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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Fun, Cultural and Family-friendly Activities in Clark, Pampanga

The former site of a United States Air Force Base and once was the most strategic military position of America in the Far East; Clark, Pampanga has morphed into a highly developed city within a city. Known today as the Clark Freeport Zone – it currently houses modern infrastructures serving as a major hub for tourism, business, aviation, education, manufacturing and other leading industries. The robust development which started in 1995 after years of neglect brought on by the departure of the US Military and the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, Clark Freeport Zone quickly became the leisure, entertainment and gaming center in Central Luzon.

Encompassing an area of 4,400 hectares and 27,600 more hectares of sub-zone, Clark Freeport Zone is now seen as a thriving and still growing region primed to showcase a more exciting future. Inside the main Clark Freeport Zone, an array of fun and cultural-oriented places offers a wide array of enjoyment for the whole family. Check out some of these places that will definitely lure you to stay for a day or two in Clark. 

Comercio Central

Situated within the Clark Parade Grounds, Comercio Central gathers artisans and other food connoisseurs through the various food and craft stalls set up in an intimate camp-like setting. Here, tourists can sample various Kapampangan and other international cuisines as well as buy fresh vegetables and fruits. Shops selling clothes, artworks and souvenir items are also available. Comercio Central is the ideal place to unwind before calling it a day. It opens late in the afternoon and last until late in the evening.

Hansa Toy Factory

One of the earliest companies that set up base in Clark has now grown into a world acclaimed stuffed toy maker. Various stuffed animals almost comes to life from the hands of Hansa’s skilled workers, such as; tigers, lions, elephants, grizzly bears, horses, monkeys and more. Some of their creations even landed the sets and had on-screen time in numerous films like; Life of Pi, Harry Potter and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus just to state a few. As a grown-up I had a fun time getting up close with many of Hansa’s creation, which were on display and open to the public at the second floor. Imagine the look on a kid’s eye when they interact with these life-sized animal stuffed toys.

Aqua Planet

Slated to open in February 2018, this water park features an assortment of giant slides suited for all ages. A total of 25 pool attractions that includes; flow rider, the super bowl, the spiral slide – just by its names, it already instill heaps of thrills already. What more if you spend an afternoon or a whole day just frolicking around and enjoying Aqua Planet’s electrifying swimming pools.

4D Theater

Familiarize your whole family with the story of how Clark Freeport Zone came to life by watching a documentary narrating the story of the Mount Pinatubo eruption of 1991. Clark’s 4D Theater features a state-of-the-art technology that will make your viewing experience more absorbing – especially after you see the scenes depicting the Kapampangan’s resolve to get back up on their feet after the devastating effects of Pinatubo’s violent eruption.

Clark Museum

Next to the 4D cinema is the Clark Museum. 100 pesos gets you in but if you’re a female then you get in for free – thanks to the Gender Development program being initiated by the management of Clark Freeport Zone. The museum displays artifacts and other historical items dating back to the American occupation, the World War II and the storied years of the US bases in the Philippines. By also showcasing various emblems of true Kapampangan cultures and traditions – the Clark Museum makes up for a great stop to learn more about the province of Pampanga, its people, history and rich heritage.

The Clark SunValley Country Club

Play a round of golf for only 3,000 pesos on weekdays and 3,500 pesos on weekends, at the Clark Sunvalley Country Club. Situated on a hill overlooking a picturesque and lush countryside of Pampanga, there’s no better place to unwind and relax, than hitting golf balls on this world-class golf course.

Nayong Filipino

I grew up making numerous visits to the old Nayong Filipino located near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. I felt sad when I heard that it was closed down many years ago. This is why, I felt a great sense of relief when I learned that a new Nayong Filipino was established inside Clark, Pampanga. Memories of my childhood years were replayed through my mind as I saw replicas of Philippine's natural and other man-made landmarks such as; the Ifugao rice terraces, the Barasoain church, traditional houses and the likes. Among the highlights includes; a daily cultural show happening at the auditorium followed by a colorful street parade, participated by performers adorned in vibrant traditional festival clothes.

Other than foodtripping at the ever-increasing list of fancy restaurants and charming hole-in-the-walls establishment inside Clark Freeport Zone, your whole family can also opt to stay at the many fine hotels located here. A staycation for a couple of days or more, is a good length of time to fully explore the whole of Clark. 

*photo of 4D Theater from Karla Around the World and Aqua Planet from Our Awesome Planet


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