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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Flavorful Day Trip to Pampanga’s Heritage: A Philtranco Bus Experience!

61_Philtranco Pampanga - Aling Lucing Sisig - Famous Sizzling Sisig

1_Philtranco Pampanga - Our Bus Driver

Pampanga is just 2-3 hours away from Manila and can be the best place for a vacation or just a weekend getaway. It is home to the best dishes that the Philippines has to offer together with its rich history and culture.

Travelling by bus is the main transportation going to Pampanga.
In a day, you can go to Pampanga early in the morning and comeback at night in Manila with few more hours left to spare on your day.

Philtranco organized a "Tasting Flavorful Places of Pampanga" event where we embarked on a journey to explore the well renowned dishes of Pampanga. There is a story behind a dish, a man or a woman who concocted these flavorful creations and a place where it all began.

Let's start the culinary and historical adventure where we depart around 6 a.m. at Philtranco Pasay Terminal. Along the way to Pampanga, it was a smooth ride and there were also games inside the bus. We arrived at our first stop..

BETIS CHURCH (GuaGua, Pampanga)

2_Philtranco Pampanga - Betis Church Front

The Betis Church is one of the oldest parish church in Pampanga. Not only beautiful outside but also has an amazing interior inside . A painted ceiling art will greet when you look up just like the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican City. The construction of Betis Church is the first mission of the Augustinian priests and it has also produce many priests.

4_Philtranco Pampanga - Inside Betis Church5_Philtranco Pampanga - Bestis Church Painted Ceiling Art6_Philtranco Pampanga - Betis Church Retablo3_Philtranco Pampanga - Betis Church History

7_Philtranco Pampanga - On our 2nd Destination

On our way to the 2nd stop..


If you love shopping for unique pieces of furniture, JB Betis Woodcraft would be your go to place in Pampanga. We visited the place where they create elegant and artistic furnitures that you see in high-end places or hotels. Each piece is handcrafted from chair, tables, mirrors, beds to cases. They have also celebrity clients that requests their beautifully crafted furnitures that are sent overseas.

8_Philtranco Pampanga - JB Front11_Philtranco Pampanga - JB Many Chairs
9_Philtranco Pampanga - JB Wood Factory10_Philtranco Pampanga - JB Worker finishing the details

14_Philtranco Pampanga - JB Furniture Set
13_Philtranco Pampanga - Peacock Chair12_Philtranco Pampanga - Dining Table Set

15_Philtranco Pampanga - Our Bus on to 3rd Stop

To the 3rd stop..


We briefly checked out San Guillermo Church and at first glance you’ll notice that the church is relatively small compared to the other precious church. But there is a story why it’s relatively small and that is because half of it is buried in lahar when the Pinatubo volcano erupted. People in Pampanga are resilient and still continuing with their livelihood despite what happened to the town of Bacolor when the volcano erupted many years ago.

16_Philtranco Pampanga - San Guillermo Church17_Philtranco Pampanga - Lady Selling Ramales
San Guillermo Church (Half buried Church)                  Lady Selling Tamales and Rice Cakes

18_Philtranco Pampanga - Ricecakes and Tamales at San Gillermo19_Philtranco Pampanga - Closeup of Tamales
Rice Cakes (Kakanin) Tamales


Our fourth stop is Aling Laring’s Special Kakanin where their specialty is the Tamales. She started selling Tamales in 1972 and became the Tamales Queen. Our version of Tamales is made up of ground rice, coconut milk and various toppings like chicken, ham and egg. They also makes Suman Bulagta, Bico, Capit, Kalame Duman/Ube etc.

20_Philtranco Pampanga - Aling Laring Signboard

21_Philtranco Pampanga - Lady making Tamales22_Philtranco Pampanga - Construction of Tamales
Lady making Tamales

23_Philtranco Pampanga - Aling Larings Tamales24_Philtranco Pampanga - Suman
Tamales                                                                              Suman

25_Philtranco Pampanga - Aling Laring with Nancy Lumen
Aling Laring (Tamales Queen) and Nancy Lumen (Adobo Queen)


The 25 Seeds Restaurant was formerly an old mansion then later turned by Chef Sau to a restaurant that serves Kapampangan dishes and Other FIlipino food. We were treated to these delicious dishes: Pako Salad, Okoy, Tinape Babi, Camaro (an insect dish), Bulanglang na Babi, Kare-Kare, Chicken Galantina and Tibok-tibok. Chef Sau also demonstrated his own version of Tamales.

26_Philtranco Pampanga - 25 Seeds Sign27_Philtranco Pampanga - 25 Seeds Front28_Philtranco Pampanga - Inside 25 Seeds29_Philtranco Pampanga - 25 Seeds Table

30_Philtranco Pampanga - Okoy at 25 Seeds31_Philtranco Pampanga - Pako Salad at 25 Seeds

Okoy and Pako Salad (Love this!)

32_Philtranco Pampanga - Tinape Babi at 25 Seeds33_Philtranco Pampanga - Crispy Camaro at 25 Seeds
Tinape Babi  and Camaro (an cricket insect dish)

35_Philtranco Pampanga - Chicken Galatina at 25 Seeds34_Philtranco Pampanga - Bulanglang na Babi at 25 Seeds
Chicken Galantina and Bulanglang na Babi

36_Philtranco Pampanga - Kare Kare at 25 Seeds37_Philtranco Pampanga - Tibok Tibok at 25 Seeds
Kare-Kare and  Tibok-tibok (Must-try!)

