Nestled in the heart of Central Luzon, the province of Pampanga is a gem waiting to be explored. It is mostly known as the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines” due to its rich culinary scene. But more than that, Pampanga offers a diverse range of tourist attractions that will captivate both local and international visitors. From awe-inspiring natural wonders such as the magnificent Mount Pinatubo to historical sites, this article presents a comprehensive guide to the best Pampanga tourist spots and activities!
Note: Due to the recent COVID pandemic, some of the Pampanga tourist attractions in this article may temporarily closed, such as Nayong Pilipino. Please check their corresponding website or social pages before scheduling your visit.
- 1. Trek to Mount Pinatubo
- 2. Puning Hot Spring
- 3. Eat original sisig
- 4. Sandbox
- 5. Sky Ranch
- 6. Aqua Planet
- 7. Miyamit Falls
- 8. Nayong Pilipino
- 9. Mount Arayat National Park
- 10. Ultralight flying at Angeles City Flying Club
- 11. Ride a hot air balloon
- 12. Go wakeboarding
- 13. Bird watching in Candaba Swamp
- 14. Clark Museum and 4D Theater
- 15. Zoocobia Fun Zoo
- 16. Dinosaurs Island
- 17. Horseback riding at El Kabayo
- 18. Museo Ning Angeles
- 19. San Guillermo Parish Church
- 20. Relax in a farm resort
- 21. Witness the Giant Lantern Festival
- Where to stay in Pampanga
- What to read next:
1. Trek to Mount Pinatubo
You are probably already familiar with Mount Pinatubo — it’s one of the most famous Pampanga tourist spots.
Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano that erupted last in 1991. It has since transformed into a breathtaking landscape, with the caldera forming a beautiful lake that some locals describe as a “beautiful disaster.” The most common way to get here is by riding a 4×4 vehicle from the town of Capas in Tarlac and then trekking for 2 hours to reach the lake. The reward is a stunning view of the turquoise-colored lake and surrounding mountains, the remnants of what was once a devastating eruption.
If you’re staying in the metro, trekking Mount Pinatubo is one of the best day trips from Manila that you can do on weekends.
Book a Pinatubo tour with a 4×4 ride.
2. Puning Hot Spring
Puning Hot Spring is one of the hidden gems of Pampanga. Visiting here is a bit expensive, but if you want to experience a unique way of pampering yourself then it is a definite must-visit.
The hot spring is located at the bottom of Mount Pinatubo. Here you can enjoy an exciting 4×4 ride, dip in natural hot springs that range from 40°C to 70°C, experience getting buried from neck to toe in sand to improve circulation and relieve joint pains, and finally get a massaged and a mud pack with paste gathered from the last eruption of the volcano.
To complete the experience, the Puning Hot Spring and Restaurant can also serve you delicious local cuisine which you can enjoy while looking at the view of the volcanic mountain.
3. Eat original sisig
A visit to Pampanga won’t be complete without ordering a hot plate of authentic sisig. Sisig is one of the signature dishes of Pampanga, made of chopped pig’s face and seasoned with onions, chili pepper, and calamansi.
You can find a lot of local restaurants serving, but the most popular ones are Aling Lucing’s Sisig and Everybody’s Café. Don’t miss trying out other delicious Pampanga delicacies including bringhe, bulalang kapampangan, tocino, and buro.
Sandbox is a 2-hectare adventure park located at Alviera in Porac, Pampanga. It is considered one of the best Pampanga tourist spots that cater to both kids and adults alike.
Here you can also find the first roller coast zip line in Asia and the tallest giant swing in the Philippines. It also offers a range of other thrilling activities such as ATV rides, wall climbing, aerial walks, and a freefall experience. Kids will also enjoy playing at the park’s children’s playground.
Sandbox is a great day trip for families and adrenaline junkies. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9AM to 5PM.
5. Sky Ranch
Sky Ranch is a theme park located in San Fernando, Pampanga. It is one of the best Pampanga tourist attractions for families and casual visitors in the province.
