Angeles City, rises to the top!
Angeles City, also known as the “City of Angels”, is formerly home of the largest American Air Force Base outside the states. This city has been hyper-kicked into full urbanization. There has been a lot of international control here throughout modern history by the American Airforce, WWII Japanese invaders, and Spanish conquistadors. You’ll see this reflected in monuments, street names, food, and more.
Angeles City, Pampanga is mostly known for its nearby Clark International Airport and Clark Freeport Zone. It’s also a central Luzon hub for business, education, and entertainment. It is one of the best places to live in the Philippines that is according to an issue of MoneySense Magazine.
When you visit, expect to see lots of historical memorials honoring American forces and plenty of neighborhoods that were once the stomping grounds for American troops. When the air force base closed down, many Americans stayed. That is why you’ll find a heavy expat community here and plenty of American food, restaurants, and shops that cater towards western desires.
The climate here is categorized as “Tropical Savanna” and “Tropical Monsoon”. You’ll find the wettest times of the month between May and October, with the remainder of the year relatively dry. The hottest month that Angeles City experiences is June- it typically reaches around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
The following attractions, theme parks, and other places are some of the heritage landmarks that make up the historical identity and significance of Angeles today.
- Air Force City Park(Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City)- It was the old air force base used by the Americans in 1970-1980. Today, you will only find aircraft that are just crumbling away. The former Clark Air Field has now been transformed more like a theme park. With its sprawling grounds, they now feature a playground. You can find some real old helicopters and fighter jet planes on display (it is more like antiques). It is more for the public to just experience what it was like in the 70’s these old fighter jets and how it feels like to be in these (grounded) aircraft. Most of the planes are slowly rusting away. It is more like a playground for the kids to enjoy. More should be done to preserve this fighter jets as it part of the history of the Philippines.
- Stotsenberg Park (Gil Puyat Avenue corner Andres Soriano St, Clark Freeport Zone)- Located at one end of the park you will find the Clark Museum which has been recently been renovated. Inside you will find several sections; each divided into a special area of historical concern. You will find historical periods examined from the area’s early founded, through the early years of the USA at the turn of the 20th century, the Mt. Pinatubo volcano’s eruption, and ending with its development as an economic zone. Take your time to see and study the many exhibits and artifacts, each will bring you a vital piece of its historical relevance.
- The Bayanihan Park (McArthur Hi-way, Balibago, Beside SM Clark)- This is also known as the Astro Park. The Bayanihan Park is the epicenter of everyday recreational activities, most likely outdoor activities. The extensive ground of green is usually flocked since it is the right venue for your Friday hang-outs up to Sunday strolls. Different and various events, other small concerts and gatherings are being held here, too. It is now home to a year-round mini-amusement park and it is an ideal spot for sports and recreational activities having basketball and volleyball courts and a huge space for jogging and other recreational activities.
FESTIVALS AND ACTIVITIES
- Feast of the Guardian Angels – this is Angeles City’s foundation day celebration.
- Giant Sisig Festival – December A traditional dish of Pampanga, Sisig is made of chopped pigs ears and cheeks cooked with vinegar and spices. There is also a beauty pageant, a parade, and concerts.
- International Hot-Air Balloon Festival – 2nd Thursday thru Sunday in February Started in 1994, 3 years after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, this festival features hot-air balloons from around the world, precision flying, skydiving, kite flying, concerts, a trade fair, and more.
- La Naval Fiesta – 2nd Sunday in October The intercession of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary in a naval battle causing the victory of the Spanish over the Dutch is commemorated in this festival. There are religious programmes, and guests are entertained in homes in the finest Filipino tradition.
- Lenten Rites – Good Friday In this “festival”, some 5 to 10 people take a vow of penitence by actually having themselves nailed to the cross. There is a reenactment of the arrest of Christ by Roman soldiers, and the suspects are crucified on a ‘Calvary’ hill.
- Tigtigan Terakan Keng Dalan- celebrated every last Friday and Saturday night of October in lieu of Kuliat Fiesta which features street singing and dancing up to the wee hours of the following day. This is the local version of the Mardi Gras.
