Angeles City: The Premier City of Central Luzon
Angeles City is located within the province of Pampanga in the Philippines is locally classified as a first-class, highly-urbanized city and holds to be a promoter of tourism in the Philippines. It is bordered by Mabalacat to the north; Mexico to the east; San Fernando to the southeast; Bacolor to the south; and Porac to the southwest and west. The city administers itself autonomously from Pampanga and, as of August 2007, it has a population of 314,493.
Angeles is served by the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport inside the Clark Freeport Zone (formerly Clark Air Base), part of which is located in the northern territory of the city. As the former home of the largest United States military facility outside of the continental United States, it was significantly affected by the base pullout brought about by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 as the economy of Angeles was heavily dependent on the American base at that time.
But in 1993, a full cleanup and removal of volcanic ash deposits began and the former U.S. base re-emerged as Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ). The creation of CSEZ has helped to offset the loss of income and jobs previously generated by the presence of the U.S. base in Angeles. Today, Angeles and Clark form the hub for business, industry, aviation, and tourism in the Philippines as well as a leisure, fitness, entertainment and gaming center of Central Luzon.
Angeles City ranked 15th in a survey by MoneySense Magazine as one of the "Best Places to Live in the Philippines" in its March–April 2008 issue. In August 2007, the greater metropolitan area centered around Angeles, called Metro Angeles, which includes San Fernando, Mabalacat, Porac, and Bacolor, was also mentioned as one of the 12 Metropolitan Areas in the Philippines by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and named as one of the six region-based metropolitan areas with relatively high GDP rates, with Metro Angeles garnering 8.5%.
- Fort Stotsenburg, named after Colonel John M. Stotsenburg, a captain of the 6th U.S. Cavalry, was the location of the permanent quarters of the American forces in Sapang Bato, Angeles. It is also known as the "Parade Ground," which served as a venue for many important celebrations by the Americans before the Philippine-American Military Bases Agreement ended in 1991.
- Salakot Arch is a landmark of Angeles. From 1902 to 1979, Clark Air Base remained a U.S. territory, guaranteed by the Military Bases Agreement in 1947. In 1978, the Philippines, under the dispensation of the former President Ferdinand Marcos, and the U.S. finally agreed to establish Philippine sovereignty over the U.S. bases and thus the Clark Air Base Command (CABCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines came into being, following the signing of a revised Military Bases Agreement on January 7, 1979. To commemorate this unprecedented and bold event, the government constructed a special structure based upon the design of a salakot or native hat, which soon became a widely recognized symbol of this renewed Filipino spirit.
- The Old Pamintuan Residence was served as the seat of government of the First Philippine Republic under General Emilio Aguinaldo from May to July 1899 and the Central Headquarter for Major General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., the father of General Douglas MacArthur. It used to house the Central Bank of the Philippines in Central Luzon. Currently, the National Historical Commission and the city government are funding the restoration of the mansion. It will open again soon as a museum and will house the Tourism Office of the city.
- Founders' Residence (Bale Matua), located at the heart of Santo Rosario, is the oldest building in the city. It was built in 1824 by the city founder, Don Ángel Pantaleón de Miranda, and his wife, Doña Rosalia de Jesus, and was inherited by their only daughter, Doña Juana de Miranda de Henson. This house, which is made of high stone and an ornate gate, nostalgically symbolizes the glorious past of Angeles amidst the overwhelming onslaughts of modernization.
- Camalig was built in 1840 by Don Ciriaco de Miranda, the first gobernadorcillo of Angeles, and was used as a grain storehouse along Santo Rosario Street. It was restored in 1980 by Armando L. Nepomuceno and is now the site of Armando's Pizza and the historic Camalig Restaurant.
- Post Office Building (Deposito) is a building that was constructed in 1899 for the purpose of depositing religious statues and carriages of the Catholic Church, hence the name Deposito. It was also used as the headquarter of the 11th Film Exchange U.S. Army from 1946 to 1947 and was then used as a jailhouse for recalcitrant U.S. troops during the Philippine-American War. On February 6, 1967, the Angeles Post Office moved to this building. It is now the site of Angeles Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Center.
