Take your family on a trip to Angeles City and discover its hidden wonders
Written by Michelle Angela Orosa Carag | Photographed by Renee Joy Basa
Special thanks to Christine Nunag of Angeles City Tourism Office
FOR THE TIGHT-KNIT FAMILY
Dubbed as the entertainment capital of the Philippines, I had always pegged Angeles City as the go-to place for people to prowl the night in search of the best party scenes. I was also guilty of making it synonymous with Duty Free because of the wrong assumption that Clark was located within its borders. But embarking on a trip to get first-hand experience of the city made me realize that it is beyond a place of thriving night life and PX goods. If anything, Angeles City is full of wonders—amidst color-coded jeepneys—waiting to be discovered by those who are looking for a place to enrich their cultural exposure, if only for a weekend.
To get a clearer picture of what I am trying to impart here, let me take you through a guided tour that will unearth the hidden gems found only in Angeles City— from historical landmarks to culinary and shopping destinations.
THE HERITAGE TOUR
History is best appreciated when you are standing in the middle of an actual place where important historical events transpired. Through the Heritage Tour arranged by the local toursim office of Angeles City, Filipinos will surely have a deeper appreciation of our country’s rich history. The tour kicks off with a visit to the iconic Pamintuan House where President Emilio Aguinaldo moved the seat of his government following his escape from San Isidro, Nueva Ecija (during the American occupation) and celebrated the first anniversary of the Philippine Independence Day. Also included in the itinerary is a trip to the Center for Kapampangan Studies, which houses religious artefacts, ancient china and earthenware dating as far back as the pre-Spanish colonization period, as well as documents, photographs and art pieces by Kapampangan National Artists Vicente Manansala and Juan Flores. Wrapping up the tour is a trip to the Museo Ning Angeles. Run by the Kuliat Foundation, Inc., the museum is home to more artifacts, photos and illustrations that tell the story of how Angeles City was built. Breakfast and lunch are also served on the second floor of the museum.
FLY AWAY IN PAMPANGA
Add more excitement to your stay by participating in the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Happening yearly, this festival attracts a multitude of spectators in and out of the country, featuring a lot of expedition events such as skydiving, flag jumps, micro-light aircraft, helicopter flying exhibitions and many more!
A PLACE OF GASTRONOMIC PLEASURE
Of course, a visit to Angeles City will not be complete without indulging your appetite to delicious Kapampangan cooking! Visit these restaurants that bring dining to a new dimension.
Serving authentic Kapampangan cooking, its first branch opened in Bacolor, Pampanga. The restaurant, which is built as a large bahay kubo, sits in the middle of a fishpond to heighten the exotic dining experience. While it takes time for the food to be served (everything is made from scratch and is slow-cooked) the restaurant makes up for the wait by offering water rafting and fishing activities for free (guests get to keep whatever they catch)! As of now, Apag Marangle has opened its second branch in Marquee Ayala Mall Park to serve hungry customers on-the-go.
Apag Marangle is located along Olongapo-Ga pan Rd., Sta. Barbara Bacolor, Pampanga, phone (45)436 1600, open Mon-Sun 9AM-9PM; Level 1 Marquee Park, Marquee Mall, Francisco G. Nepomuceno Ave., Pulung Maragul, Angeles City, phone (45)434 1180, open Mon-Sun 9AM-9PM
Purple Pad Thai
Educate your palate by trying Thai food. Located in the city’s gastronomic belt, this casual dining restaurant has fun yet cozy interiors that feature the color violet—a dominant color in Thai culture. The restaurant effectively redefines spicy food so much that even those with sensitive tongues will want to sample more of its offerings. The menu features over 30 popular Thai dishes, including Pad Thai Noodles, Tom Yum soup and Chicken Pandan.
Purple Pad Thai is located along Lagmann Building, McArthur Highway, Balibago, Balibago, Angeles City; phone (917)500 6090; open Mon 5PM-10PM and Tue-Sun 11AM-10PM.
Historic Camalig Restaurant
Take your kids to one of the oldest structures in the city for a more holistic cultural exposure trip while you treat them to pizza. As owner of the restaurant that offers the “Pambansang Pizza,” Marco Nepomuceno takes pride in making sure that the pizzas cater to the Filipino taste. Everything served is composed of the freshest ingredients bought locally— even the cheese used is kesong puti, which is made from pure carabao’s milk. To maintain the Filipino identity, a bilao is used to package take outs.
