I grew up in the beautiful province of Tarlac, a well-known melting pot in the Philippines. It’s nestled between the provinces of Pampanga, Pangasinan, Zambales and Nueva Ecija which is why it offers remarkably diverse food, culture, and beautiful scenery. Come with me as I highlight the best hidden gems of my home province.
Tarlac Bicycle Tour
Mt. Telakawa, Capas
If you wish to see the beautiful disaster of Mt. Pinatubo eruption, then Mt. Telakawa is your best choice. It’s name means “a pot placed upside down” which is what the mountain actually looks like. You’ll find a magnificent view of Mt Pinatubo and the lahar field.
Capas National Shrine
Known as the former Capas Prisoners War Concentration Camp, Capas National Shrine is marked by a mighty pillar to commemorate the heroism of the Filipino veterans during World War II. It is best to visit in the early morning or late afternoon so you can bike, run, and picnic. It’s open from 8 am to 5 pm.
Sitio Dalig, Capas
One of the places most affected by Mt. Pinatubo eruption was Sitio Dalig in Sta Juliana, Capas. It’s a place where our Aetas (indigineous people) live a simple, yet peaceful life, and continue to share the story of the beautiful disaster. It is also a hallmark of trekking and 4x4 adventures to Mt. Pinatubo.
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, Bamban
This is one of the most religious places people visit during Holy Week. It has 168 steps and a place for prayer at the top of the hills where people light candles and deliver their devotions. If you walk past the praying area, you’ll enter a short trail which, by the end of it, leaves you looking at 3 magnificent crosses at the very top of the hill.
Voice of America, Concepcion
As bizarre as its name is, Voice of America is a transmission facility located in Capas, Tarlac. I suggest coming early in the morning for a stroll or a bike ride to witness the marvelous view of the road and the transmission towers. Maybe you’ll even get a spark (wink).
The Silver Lining
During this pandemic where we cannot easily ride a jeepney (jeep) or use public transport to go to certain places, I found that a bicycle is the easiest, most logical way to travel. It also helped me explore and appreciate my hometown even more since I cannot travel very far with my bicycle (not a professional cyclist here). And look where it took me. It opened my eyes to the history and hidden gems of Tarlac and led me to believe there is always a silver lining in everything.