Pampanga Province

By Tim Kehres
Created: December 26, 2022
Pampanga is well known for its food diversity and is considered the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. Sampling the various foods here is a major reason for coming in itself. Colorful festivities reflect its rich culture and unique native traditions. The predominately Christian makeup of the province can be seen through the churches and festivals of the region There is so much more in Pampanga especially for the outdoor adventurer, families looking for exciting recreation, history buffs and those wanting to participate in the many regional festivals.

Quick Facts

Capital San Fernando
Land Area 2,002.20 square kilometers (773.05 sq mi)
Population 2,437,709 (2020)
Religion Roman Catholic (88.9%), Iglesia ni Cristo (3.8%), Evangelical (1.3%), Aglipayan (0.6%)
Languages Kapampangan, Tagalog, English
Major Industries Farming, Fishing
Known For Kapampangan Cuisine
Best Time to Visit January to March

Climate

Pampanga has two distinct climates, rainy and dry. The rainy or wet season normally begins in May and runs through October, while the rest of the year is the dry season. The warmest period of the year occurs between March and April, while the coolest period is from December through February. The wet season will be from June to October and also dry season will be from November to April.  The average humidity in the province is 81%.

Things to Do

Festivals

The Giant Lantern Festival, known locally as Ligligan Parul, is an annual festival held in mid-December in the City of San Fernando.  It features a competition of giant parol lanterns.  The city has been nicknamed the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines”.  More information about festivals in the region can be found on Pueblo De Oro‘s Unique Festivals of Pampanga page.

Churches

Pampanga is home to many old and beautiful churches.  The oldest and largest is the San Agustin Parish Church, otherwise known as the Lubao Church.  Located in Lubao, Pampanga, construction on the church is believed to have begun around 1570 however the historical accounts are not consistent.   The construction of the current church as completed by Father Francisco Figueroa in 1638 with various improvements and restorations being done in the centuries that followed. The St. James the Apositle Parish Church, or more commonly know as the Betis Church in Guagua is widely considered to be the most beautiful church in Pampanga.  Established in 1607 it is a baroque style architecture.  The initial structure was made of light materials such as wood and stucco however due to many fires the church  was rebuilt  using concrete in 1770.  Often called the Sistine Chapel of the Philippines, the interior was extensively done in 1939 by Father Santiago Blanco, the last Spanish priest of the church.  The ceiling of the central part of the church was painted by the famous Anac Baculud. Other famous churches in the region include San Luis Church, Guagua Church, Sta Ana Church, Apalit Church, Arayat Church, Sta Rita Church, Angeles Church and the San Fernando Cathedral.

Miyamit Falls

Located in the municipality of Porac in Western Pampanga, Miyamit Falls is a popular natural wonder with its breathtaking mountain scenery and unspoiled waterfalls.  The falls are reached by challenging hikes through the local mountains over one of two different hiking trails.  Visitors are greeted with clear and cool water perfect for swimming which is also safe for drinking.  For a great description of the area, the two trails and pictures of the area check out the Kapampangan Traveller page on the falls here.

Mt. Pinatubo

Mount Pinatubo erupted on June 15, 1991 and covered much of the province in ash and debris.  It was the second largest eruption of the 20th century with the effects being felt worldwide.  More particulate matter was ejected into the stratosphere than any eruption since Krakotoa in 1883 with global temperatures dropping by about 0.5 degrees C between 1991 and 1993. Mt. Pinatubo is now one of the most famous tourist destinations in the country.  It is accessible after a roughly 2 hours hike.  The trip is usually either a full day event or with advance reservations overnight camping can be done.  The hike to the crater maybe exhausting but you will be amazed the moment you see the beauty of Mount Pinatubo crater lake a few steps further from the viewing deck. The lake has clear turqouise waters sorrounded by land rock formations.

Air Force City Park

Air Force City Park is located on Andres Bonifacio Avenue in the Clark Freeport Zone.  You can see real helicopters, fighter jets, and aviation equipment used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States.  It is a unique recreational facility with a children’s play area and family picnic ground.  Entrance is free and is open every day from 9 AM – 5 PM.

Zoocobia Fun Zoo

Also located in the Clark Freeport Zone is the Zoocobia Fun Zoo.  This family oriented zoo offers fun filled activities for the entire family.  In addition to being a normal zoo, it’s a great place to learn about the welfare of the animals and wildlife conversation.  Attractions such as the Birds of Paradise give visitors the chance to interact with the birds.  More information about Zoocobia can be found at the Where in Pampanga page Zoocobia Fun Zoo: Clark’s First Adventure Zoo Park.