- Holy Rosary Church (Santo Rosario Church) was constructed from 1877 to 1896 by the "Polo y Servicio" labor system, a kind of forced labor imposed on Filipino peasants by the Spanish colonial government. It was used as a military hospital by the U.S. Army from August 1899 to December 1900. Its backyard was the execution ground to the Spanish forces in shooting down Filipino rebels and suspects.
- Holy Family Academy Building was once a convent and was served as a military hospital of the U.S. Army in 1900. It was later used as troop barracks, officers' quarters and arsenal by the Japanese Imperial Military Forces in 1942.
- Bale Herencia (Ancestral House), built in 1860, is situated in Lakandula Street corner Santo Rosario Street. It is a picturesque house with the unsavory reputation of having been built for the mistress of a parish priest. The current owners have leased the place to various restaurants, food stalls, and other businesses like salons and computer shops. The antique architecture, however, is still preserved.
- Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies houses a library, museum of archives and gallery, research center and theater, put up by the Holy Angel University in 2002 to preserve, study and promote Kapampangan history and culture. In 2012, the Museum of Kapampangan Arts was also opened in the university, housing some of National Artist Vicente Manansala's works and drafts.
- Lily Hill was a strategic observation post for monitoring Japanese movement in World War II. Remains of Japanese aircraft were found here at the end of the war. Along this hill can now be found Lily Hill Duty Free Store.
- Bayanihan Park (formerly Astro Park) is an ideal spot for sports and recreational activities having basketball and volleyball courts and huge space for jogging and other recreational activities. This is where the famous and historical "Salakot Arch" is now located. It is being managed by SM City Clark.
- Museo ning Angeles (Museum of Angeles) is a priceless asset and a vintage circa 1920. The building is a museum piece by itself, located at the prime "Santo Rosario Historic District" across the Holy Rosary Cathedral. This edifice was constructed in 1922 and served as the Municipio del Pueblo or Town Hall until 1998. The Museum has become the venue of the city’s cultural activities be it from the private or government sector. From the time it opened in the year 1999, it has been a beehive of activity from exhibits, art classes, concerts, venue for performances and climax for traditional celebrations. In June 2012, the National Museum of the Philippines declared the Museo ning Angeles as an “Important Cultural Property of the Philippines,” the first cultural property to be given such a distinction. The museum is currently administered by Kuliat Foundation, Inc.
- Inside the museum is Balikdan (meaning "to look back") which is about understanding Angeles’s past for the present. It encapsulates coherently our colorful and evolving history, and enabling us to arrive at our expected destination. The sections that start with Culiat is born in 1796 and finished with the Mt. Pinatubo’s fury in 1991.
- Also within the infrastructure is the Culinarium. Pampanga, most specifically Angeles, is known as the "Culinary Capital of the Philippines." This is dedicated to the Kapampangan culinary arts and science that has emanated from the basic concept that the preparation of food is a heritage and a legacy worth preserving.
- Dioramic Scenes of Traditional Life in Pampanga, which is depicted in ten tableaus, are scenes of traditional town and country life in Pampanga. These dioramas were created by fashion designer Beatriz ‘Patis’ Pamintuan Tesoro using her Nenita dolls dressed in the most intricately embroidered Filipiniana outfits, with amazing detailing not only on the clothes, but also in the accessories and background.
- The Reynaldo G. Alejandro Culinary Library is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Reynaldo ‘Ronnie’ Gamboa Alejandro (1941–2009), who was a leading exponent of Filipino arts and culture. Some years before his untimely demise, Ronnie donated a part of his extensive library to the Culiat Foundation in support of its efforts to promote and preserve the Kapampangan culinary heritage.