The theme park features over 20 rides and attractions, including Pampanga Eye, a 65-meter structure considered the tallest and biggest ferris wheel in the Philippines, offering a view of the whole park and Mount Arayat.
Kids can enjoy fun rides such as the Double Decker Safari, Express Train, Safari Train, Wonderflight, and Planetarium. Meanwhile, adults can go on more adventurous rides such as the Loop Roller Coaster, Super Vikings, Space Shuttle, and more.
Sky Ranch Pampanga operates daily, from 12 noon to 9PM.
The best way to experience Sky Ranch Pampanga is by getting a ride-all-you-can day pass.
6. Aqua Planet
One of the best places to visit in Clark Pampanga, Aqua Planet is a 10-hectare water park in the Clark Freeport Zone. It is considered the largest water park in the Philippines, offering world-class water adventures for visitors of all ages.
One of the main highlights of Aqua Planet is its impressive collection of water slides. With over 25 slides, including high-speed racing slides, tube slides, and multi-lane slides, there is something to cater to every level of thrill-seeker. Here you can twist and turn your way down exhilarating slides and experience the rush of adrenaline as you splash into crystal-clear pools below.
The park also boasts a giant wave pool, which gives the sensation of being in an ocean where you can relax, swim, or simply float on inflatable tubes. For those who want a more relaxed experience, Aqua Planet also features lazy rivers where you can enjoy a leisurely floating journey and water playgrounds complete with shallow pools, and mini-slides suitable for kids.
Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a family looking for water-filled adventures, or someone simply seeking a refreshing getaway, Aqua Planet is one of the best Pampanga tourist spots to visit to beat the heat and create lasting memories.
7. Miyamit Falls
Miyamit Falls is one of the natural wonders in Pampanga, ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. This waterfall cascades down from a height of around 25 meters, creating a mesmerizing display of rushing water that plunges into a cool, natural pool below. The pool is inviting, providing a refreshing respite for weary trekkers to take a dip and unwind amidst the soothing sounds of nature.
To get here, you need to secure a local guide and engage in moderate trekking through the lush and verdant foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range. ATV rides are also available for those who want to reach Miyamit Falls the easy way.
8. Nayong Pilipino
Nayong Pilipino is a cultural theme park located at the Clark Freeport Zone in Mabalacat, Pampanga. This is one of the best places to visit in Pampanga for family and school trips.
The attractions include miniature replicas of famous Philippine landmarks, such as the Mayon Volcano, Banaue Rice Terraces, and various historical churches. You can also wander around traditional villages representing different regions of the country and witness their unique custom, arts, and crafts. Aside from this, Nayong Pilipino also hosts cultural shows, exhibits, and interactive activities for an immersive cultural experience.
This Pampanga tourist attraction is a great destination to learn more about the culture in the Philippines — whether it’s about learning indigenous tribes, witnessing traditional dances, or seeing the diverse architectural styles of villages throughout the country.
Nayong Pilipino is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 8AM to 5PM.
9. Mount Arayat National Park
Nestled in the municipalities of Arayat and Magalang in Pampanga is Mount Arayat – a beautiful mountain that stands conspicuously along the flat lands of the province. The volcanic mountain is classified between “potentially active” and “inactive” due to lack of eruption in the last 2000 years.
It is located within the Mount Arayat National Park, a forest reserve home to various endemic flora and fauna and an important water source for domestic and agricultural use in the neighboring towns.
Mount Arayat National Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts. For beginner trekkers, you can do a light trek to the upland farmlands, where you can interact with farmers and see an abundance of vegetables and fruits depending on the season. More experienced hikers can trek to the summit and be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
Those who are not into strenuous activities can enjoy a staycation in one of the many resorts in Pampanga that offer a view of Mount Arayat, including Nauvoo Farm Resort and Oliva’s Resort and Villas.
