Beautiful places are just bus rides away

Central Luzon is a traveler’s paradise. Food, nature, adventure, leisure and quietude can be enjoyed even on a tight budget. Here, we introduce to you some places that can mostly be reached by buses.

Aurora is located at the eastern side of Central Luzon. It faces the Pacific Ocean, giving it long lines of beaches like Dinadiawan Beach in Dipaculao town, and Casapsapan Beach in Casiguran town. In the capital town of Baler, Sabang Beach is perfect for surfing and watching the sunset.

Bataan is at the southern tip of the region. In this land of valor, catch a glimpse of World War II by visiting the Mount Samat National Shrine in Pilar town. It was built to honor gallant Filipino and American soldiers. The shrine has a Colonnade and a tall Memorial Cross, which gives a one-of-a-kind view of Manila Bay.

Have a feel of the grandeur of the past at Las Casas Filipinas in BagacBataan. In its 400 hectares are 27 Spanish colonial-era buildings. The resort features a restaurant, a beach, calesa rides, and a swimming pool.

 

The Barasoain Church in Malolos was the site of the First Filipino Republic, and the Cradle of Democracy in the East. It’s name was said to be derived from either a municipality in Navarre, Spain, or from the word “baras ng suwail.” Photo by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines

In Mariveles town, enjoy Camaya Coast. The 450-hectare community has commercial and residential areas. The beach resort spans 3.2 kilometres with two coves. More beaches dot Mariveles. These include Five Fingers, Laki, and Lusong.

In Orani town, the Sinagtala Resort beckons. Because the 60-hectare resort is near the Bataan Natural Park, flora and fauna are sights to behold. It hosts the only closed canopy dipterocarp forest – where towering trees abound – in Central Luzon. Guests can avail of pools, hiking trails, zip lines, giant swings, air bridges.

Bulacan is immediately beside Metro Manila. Check out the Barasoain Church (Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish), which was built in 1888 in the capital city of Malolos. It is the site of the congress of the First Philippine Republic.

In San Miguel town, begin your ecotourism visit to Mt. Manalmon inside the Biak na Bato National Park in Sitio Madlum in Barangay Sibul. The place is easy for beginning mountaineers because the trail is Class 1-2 with 2/9 level of difficulty.  The park is protected, extending all the way to San Ildefonso and Doña Remedios Trinidad towns.

In Nueva Ecija, the Minalungao National Park in General Tinio town is a must-see for naturalists. A protected area, it is bordered by the Peñaranda River and limestone walls of the Sierra Madre mountain range. There is also a system of unexplored subterranean caves. Facilities for picnics, swimming, fishing, raft riding and cliff diving are available.

In Nampicuan town, visit the Sanctuary of the Holy Face of Jesus of Manoppello in the Immaculate Conception

Nayong Pilipino was originally located near Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay. While it has now been transferred to Clark, Pampanga, it still offers a quick trip on everything to see in the Philippines. This includes even dances like the “Sayaw sa Bangko.” Photo by Nayong Pilipino Clark

Parish. The Holy Veil in Nampicuan is said to be an exact replica of the original in the Basilica di Volto Santo in Manoppello, Italy. It was gifted to Nampicuan by the Rector of the Basilica and Guardian of the Relic, Capuchin Friar Carmine Cuchinelli, in 2014 after his Philippine tour.

In Cuyapo town, the Mount Bulaylay zipline in Barangay Landig has become one of the attractions of the town.

In the province of Pampanga, the Puning Hot Spring and Spa is scenic, although it is a landscape ravaged by Mt. Pinatubo’s 1991 eruptions. Access it via the Clark Freeport Zone and turn left to Barangay Sapang Bato. Get your all-terrain jeeps in Sitio Target to bathe in the hot springs.

If you want an overview of Angeles City and nearby sites, head to the Angeles City Flying in Magalang town. It is open to ultralight flying (including light sport aircraft and microlight flying).

Inside the Clark Freeport Zone, immerse in Aqua Planet, which has 38 slides and attractions. If it is Clark that interests you, try taking the GoTours that consists of a 45-minute viewing at Clark Theater, rolling tour of historical sites, lunch at a local restaurant, and Nayong Pilipino. Just outside Clark is the Decawake Clark Cable Park that is open for wakeboarding from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

 

Museo de Baler houses artifacts dating back to the Spanish Era. From earthenware to important Spanish documents, the museum will show you what Aurora was like when it was under Spanish rule. Photo by Mosh Magbanua

In Lubao town, everybody’s playground is the Pradera Verde. It has world-class villas, wakeboarding park and events hall. For reservations, contact info@praderaverde.com.ph., (045) 436 5117, 0917 447 1214.

In Tarlac province, the Monasterio de Tarlac gives time for serenity and prayers. It is a monastic community founded in 1998. The relic of the cross of Jesus has been enshrined there, authenticated by a papal seal.

Kart City Tarlac, which opened in 2003, is a place for people who love driving karts in a race track. It is also a haven for foodies, with several restaurants offering outdoor dining operating there.

The Aquino Center and Museum has been drawing history lovers. Located in Hacienda Luisita, in San Miguel, Tarlac 

City, it was established as a tribute to the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and his wife, the late President Corazon “Cory” Aquino.

In Zambales, the Mt. Pinatubo crater-lake is a wonder to see via 

Botolan. But swimming is not allowed there given that it is 2,000-feet deep. The lake formed when the crater collapsed during the volcano’s 1991 eruptions.


Make sure you also head to the beaches of San Antonio towns and view the Anawangin, Talisayin, and Nagsasa Coves. The volcanic ash forms a long carpet on the coast and the surviving pine trees give a cool breeze. Also found in San Antonio, Ca
mara, and Capones islands are big lumps of rock from the shores of Pundaquit. /

 

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