Holy Rosary Cathedral Angeles City, Pampanga
Museum of Angeles
Festivals and local celebrations
- Philippine International Hot-Air Balloon Fiesta is held annually between January and February at Clark Field, Angeles City, Pampanga. Considered to be the biggest aviation sports event in the country, it features multicolored hot-air balloons with more than a hundred balloon pilots from around the world.
- La Naval Fiesta is held every second Sunday of October in commemoration of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary, whose intercession saw the victory of the Spanish fleet over the Dutch invaders. The city celebrates this fiesta with typical religious programs and homes display the finest traditions of hospitality in entertaining guests with the finest food and drinks.
- Tigtigan Terakan keng Dalan (Music and Dancing on the Streets) is held every last Friday and Saturday night of October. It is the biggest street party held each year in the city, which lasts up to the wee hours of the following day. Attended by celebrities and citizens alike, it features music from amateur and OPM bands.
- Apu Fiesta (Piyestang Apu) is held on the last Friday of October. Devotees from all over Pampanga flock to the Apu shrine every Friday to venerate the supposedly miraculous image of Jesus Christ lying in the sepulcher. It is also every Friday when people buy household items, clothes and audio-video equipment in a makeshift market called tiangge at bargain prices.
- Sisig Festival (Sadsaran Qng Angeles) is also held every year in the month of December, celebrating the Kapampangan dish, sisig. It is now held at SM City-Clark but it was usually celebrated along the stretch of McArthur Highway in Balibago.
- Drag Racing is organized by the Angeles Hot Rod Association(AHRA) the oldest drag racing in the Philippines. You can find this attraction at the Omni Aviation inside the Clark Ecozone. AHRA is where you will find most of the big V8 muscle cars, as well as many "bangers." In addition to race meets, they also organize and run regular classic and custom car shows, swap meets, social events and more.
- Play Pool in a city of great champions like Efren Reyes and Rodolfo Luat. Angeles has an abundance of pool tables to play all along the Fields Avenue and hundreds of other places in the city.
- Mount Arayat Trek is available November through May. Prices range: day trips and overnight trips.
- Trekking Mount Pinatubo is a once in a lifetime experience, highly recommended for hiking enthusiasts. Board a Filipino 4x4 jeep and experience a thrilling drive across Crow Valley, a moon-like terrain, with vast ash fields and rocky rivers. You will hike up towards the summit passing through sandy cliffs and up a mountain path. The views of the Crater Lake are absolutely breathtaking. On the way back you have the opportunity to visit an Aeta Village and enjoy interacting with one of the oldest indigenous tribes in the Philippines. The trip is a full day tour departing early in the morning. You will hike anywhere between 3 - 6 hours depending on your fitness.
- Mount Pinatubo Aerial Tours is for you if you want to have the best seat to view the volcano that once ravaged Central Luzon. Considered one of the largest eruptions of the 20th century, the eruption affected global weather patterns. Having been dormant for centuries, Mount Pinatubo erupted anew in 1991, spewing an ash plume that spread across the globe. Have a bird's-eye-view of the crater, surreal ash canyons and the remnants of the once-devastating lahar flows. Flights depart out of Omni Aviation Complex at Clark Field. Cost is $55 per person, flying time for 1 to 2 persons is 45 minutes while for 3 or more is one hour. The best time to fly is early in the morning (sunrise-10AM) and in the late afternoon (3PM-sunset).
- Ultra-light Flying is one sport that is definitely growing. If you want your senses get heightened and your heart pound as the wind whistles through your hair, this is for you! This is organized by the Angeles City Flying Club. The area also offers many additional attractions, from diving to cycling to hiking to night clubbing.
- Drive Off-Road is an off-road challenge where you can take on a wild, bumpy, ride in old four-wheel-drive jeeps in a safari-like journey across the dusty expanse of the valley to a campsite. It is organized by the Angeles City Four Wheelers Club and is ideal for trekking and be able to see the lahar canyons, Gate of Heaven and other sites in Mount Pinatubo.
- Golf, world-class golf courses, such as Holiday Inn Golf and Resort, Fontana Resort, Angeles Sports and Country Club, and J&K Golf are the recommended golf courses for those so inclined.
