Best Tarlac tourist spots
Guides and Itineraries,  Philippines

15 BEST Tarlac Tourist Spots (Places to See & Things to Do)

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Tarlac is one of the lesser talked-about provinces in the county. In case you’re wondering what are the places to see and things to do here, we’re here to guide you!

Tarlac derived its name from a Hispanized derivation of the Pangasinan word “malatarlak,” which pertains to the talahib weed. Today, the province celebrates the Malatarlak Festival every year in honor of its roots and the Aetas, an indigenous group who first built civilization in these lands.

This province is mostly known for its historical sites, rice and sugar plantations, and various nature attractions such as mountains. It is a landlocked province, which means it has no beaches — but it has river banks and waterfalls where you can cool off during the summer. Tarlac is also dubbed as the Melting Pot of Central Luzon since it is home to different ethno-linguistic groups including the Tagalog, Kapampangan, Ilocano, and Pangasinense. As such, you can expect to find different regional cuisines here!

Without further ado, here are the best Tarlac tourist spots!

1. Mount Pinatubo

Pinatubo crater lake

Mount Pinatubo is one of the most popular nature hikes in the Philippines. This active volcano laid dormant for 600 years until its violent eruption in 1991. It produced million tons of gas cloud into the stratosphere, which even temporarily lowered the global temperature by 1°F.

This active stratovolcano is located on the tripoint boundary of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. Via Tarlac, the jump-off point to Mount Pinatubo can be found at Barangay Sta. Juliana in Capas. From here, you need to ride a 4×4 vehicle, passing by barren landscapes and Aeta communities along the way. Then you need to trek the rest of the way to the crater lake of Mount Pinatubo.

Location: (Jump-off point) Capas, Tarlac

2. Monasterio de Tarlac

Monasterio de Tarlac is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tarlac. It is not only frequented by residents who attend the mass but also by tourists who are interested in its surrounding view.

Built in 2001, this monastery stands atop the Mount Resurrection Eco Park, which is part of the Zambales mountain range. Here you can appreciate the surrounding plains and mountains and take photos in the 30-feet statue of Jesus Christ, which is similar to the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil.

Aside from these, Monasterio de Tarlac also holds a relic of the True Cross, which is purportedly the wooden cross on which Jesus Crist was crucified. Brought from Germany to the Philippines, the relic is now enshrined in the monastery chapel where it is touched by the faithful after every mass. Twice a year, the relic is taken out for open veneration to commemorate its enshrinement and to celebrate the anniversary of the Servants of the Risen Christ Monastic Community.

Location: San Jose, Tarlac

3. Tarlac Recreational Park

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cpskx_TybkU/

The 78-hectare Tarlac Recreational Park is ideal for those who love adventure and families who want to bond together through fun outdoor activities.

You can rent out pavilions and cottages for day trips, as well as facilities such as BBQ grill. This park has different sports facilities you can use including an Olympic-sized swimming pool, two swimming pools for kids, a race track, an oval, and a football field. If you want to head out there, there are also dune buggies and ATVs available for off-road adventures, a lagoon for fishing and kayaking, a biking trail, an airsoft ground, and other activities such as zipline.

The Tarlac Recreational Park isn’t just for day activities. You can stay overnight by renting one of the camping tents and enjoy the outdoor sky at night.

Location: San Jose, Tarlac

4. Kart City Tarlac

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYD88GCruop/

Kart City Tarlac (KCT) is one of the most popular Tarlac tourist spots. It’s ideal for thrill-seekers and those who are looking for entertainment in the city.

This amusement park features a wide 700-meter racing cart track. Whether it’s your first time to try go-kart racing or you’re an experienced driver who want to compete in the racing activities, this site is for you.

Aside from the go-kart track, the park also has a billiards room, KTV room, and a restaurant that serves delicious food.

Location: Tarlac City, Tarlac

5. Capas National Shrine

Capas National Shrine in Tarlac
Capas National Shrine.

If you’re interested in WW2 History, then you should visit Capas National Shrine in Tarlac. This is part of the WW2 loop tour done in Pampanga, Bataan, and Tarlac, offered by selected tour agencies.

Capas National Shrine is a 54-hectare memorial park built in honor of the Filipino and American soldiers who died at Camp O’Donell towards the end of the Death March. Here you can find a 70-meter-tall obelisk, built to signify peace and unity among Filipinos, Americans, and Japanese, and three marble walls engraved with the names of the fallen soldiers.

You can also visit a museum and a small monument built by the Battling Bastards of Bataan.

Location: Capas, Tarlac

6. Bamban Museum of History

Rhonie dela Cruz at Bamban WW2 Museum
Rhonie dela Cruz with a photo featuring Aeta fighers.

This is one of the lesser-known tourist attractions in Tarlac, but someplace that history lovers will want to visit.

The Bamban Museum of History is a small private museum owned by Rhonie dela Cruz, whose grandfather and uncles fought in the Battle at Bamban Hills during the WW2. It houses old and new photographs, including the local war veterans and the indigenous people who fought with their fellow Filipinos, as well as various artifacts including artillery, helmets, and uniforms.

Aside from it being a resource for history, the owner also shares personal stories about the war and his conversations with both Filipino and Japanese war veterans and their surviving relatives.

Location: Bamban, Tarlac

7. Anzap Twin Falls

Tarlac has several waterfalls, perhaps the most famous of which is the Anzap Twin Falls. The Anzap Twin Falls is composed of two streams coming from the Matibya and Piccan Rivers, both measuring about 200 feet high.

Here you can appreciate the beauty of the waterfalls, which is one of the few twin falls in the country. You can also see interesting local flora and fauna, as well as forest trails.