10. Ultralight flying at Angeles City Flying Club
Who would have thought you could find one of the most enjoyable outdoor adventures in Pampanga? Located in Magalang, Angeles City Flying Club offers introductory ultralight alight sport flying where you can enjoy flying in the air for several minutes while enjoying the view of the farmlands in Pampanga!
The ultralight adventure lasts 15 minutes but is sure to be a lasting memory. Aside from this activity, you can also full access at the club’s facilities including a resort-styled pool and a café serving an assortment of snacks and cold drinks.
11. Ride a hot air balloon
This one should go into your bucket list of best things to do in Pampanga! Every year, the province celebrates the Hot Air Balloon Festival in the Clark Freeport Zone. The festival dates vary but is usually scheduled in January or February.
During the festival, you can ride a hot air balloon and see the stunning landscape of Pampanga from above. Don’t forget to bring a good camera because this is one of the best experiences you won’t forget.
Aside from the hot air balloons, the festival also hosts other sporting events including skydiving, ultralight flying, precision flying, aircraft maneuvers, and more. You can also join exciting concerts and trade fair.
12. Go wakeboarding
Pampanga is home to two wakeboarding facilities where are ideal for both first-time and experienced wakeboarders: the popular Pradera Verde in Lubao and Deca Wakeboard Park in Clark.
These waterparks feature complete facilities for a whole day of wakeboarding adventure, including obstacles and jumps.
13. Bird watching in Candaba Swamp
One of the best ways to appreciate wildlife is through birdwatching. Candaba Swamp is a natural attraction in Pampanga that offers bird watching opportunities, allowing you to see thousands of migratory birds including herons, egrets, bitterns, ducks, waders, rails, and various other waterfowl.
The best time for bird watching in Candaba Swamp is during the migratory season, which typically occurs from November to March. During this period, thousands of migratory birds from different parts of the world, including Siberia and China, make their way to the swamp to escape the harsh winters of their breeding grounds.
You can explore the area by foot or by boat, depending on the accessibility and water levels at the time. Local birding guides are available to provide assistance and share their knowledge about the diverse bird species found in the swamp.
14. Clark Museum and 4D Theater
Another one of the best places to visit in Clark Pampanga is the Clark Museum and 4D Theater. This is a fun and educational activity where you can learn about the history and culture of the city and surrounding areas.
Through interactive exhibits, dioramas, and audiovisual presentations, the museum will take you on a chronological journey from the prehistoric times to the present day. Learn about the indigenous Aeta communities, the Spanish colonial era, the American occupation, and the role of Clark Air Base during World War II and the Cold War. Discover the diverse cultural traditions, economic development, and the transformation of the Clark Freeport Zone into a modern industrial and business hub.
Afterwards, enjoy an immersive cinematic experience at the 4D Theater where you can experience 3D visuals with special effects like motion seats, wind, water sprays, and scents. The theater is a novel way to enrich your knowledge about the history of Pampanga.
15. Zoocobia Fun Zoo
Zoocobia Fun Zoo is one of the most popular Pampanga tourist attractions, especially to those with kids. Located in Mabalacat City, it offers a unique and interactive zoo experience that combines fun, education, and entertainment for visitors of all ages.
There are many things to do at Zoocobia Fun Zoo. Experience a close encounter with colorful birds at the Birds of Paradise, see various endemic animals and plants at the Philippines Pride, get lost in the Garden Maze, feed baby animals at the Barn, and see preserved stuffed animals at the Menagerie. During harvest season, you can also visit the Mango Camp and pick your own sweet mangoes to enjoy.
Apart from these, the zoo also offers different fun activities such as Zooc! gravity cars, horse ride, giant slide, and more.
Zoocobia Fun Zoo is open from Monday to Sunday, at 8AM to 4PM.
Book a Zoocobia Fun Zoo ticket here.
16. Dinosaurs Island
The Philippines lacks dinosaur displays because the archipelago was still under the ocean during the dinosaur era, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on the fun!
Dinosaurs Island is one of the best Pampanga tourist attractions for families and kids. This animatronic theme park will let you see life-sized dinosaur replicas that will make you feel like you’re transported back to the prehistoric era, including the Tyrannousaurus Rex, Iguanodon, Triceratops, and more.
