Yesterday, we had a great and wonderful time exploring and rediscovering one of the places in Central Luzon that helped in shaping the history and political state of our country. Pampanga is one of the eight rays that represent the Philippines provinces in our national flag.
Pampanga is also considered as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. And when you talk about food, certainly, Pampanga has a lot of them.
Our tour in Pampanga was part of the Bloggers’ Appreciation Tour of Pampanga hosted by NorthPine Land Inc. to show the beauty of the province as well as to take a preview of the newly developed Montana Views community nestled in between Brgy. Calulut in San Fernando and Brgy. Panipuan in Mexico City.
NorthPine Land Inc. is one of the country’s trusted real estate prime movers with prestigious portfolio of projects in Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Antipolo City, and Pasig City.
Montana Views is a ‘breathable’ horizontal community with a scenic view of Mt. Arayat where future homeowners can build their families and enjoy the beauty of nature, far from the big city lights in Manila. Montana Views offers comfort and affordable Modern American Country-themed house models with a total of 374 single detached units, when development is completed, available for buyers.
“We planned to develop Montana Views as an idyllic place to stay,” said Jurie Roa, Head for NLI’s North Sales Team. “Pampanga will be the next metropolis in the next five years and Brgy. Calulut will be the next town centre of San Fernando.”
First Stop: Starbucks Metrowalk
The Pampanga Tour started early Saturday morning and we had our breakfast at our first stop location which is in Starbucks in Metrowalk to get started and perk us up before we ride the tourist bus provided by NLI and left Manila, around 7 AM, going to Pampanga.
After a hot tall brewed coffee and a Turkey Ham Sandwich, we were all gathered for a quick briefing and led to the waiting bus.
We were accompanied by Myla Cammayo, Sr. Manager, Marketing and Corp. Comm. NLI, and Richard Burgos, Director of the Science and Technology Information Institute (STII) under DOST who joined as our nice and friendly ‘tour guide’.
Mr. Burgos also gave away the RED (Reference for Emergency and Disaster) guide book on the bus to help and keep us more aware of the dangers and be prepared when natural hazards occur.
The RED book can give us more information to prepare when disaster strikes.
Richard’s interests include heritage tours, music and art. He is also fluent in Ilonggo, Cebuano, and Spanish.
Second Stop: Montana Views
As we’ve mentioned above, we stopped by at Montana Views to get a glimpse of what this community offers. Life shines anew, as they say in Montana Views. This stunning property is NorthPine Land’s maiden project in Central Luzon. For over 20 years, NorthPine Land has carved its niche with its landmark developments in the South Luzon and Eastern Manila areas.
Montana Views is a residence of promise with its gorgeous line-up of Modern American Country model houses and attractive amenities such as pocket parks, basketball court, and swimming pool. It is only 6.5 kilometers away from the city. These house models are divided into Aven, Bryn, Kendra, Lindsey, and Quincy units that has different floor and lot areas to cater each of the homeowners specifics and types. Aven and Bryn are perfect for budding couples who are about to build their nest in the community, while Kendra, Lindsey, and Quincy are recommended for a family of four to five members.
Third Stop: Betis Crafts, Inc.
It was a pleasure to meet the husband-and-wife tandem of the world-renowned Betis Crafts, Inc, inside their beautiful residence-turned-showroom and workshop in Guagua, Pampanga. The place is a haven of Victorian pieces you would want to keep for yourself. “Ang lakas maka-yaman” will be the words you could utter once you visit this place.
Mr. Jose and Myrna Bituin, the owners as well as their trusted managers welcomed our group and allowed us to look at the workshop and showroom while we took turns in taking photos for this blog. The workmanship are truly astonishing and no wonder they have clients from abroad who subscribed to their Filipino-made products. In London, one of their clients, Harrods, orders from them and placed it inside their upmarket department store in Knightsbridge. Betis Crafts also have prominent clients from the Middle East and in the U.S.
Established in 1972 by Mr. Bituin, a native of San Miguel, Betis, Guagua, Betis Crafts, Inc. has over 44 years experience in crafting furniture for a variety of customers all over the world. They have mastered this art that captured the taste of world-class designers, hotels and restaurants in many parts of the world.
Here’s a trivia. Betis Crafts has a regular client, a prominent family with a political background who up to this date patronizes their world-class products. The matriarch of this family was the first to discover the intricate wood carving designs and fell in love with it. The daughters continued this patronage and they themselves are hooked with the baroque designs from BCI.
Passing-by San Guillermo Parish Church
We weren’t able to get off our bus but we tried to take snapshots of San Guillermo Parish Church as we passed by. Also known as Bacolor Church, the half-buried 14th century-old structure was named after San Guillermo, the patron saint of Bacolor, Pampanga. The Mt. Pinatubo explosion buried half of the church when ash falls and lahar swooped down Pampanga in 1991.
Bacolor is the one of the oldest towns in Pampanga.
Fun fact. The church is also the setting for the 2009-2010 ABS-CBN TV drama ‘May Bukas Pa’.
Fourth Stop: Betis Church
This time we were able to get off the bus and visited up-close Betis Church or St. James the Apostle Church, also in Guagua.
Declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Commission for Culture and Arts, St. James the Apostle Parish Church or Betis Church is a prided architectural and religious site in Guagua.
Betis Church, also named ‘The Sistine Chapel of the Philippines’, was built around 1607 under the Augustinian priests. It is well-known for its detailed and striking ceiling murals by celebrated Filipino painter, Simon Flores and could very well impress visitors over these paintings like they are inside the St, Peter’s Basilica of the Vatican City in Rome.
