Just two hours away from Manila via NLEX, you’ll reach the City of San Fernando, the capital of Pampanga, and the home of the big Christmas lanterns we all adore. But more than the big lanterns, this city boasts of many tourist spots that are waiting to be re-explored now that travel restrictions are easing up (especially for vaccinated individuals, so better have that jab). As the “ber” months are about to roll in soon, it is time to take an adventure outside the metro to shake those pandemic blues away.
Here is my suggestion for a day trip travel itinerary that you can refer to when you visit San Fernando, Pampanga.
Explore the colonial structures
What better way to start your day tour than to roam the City of San Fernando by car, foot, or even a kalesa ride. Enjoy the sights of several historic structures built during the colonial era such as the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando, Pampanga Hotel, the Arzobispado De Pampanga at San Jose Road, the beautiful ancestral houses along Consunji Street, and the old PNR train station museum near Capitol Boulevard.
Eat lunch at a Dubai-inspired restaurant
After a city stroll, head to Souq Pampanga, a Dubai-inspired restaurant along Lazatin Boulevard. This instagrammable restaurant offers international food as well as deconstructed Filipino food including Kapampangan cuisine. It also has a boutique hotel in case you decide to spend the night in San Fernando.
Experience mulberry picking in this farm
No need to drive for eight hours just to reach Baguio or Benguet to experience strawberry picking because here in San Fernando along McArthur Highway, you’ll find this hidden farm where you can experience picking mulberries for only P50. Doing this activity is not only fun (and healthy as you burn calories), you can also bond with your family and friends.
Dine at the biggest McDonald’s store
After picking mulberries, see for yourself the country’s biggest McDonald’s store. This is located at Capital Town along Capitol Boulevard. Take pictures or have a snack while savoring the afternoon breeze.
Buy Kapampangan pasalubong
Before you drive back to NLEX and head back home, visit any of the Kapampangan pasalubong shops along McArthur Highway.
The City of San Fernando has so much to offer in terms of tourist spots, which can be enjoyed by both the young and old. And while the IATF has eased travel restrictions, it’s still best that we practice all safety precautions like hand sanitizing, wearing of facemask and face shield, as well as social distancing. But more than any safety advice, it’s better to be vaccinated for your own and your loved ones’ health safety.
* Special thanks to the Velasquez-Soliman Family of San Fernando, Pampanga for hosting this weekend trip with my friends.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The author is a vlogger who loves to travel and share his experiences on his YouTube channel “The Wayner.” A certified HR professional, R-Wayne is also an advocate of heritage conservation, environmental protection, and animal welfare.