced at the center. Visit www.philrice.gov.ph or blogspot: http://josuefalla.blogspot.com/

PHILSECO
Subic, Zambales
Subic is the home of the Philippine Shipyard and Engineering Corp., a huge facility that can service all the repair requirements of ships plying routes in this part of the world. Its favorable site protects ships against rough seas and destructive strong winds.

Phil-Sino Center for Agriculture & Technology
CLSU Campus, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija
Situated in a 9.78 hectare area inside the CLSU campus, PhilSCAT is the first collaborative project between the Philippines and People's Republic of China through their respective departments and ministries. It is envisioned to make Filipino farmers prosperous through the adoption of modern and appropriate agricultural technology such as hybrid rice production and mechanization jointly developed and evaluated by Filipino and Chinese scientists.

Plaza Luisita Center
Tarlac City, Tarlac
A modern and masterfully designed commercial and business complex for shopping malls, offices, retail shops, food establishments and recreational centers. It houses such retail food outlets like Max's Restaurant, McDonald's, Jollibee, etc.

Pulilan Butterfly Haven
Pulilan, Bulacan
Located along San Francisco Street, this butterfly sanctuary is also a perfect place for nature lovers where they can witness the butterfly's fascinating life cycle, enjoy lush greenery which provide an ideal habitat for the butterflies and experience nature in an oasis of beauty and tranquility with butterflies flitting from one flower to another. Entrance fee: P50 Open: Monday - sunday, 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. For further info, contact Ms. Carina Santiago, Mobile 0918-778-4305, Tel. No. (63 44) 676-1377 (Fe Magtalas)

Rubber Dam
Llanera, Nueva Ecija
Asia's first and only rubber dam

Sabutan Hand-woven Products
Sabutan, Aurora
The Sabutan plant is abundant in the province of Aurora. Through the creativity and ingenuity of local entrepreneurs, its leaves are transformed into colorful works of art in the form of woven hats, floor mats, bags, slippers and wall decor. These products are exported abroad.

All About SABUTAN

Sabutan belongs to the family of Pandan, its scientific name is Pandanus sabotan. It is a screwpine plant 2 to 4 meters high. Its full-grown leaves are fine in texture, 2 meters long and 6 centimeters wide.

At present, sabutan is found growing in abundance in a semi-wild condition in Aurora. It can be propagated by suckers, and its cultivation can be extended advantageously to any part of the Philippines having moist but well-drained soil.

Sabutan weaving is one of the traditional crafts of Aurora. The tedious process involved in the preparation of raw material rendered the product truly special to the weavers. In the preparation of the fiber, the spiny margins and midribs of the leaves are removed. The leaves are partly dried in the sun, and divided into strips of the desired width by splitting with a comb-like instrument.

The fibers are boiled for about 15 minutes either in fresh water or in water mixed with a little vinegar, lemon, or tamarind fruit. Excess water in the fiber is squeezed out by drawing the strips tightly around a piece of wood. The prepared fibers are then coiled in bundles and for a period of 24 hours are placed preferably in running water; if in stagnant water, the liquid must be changed frequently. The fibers processed are washed several times in fresh water and spread out in the sun to dry.

The primary use of sabutan is in the production of fiber for manufacturing hats. Such headwear made of sabutan are strong and durable and its texture resembles that of the Panama hat. The unbleached hats are light green-gray. The chief objection to the craft is that they do not bleach readily. Good sabutan hats command a high price in the Philippines.

In the early 90s, sabutan fiber bleaching, dyeing and color matching was introduced. This spawned the development of new and trendy hat designs, and new products like bags, placemats and novelty items.

The inherent craftsmanship of the weavers transformed the hats from being a functional product into a high fashion accessory that immediately became a hit in the export market. Over the years, through various skills training, technology transfers, and product development programs, new product lines and designs are developed. These included colorful hats in various styles for ladies, men, and children; mats in round, oval, and rectangular shapes and weave patterns, bags in various styles. Also produced in less quantity were boxes, decors, and trims. Recent additions to the sabutan product line are the upholstery and throw pillow as component and accessories, respectively, in the wood-based home furniture products.

On the other hand, demand for mats is increasing. Domestic buyers convert the sabutan mats of excellent quality further in their natural or dyed shades into bags, footwear, and other novelty items for the domestic and export markets. There are also demands from foreign buyers for loom woven mats. The mats were the rectangular, diagonally woven type in single, twin or queen sizes. Sabutan is also an excellent material for cushions and is good for making handbags, picture frames, and other fancy articles.