Fifth Stop: Cucina ni Atching Lillian
It was time for lunch and so we head on to our next stop, Cucina ni Atching Lillian. It’s namesake of the owner, Atching Lillian Borromeo who is dubbed as the gatekeeper of Kapampangan cuisine. She is also heralded as The Culinary Queen of Pampanga to which she cheerfully disowned and more comfortably used at being called simply ‘Atching Lilian’.
When we got there Atching Lillian personally supervised our visit while smiling in front of smartphones taking photos of her making moves in her cusinang matua or ‘old kitchen’.
She prepared ‘suam na mais’ or corn soup, fried fish, sisig, bringhe, and a lot more to fill our grumbling tummies. It was also our first time to try the frozen monitor lizard’s egg or ‘itlog ng bayawak’ that are thinly sliced and garnished on top of the Pako Salad. That was amazingly good. It was out of our curiosity why we had to try and taste the itlog ng bayawak.
We all got all filled up after leaving our seats but before we said our goodbyes, Atching Lillian made good of one of her promises, to show us how to prepare the dough for the San Nicolas Cookies, one of her signature food items available at her cusina ng matua. Mervz, the travel blogger behind Pinoy Adventurista, got the first call and Atching Lillian taught him the basics. Mervz passed with flying colors and as a prize, he got a wooden ladle from Atching Lillian and was later signed by the Kapampangan cuisine gatekeeper.
Trivia. San Nicolas Cookies are molded on a wooden brick with intricate design. Th recipe was handed down by generations in Pampanga and is dedicated to St. Nicolas, the patron saint of bakers.
Passing-by Heroes Hall, Pampanga Provincial Capitol & Heritage Houses in CSFP
The tour bus drove us around downtown of San Fernando passing-by Heroes Hall, Pampanga Provincial Capitol, and Heritage Houses. These places reflected the prosperity of the province. The heritage houses were built in the 1800s that abound in Pampanga’s lively capital.
Sixth Stop: NorthPine Land Inc. Satellite Office
As drove around San Fernando, Jurie suggested for a quick stop at NLI’s Satellite Office before we head on to our next destination. Mr. Roa showed us their satellite office located along MacArthur Highway.
Trivia. MacArthur Highway is the oldest national highway in the Philippines and was the first main thoroughfare before EDSA was built and constructed in the 1930s.
And for a quick fix of dessert, Jurie also made his way to made us try the famous Kabigting’s Halo-Halo which was originated in Mt. Arayat by the Kabigting family who accidentally found a new recipe for the popular iced-shave cooler. The basic ingredients only include sweet beans, pastillas, and carabao’s milk. The pastillas serves as main sweetener for this delightful dessert. The challenge was to finish it while inside the moving bus because we had to make sure that we get to our next stop on time.
Seventh Stop: Pamintuan Mansion
Pamintuan Mansion is a grand, impeccable, and sophisticated century-old house of the prominent Pamintuan family in Pampanga. The physical appearance of the mansion from the outside down to its interiors tell its glorious days.
The mansion also served as Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Regional Office for 23 years before it was turned-over to the government in 2010. Last year, the mansion was officially declared as a museum. Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan inaugurated Mueso ng Kasaysayang Panlipunan ng Pilipinas on August 25, 2015 as the mansion celebrated its 125-years of existence.
Eight Stop: Center for Kapampangan Studies at Holy Angel University
Located in one of Pampanga’s biggest and oldest universities is the Center for Kapampangan Studies, a place to get a handful of knowledge from Pampanga’s past.
Holy Angel University pioneered in founding three museums that hold a plethora of relics that connect visitors to cultural and historic wonders of the region.
Inside, we visited the Pinatubo Museum, Museum of Kapampangan Arts, and the Vicente Manansala Collection. The three museums showcased almost everything that one must find should he be searching for some answers to particular events that happened in Pampanga.
The Vicente Manansala Collection features personal effects and early sketch works of the famous artist, donated by the Manansala family. Vicente Manansala was born in Macabebe, Pampanga. We got a glimpse of Pampanga’s National Artist of the Philippines, Visual Arts.
The Museum of Kapampangan Arts tells stories from the past and Pampanga’s heritage even at the same time that Egypt was building Sindu Civilization in 4000 BC. Surprisingly, the first boat building in Candaba was recorded in 3000 BC. This and more as you explore the history of Pampanga inside this museum.
We thought we’ve already knew Mt. Pinatubo. In April, we visited Mt. Pinatubo and saw the majestic beauty of its crater. When we went inside the Pinatubo Museum, we’ve discovered a lot more things about the active stratovolcano in this region. Take for example of the myth of a giant turtle that the Aetas believed to caused earthquakes and volcanic eruption of this volcano.
It’s a wonderful experience and we’re glad that NorthPine Land took us to this heritage and familiarization tour of Pampanga.
Last Stop: The Toll House
The Toll House in Pampanga was our last stop and we tried their popular Baked Macaroni and Tropical Chicken, it’s a chicken pastel topped with thick mashed potato.
Toll House is famous for their baked mac that their customers really love since 1988. It tastes good but there’s not too much for our taste bud to appreciate very much. It’s quite heavy, though. Like when we went there it’s already dinner time and the baked mac meal filled up the spaces inside the tummy.
It was another great heritage tour that we’ve experienced and this time with NorthPine Land Inc. You can see some of our photos that we’ve shared through our Instagram @newsatjuan with the hashtags #NLIBloggersDay #NLIDreamsComeToLife and # NLIGoesToPampanga. You can also follow NLI at @northpineland.
If you want to know more about NLI and Montana Views, you may visit their official website www.nothpineland.com or call +632.637.1531 for additional information.
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