Tourists troop to pilgrimage sites in Pampanga

April 18, 2011
STA. RITA — People are now trooping to various tourist and pilgrimage sites in Pampanga with the start of the Lenten week.
Tourist visits to century-old churches here has doubled since last week, according to local officials and tour operators.
Among the favorite church destinations include the “sunken church” in Bacolor town, the Santiago Apostol Church in Betis district in Guagua and San Agustin Church in Lubao town.
Local artist Ruston Banal said Betis is a particular church to visit and has been wowing tourists and pilgrims who have seen the church for the first time. The church boasts of an intricately painted ceiling and a baroque retablo of magnificent craftsmanship.
Banal said tourists will also find an added sidelight when visiting the church. This as the local community, through the help of Banal, have set up a local museum under the old church rectory explaining the history behind the construction of the church and the heritage of the community that is famous of its wood carving industry.
The San Guillermo Church in Bacolor town is also a favorite destination. The church has been buried in tons of lahar during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the 90’s. Today, the church could be accessed through the second level window that now serves as the entrance to the church.

The local community had also pooled resources to restore the old magnificent ratablos. The church has been receiving regular visitors from tourists brought in by tour operators in Central Luzon, making it one of the most tourist-visited churches in the province, according to local church officials.
The San Agustin Church, one of the oldest in Central Luzon, is a favorite stop-over for people coming from Bataan and Zambales.

Tourism network needed
However, tourists and tour operators expressed worry that the province has yet to set in place a comprehensive tourism network and assistance program to better help in facilitating information and travel to various destinations in the province.
James Lim, in his post on Twitter, said that Pampanga has a good potential for tourism but lacks a comprehensive tourism support program. Lim even wonders if the province’s tourism department is serious in creating a strong tourism line-up for the province.
“Other provinces are way ahead, they have information dissemination programs and websites for potential visitors,” Lim said.

Program in the works
Just recently, Governor Lilia Pineda and Second District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led the start of an eco-tourism plan for Porac town. Aside from this, Arroyo had also bared the plans to create a tour-circuit program of historical churches in Pampanga.
First District Board Member Tarcicio Halili, for his part, admits that the province has still a lot to do in terms of tourism.
“The point is we are already getting there. It won’t be long before a comprehensive tourism plan is in place,” Halili said, adding that he has already set the works to create a comprehensive tourism master plan for Pampanga.
Halili said he had initially moved for talks of creating a streamlining of tourism objectives for all towns in the province, so as to create also a more united approach in promoting the province’s tourism potential.
Halili said tourism attractions, festivals, and pilgrimage sites should all be included in a promotional plan that includes the creation of a website and a support network for tourist.
The board member said a monitoring and date base should also be in place to monitor tourist arrivals in the province and in various tourist destinations in Pampanga.


Foodies and wine lovers travel north from Manila to wine and dine at Philippines’ best fine dining restaurant in Pampanga Clark Freeport worth the 60-minutes drive for a memorable evening of good food with vintage wine at Yats Restaurant & Wine Bar

This fine dining restaurant is also famous for its low carbohydrates “low carb” dishes highly recommended for frequent diners who are on a low fat food and favor healthy food. This is a unique restaurant that can help frequent diners maintain a healthy diet and enjoy delicious fine dining cuisine at the same time. Vegetarian dishes are a specialty here also and so are “halal” cuisines also.

Favorites of frequent diners, foodies and wine lovers are steaks, Wagyu, Foie Gras, lobsters, venison, kangaroo loin, osso buco, veal chops, Kurabuto pork, escargots and a good selection of cheeses to enjoy with fine Vintage port and Sauternes. Cuban cigars such as Monte Cristo, Cohiba, Upmann, Partagas, Romeo Julieta and Trinidad are also available in the Magnum Room which is a wine bar and lounge for before and after dinner relaxation. A good selection of Armagnac, Cognac, Single Malt, Vodka and other liquor is served in addition to the wine vintage wines some served by the glass.

Recent opinion survey of frequent travelers heading north towards Subic and Clark Pampanga revealed that the number one most frequently visited fine dining restaurant in Pampanga is Yats Restaurant & Wine Bar located in Clark Philippines.

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Getting to this fine dining restaurant of Angeles City Clark Freeport Zone Pampanga Philippines
How to get to this fine-dining restaurant in Clark Philippines? Once you get to Clark Freeport, go straight until you hit Mimosa. After you enter Mimosa, stay on the left on Mimosa Drive, go past the Holiday Inn and Yats Restaurant (green top, independent 1-storey structure) is on your left. Just past the Yats Restaurant is the London Pub.

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