The twin falls is tucked behind the ANZAP (ASEAN-New Zealand Afforestation Program) in Mayantoc, Tarlac. Getting here is challenging, as the roads are not yet developed. From Mayantok, it will take you about 5 hours of trekking. Alternatively, if you’re coming from San Jose, you can drive across rough roads and then trek for 30 min to 1 hour to reach the waterfall.

Location: Mayantoc, Tarlac

8. Aquino Center Museum

The Aquino Center Museum is ideal for people who love history. It was built as a tribute to the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and his wife the late president Corazon Aquino, who fought hard to restore the democracy in the country after a 20-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

The museum houses artwork, memorabilia, and photographs of the Aquino Family. Most notably, it also houses the jacket that Benigno Aquino Jr. wore when he was assassinated, still stained in blood.

The Aquino Center Museum is located at Hacienda Luisita in San Miguel, Tarlac. It is managed by the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation.

Location: San Miguel, Tarlac

9. Canding Falls

If you’re looking for a nature attraction that is easily accessible, try visiting Canding Falls in San Clemente, Tarlac. It is a multi-tiered waterfall, with the main pool for swimming as deep as 20 feet. There are cottages and tables for rent nearby, so you can stay for a while, enjoy the cool water in the basins, and even cliff jump in certain spots.

From the jump-off point in San Clemente, it only takes around 20 minutes of trekking to reach Canding Falls. Its easy access makes it a popular local destination especially during hot days.

Location: San Clemente, Tarlac

10. Ubod Falls

Ubod Falls is said to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Tarlac. Located within the wilderness in San Clemente, it stands about 160 feet high with a basin good for swimming and a cliff that is a potentially good site for rappelling.

It’s recommended to visit here only if you are physically fit, as the route is challenging. First, you need to trek following a river upstream and then climb up the rope segments of Si-el Falls, one of the two small waterfalls in the area. From there, trek for another 15 minutes to get to Ubod Falls.

Location: San Clemente, Tarlac

11. Mount Damas

Mount Damas is a popular hiking destination in Tarlac due to its scenic views. Its peak is situated 685 meters above sea level, offering panoramic 360-degree views of the plains and mountain ranges of Tarlac and Pangasinan.

It’s located within the borders of the towns of Mayantoc, Camiling, and San Clemente. The jump-off point is located at Dueg Settlement in San Clemente (or alternatively at Barangay Papaac in Camiling), and the trek from the jump-off point to the summit takes about 7 hours. Some mountaineers do this as a day climb, while some opt for an overnight hike to witness the sunrise and sea of clouds (similar to Mount Pulag) and to do a side trip to Ubod Falls.

Although the mountain is relatively small, the activity is still considered a major hike due to difficult trails. You need to trek, do river crossings, rock rappelling, and 45- to 60-degree ascent and descent via bamboo ridges. The trail is even more challenging when it is wet and muddy.

Location: (Jump-off point) San Clemente, Tarlac

12. Mount Telakawa

Mount Telakawa is another favorite hiking destination in Tarlac. It is located at the foot of Mount Pinatubo with a summit elevation of 645 meters above sea level, which offers breathtaking views of the volcanic mountain, lahar fields, and woodlands.

The mountain derived its word from “telakawa,” which means a pot placed upside down due to its shape. Its trail is mostly similar to that going to Mount Pinatubo, except that it is preferred by those who are up to a more challenging hike.

To get here, you need to pass through a river and the lahar fields in Crow Valley, with the option to meet with the Aeta community in Sitio Daig. Then you need to follow a gradually ascending trek amidst tall grasses to reach the summit. Most hikers camp at the summit for an overnight hike, so they can witness an amazing sunrise.

Location: Capas, Tarlac

13. JSJ Goat Farm

Goats in JSJ Goat Farm
(Photo by JSJ Goat Farm)

Want to see and interact with farm animals? JSJ Goat Farm is a family-owned business located in a sprawling 10-hectare property in Barangay Caruray in Gerona, Tarlac. This farm is home to various pure-bred goats that originated from the United States and Australia, which produce top-quality fresh milk and milk products such as cheese.

Here you can go on a day tour to see the goats and sheeps, understand the farming process, and see how milking is done. You can also buy some of their products, including milk bottles, feta cheese, and kesong puti.

Location: Gerona, Tarlac

14. Bulsa River White Water Rafting

Bulsa River white water rafting is the perfect activity for those who love to experience awesome adventures. Here you can experience kayaking along the 12.5-kilometer length of Bulsa River, starting from the mountain village of Maamot and then to the greeneries and towns in San Jose before proceeding to more intense parts of the river.

The activity lasts about 3-4 hours. The river rapids are classified as Class II, meaning they are smooth and gentle to moderately quick, so they are perfect for beginner kayakers. Here you can kayak while appreciating the surrounding mountains and even wildlife (including swimming carabaos) and then stop over to swim, cliff jump, and stone jump.

Bulsa River white water rafting is only open during the rainy season.

Location: San Jose, Tarlac

15. Saipan Beach

Saipan Beach is a picturesque river bank found in San Jose, Tarlac. You can do a short stop-over here after visiting Monasterio de Tarlac, which is just 15 minutes away.

Here you can bathe and cool off in the water or rest in one of the cottages. Some vendors also sell halo-halo and other snacks as refreshment.

Location: San Jose, Tarlac

Where to stay in Tarlac

Tarlac offers a number of hotels and resorts ideal for solo tourists, couples, and families.

Here are the best stays in Tarlac:

That concludes our list of the best tourist attractions in Tarlac! Do you have other places to add? Let us know in the comments section below.

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