- Lawn Bowling is the only one in the country and is offered at the Hidden Vale and Angeles Sports and Country Club, a mature 11.34 hectare site which includes a nine-hole golf course, luxurious penthouse suites and driving range.
Leisure and nightlife
- The Mansion is undeniably one of the best party destinations in the Philippines. The Mansion's luxury clubbing is situated at The Enclave, Friendship Highway. Its proximity to Clark Freeport gives its unique accessibility, just 1 ½ hrs away from Manila, 30 minutes away from Subic by virtue of SCTEX and is near Bulacan and Tarlac. It has 2 floors, with the ground floor having a SRO capacity 700 pax and the 2nd floor VVIP area 150 pax. It was conceptualized by socialite, Divine Lee and renowned eventologist, Tim Yap.
- Gambling, being renowned as a city with high concentration of casinos, such as Casino Filipino-Angeles, Casino Filipino-Mimosa, Fontana Casino, and Casablanca Casino, Angeles offers a variety of activities that will keep leisure travelers definitely happy.
- Barhopping on Fields Avenue is arguably one of Angeles City's most famous attractions, offering male tourists a large selection of female companionship. Surrounding Fields Avenue, Santos Street, Real Street and Raymond Street, is a large concentration of go-go bars, numbering 60-70 within a few city blocks. Although some bars are open 24 hours, most don't open until late afternoons and close during the wee hours of the morning.
Salakot Arch Pamintuan Residence
Some of the hotels that can be found in Angeles City
- Angeles Beach Club Hotel
- Grand Central Hotel
- Orchid Inn Resort
- Hotel California Angeles City
- Wild Orchid Resort
- Century Resort Hotel
- Savannah Resort Angeles City
- Maharajah Hotel
- Devera Hotel
- Dollhouse Hotel & Cafe Angeles City
- Affinity Condo Resort
- Hotel V
- Kokomos Hotel and Restaurant Angeles City
- Montevista Villas Hotel Angeles City
- Natalia Hotel
This is the most common and economical way to get to Angeles from Metro Manila. Several air-conditioned bus lines ply from Manila to Angeles route with terminals scattered across the metropolitan area. It normally takes one-and-a-half hours to get to Angeles by bus. However, travellers are well advised to consider the unpredictable effect heavy traffic and downpours will have on the commute. In short, give yourself plenty of time to travel by bus. Provincial bus companies have scheduled trips from Manila to the provinces to northern provinces and key cities.
The best way from Manila to Angeles via car is taking the North Luzon Expressway which extends until Sta. Ines in Mabalacat, Pampanga. You may take either the Angeles Exit or Dau exit to get there. Another motorway, though narrow, is the McArthur Highway and visitors need to pass through the province of Bulacan to get to Angeles on both routes. It usually takes about 45 minutes to travel but it is twice the travel time if you plan to take the McArthur route due to heavy traffic along its stretch. Rental car companies can be found all over Manila and Angeles. If you don't know the routes, you can hire drivers by asking the attendant of the rent-a-car shop.
To hop on a colorful jeepney (small bus) is certainly the most affordable way to get around downtown. It is available 24 hours a day and it is the most famous mode of transportation in the country, which connects towns and cities together. Since jeepneys tend to be overcrowded with passengers, tourists carrying bulky luggage should consider traveling by taxi.
Though more convenient for tourists, taxis are less common in Angeles and not normally used for travel outside the city. Rather, they are primarily used to tour around the Clark Freeport Zone and for transport to and from the airport. Simson's taxicab terminal can be found particularly next to Clark's main gate (opposite Jollibee's) and SM City-Clark mall in Balibago.
Trikes (or tricycles) are motocycles with a small attached passenger cabin. They are restricted to low-speed roads and not permitted to enter the area surrounding the airport. Passengers of larger physical stature may find riding in them uncomfortable. Nevertheless, because of their slower speeds, trikes are generally a safe mode of transport.