Pampanga is a region of culinary delights, smouldering volcanoes and peaceful patchwork countryside. Coined by Spanish conquerors, the province’s name translates to riverbank, a nod to the gushing waterways and sparkling lakes that criss-cross and bring life to this lush landscape. Pampanga is also known as the culinary capital of the Philippines for its famous dishes tinged with Spanish, Malay and Mexican influences. Come to devour sizzling plates of pork sisag flavoured with lime and chili, stuffed frogs and the teeth-tingly-sweet tibok-tibok dessert made from carabao milk and coconut cream.
In Pampanga, tranquil farm stays await in the foothills of Arayat, a dormant volcano surrounded by waterfalls and trails that lead to breath-catching viewpoints. Arayat is overshadowed only by the terrifying might of Mount Pinatubo, which straddles Pampanga and its neighbouring provinces of Tarlac and Zambales. Hikes beneath this smoking beast lead across ash fields and moon-rock landscapes to crater lakes that change colour with the light. In villages belonging to the native Aeta people, you’ll hear about Pinatubo’s last deadly awakening in 1991, the second-biggest eruption of the 20th century.
Let our Philippines experts arrange rural farm stays and guided treks to Mount Pinatubo for an off-the-beaten-trail addition to your itinerary.