4 Things To Do Around Clark Freeport Zone

Saturday, February 09, 2019

waterpark in the philippines
Let me be honest: the whole “Clark” thing got me so confused that I almost didn’t write this article. See, I thought Clark was a town in Pampanga when, in fact, it was the Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) which spans towns from both Pampanga (Angeles, Mabalacat, and Porac) and Tarlac (Capas, and Bamban). This article is about the Pampanga side of Clark. I guess. No, seriously. I’m still a little disoriented, but let us soldier on.

So OK. If you think the only thing you can find in Clark is a bunch of airplanes (and AFAM – yep, I went there, sorry), then you are not alone. Well, turns out, there’s a whole lot more to do in this former US Air Base. Here are some of them.

1. Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane in Angeles City’s Heritage Park
The origins of Angeles City’s tourism program is one we can all learn from. It started with an article detailing how “ugly” Angeles City is. This piece spread like wildfire among the local community and, understandably, bothered a lot of its residents. Concerned stakeholders from different industries started holding meetings discussing what to do to “clean up” the city’s reputation. These gatherings eventually spawned the local tourism council. Later on, plans for a heritage site were put in motion. 
angeles city church

I personally consider the city’s Heritage Park a modern feat. As with all towns in the country, unsightly electrical cables cross-hatched the airscape – not really conducive to cultural and architectural appreciation. In 2011, the local government reached out to cable, telco, and electric companies. A year later, meetings were taking place, and in June 2014, the whole Plaza was free of wires. The lines have been rerouted, affording unobstructed views of key structures like the century-old Holy Rosary Parish – cited as one of the most important cultural landmarks by the National Museum.

Another highlight of the park is the Museo ng Kasaysayan ng Panlipunan ng Pilipinas, more popularly known as the Pamintuan Mansion. The mansion was built by a couple of local elites as a gift to their son. Interestingly, General Antonio Luna and General Arthur MacArthur also held office here in 1899. But aside from its historical significance, the mansion also houses some of the grandest cultural pieces as well as architectural features inherent to the period. It is also the highest structure in the area so the view from its rooftop is nothing short of panoramic.
moseo ng kasaysayan ng panlipunan ng pilipinas

angeles city heritage park

highest structure in angeles city

pamintuan mansion pampanga

Furthermore, the city’s Library is also being renovated to include a theater that will house regular cultural performances. 

For more information about the Angeles City Heritage Park, get in touch with Angeles City Tourism Officer Ms. Joy Cruz at +63 916 613 6703.

There are Victory Liner buses that ply the Manila-Clark route. Fare is about Php300, one way, and travel time is about three hours. Victory Liner has terminals in Cubao, and Pasay.

2. Get to Know the Ways of the Land at Tibby’s Farm
“The future of this country is not in the cities, but in the heart of the countryside” is the cornerstone on which Atty. Angelo Valencia built Tibby’s Farm. The EAT (Education, Accomodation, and Tourism) Facility in Angeles promotes responsible and sustainable agriculture through fostering cooperation and inclusive growth.
tibby's farm pampanga

The idyllic farm is no-fuss. Mostly simple, open-air structures influenced by the owner’s travels to different parts of the country. The main dining hall is inspired by a traditional Tausug dwelling, and bits of indigenous paraphernalia are tucked in nooks and crannies. There is also the in-house aquaponic facility, the organic garden with its semi-automated irrigation system, and the mushroom cultivation “darkroom”.
sustainable farming pampanga

aquaponic farm clark pampanga

tibbys farm clark pampanga

Related Adventure: EDL Farmhouse in Tarlac

Primarily, Tibby’s Farm is an educational venue where groups and individuals can learn about organic farming. Here, they are taught what kind of crops to plant, linked to possible customers and other resources, and are provided training on how to make their properties sustainable. On top of this, the place offers accommodations and farm-to-table dining.

To know more about Tibby’s Farm, you may contact Atty. Angelo Valencia at +63 917 888 8387.

Ride a Victory Liner Bus from either Cubao or Pasay to the Dau-Mabalacat Bus Terminal. If you go on a weekday, you need to do two jeepney rides from here. One is to the Clark Main Gate then to Angeles City proper. On a weekend, you can ride a jeepney straight to the city proper from the Dau Bus Terminal. When you're on the jeepney to the proper, tell the driver to drop you off at Nepo Mart. Hail a tricycle to Tibby's Farm from here.

