Lakbay Norte 2010: Where to stay and eat in Clark and Angeles

January 30-31, 2010. Angeles City and Clark have many establishments that cater to local and foreign visitors, from restaurants that serve local and international cuisine to budget motels to world-class hotels and leisure resorts to shopping malls. During our stay in Clark for the Lakbay Norte 2010 caravan, we were booked at Holiday Inn. Holiday Inn Clark is the only accredited international deluxe hotel in Central Luzon.

Holiday Inn Clark occupies a building that used to be called Chambers Hall, where bachelor officers of the former American airbase and some generals were billeted while on assignment in Clark. In 1996, after renovations, it stood as one of the first landmarks in Clark right after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. It has again just recently been renovated and refurbished in accord to the Holiday Inn chain’s global re-branding campaign. Like other international deluxe hotels, it features modern amenities and furnishings in all of its rooms and villas. Broadband internet access is also available in the rooms. It has three restaurants (Mequeni, Rodizio Rooftop Grill, Copa’s Bar) a swimming pool, a recreation and game area, function halls, a spa and fitness area, and since it is located within the Mimosa Leisure Estate, it also has a 36-hole championship golf course.

If you choose to stay in Angeles City right outside Clark, you may stay at the Oasis Hotel, which has been in operation for more than four decades, and is one of the leading business hotels in Angeles City. Unlike the Holiday Inn, Oasis occupies a sprawling complex of 124 rooms in apartment-like single-floor structures. On our last day in the Lakbay Norte caravan, we had lunch at Oasis Hotel’s Maranao Grill, where we were served with roast lamb and roast beef, together with pasta, baked mussels and roast duck in taco shells. Every Friday, Maranao Grill has an RST Buffet where they serve roast beef, roast lamb, sushi, sahimi and tempura all day.

We arrived in Clark Saturday night, and we had dinner right after checking in at the hotel at Red Crab Seafood and Steaks which is just walking distance from Holiday Inn Clark. We had generous servings of local staple viands and, of course, red crab.

After dinner at Red Crab, we were taken to Camalig Restaurant in downtown Angeles City where we sampled Armando’s Pizza–different kinds of “Kapampangan Pizza,” pizza with all sorts of combinations of local toppings, from salted eggs, to fried crickets. It was a sumptuous after-dinner treat.

Holiday Inn Clark Mimosa Drive, Mimosa Leisure Estate, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga (02) 845 1888, (045) 599 8000 Oasis Hotel Clarkville Compound, CLark Perimeter Road, Angeles City, Pampanga (045) 893 3301 to 04

Ultimate Kapampangan Show-off Tour (III)

December 15, 2007. I think this is probably the highlight of the entire tour. After visiting churches and ancestral houses, the tour masters Ivan Henares, Ivan Mandy, Anton Diaz and Spanky Enriquez took us to the Bale Dutung home of Claude and Maryann Tayag in Angeles, Pampanga for their famed exclusive lunch experience. Oh boy. Who would’ve thought a slow delightfully satisfying lunch for four hours is possible. It’s not the type of lunching where you devour your food because it’s just so good, rather, it’s the type where you just keep eating and eating at your own delightfully slow pace in such a cozy ambience and a cool environment. The crispy pritson was my favorite. Aside from that there was also pako salad, binulong na manok soup, pritong hito, kare-kareng dagat, sisig puso and pata mole. There were of course, the excellent sauces that come with everything. The taba ng talangka was my favorite. Our rice, on the other hand, came in cone shaped wrapped banana leaves.

IMG_7183.JPG Bale Dutung Pako Salad at Bale Dutung Pritson at Bale Dutung sauces at Bale Dutung Talong Boat at Bale Dutung
Bale Dutung Sisig Puso at Bale Dutung Pata Mole at Bale Dutung Smoked Tilapia at Bale Dutung Fried Hito at Bale Dutung Seafood Kare-Kare at Bale Dutung

In between servings, I had to leave my seat and walk around the house to make room for more servings, which was equally delightful, with the warm and peaceful ambience and all the wooden art pieces and other such furniture. I also found myself being engaged in conversations by Maryann and Claude, who were very hospitable, accomodating and generous hosts.

Also present for lunch with us was Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio.

Ultimate Kapampangan Show-off Tour (I)

December 15, 2007. Last December 15, Saturday, I joined the Ultimate Kapampangan Show-off tour of Anton Diaz, Ivan Henares, Ivan Mandy, and Spanky Enriquez. I only got home earlier (or morning) at almost three in the morning from another all-nighter frat party and my brod Ivan H., asked me to be at 6750 in Makati by seven in the morning a few hours after to meet with everyone else with the tour. With an hour of sleep, I was able to make it on time from QC. Anyway, we left Makati shortly after half past seven and arrived in Pampanga just before nine in the morning.

Bacolor Church, Pampanga

Our first stop was the town of Bacolor, Pampanga. The town, over much of the 90’s, was almost completely buried under more than a dozen meters of lahar from the Mount Pinatubo eruption of 1991. After having deserted the town for years, people have been coming back to rebuild their communities. The town church, or the upper half of what’s left, is now being restored and renovated. Inside the church, there is a small section that serves as a museum, with photographs of the parish and the town during its better days. In fact, things were so much better before, Bacolor served as the temporary capital of the Spanish colonial government during the short British occupation of the archipelago.

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