81 Kilo-meters away from Metro Manila and an hour and twenty five minutes on the road from the city, lies Pampanga. Renowned for being the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, Its giant lanterns, Hot Air balloon festival and Producing thousands of Tilapia, there’s more to Pampanga than what most people know.
With 19 Municipalities and 2 Component Cities, Pampanga is classified as a first-class, highly urbanized city being governed independently by the province that it is composed of many different industries and other than the usual Farming and Fishing industry Pampanga have been home for being so supportive of the Cottage Industry creating handmade wood-crafts just like Guitars, Furnitures and more. It is also a great leap that Pampanga specifically, Clark is now home for its growing Tourism Industry because of its numerous Hotel/Casinos and Resorts plus Popular Tourist destinations just like the Paskuhan Village, Dino Island, Insectlandia, Paradise Ranch and a whole lot more. Pampanga is indeed a very blessed Province for it is also famous for serving culinary creations that are beyond satisfying just like the very famous Sisig, Tocino, Lechon Kawali, Bringhe, San Nicolas Cookies and many more. But other than these undeniably delectable foods, Pampanga is also known for creating handcrafted lighted lanterns or Parols that are beaming with different colors which makes Pampanga yet another Capital for something because every December people from different places comes to Pampanga to witness the Giant Lantern Festival making the province The Christmas Capital of the Philippines.
But other than all these things Pampanga is famed for, there are still a lot of things People may consider worth their while the next time they visit the province to get an instant trip down memory lane for these places on our list are places that highlights the affluent history and cultural heritage San Fernando, Pampanga has to offer.
Old San Fernando Train Station
The Old San Fernando Train Station was originally part of the Manila-Dagupan Line of the then Manila Railway Company. It was inagurated in February 23 1892. It was said that in 1892 Jose Rizal took this train to visit his friends who lives in Bacolor to invite them to write for La Liga Filipina. The Old San Fernando train have also witnessed the Bataan Death March during the Japanese occupation in 1942. Today, the then trainstation is now a Tourism Office and a Museum for the Bataan Death March.
Arzobizpado de Pampanga
Arzobizpado de Pampanga which is more popular to the locals of San Fernando as The Bahay Pari, serves as home to Old Priests and retired Bishops of the Catholic Church. Its very outstanding facade, the Virgen delos Remedios Repository Chapel and the Garden of Healing and Peace made Arzobizapado de Pampanga a popular wedding venue.
Monumento Fernandino is a sculptural masterpiece that was made to pay homage on San Fernando’s colorful history and cultural heritage, It is located in the city proper of San Fernando welcoming the Tourists and the Motorists. Monumento Fernandino shows the different Industries and cultures San Fernando has to offer, The Girl with the Lantern that signifies the art of Parol or Lantern Making that is very famous in San Fernando. The Lady holding the Torch, that symbolizes life, truth and power. The Lady with Arms upward as if offering, that embles faith and the Boatman that represents San Fernando’s abundant Fishing Industry.
It was on February 04 2004 when the by then Mayor Rey Aquino had it built in front the San Fernando Water District.
There are quite a few Heritage Houses in Pampanga, Casa Nicolasa was built during the Spanish colonial period by Gobernadorcillo Saturnino Henson y David who also served as San Fernando’s first municipal treasurer. But it was Sold to Pablo Panlilio y Dayrit and Dolores Arguelles. It was in this structure that their daughter Nicolasa helped treat wounded Filipino soldiers during the Filipino-American War, thus the name Casa Nicolasa. Beside the Heritage House stands a monument of Nicolasa.
Formerly known as the Cathedral of our Lady of the Assumption this Neo-Classical church was founded in 1754 and is considered as the seat of the Archiocese of San Fernando several Historical events was said to have happened in this church, General Emilio Aguinaldo and his cabinet viewed the Philippine Revolutionary Army from the windows of the convento on October 9, 1898. On 1899, the Church was burned by General Antonio Luna. It was again destructed by fire in 1939 and was restored in 1948 by a Kapampangan Architect, Fernando Ocampo. In 2014 The Cathedral underwent a restoration and renovation under Msgr. Eugenio Reyes.
Calesa Factory and Repair shop
With all the modernization that happened in the past years, the Calesa factory and Repair shop died. from the thousands of Calesas roaming the roads of Pampanga, the number of Calesas in Pampanga depleted to a little number of 70. But whats important is that it is still present and the new generation gets to experience what used to be a very active industry.
Other than being the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, Pampang is also famous for being The Christmas Capital of The Philippines or for being Home of the Giant Lanterns. Every year Pampanga celebrates the Giant Lantern Festival and people from all over the Philippines gather in the fields of Pampanga to watch thousands of lights twinkle through the Giant Lanterns, Lantern making is both an industry and a tradition in San Fernando, hundreds of families in Pampanga areactively engaged in the Lantern-making business.
PASUDECO (Pampanga Sugar Development Company)
Being the first local sugar mill financed by Filipinos in history, the structure gives so much significance in San Fernando’s cultural heritage. The original structure was built in March–1921, by Honolulu Iron works. It was destroyed by the Pinatubo erruption in -991 and was rebuilt in 1995 only to be destructed again by the lahar. The operations of Pasudeco officialy ceased in 2015 but the Place where it used to stand is being developed by Megaworld Corp. to become a fully functional as an integrated commercial and business district (CBD) and township lifestyle community in 10 years.
The city of San Fernando, Pampanga have truly evolved. The changes that the years have brought this town is undeniable, from the transportation, the building construction, the businesses, establishments and everything that would mean urbanization is already present in the city and it is important that there are still places in the city that remained the same to remind the present generation of the colorful past that made the present that they enjoy today, what it is now.