San Bartolome Treehouse
Mayantok, Tarlac
Located in Brgy. San Bartolome, this treehouse, constructed through the initiative of the barangay council in 1973, is one of the most interesting attractions in the province.

San Fernando Tourism Center
City of San Fernando, pampanga
Located at the City Central Transport Terminal, the tourism center aims to put on the spotlight the city's local products like turrones de casuy, paper baskets, and Christmas lanterns. It also serves as the One-town-one-product (OTOP) center for local products of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). City maps may be acquired in this shop. For further details, contact City of San Fernando Tourism Office, Ms. Ching Pangilinan, Tel. No. (63 45) 961-6640 / 5684 / 3328 loc. 211 Email mlcjdp@yahoo.com or cityofsanfernando@gmail.com Website www.cityofsanfernando.gov.ph

Sergio Bayan
Calumpit, Bulacan
The place produces export-quality religious products and icons. Tourists flock to the shop area to witness workers transform an ordinary mass of clay into an exquisite work of art.

Sisig sa Pampanga
Angeles City, Pampanga
Contributed by: Robby Tantingco (Holy Angel University Center for kapampangan Studies)
THE SISIG STORY: The first time that sisig was ever recorded in history was in 1732, in a Kapampangan dictionary compiled by an Augustinian friar, Diego Bergaño. (The Spanish missionary served as parish priest of Mexico, Pampanga in 1725-1731, where he most likely encountered the dish.)

In his dictionary, Bergaño defines sisig as a "salad, including green papaya, or green guava eaten with a dressing of salt, pepper, garlic and vinegar." "Manyisig" means "to make salad" while "mapanisig" is "one who makes a lot of salad, or frequently eats salad, or picks tidbits of it."

The sisig of our ancestors is the equivalent of our vegetarian salad today, no meat, just green fruit soured further with vinegar, tempered with salt and spiced with pepper and garlic. They probably ate it as a regular side dish ("tiltilan") , and maybe as cure for nausea.

It's quite possible that the word "sigang"—that sour soup dish so popular among Filipinos and other Southeast Asians—came from the contraction of "sisigan" ("to make it sour"). In ancient times, sigang was the easiest complete meal to prepare; even fishermen who went out to sea for days probably carried with them basic cooking implements so they could cook "sigang" right there on their boats. It was all too easy to prepare: they just boiled water in a pot, threw in anything they'd caught (clam, shrimp, fish, bird or fowl), and added any green fruit (santol, guava, tamarind, kamias, mango, citrus, tomatoes, and any pickings from trees growing in mangroves and forests).

Over the years, sisig evolved from being just a salad to being main dish, when our ancestors started putting meat in it, like pig's ears and pig's cheeks. That's the sisig I came to know as a child, back in Mabalacat. My mother boiled pig's ears and jowl, chopped and minced them and then mixed in chicken liver and pig's brain and of course onion, salt, pepper and calamansi. The sound of the crunchy cartilages between my teeth and the soft mayonnaise-like texture of liver and brain melting in my mouth—that was what the traditional sisig was all about. It was no longer the sourness that defined it, but the chopped pig parts.

And then came Lucia "Aling Lucing" Cunanan of Angeles City. She further redefined sisig by introducing two features in the preparation: broiling or grilling the pig parts after boiling them, and then serving the dish on a sizzling plate. She had retained all the elements of the traditional sisig (chopped meat sprinkled with calamansi juice) but it was the sizzling plate that revolutionized the Kapampangan sisig and made it a national sensation, catapulting the obscure little lady from the railroad tracks to national fame.

Aling Lucing also revolutionized Kapampangan eating-out habits by not serving her sisig in a fancier place. "Crossing" became the most popular destination in the region as celebrities, government officials and rich families risked their lives, their reputations and their expensive cars by flocking to Aling Lucing's open-air eatery on the old railroad tracks, close to a squatters area, where the tangled web of narrow alleys could easily hide thieves, assassins and drug addicts.

Because Aling Lucing made her sisig so irresistible, Kapampangans threw all their vaunted snobbery and vanity to the wind and went where the food was good. Before, Kapampangans ate out only in air-conditioned and fashionable restaurants; they shunned humid and unsanitary canteens. Today, it doesn't matter what the place looks like, as long as the food is good. This is good news for Kapampangan entrepreneurs because a restaurant business no longer requires a huge capital; they can actually just convert their backyard or the vacant lot beside their house or even their garage into an eating place, and the customers, who care only for good food, would certainly not mind. I can cite a few examples: Jojo's, Razon's, Corazon's, Kabigting's, Cely's, Grill 99, Luring's, and all those popular but still nameless eateries all over the province.