3. Have an Amazing Waterfun at Aqua Planet
In this age of social media, the fewer the pictures, the more fun you had. This was exactly the case when I went to Aqua Planet – the largest water park in the Philippines. It was Seven Seas all over again. I took six photos (all, save for one, are garbage – thank goodness for Potpot and Mac), said fuck it, then raced after my friends to the Octopus Racers aka Rainbow Slide.
aqua planet attractions
Photo by Potpot Pinili of Travel Trilogy

water parks in the philippines

Aqua Planet took some time off to further refine their facilities and services. Now, they’re back with a bigger manpower, more food concessionaires, and better facilities. I also love the fact that instead of paper tickets/wristbands, they got these reusable RFID bracelets that you can load with money to use for in-park purchases. You have to return them when you leave the park, but that means there’s less trash generated!
aqua planet rfid tags

aqua planet wave pool

tornado water slide

Summer or not, I highly recommend a visit here. Get on the numerous water slides or just laze away along the “river”. It’s a great bonding experience for both family and friends.

Here are the walk-in rates of Aqua Planet:
The rates entitle guests to an All-Day Unlimited access to the park’s attractions. 
Weekday Rates
- Below 4 feet - Php740
- 4 feet and above - Php950
Weekend Rates
- Below 4 feet - Php980
- 4 feet and above - Php1180 

Tickets are available at the gates, and also at Klook.

Cabana rentals are between Php3,000 (good fo 15 pax) to Php5,000 (good for 25 pax). There are also tables and chairs with umbrellas around the water park that are free to use. For lockers, there is a Php200 rental fee.

Aqua Planet is open everyday from 9AM to 5PM. For more information, check out Aqua Planet’s website

There are Victory Liner buses from Cubao and Pasay going to the Dau-Mabalacat Bus Terminal. From here, ride a Dau-SM-Main Gate jeepney to Bayanihan Terminal where you can get on a Blue Jeep that brings you straight to Aqua Planet. Alternatively, you may take a bus to Angeles/Marquee Bus Terminal, then board a jeepney to SM Clark-Main Gate. Here, you can get on the Blue Jeep to Aqua Planet.

4. Spend a Night Under Starry Skies at El Kabayo Stables
Have you always wanted to try out camping but couldn’t really deal with being deprived of modern comforts? Well, you can get the best of both worlds at El Kabayo Stables. 
el kabayo glamping

The place best known for its Western-themed facilities and horseback-riding now offers glamping aka "glamorous camping"! The overnight set-up includes dinner and breakfast, a Grazing Table in collaboration with Amante Ribs and Steaks, archery by Oculus Sport, bonfire with marshmallows, horseback and carriage rides, tents with comfortable amenities (mattresses, pillows, blankets, toiletries), and outdoor toilets and showers.
archery in clark

el kabayo horseback riding

horsedrawn carriage clark

The catch is there needs to be a minimum of 10 people to avail this package. It’s perfect for family bonding, barkada hangouts, and corporate team-buildings. El Kabayo is willing to customize the set-up based on the requirements of your group, but be sure to book at least ONE WEEK BEFORE your preferred date for ample prep time. 

Rates are Php4500 for adults, Kids are Php2500, and two-year-olds and below are free. Again, you must be 10 or more in your group to avail this service. If there’s less than 10 people in your group, you still must pay the total rate for 10 pax. 

For more information, get in touch with Ms. Rina Lao at +63 917 834 4055 or visit El Kabayo Stables’ website

From Cubao or Pasay, take a Victory Liner bus to the Dau-Mabalacat Bus Terminal. From here, get on a bus bound for SM Clark. Get off at the Clark Main Gate Jeepney Terminal. Take a jeepney from the "Route 3" terminal, and ask the driver/conductor to drop you off at the Clark Picnic Grounds. El Kabayo Stables is near the end of this route.

This is part of Lakbay Norte 8 - a media tour organized by the North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB). Other photos by Mac Dillera via NPVB.

What other places in Clark would you recommend?

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