Sunday, May 18, 2014

San Fernando: Walking Around Pampanga's Capital

10 Day 10K Challenge: San Fernando, PAMPANGA
Date: MAY 18, 2014

Pampanga - the second province on my list, which is also known as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. This province is known for their wood carved furniture and sculptures, giant parols (Christmas lanterns), and cuisine - including the world famous sisig. I’ve been to Pampanga multiple times – but I never had the chance to explore its capital city. Now that I am back, I will make sure to find the city’s hidden charm.

Right infront of the Provincial Capitol Building and Maximino HIzon's Monument

The streets of San Fernando, Pampanga
Staying under the province's welcome arch, I patiently waited for a jeepney to come. Minutes later, a San Fernando bound jeepney came, and riding with me inside the vehicle were teens who stayed at Jed's Island Resort overnight. I paid the P25 fare and stared outside, looking at this unfamiliar place I've seen for the first time.

I've never been to this part of McArthur Highway, and this was the first time I've taken this route. We passed by the towns of Apalit, Minalin and Santo Tomas, before arriving at the city of San Fernando. I thought that the driver would be dropping me off near SM Pampanga, so I checked out where the North Luzon Expressway was, but I never found it. I asked the jeepney driver to make sure, and he told me that the mall was just a few steps away, and he directed me to an alley which was a shortcut.

the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando
Still clueless where I was, I headed straight to the alley and exited near the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando. It got this huge white dome, and the structure looked beautiful. And because it was a Sunday, churchgoers flocked the whole area. I asked different people on how I could get to "SM." They pointed me to this blue building with several floors, and that's when I realized that San Fernando has two SM Malls - the more famous SM Pampanga (where I should be heading to) and this newly built SM San Fernando Downtown.

Since I was already at the heart of the city, I decided to visit the provincial capitol building. Near the mall was a jeepney terminal bound for Palawe. According to the locals, these jeepneys would pass by the capitol, so I paid the P8 fare and waited for it to leave. In just a matter of five minutes, I was already at the Pampanga Provincial Capitol complex.

The city hall of San Fernando, located at the city center
The building's design was strikingly similar to the White House in Washington D.C., and right in front of it was a huge park filled with trees. It was hot when I came into the capitol - good thing that there were lots of trees around, providing shade to everyone.

Aside from trees and this spacious park, there were also some monuments inside the complex. One of these was Maximino Hizon's equestrian monument. Maximino Hizon, according to his historical marker, was a supreme commander of the Philippine Revolutionary Forces in Pampanga during the Spanish Colonial Period. After taking some photos and videos, I decided to rest for a while and checked the next destination on my list - which was the province of Bataan. I need to get to SM Pampanga for me to ride a bus bound for Bataan, and because I wasn't familiar with the place, I decided to walk around and checked Google Maps for directions going to the mall.

Jose Abad Santos Monument
There was no transportation bound for SM Pampanga outside the capitol, so I walked further and suddenly realized that I was getting lost. I asked this woman I saw near a gasoline station, and fortunately, she was also bound for the mall. She told me that it was challenging to get to SM Pampanga from where we were at, and it needs a lot of patience. Minutes later, a jeepney came, and I managed to reach the mall at 10:00 in the morning. I bought food and water at the grocery and went outside to get a ride.

Bus bound for Bataan can be found at a parking lot near the mall's entrance, and I chose to ride an airconditioned Genesis Bus bound for Mariveles. The fare was P107, and the bus left at 10:20 AM. I can't help myself from being too excited about climbing Mount Samat!
Pampanga - DONE!
This post is part of my 10 Day 10K Challenge that took place between May 17-26, 2014. Read the first entry here. Read the post about the previous destination here. Proceed to the next destination here.

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