Tourists from all over the world most often choose Manila as their landing place to the Philippines, since this capital city has the country’s primary airport. Sure, Manila has its own charm and conveniences, but this urban area is fast becoming congested, with traffic jams in major thoroughfares and jampacked public transportation facilities already daily occurrences.
If you want to avoid all these inconveniences, it is highly suggested that you choose Angeles City in Pampanga province as your entry point to the Philippines. With the Clark International Airport in this area, this highly urbanized city around three hours away from Manila is emerging to be a good alternative gateway to this Southeast Asian country. Angeles City also has its own interesting attractions, most of which are of historical importance to the country that was once an American colony.
Angeles City Guide
Here’s an easy guide to Angeles City that will give you more than enough reasons to consider it as your new entry point to the Philippines.
When to Visit Angeles City
Angeles City Philippines is a good place to go to all year round, complete with the modern facilities of an urban area but still with a good mix of natural, historical and gastronomical points of interest. However, if you want to see the best of Angeles City, it is highly recommended that you go to this place during the months of December to February. At this time, the city will be bursting with lights and festivities because of the Christmas season. You might also want to catch the city’s most popular event, the Hot Air Balloon Festival every February.
What to See in Angeles City
• Salakot Arch – This is considered to be Angeles City’s main landmark, so make sure to drop by this gazeebo shaped like a traditional hat during your visit to the area. It is also a historical landmark, built to mark the date when the Philippines was able to re-establish sovereignty over former American military bases in the area. The park surrounding the arch is a good place for a stroll, and is a favorite for jogging and picnics.
• Old Pamintuan Mansion – Another must-see historical landmark in Angeles City is this colonial-era house, which served as the seat of government for the First Philippine Republic. It also served as headquarters for some top American generals when the Philippines was still a colony. At present, this architecturally impressive mansion serves a tourism office and a museum on the nation’s colonial experience.
• Santo Rosario Church – This baroque-style religious landmark is much revered by locals and has been declared a national historical site, but it has a dark past. It was built during the Spanish colonial period using forced and unpaid labor. It also served as a military hospital by the American military when they were still occupying the Philippines.
What to Do in Angeles City
• Catch the Hot Air Balloon Festival – If there’s one event in Angeles City that you should not miss, it is definitely this one. Local and foreign tourists alike flock to the Clark open field during the month of February to see colorful hot air balloons fill the sky. In addition to these, there will also be paragliders, skydivers and other aerial exhibitions that will absolutely amaze you.
• Fly a plane – Is looking at the sky not enough adventure for you? Why not try conquering it on an airplane? The Angeles City Flying Club, one of the oldest such clubs in the Philippines, offers basic aviation lessons for less than $50. This is also the best way to get a bird’s eye view of the entire city.
What to Eat
• Sisig – Never leave Angeles City without having a taste of this dish, which will definitely give you some greasy goodness. It’s a traditional Filipino dish made from finely chopped pig’s ears and liver, served on a sizzling plate with chili and seasoned with the local lime called calamansi. Best served with beer!
• Frogs and Crickets – Up for some gastronomic adventure? Then you should try these exotic dishes common in this part of the Philippines. The frogs are usually skewered and deep-fried, and supposedly taste like chicken. The crickets, meanwhile, are best served adobo-style, or simmered in vinegar and soy sauce.
Angeles is a fast-rising city, and may soon eclipse Manila as the main gateway to the Philippines. So what are you waiting for? Come to this interesting city before everybody else does.