Sandbox in Alviera

Fun outdoor activities for the whole family can be found at Sandbox in Alviera.   The Giant Swing, the country’s tallest swing can accommodate three guests at a time and rocks back and forth at 10 meters above the ground. The Aerial Walk Challenge is a high rope adventure course of nets and rope walkways, a series of activities that will test your agility, balance, and flexibility.  Then there is the Adventure Tower, 15 meters of wall climbing fun, rappelling, and free fall.  The Splash Tub is a 1,200 sqm water obstacle course where groups can challenge each other’s skills.  Players can join the Aqua Dash, a challenge requiring four members per group to run through the course as fast as they can. Sandbox is located in the Alviera Subdivision, Porac.   It is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9 AM – 5 PM.  The entrance fee is PHP 100 and there are several available packages available providing different levels of access to the attractions.  More information can be found at the SandBox at Alviera Facebook page or in the YouTube video below by Ann Tristine Yabut.

Aqua Planet Waterpark

This the largest and most modern water park in the Philippines and is located in the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone.  It has a total of 38 slides and attractions, outdoor food courts, elegant shower rooms and attractions for the entire family. Originally opened on February 24, 2018, this 10-hectare water theme park is just the first wave of development for a 122-hectare resort project.  Some of the main attractions include the Aqua Loop, Boogie Bay, Wave Pool, Sky Shuttle, Flow Rider, Wave River, Hurricane Slide, Tornado, Octopus Racers and the Kiddie Zone.  More detailed information can be found on the Hike to Mountains Aqua Planet Water Park Complete Guide as well as the Aqua Planet Official Website.  The Our Awesome Planet YouTube channel put together the video below.

Getting There and Back

Pampanga is served by Clark International Airport (CRK), which is in the Clark Freeport Zone, some 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) north of the provincial capital.  CRK has International direct flights with many destinations in the region including Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Shanghai, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Busan, Incheon, Tokyo and Osaka.  Domestic flights to over 20 locations around the Philippines include Cauayan, Basco, San Jose, Coron (Busuanga), El Nido, Puerto Princesa, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Bohol, Tacloban, Siargao, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and others.  Detailed information about Clark International Airport can be found on the Airport Website.  Flight arrival and departure information is available on the Flightradar24 site.  Taxi and small van service can also be arranged between the airport and Manila. From Manila you can reach either San Fernando or Angeles by bus, taxi, car or shuttle.

Location

The province of Pampanga is located in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines (Region III).  Lying on the northern shore of Manila Bay, the provincial capital is San Fernando.  It is known for its giant star-shaped Christmas lanterns called parols and the Giant Lantern Festival in December.   It is also known for its Lenten rites before Easter involving a realistic re-enactment of Jesus’ crucifixion. Angeles City, while geographically within Pampanga, has been governed independently of the province since it received its charter in 1964.   It is considered independent from the province but still part of Pampanga geographically and culturally.  It serves as the economic center for the province and has a lively nightlife scene.  The adjoining Clark Freeport Zone has world-class resorts, recreational facilities, casinos, duty-free shops, and golf courses. Farming and fishing are the two main industries in the province. Major products include rice, corn, sugarcane, and tilapia.  In addition to farming and fishing, the province supports thriving cottage industries that specialize in wood carving, furniture making, guitars and handicrafts. Every Christmas season, the province of Pampanga, especially in the capital city of San Fernando becomes the center of a thriving parol handcrafted lighted lanterns.  The province is also home to two Philippine Air Force airbases: Basa Air Base in Floridablanca and the former United States Clark Air Base in Angeles.  Clark Global City, located in the Clark Freeport Zone is well established and hosts many developing industries including semiconductor manufacturing, aviation, and other light to medium technologies. The province is famous for its sophisticated culinary work.  Famous food products range from the mundane to the exotic.  Roel’s Meat Products, Pampanga’s Best and Mekeni Food are among the better-known meat brands of the country producing favorites such as pork and chicken tocinos, beef tapa, hotdogs, longganizas (Philippine-style cured sausages) and chorizos. Specialty foods such as the siopao, pandesal, tutong, lechon (roasted pig) and its sarsa (sauce) are popular specialty foods in the region.

Popular Destinations

Cities

Angeles Coming soon. How to Get There Over the river and through the woods… Other Related Content References AirForceCityjf006926.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Other Pampanga Province Related

Pampanga Province Galleries Coming soon Popular Gallery Destinations City Galleries Other Pampanga Related References 9536Sinukwan Festival Robinsons Starmills San Fernando Pampanga 45.jpg – Page cover image (Wikimedia)

References