38_Philtranco Pampanga - Chef Sau cooking Gourmet Tamales39_Philtranco Pampanga - Chef Sau Tamales Version
Chef Sau’s Tamales Cooking Demo and Tamales of Chef Sau

40_Philtranco Pampanga - Chef Sau with his Tamales
Tamales Bae!


A popular stop to get pasalubong and delicious kakanin, Susie’s Cuisine is a must visit when you’re in Angeles, Pampanga. It started as a small canteen and later grown to what it is now and also expanded to different branches. You should try their Pancit Luglug and their kakanin (rice cakes).

41_Philtranco Pampanga - Susies Cuisine Front42_Philtranco Pampanga - Susies Cuisine Pasalubong
43_Philtranco Pampanga - Susies Cuisine Products44_Philtranco Pampanga - Customers buying pasalubong


The Pamintuan Mansion is more than a century old house and is known as the place where they had the first and only public Independence Day celebration under Emilio Aguinaldo on June 12, 1899. Today, it is now the Museum of Philippine Social History where they showcase vintage antiques, elegant period furnishing, native textiles and fashion and architectural designs.

45_Philtranco Pampanga - Pamintuan Mansion Sign47_Philtranco Pampanga - Pamintuan Mansion Ancient Acessories
48_Philtranco Pampanga - Pamintuan Mansion Tribe Fabrics50_Philtranco Pampanga - Inside Pamintuan Mansion51_Philtranco Pampanga - Pamintian Mansion - Miniature House46_Philtranco Pampanga - Pamintuan Mansion


Located inside the Holy Angel University, the Center for Kapampangan Studies houses the legacy of Kapampangan heritage and roots. There are historical pieces that is essential to the Kapampangans like death masks of famous personalities, golden wreaths of famous playwrights and many more.

53_Philtranco Pampanga - Holy Angel University

54_Philtranco Pampanga - Center of Kapampangan Studies 155_Philtranco Pampanga - Center of Kapampangan Studies 2

Retablo (patron saints representing 21 towns of Pampanga-Library that houses Kapampangan Literature and History

55_Philtranco Pampanga - Center of Kapampangan Studies 356_Philtranco Pampanga - Center of Kapampangan Studies 4
Giant Lantern Artifact War Pieces


I have been to Aling Lucing’s Sisig many times and noticed they expanded and have taken the spot next to them. Aling Lucing Sisig houses the original sisig which has no egg, no mayo which we are accustomed to in Manila. Aside from its famous sisig, they also have bulalo, chicharon bulaklak, ensalada and other Filipino dishes. This was the last meal on our culinary trip to Pampanga and we devoured all the food that were served. All were delicious and we enjoyed every last bite of the meal. Even when we got to the bus, we still smell like sisig!

58_Philtranco Pampanga - Aling Lucing Sisig Front58_Philtranco Pampanga - Aling Lucing Sisig - Grilled Chicken
Front of Aling Lucing and their Chicken Barbecue

59_Philtranco Pampanga - Aling Lucing Sisig Inside60_Philtranco Pampanga - Aling Lucing Food Spread
Bloggers and Print Media Enjoying Dinner  /  Bulalo, Chicharong Bulaklak, Ensalada and Buro

61_Philtranco Pampanga - Aling Lucing Sisig - Famous Sizzling Sisig63_Philtranco Pampanga - Aling Lucing Sisig Grilling Station
Aling Lucing’s Famous Sisig  and Just outside Aling Lucing, a man grilling


On our way back to Manila, the staff of Philtranco team got us some Kabigting’s Halo-Halo. It is different from the usual halo-halo which is colorful and lots of ingredients. It has only few ingredients like sugared white kidney beans, corn kernels and pastillas. It has an interesting smooth texture but a sweet treat nonetheless.

64_Philtranco Pampanga - Kabigting Halo Halo

I have enjoyed the Pampanga Heritage and Food Tour by Philtranco and it made realize that Pampanga has an abundance of culture, history and delicacies that made them a rich and amazing province. Thankfully we got to enjoy and experience Pampanga even though we’re in Manila or in far away provinces because there are busses like Philtranco that get us there safely and comfortably.

Philtranco Pampanga - Me in Sunken San Guillermo Church

Going to Pampanga? Check out the bus schedules via or visit their official Philtranco Facebook page.

Coverage by: Aaron Nomo
for Azrael's Merryland Blog
Azrael Coladilla is the blogger and founder of Azrael's Merryland Blog. This blog started as a personal blog in 2003, and then converted the blog into a lifeblog about his interest and reporting about pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, technology, food, travel, toys, outdoor adventure, internet and social media. Awarded as the 2009 Most Influential Blogger for Luzon, Philippines, awarded by the Philippine Blog Awards. He is the founder of several online communities - Manila Bloggers Network, Philippine Bloggers Network, Oh My Food! community, Cavite Bloggers, Travel and Blog Community, and Philippine ToyCon. Azrael's Merryland Blog is included in a list of top 50 Blogs in the Philippines , ranked 65th in Top 100 Blogs that Matter , 49 must read lifestyle blog in the Philippines. and rank 40th in 100 Top Philippine Blogs by Feedspot.
He loves to travel, explore, discover, eat new food, document and record his life, meet new people, do photography and collect Transformers toys.
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December 20-onwards
Holiday break and vacation