- Apung Mamacalulu Church (C. Dayrit Street, Angeles City)- Apung Mamacalulu is a kapampangan term which means Merciful Lord or the Santo Entierro (Holy Burial) of Angeles City. It is a statue depicting the burialof Jesus Christ and is enshrined at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Christ our Lord of the Holy Sepulchre. Thousands flock to hear the special Holy Mass celebrated every Friday at the Shrine. Apu, as the lying statue of Jesus is fondly called by devotees, has become a symbol of hope for people longing for a connection to the divine especially when all else failed. His image is supine, bruised, caught in the final act of love and sacrifice that has spelled salvation for those who believe in Him. Every kiss that lands His badly bruised feet or a touch that grazes His battered hand comes with a deep conviction that through His death and resurrection, He made all things new. Apung Mamacalulu bestows mercy beyond the grave.
- Holy Rosary Parish Church (Santo Rosario St, Angeles City)-Formerly known as Santo Rosario Church, today lovingly called by locals as “Pisambang Maragul” (Big Church) stands in the epicenter of the old Culiat town, now Angeles. The church has recently been recognized by the National Commission for Culture and the Artsas a national historical site. The backyard of the church became the execution grounds from 1896-1898 in shooting down Filipino rebels and suspects by the Spanish forces. And it was also used by the U.S. Army as a military hospital from 1899 to 1900. The church’s belfry was destroyed in the 1940s as a result of the World War II. It was immediately restored by the government with the help of American troops and was finished by early 1944. Today, the Holy Rosary Parish Church serves as the city’s main religious center, is located at the front of the former city hall, now known as the Museo ning Angeles.
- Bale Herencia (Lakandula Street corner Santo Rosario Street, Angeles City)– is a charming house with the unsavory reputation of having been built for the mistress of a parish priest which was built in 1860. A two-story ancestral house, Bale Herencia was used as a residence, Catechism school, office of a town councilor, mini-casino and then commercial establishment. Today, it serves as a venue for formal events and art exhibits. The current owners now use it as a banquet hall. Juan D. Nepomuceno’s Center for Kapampangan Studies houses a library, a 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.
- Bale Matua or Pamintuan Mansion (770 Sto Rosario St, Angeles City)- Founders’ Residence (Bale Matua), located at the heart of Santo Rosario, is considered 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 (Camalig Square, 292 Dalan Sto Rosario, Angeles City)- 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. If you will, the serenity of antiquity preserved in a stately architecture of wood and stone. Picture yourself surrounded by age-old photographs and relics from a bygone Angeles town. Dine amidst the charm and hospitality of old world Filipiniana. Or as Asia Today magazine puts it, “drink in a little of the history of a long-ago Philippine time.
- Center for Kapampangan Studies (Holy Angel University, Angeles City)- If you need to do any research about Kapampangan history, culture, language or anything about Pampanga, this museum is a must-see for you. The staffs are extra friendly and informative; they will tell you lots of stories on how Kapampangan have lived and how and why they are right now. Whether you are a researcher or a tourist, this museum is a must-see when in Angeles City. It’s a “small museum” and most certainly the place to go to for resources about Kapampangans. The main attraction must be the Retablo, a display of Kapampangan craftmanship which they are known for next to Culinary prowess
- Museo Ning Angeles or Museum of Angeles (Heritage District, Santo Rosario St, Angeles City)-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, a venue for performances and climax for traditional celebrations. Inside the museum is Balikdan (meaning “to look back”) which is about understanding Angeles City’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.
- Nayong Pilipino (Clark Expo, Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City)- This is a must-see spot in Pampanga. It showcases the whole Philippines and its culture. This historical place will allow you to reminisce what’s with the past and it’ll travel you back in time. Indeed, a great artwork. This place should be seen not just by foreign tourists but also the Filipinos as well. If you have limited time to do the trips, just a short day trip to Nayong Pilipino is all you need to see and appreciate the beauty of the country.
- 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 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 City Post Office moved to this building. It is now the site of Angeles Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Center.
- 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.
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