It was Aling Lucing who started all that.

Today her stall at the railroad tracks is draped in black. They should put a marker there so that people will not forget how this humble spot has spawned a whole industry around the Philippines and even in many parts of the world. Sisig is now perhaps the most popular Filipino dish, more popular than the adobo. Cooks everywhere have concocted their own sisig versions, using bangus, tuna, tofu, mussels, squid, chorizo, chicken, and even frog, ostrich and python. Some have experimented with frying instead of boiling and broiling, and others have introduced egg, chicharon and many different nuances, but what has remained as the defining element is the sizzling plate. That's exactly the one master stroke of culinary and marketing genius that we can all attribute to the late Aling Lucing.

Five years ago, on May 17, 2003, Angeles City started the Sisig Festival, which featured a giant sizzling plate on which HAU-HRM students cooked tons of sisig which was later served to the thousands of revelers. The festival was so successful that the city council promptly passed a resolution declaring Angeles City as the "Sisig Capital of the Philippines. " No other town or city objected or complained then; none has challenged it since.

Now that Aling Lucing is dead, she has certainly become larger-than- life. The annual sisig festival will most likely keep her memory and legacy alive, probably even start weaving a legend around her. There is a certain symmetry and poetry in the life and death of Aling Lucing: she had used a knife to create the dish that gave her fortune and fame, and a knife was used to take it all away.

As the case continues to unravel in the next few days, we who consider her a Kapampangan cultural icon cannot help being dismayed with newspaper reports about who the suspect might be. They were an octogenarian couple, for God's sake. How could an octogenarian ever deserve dying such a violent death, or be ever capable of committing such a violent murder?

Next time you order sisig, take time to appreciate the ancient origins of this original Kapampangan dish, and don't forget to say a prayer for that little old lady whose sad and sordid ending will always be part of the sisig story.

Sito Palakol Resort
Floridablanca, Pampanga
Located in the northeastern part of Floridablanca, about 8 kms from the town proper and 31 kms from the City of San Fernando, Sito Palakol along the Gumain River is known as the "summer place" to the local community. It is blessed with a continuous crystal clear water that does not drain even during summer months. Its source of water comes from Mount Abu atop the Zambales mountain which is believed to have a large natural water reservior.

Sto. Tomas Casket Capital of Central Luzon
St. Tomas, Pampanga
This smallest and youngest town in Pampanga still holds the title "casket capital of Central Luzon." It is home to 300 family-owned ventures that each churn out a minimum of 80 caskets monhtly or a total production of 24,000 a month. That production rate is 10,000 short of its 33,267 population, as estimated by the local government unit. Most of them have already ventured into funeral service business. These firms include St. Louie Casket Makers and Funeral Services, Lapid's Woodcraft, Triple K Metalcraft, Funeral Services and Memorial, among others. (Source: The Casket Capital of Central Luzon by Tonette Orejas, October 29, 2008, Philippine Daily Inquirer (Northern Luzon Bureau).

Sto. Tomas Pottery Industry
Sto. Tomas, Pampanga
For many generations, Kapampangans are known to have fashioned pots and bowls of baked clay for their daily use. Here in Sto. Tomas, where clay remains abundantly available, this age-old art continues to thrive and find expression as one of the town’s primary source of commerce. Home to many traditional potters, Sto Tomas is the place to go for its decorative clay jars, classic earthenware, and assorted potteries.

Subic Bay Lighthouse
Subic, Zambales
This structure stands on a small precipice along the northbound lane of the national highway. It commands a panoramic view of Olongapo City, Subic Bay Freeport Zone and Subic Bay.