Historic Camalig Restaurant is located at 292 Sto. Rosario St., Angeles City; phone (45)888 1077; Open Mon-Sun 8AM -12MN
Because it is tucked within the premises of Grand Palazzo Royale, it is best to go there at night so your kids can marvel at the beautiful lights draped around the trees and along the surrounding Greek-inspired columns. The restaurant sits right in the middle of all the enchantment characterized by Elvis and Roman statues around. Inside, Cioccolo brings about a sense of warmth, most especially because it is set up like an actual house— dining tables take up most of the space, while two corners are set up like a living room, complete with couches and coffee tables.
Cioccolo is located at Royal Estate Garden, Friendship Circumferential Rd., Angeles City; phone (45)624 5279; open Mon-Fri 5PM -12MN and Sat-Sun 5PM-1AM
Let the bargain hunter in you take delight in the city’s budget-friendly shopping and pasalubong destinations!
Go for a little luxury
Make sure to pass by MarQuee Mall located along the North Luzon Expressway. A premier shopping destination, it is the first Ayala Mall in Central Luzon. It is also the first mall to bring both foreign and local brands found in Manila closer to the north. While it houses some outlet stores— including Lacoste, Nine West and Aerosoles—the management largely highlights the local home grown brands that are brought together in the establishment, from delicacies to clothing.
WHERE TO STAY
A budget hotel is always the best option, especially because it is not ideal for a huge chunk of your pocket money to be spent on accommodation alone. Tune Hotels offers very affordable rates without sacrificing quality. For only P1000-P1200, the twin or double room is already equipped with 5-star beds, power showers, air conditioning unit and a flat screen TV. It is also strategically placed near restaurants, tourist landmarks and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.
Tune Hotels is locat ed at Don Juico Ave., Malabanias, Angeles City; phone (45)459 0888; ema il <philippines@tunereservat ions.com>; visit <tunehotels.com/philippines>
Thrift your heart out
Located in the Nepo Quadrangle, this is not your ordinary ukay place. It is quite imposing, considering the fact that it is planted on a spacious lot and covered with a huge blue open tent. Stylish clothes can be easily spotted from afar (this will really prompt you to park your car and check out what is available) but shoppers will be delighted to know that the products are really cheap! With just P200, you can already score a skirt, a pair of shorts or pants and three blouses. The clothes are in fair condition—either slightly used or still tagged.
The ukay-ukay is located at Nepo Quadrangle, Teresita St ., Angeles City; open Wed and Sat 8AM-8PM
Introduce your kids to a different kind of sweet
Since Angeles produces indulgent pastries, it’s time to forget about chocolates and other imported sweets. A great place to start with this little gastronomic adventure is Rosing’s Candy Store where everything is cooked the old-fashioned way. Included in the roster of hand-made pastries and sweets are cashew tartlets, polvoron, yema, pastillas de leche and the very addictive crisantes—a pastry that can only be bought in Angeles City and is made of ground cashew, flour and butter.
Next stop is Susie’s Cuisine located literally two doors away from Rosing’s Candy Store. Patrons from the metro flock there to get their fill of their favorite kakanin, especially the tibok-tibok, which is the Kapampangan version of maja blanca. Susie’s also serves duman and mochi-mochi.
You can also cross the street and go inside the Old Nepo Mart where you can find Gill’s Buko Sherbet and Ice Cream. The sherbet is composed of fresh buko, lychee and the smoothest shaves of ice that your kids will love!
Rosing’s Candy St ore is located at 34 Hilda St ., Nepo Mart 1, An geles City; phone (45)888 8224; open Mon-Sun 10AM-8PM
Susie’s Cuisine is located at 36 Hilda St ., Nepo Mart 1, An geles City; phone (45)322 4775; open Mon-Sun 10AM-8PM
Gill’s Buko Sherbet and Ice Cream is locate at 32 P. Narcisus St ., Nepo Mart 1, Angeles City; phone (45)322 9073; open Mon-Sun 9AM-8PM