Travelers headed to Pampanga and its neighboring provinces in northern Luzon land in Clark International Airport, located in a former US air base turned economic hub. In recent years, shiny new buildings and housing projects have been popping up all over the massive special economic zone, where some events of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games were held. For a traditional and authentic experience, head to downtown Angeles City or San Fernando and sample dishes that have made Pampanga the culinary capital of the Philippines, before exploring Mt Arayat National Park, riding an all-terrain vehicle to Mount Pinatubo or cooling down in Miyamit Falls.
Originally a carinderia (canteen or food stall) in the home of owner Boy Kabigting in Arayat, there are now several branches, including a few in Manila. The halo-halo, a dessert usually made of sweet ingredients, milk and crushed ice, only has three main elements here: kidney beans, carabao milk candy and creamed corn – a perfect slush that’s sweet and filling.