Subic Bay Seaport
Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales
The Subic Port is located Southwest of Luzon Island, Philippines. It is 110 kilometers North of Manila, facing the South China Sea and surrounded by Olongapo City and the towns of Subic and Morong. It is Northwest of the Bataan Peninsula and Southwest of the Zambales Province. Subic Bay Freeport has long been recognized for its strategic location, being at the center of the fastest growing markets in Asia. It is at the hub of the region, and all major cities in Asia are within easy reach either by sea or by air. (3 to 4 days by sea, 2-3 hrs. by air. Aside from its strategic location, SBF has a deepwater seaport that is capable of handling the largest ships ever built, manifested when it once supported the mighty US 7th Fleet. The Subic Seaport serves as a major alternative port for importers and exporters in the Northern and Central Luzon areas of the country to decongest the Manila International Container Terminal. It has a total of 15 operational piers and wharves capable of servicing all kinds of sea vessels. Subic’s seaport and container handling facilities were recently enhanced with the operation of the Subic Bay International Container Terminal Services at the Sattler pier. The Freeport also has two operational port terminals: the fertilizer bulk terminal at the Boton Wharf and the grain bulk terminal at the Leyte Wharf. (Credits: www.sbma.com)

Tarlac Provincial Capitol & Park
Tarlac City, Tarlac
An imposing landmark in the province is the seat of the provincial government. Constructed atop a hill, the capitol sets a commanding view of the town of Tarlac and its environs. Giving more grandeur and beauty to the place is the Maria Cristina Park - fittingly named after a Tarlac beauty queen, Maria Cristina Galang, the 1952 Miss Philippines.

The Aquino - Diokno Memorial
Laur, Nueva Ecija
Located in the midst of the sprawling Fort Magsaysay, this former headquarters of the 1st Military Security Detachment (1MSD) of the Philippine Army became the detention facility for political prisoners during the martial law period. Senators Benigno (Ninoy) S. Aquino, Jr. and Jose (Pepe) W. Diokno were imprisoned here from 12 March to 11 April 1973. Isolated from their families, friends and followers, Ninoy (codenamed "Alpha") and Pepe (codenamed "Delta") endured a month of indignity and uncertainty in separate rooms.

Tita's Special Meat Products
Tita's Bldg., Jose Abad Santos Ave., City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Maker of finest and renowned tocino, longaniza, hotdogs, hams, and bacon. Established in 1972, over 35 years of experience on manufacturing and continuously providing high-quality meat processed products to the Filipino people at reasonable prices, Tita's Special is committed to make Filipino make livelihood through product growth, managerial effectiveness, and an outstanding customer service, Tita's Special Pampanga Meat Products is accreditted AA by the National Meat Inspection Service, and has a BFAD Permit (Bureau of Food and Drug Phils.) And it is a member of Pampanga Association of Meat Processors (PAMPRO). For information, contact Wildredo Dungao, Tel. No. (63 45) 961-6621/1562/7072. For further details, please visit http://titasspecial.com/

Voice of America -Tarlac
Concepcion, Tarlac
This radio transmitting facility was used by the Voice of America, the International Broadcasting Service and the U.S. Information Agency in communicating to the world for over 30 years. Special educational tours may be arranged thru their Admin Office at Tel. No. (63 45) 982-0254/0255 Fax No. (63 45) 982-1402 Attn: Mr. Terry Donafan (Station Manager) or Ms. Jovy Soliman (Secretary).

Ylang Ylang Oil
Anao, Tarlac
The transformation of Anao into "Ylangylang Country" began in 1989 when the local government initiated the establishment of plantations of the cash crop to augment the people's meager income from rice and corn, through the Rural Industrialization Can Happen (RICH) Program of the provincial government, then headed by Gov. Mariano Un Ocampo III. The DOST then prepared a project proposal entitled "Establishment of a Village-based Essential Oil Extraction Industry" which they presented to then Pres. Corazon C. Aquino.

In no time, the residents had been planting seedlings in their own backyards and helping care for the trees that the government had planted in public orchards. Initially, 10,000 seedlings were planted along the roads of the entire town. They harvested the first mature blooms five years later. Anao Ylang Ylang Primary Cooperative was organized in 1998 which served as the core gorup in the overall implementation of the ylangylang livelihood program.

To ensure the sustainability and ownership of the Program, the Sangguniang Bayan enacted several municipal ordinances. Among them are the prohibition and penalizing the indiscriminate cutting of trees along roads and other government-owned areas; the guaranteeing of ownership of ylangylang planted along roads; requiring all applicants of a municipal permit or license or clearance to purchase and plant ylangylang and adopting "Aroma Anao" as the trademark/brand name of the ylangylang products in the municipality, as registered with the Intellectual Property Office.

The present administration is very diligent in looking for possible marketing strategies for the "Aroma Anao" products and viable agricultural lots for growing ylang-ylang seedlings. Source: www.otopphilippines.gov.ph







 

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