Aside from the displays, it also features thrilling rides and attractions, a museum, a botanical garden, and others.
Book a Dinosaurs Island day pass for your family.
17. Horseback riding at El Kabayo
Yeehaw! Did you know that one of the best things to do in Pampanga is horseback riding? This activity is available at El Kabayo and is suitable even for newbie horseback riders.
El Kabayo features a facility inspired by old western movies. Unlike other horseback riding facilities in the country, the horses kept here were trained for horse sports or show circuit, with some horses having a championship blood line. You can find horoughbreds, standardbreds, quarter horses, and others in the horse line up.
If you are inexperienced riding a horse, you can avail of a lesson by a trainer. Otherwise, feel free to explore the green areas of Clark on your own.
18. Museo Ning Angeles
One of the must-see Pampanga tourist attractions for history buff, Museo Ning Angeles is a 2-story museum located at the town proper in Angeles City, Pampanga. It features various displays and exhibits about the town’s history and traditions, from its Spanish Colonial roots to its role as a former US military base. You can also learn about the role it played during the Bataan Death March.
After your short museum tour, don’t forget to drop by the café at the second floor where you can enjoy a view of the old heritage church across the street and enjoy local snacks including bibingka and a cup of hot tsokolate batirol.
19. San Guillermo Parish Church
San Guillermo Parish Church is a Spanish Colonial-era church located in Bacolor, Pampanga. It was originally constructed in 1576 and is named after the town’s patron saint. Aside from its beautiful baroque design, this church is unusual in that it is half-buried. In fact, locals also call it the Sunken Church of Bacolor, referring to how it got overflowed with lahar from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991.
San Guillermo Church is one of the most interesting Pampanga tourist spots not just for the devotees but also history lovers as well.
20. Relax in a farm resort
Pampanga is home to various farm resorts where you can relax and disconnect for a while. Prado Farms is a popular option for a farm stay. The Lake Farm Pampanga is also a notable private resort with a man-made pond, swimming pools, and spacious farmland where you can see various fruiting trees and animals.
21. Witness the Giant Lantern Festival
One of the most anticipated events in Pampanga that you should witness for yourself is the Giant Lantern Festival (also called Ligligan Parul in Kapampangan). It is an annual event held in San Fernando, Pampanga, and takes place every December, typically on the Saturday before Christmas Eve.
This festival showcases the Kapampangan’s world-renowned lantern-making craftsmanship and is a great way to see different giant lanterns (or parol) and feel the Christmas spirit.
The highlight of the festival is the Lantern Competition, where different barangays compete with the most impressive and dazzling lanterns. During this time, you can admire the beautiful lanterns which are synchronized with music and dancing light.
Apart from the Lantern Competition, the festival also features cultural performances, street parades, fireworks displays, and various food stalls offering local delicacies. It is a celebration of Pampanga’s creativity, craftsmanship, and vibrant cultural traditions.
Where to stay in Pampanga
Pampanga is home to a variety of hotels and resorts.
Here are the best stays in Pampanga:
- Luxury: Clark Marriott Hotel
- Midrange: Prime Asia Hotel | The Penthouse Hotel Pampanga
- Budget: Red Planet Clark Angeles city
With its rich cultural heritage and diverse range of attractions, Pampanga is a destination that leaves a lasting impression on every visitor. Whether you seek natural wonders, historical sites, or cultural experiences, this province has something to offer.
Do you have other recommended Pampanga tourist spots and activities? If so, let us know in the comment section below!
What to read next:
Heading to Pampanga? Don’t forget to check out these articles:
Looking for a place to stay in Pampanga? These may help you:
- Nauvoo Farm Resort
- The Lake Farm
- Reca Resorts: Bali-Inspired Resort in Pampanga
- Oliva’s Resort and Villas
- Best Resorts in Pampanga
- [Top Picks] 15 Private Resorts in Pampanga
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Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).